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Ruy Lopez, Exchange (C68)
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Bxc6

Number of games in database: 1163
Years covered: 1855 to 2014
Overall record:
   White wins 29.9%
   Black wins 31.4%
   Draws 38.7%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
PRACTITIONERS
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Emanuel Lasker  24 games
Alexander Alekhine  19 games
Eduardas Rozentalis  15 games
Mark Hebden  21 games
Carl Schlechter  12 games
Jan Smejkal  11 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Lasker vs Capablanca, 1914
Lasker vs Tarrasch, 1908
Bogoljubov vs Muller, 1934
H K Mattison vs Rubinstein, 1929
F Hermann vs H Hussong, 1930
Lasker vs Steinitz, 1894
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 page 1 of 47; games 1-25 of 1,163  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Mohishunder vs Cochrane ½-½64 1855 CalcuttaC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
2. J Minckwitz vs E Schmidt 0-150 1866 Leipzig mC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
3. J Kling vs Hermann 0-117 1868 PostalC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
4. Winawer vs S Rosenthal  1-064 1878 ParisC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
5. Chigorin vs Schiffers 1-033 1879 Chigorin - Schiffers Third MatchC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
6. Chigorin vs Schiffers 0-122 1879 Chigorin - Schiffers Third MatchC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
7. F M Teed vs Steinitz 1-046 1883 Offhand gameC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
8. W Pollock vs N MacLeod 1-031 1889 USA-06.Congress New YorkC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
9. J Holzwarth vs Csank 0-1115 1890 Kolisch MemorialC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
10. Lasker vs W Pollock 1-042 1892 Baltimore simC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
11. Albin vs Mieses  0-127 1892 DSB-07.KongressC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
12. G Marco vs A Schottlaender  1-028 1892 DresdenC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
13. A Ettlinger vs Lasker 0-129 1893 Lasker - EttlingerC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
14. Lasker vs Steinitz 0-155 1894 Lasker-Steinitz World ChampionshipC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
15. Winawer vs Chigorin ½-½97 1896 BudapestC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
16. Lasker vs Steinitz 1-041 1896 Lasker-Steinitz World Championship RematchC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
17. Lasker vs Steinitz 1-078 1896 Lasker-Steinitz World Championship RematchC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
18. Lasker vs Tarrasch 1-041 1896 NurembergC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
19. A C Palmer vs H W Apperly  1-033 1896 QLD chC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
20. Maroczy vs Charousek  1-043 1897 Budapest mC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
21. G Ferenczy vs Charousek 0-137 1897 MISKOLCZ BLINDC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
22. Faehndrich / Charousek vs Schlechter / Marco  0-141 1897 ViennaC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
23. A Fritz vs Charousek  0-149 1898 11th DSB Kongress, CologneC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
24. Maroczy vs G Marco  ½-½21 1898 ViennaC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
25. Lasker vs F R Gittins  1-031 1898 GBR tour simC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
 page 1 of 47; games 1-25 of 1,163  PGN Download
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-26-06  mitsuo: <ongyj> I'm just a mediocre player, but one question about your line in the Ruy Lopez Exchange with 5. ...Bg4. After 6. h3 h5 7. d3 Qf6 8. Nd2 Ne7 9. Nc4 Ng6, wouldn't white be able to chop off some wood with 10. hxg4 hxg4 11. Ng5 Nf4 12. Qxg4 Qh6 13. Nh3 Nxh3+ 14. Qxh3 Qxh3 15. gxh3 Rxh3 16. Kg2?

Here, with a material edge and the game swerving rapidly into an endgame, I thought that white would have severe winning chances. But, my variation probably has some faults in it due to the fact that I am not exactly above par (or around it, for that matter). Any help <Ongyj> <or anyone else for that matter> in pointing out my error(s) would be very much appreciated! Thanks.

Apr-26-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mating Net: <mitsuo> I'm a big fan of the Ruy Exchange. After 9.Nc4, I wouldn't count on Black playing 9...Ng6. If he does, Black wrecks White's Kingside pawn structure by exchanging on f3, making it harder for White to take advantage of his k side majority.

If Black does play 9...Ng4, in your proposed line 12.Qxg4 is answered by 12...Qxg5! with a mighty strong attack for Black since he recovers his piece and has the open h file and moves like ...Bc5 to pile on the pressure. BTW, 13.Qxg5? gets 13...Ne2#

Apr-27-06  mitsuo: Thanks <Mating Net>. Live and learn, I guess...
Apr-27-06  blingice: Why does the b-pawn take the bishop so much more often than the d-pawn?

Opening Explorer

Apr-27-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mating Net: <blingice> I think you meant to say why does the d pawn take the Bishop so much more than the b pawn. Capturing with the b pawn is inferior because, were Black to do so, he would have an isolated a pawn and his light squared Bishop would be blocked by his own pawns requiring a subsequent pawn move before he could be developed. Also, the half open d file is far more valuable than the half open b file. On top of that, Black, for all intents and purposes, loses the option to castle long due to the awful pawn structure if he captures with the b pawn.
Apr-27-06  mitsuo: Out of curiosity, <Mating Net> (sorry about all the comments about the exchange variations, this is my last question, promised) the open g-file wouldn't help white in the slightest (after all the exchanging on f3)?

btw thanks again.

Apr-27-06  who: Do you mean the b-file after exchanges on c6?
Apr-27-06  mitsuo: Nope, I was thinking that if black decides to exchange pieces on f3 (after 5...Bg4 6. h3 h5 7. d3 Qf6 8. Nd2 Ne7 9. Nc4), that the open g-file would come in handy for white, funneling his rooks over to the kingside. I've been wrong before though (see comment above ;-) ), and the g-file may not be worth whites pawn majority becoming crippled, but if so, I just want to understand why.
Apr-28-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mating Net: <mitsuo> I'm glad to help, or at least try to. Feel free to ask more questions.

By doubling White's pawns, Black takes away White's main trump card in the Ruy Exchange, namely the ability to create a passed pawn on the k side. A half open file is compensation for the side with the doubled pawn, but I don't think the half open g file would represent the same kind of long term strategic advantage as the mobile pawn majority. That is why Black is willing to part with his main trump card, the Bishop pair.

Apr-28-06  mitsuo: Thanks again <Mating Net>. I didn't realize how badly white's position is held in static after the exchanges on f3. Thanks for the pointers.
Aug-08-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  jamesmaskell: Opening of the Day and one I am a fan of. Played it last week and got a good queenside attack going. Unfortunately missed a kingside attack and was swiftly mated. It was a good position against someone rated a lot higher than me (BCF difference about 100pts). The doubled pawns can be used as a battering ram to restrict White's movement. Im not entirely sure why its not used more.
Oct-23-07  Dan Quigley: Is there any way of updating who is listed among an opening's practitioners? It strikes me that the omission of Robert Fisher from this list is a glaring oversight. Thanks.
Oct-23-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: Out of 108 Ruy Lopez games in this database, RJF played the Exchange 11 times Repertoire Explorer: Robert James Fischer (white) thus he is tied for third here. Timman probably "won" on tiebreaks having more db games overall, and besides they only list the top three for reference.
Oct-23-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: According to the database, in "official" games Lasker scored +10-1=2 (.846), including wins over Steinitz, Tarrasch, Janowski and Capablanca. Like Botvinnik with the Exchange Slav, an amazing record with a seemingly unpromising opening.

Fischer was almost as good: +6-0=3 (.833) in official games.

Aug-19-08  DarkCowboy: This was a fantastic match. Reminds me of Picard vs Borg 1985. Black obviously realized too late that 24Nb2 followed by 25Ka3 was the wrong way to go. (24Kc4 seems better). He figured that at that point his knight was OK, with two attackers and two defenders. But, after 26 Rxb2, below, hes done for.
Oct-02-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  refutor: <<who>: I remember reading somewhere that if all pieces are exchanged (without the pawns moving) the exchange variation is a win for white. I don't see how that is unless white exchanges his d-pawn for black's e-pawn. Is that what's meant?...looks like a draw to me>

an example from Iskov's "Spanish Exchange" (1978),attributed to Euwe is that after


click for larger view

1.Ke2 Ke7 2.Ke3 Ke6 3.f4 c5 4.c4! c6 5.a4 b5 6.b3 f6 7.a5 b4 8.g4 g5 9.e5! White can sacrifice a pawn because the outside passed pawn is the deciding factor 9...gxf4+ 10.Kxf4 fxe5+ 11.Ke4 h6 12.h4 Kf6 13.g5+! hxg5 14.hxg5+ Kxg5 15.Kxe5 Kg4 16.Kd6 Kf4 17.Kxc6 Ke4 18.Kxc5 Kd3 19.Kxb4 Kd4 20.Ka4 Kc5 21.Ka3 Kd4 22.Kb4 Ke4 23.Kc5 and White wins 1-0

the idea is that White (with his kingside pawn majority) can create a passed pawn on the kingside, while Black's queenside pawn majority, because of the doubled pawn, cannot create a pawn majority.

Nov-08-08  Fanacas: Whitehat1963: I tend to agree with refutor. The exchange variation has merely gone out of fashion, but only because the truly elite players (2600 and above) would rather not exchange a bishop for a knight. That doesn't mean that it can't work for you and me. Sure, Lasker, Alekhine, Fischer, etc. trotted it out now and then, but none of them played it regularly

Lasker did play it regulary more then other Ruy lopez farations. (keep in mind that the ruy lopez has many farations and the exchange is just one of them.)

Apr-21-09  Fanacas: Anyway i love this opening with the 5.d2-d4 varation i saw from some lasker games then the best move for balck is to trade queens and then i love to get into a endgame where my pawn majority on the king site makes a big diffrence :)

Here is a game from me from the ruy lopez exchange where someone doesnt take my queen i would love some reactions.

1.e2-e4 e7-e5 2.Kg1-f3 Kb8-c6 3. Bf1-b5 a7-a6 4.Bb5xc6 d7xc6 5.d2-d4 e5xd4 6.Qd1xd4+ Bc8-g4 7.Qd4-e5+ Qd8-e7 8.Qe5-f4 Kg8-f6 9.Kb1-c3 0-0-0 10.0-0 Qe7-e6 11.Kf3-g5 Qe6-d7 12.e4-e5 Pf6-h5 13.Qf4xf7 Bf8-c5 14.e5-e6 Qd7-e8 15. h2-h3 Kh5-g3 16.Bc1-f4 Qe8xf7 17.Kg5xf7 Bg4xe6 18.Kf7xd8 Kg3xf1 19Kd8xe6. 1-0

Apr-21-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: I vividly recall when Fischer, in 1966, trotted out the old Barendregt Variation (5. 0-0). It was all the rage for a year or two - and the Russian chess journals were all over it trying to refute the line! He beat both Gligoric and Portisch with it at Havana.

I don't think the Exchange has enough gas for the elite players of today - and none of them really has Lasker's technique in any event, IMHO.

There are quite a few books on it. The most recent I think is Kindermann's the Spanish Exchange Variation

Apr-22-09  SimonWebbsTiger: parisattack

I guess it all depends on the player and the tournament situation. I remember Timman beating Adams a number of years ago in the 5.o-o f6 6.d4 ed 7.N:d4 c5 8.Nb3 Q:d1 9. R:d1 line. Timman wasn't in the mood to meet a Marshall Gambit, perhaps? (I was actually suprised when Adams took it up because he had played the Caro-Kann since his childhood.)

My fellow countryman Peter Heine Nielsen was impressed enough by that game to essay the Exchange himself againt Timoshchenko shortly after that at the Yerevan OL, but that ended in a quick draw.

Playwise, Black has always had compensation for the pawn structure and going laterally, Black's play reminds alot of the Berlin Defence (where Black doesn't even have the two bishops!).

Apr-22-09  zluria: Here's a good game from corus 2009 where White uses his Kingside pawn majority in classic fashion, and Black goes down almost without a fight, despite being a top GM: Vallejo-Pons vs Sasikiran, 2009
Jun-27-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: Fischer clearly saw *something* in the Barendreght variation (5.0-0) when he revived it against Gligo and Portisch (he also won a third game against a lessor light) as he wasn't one to give up the 2 Bs readily. One point which came out quickly was that 5. ... Bg4 which was thought to be strong for black as in the similar Steinitz Deferred - wasn't.
Jun-28-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Why do different searches produce different results? I found 12 Fischer games with the Exchange Ruy, unlike <tpstar's> 11, in which he scored +9, -0, =3, impressive considering that his opponents included Gligoric, Smyslov, Portisch and Spassky.
Jun-28-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: <An Englishman: Good Evening: Why do different searches produce different results? >

I count 14 - but not all Barendreghts.

Dec-02-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: These (the Lopez Exchange, Exchange Deferred and Double-Deferred) are fascinating structures.

I like the White side but it takes an extremely delicate touch and deep knowledge to get anything from them.

Any masters+ out there who play them as White and can offer some insights?

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