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Ruy Lopez (C60)
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5

Number of games in database: 1460
Years covered: 1846 to 2017
Overall record:
   White wins 40.5%
   Black wins 30.8%
   Draws 28.6%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Blackburne  10 games
Vlastimil Jansa  9 games
Zsofia Polgar  7 games
Vasily Smyslov  27 games
Wilhelm Steinitz  18 games
Antoaneta Stefanova  15 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Zukertort vs Anderssen, 1865
Benko vs Sawayer, 1964
H Bogart vs L Bacall, 1951
NN vs Burn, 1866
Englisch vs Steinitz, 1883
Blackburne vs Burn, 1868
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 page 1 of 59; games 1-25 of 1,460  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Staunton vs Horwitz 1-0371846London m3C60 Ruy Lopez
2. R Brien vs Falkbeer  1-0521855London mC60 Ruy Lopez
3. T W Barnes vs Falkbeer 1-0271856LondonC60 Ruy Lopez
4. Staunton vs Loewenthal 1-0791856London m3C60 Ruy Lopez
5. G W Medley vs Morphy 0-1391858LondonC60 Ruy Lopez
6. D S Roberts vs W Schleiden  1-0481858(T1) San FranciscoC60 Ruy Lopez
7. Anderssen vs B Suhle 1-0121859BreslauC60 Ruy Lopez
8. Anderssen vs Eichborn 0-1261859CasualC60 Ruy Lopez
9. S Boden vs Paulsen 0-1461861BCA-04.KongressC60 Ruy Lopez
10. E Schallopp vs Anderssen 0-1391864BerlinC60 Ruy Lopez
11. G Neumann vs Anderssen 0-1251864BreslauC60 Ruy Lopez
12. Zukertort vs Anderssen 1-0121865Berlin -C60 Ruy Lopez
13. G Neumann vs Anderssen  1-0231865UnknownC60 Ruy Lopez
14. G Neumann vs Anderssen 1-0461865UnknownC60 Ruy Lopez
15. G Neumann vs Anderssen  0-1461865UnknownC60 Ruy Lopez
16. G Neumann vs Anderssen  1-0331865BerlinC60 Ruy Lopez
17. G Neumann vs Anderssen  1-0451865BerlinC60 Ruy Lopez
18. NN vs Burn 0-1151866EnglandC60 Ruy Lopez
19. S Rosenthal vs G Neumann  0-1271867Paris m1C60 Ruy Lopez
20. de Riviere vs Steinitz 0-1271867ParisC60 Ruy Lopez
21. de Riviere vs Kolisch 0-1441867ParisC60 Ruy Lopez
22. Loyd vs M S From 0-1401867ParisC60 Ruy Lopez
23. G B Fraser vs Steinitz 0-1251867Dundee CongressC60 Ruy Lopez
24. G B Fraser vs G Neumann 0-1491867Dundee CongressC60 Ruy Lopez
25. Blackburne vs De Vere 1-0121868EnglandC60 Ruy Lopez
 page 1 of 59; games 1-25 of 1,460  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  RookFile: An ...a6 and ...b5 pawn push is often attacked by a4 from white.
Sep-07-06  actual: <ganstaman> The ruy lopez is my favorite opening with white and black.

<If white doesn't intend to play the exchange variation, why play the Ruy at all instead of the Italian game?> It's all about sustained pressure against black's center (e5 pawn) which can lead to white maintaining the initiative longer than he/she can in the Italian game. Along with threatening to destroy black's center, white plans to play c3 and d4 to dominate the central territory. In the Italian game 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 (<I used to play this quite a lot. White plans to maintain pawns on d4 and e4>) 4..Nf6 5. d4 exd4 6. cxd4 (<white has them>) 6...Bb4+ 7. Bd2 Bxd2+ 8. Nxd2 d5! (<but white can't maintain them and black should enjoy even chances in the game>)

<Here's why I ask. Black can play ...a6 and ...b5. I consider those pawn moves to be to black's advantage. He gains space on the queenside> Those moves gain space but do nothing to prevent white's best positional plan of playing c3 and d4 to dominate in the center.

<I'm not really sure that the bishop is better off on b3 than on c4. So I don't see white's advantage in playing 3.Bb5.> I'm sure you know that with 3. Bb5 white threatens to eventually capture the Nc6 (currently the only defender of e5) Black has to respond to that threat if he/she wants to maintain his share of the center (e5) and not give white a permanent positional advantage. Tarrasch showed in the 19th century (a long time ago :-)) that playing 3...d6 to guard the pawn will not allow black to hold onto his share of the center (e5) for much longer 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 d6 4. d4 Bd7 (<breaking the pin on the knight and after 5. Bxc6 Bxc6 attacks the e4 pawn>) 5.Nc3 (<now the threat is Bxc6 and after black recaptures with the bishop the e4 pawn is guarded and e5 falls>) Nf6 (<developing and attacking e4 again to stop Bxc6>) 6. O-O Be7 7. Re1 (<now black has to play the somewhat anti-positional 7...exd4 (all of his previous moves were played according to the plan of maintaing e5) because of a forcing variation we all should memorize>) 7...O-O 8. Bxc6 Bxc6 9. dxe5 dxe5 10. Qxd8 Raxd8 11. Nxe5 (<e5 is gone>) Bxe4 (<black in turn captures e4>) 12. Nxe4 Nxe4 (<13. Rxe4 loses to 13...Rd1+>) 13. Nd3! (<blocking the d-file check possibility and exposing a rook skewer on the Ne4 and Be7>) 13...f5 (<protecting the knight>) 14. f3 Bc5+! 15. Nxc5 Nxc5 16. Bg5! (<wins material because black has no good answer to 17. Be7>) Tarrasch vs G Marco, 1892

<Also, why does black not play it this way often? 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 b5 5. Bb3 Bc5 -- a standard Italian game, except black has in two free moves for queenside expansion, and white can't play the Evans gambit (bishop is blocking the b-pawn).> After that sequence I believe that White will just play c3 and d4 with more space in the center and a strong position or he/she might transpose the game to the line below after 6. O-O Nf6

The sequence 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O b5 6. Bb3 Bc5 is known as the Moeller Defence and it has become more popular because of the active position of the Bc5 (instead of the more usual spot on e7) but white still has prospects of a better game and a lot of theory has built up after moves like 7. a4 which challenges black's queenside expansion and reserves the move d4 until black develops the light-squared bishop to b7.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ganstaman: Thank you, all. I can know happily go back to not playing this opening from either side. At least I understand it better for the occasional game.
Sep-13-06  FHBradley: What is the current theoretical verdict on 3... g6? Smyslov's move enjoyed mild popularity in the 80s, but has since all but disappeared. I suppose 4 d4 ed4 5 ♗g5 gives white a slight edge, but is this still playable for black? And after 5... ♗e7 6 ♗xe7, which piece should black recapture with, queen or king's knight?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Ron: Sacrificing Pawns on the Queenside

Recently I played a quick game against a low level computer; it was Ruy Lopez opening, and in the game, I offerred a pawn sac on the queenside, which turned out good. Fischer, in a game against Spassky in their 1972 match, let Spassky grab a pawn on the queenside for an attack Fischer vs Spassky, 1972

I'm wondering how often this sort of idea, white sacrificing a pawn in the middle game of Ruy Lopez, occurs.

Feb-15-07  Haeron: I just played this game on Playchess. Don't take on d4 in the Steinitz!

[Event "Playchess"]
[Site "Watford"]
[Date "2007.02.15"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Haeron"]
[Black "Guest"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C62"]
[PlyCount "43"]

1. Nf3 Nc6 2. e4 e5 3. Bb5 d6 4. d4 exd4 5. Nxd4 Bd7 6. Nxc6 Bxc6 7. Bxc6+ bxc6 8. O-O d5 9. Re1 dxe4 10. Rxe4+ Be7 11. Rd4 Qb8 12. Nc3 Bc5 13. Re4+ Ne7 14. Bg5 f6 15. Bxf6 gxf6 16. Qh5+ Kf8 17. Qxc5 Qd8 18. Rd1 Qe8 19. Rde1 Rd8 20. Rxe7 Qg6 21. Re8+ Kf7 22. Qe7# 1-0

Premium Chessgames Member
  Swapmeet: <Haeron> Taking on d4 wasn't black's problem in that game, in fact black is eventually forced to play exd4 in that line. 8...d5? is what killed black there, just opening up all the lines to his king without any development.
Mar-14-07  bob000: Upcoming Ruy Lopez Tournament featurinf Pomonorov, Sasirikan,Sargissian, Sokolov, Granda, Candelario, Hou Yifan, and Stefanova

Aug-05-07  ongyj: For me personally, I prefer 3.Bb5 to 3.Bc4 not only because of Black's eventual possibility of ...d5, but also because at Bc4 White blocks his own c-pawn. With Ba4-b3 retreat, White doesn't block its own c-pawn. Since White's idea is to go for 'normal development', and short castle, the 'standard' continuation would be to generate chances in either the centre or the queenside. (And I find c4 often necessary to achieve that.)That's another reason I don't play the exchange anymore, other than the Bishop pair. Since Black's Knight is wrongly placed(Blocking it's own c-pawn), there's no reason to trade it off to lesson it's problem. And actually, I don't subscribe to the idea of c3 and d4, which is usually only possible if Black don't play the open variation(...Nxe4). I prefer d3 to hold the e-pawn and then c4, With Nc3 discouraging Black to liberate the position early. (Notice that this also confirms why White played out the Bishop first, if not d3 and White's Bishop can't go out to roam ^Ô^
Nov-02-07  swapnil10: I want information how to defend ruuylopez when I am black?
Nov-02-07  e4Newman: <swapnil10> you came to the right place :)
Nov-25-07  pawnofdoom: Oops in an online corespondence game on gameknot I accidently played this opening. Meant to play Bc4 but accidently put the bishop on b5. Uh oh. I'm probably going to lose now. I don't know how to play this opening.
Dec-09-07  hitman84: [Event "?"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "?"]
[Round ""]
[White "Me"]
[Black "NN"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C60"]
[WhiteElo "2048"]
[BlackElo "2137"]
[PlyCount "63"]
[EventDate "2003.02.10"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nge7 4. Nc3 g6 5. d4 exd4 6. Nxd4 Bg7 7. Be3 a6 8. Be2 O-O 9. O-O d6 10. f4 f5 11. Bc4+ Kh8 12. Ne6 Bxe6 13. Bxe6 fxe4 14. g4 Ng8 15. Nd5 Nf6 16. c4 Nxd5 17. cxd5 Qe7 18. g5 Nd8 19. f5 gxf5 20. Bxf5 Bxb2 21. Rb1 Be5 22. Qh5 Rg8 23. Kh1 c6 24. g6 cxd5 25. Bg5 Qc7 26. Rg1 Nc6 27. Bh6 Nd4 28. Rbc1 Nc6 29. gxh7 Rxg1+ 30. Rxg1 Ne7 31. Qf7 Nxf5 32. Rg8+ 1-0

What is the variation called (Nge7->g6) ?

I had no idea how to reply to this, but Dvoretzky's ideas helped me. 7...a6 put me in a dilemma whether to exchange the Bishop or not. I decided not to exchange so the obvious move was Be2 because if Ba4 then b5, Bb3 Na5 and my ♗ is out. My idea was that if black plays b5->Bb7 then I can play f4->Bf3 challenging my opponent ♗.

My aggressive intentions paid off as I was able to cause enough trouble to my opponent with my double ♗s.

I had less than half a minute to complete 40 moves when I checkmated my opponent.

Dec-09-07  Open Defence: <hitman> I believe its the Cozio variation
Dec-29-07  Karpova: Really hilarious:

One example:

<To avoid the narrative flow being clogged up, or bogged down, with explanations of technicalities, the book concludes with a seven-page glossary of chess terms, such as the following (from page 166):

‘Ruy Lopez: ... This attack involves a penetration of the center by the king and queen’s pawns with the subsequent rapid opening of the bishop file, from which squares the knights may control the center. Direct and powerful attack meant to march down the board; it is easily defeated by a Sicilian defense in which the advance of the pieces is blocked. Now in partial disfavor, the Ruy Lopez has been displaced by the modernists. It is still often seen in amateur games. The Ruy Lopez is capable of producing a Fool’s Mate against an inexperienced or nervous player who might fail to note positioning of the queen and king’s bishop.’>

"Tactics of Conquest" from the "award-winning" Barry Malzberg (New York, 1973-74)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eric Schiller: The Cozio is under-rated and is in fact an excellent choice for beginners, because it avoids having to deal with the Exchange Variation which is no big deal for advanced players but problematic for beginners.

After 3...Nge7 it is easy to play because the next several moves are fairly automatic.

I play it myself sometimes, for example N Yap vs E Schiller, 2004.

Jan-07-09  fred lennox: the roy is a fascinating opening for me though i seldom played it. One factor in openings is having four minor pieces on the board is uncomfortable for black. With white having the initiative plus four minor pieces blacks position easily feels cramped. Exchanging one minor piece does much to give black elbow room. This is part of the richness of the Roy. What minor piece? The Roy appeals to players who like versatile, broad open play like Keres and Spassky. Few are true masters of it since it requires wide types of playing. Off hand id say there are 6-7 true masters of the Roy today.
Jun-07-09  WhiteRook48: I like to play this opening. On either side.
Jul-14-09  WhiteRook48: only 1158 games??
Jul-14-09  MaxxLange: I think just the sidelines are under this code maybe? There are many more games under the codes for Breyer, Marshall Attack, etc.
Apr-14-11  redorc19: how would you respond to 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Qf6?! which is the line my brother plays? 4. 0-0 seems unnecessary and I try 4. Nc3 a6. I think Black just trys to not get doubled pawns, but the defense seems passive and 4. Nc3 a6 5. Nd5! seems to refute it with slight advantage. Any suggestions?
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: <redorc19> In principle, irregular third moves by Black like 3 ... Bc5 and 3 ... Nge7 are best met by 4. 0-0, and note 4. 0-0 is the most common response to the Berlin Defense 3 ... Nf6. Opening Explorer After castling, then White can decide on a center set-up with c2-c3 & d2-d4 or else d2-d3. 3 ... Qf6!? is a suboptimal move, as it develops the Queen too early while taking away the best square for Black's KN, yet it is not a blunder with a direct refutation. Sometimes people facing uncommon lines try so hard to punish it that they get overextended or make unsound sacrifices. Maybe he is simply trying to get you out of book.

The database suggests 4. Nc3 Opening Explorer where White won 13 out of 13 times. Note none of those games were miniatures, so Black did have some play before losing. Very likely, a player who would use 3 ... Qf6!? is less experienced and just loses to a better player no matter what their opening.

There is one game with 3 ... Qf6!? 4. Nc3 a6 5. Ba4 d6 6. Nd5 = M Ishizuka vs S Elnami, 2006

Jan-13-13  Tigranny: My favorite opening ever.
May-31-13  dvpjal: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Qf6? The basic tabiya states that the ♕ueen should not be taken out so quickly in the opening. First the pieces other than ♕ueen should be developed to the positioanal squares. 4. Nc3 Nd4 (4... Nge7 5. d3 Nd4 6. Nxd4 exd4 7. Ne2 Ng6 8. O-O ♗lakcs postion is bad because it is not developed properly. Light squared ♗ishop is immobile, Yet not castled, ♖ooks are still not even ready to come out.) 5. Nxd4 exd4 6. Nd5

click for larger view

Qd6 7. d3 c6 8. Bf4 *

click for larger view


Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <dvpjal>: Here is a similar line in the Classical with 3....Bc5 4.0-0 Qf6, where Black takes his eccentricities a step too far and meets with swift retribution: Karpov vs S Mariotti, 1975.
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