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Ruy Lopez (C78)
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 O-O

Number of games in database: 4711
Years covered: 1859 to 2017
Overall record:
   White wins 36.9%
   Black wins 25.2%
   Draws 37.9%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Viswanathan Anand  49 games
Peter Leko  41 games
Michael Adams  39 games
Alexey Shirov  93 games
Antoaneta Stefanova  59 games
Alexander Onischuk  58 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Svidler vs Adams, 2000
Carlsen vs Beliavsky, 2006
Anand vs Ivanchuk, 1996
Judit Polgar vs Bacrot, 1999
Kamsky vs Svidler, 2011
Minic vs A Planinc, 1975
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 page 1 of 189; games 1-25 of 4,711  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Loewenthal vs Morphy 1-0381859LondonC78 Ruy Lopez
2. P Journoud vs de Riviere  1-0481859Paris m2C78 Ruy Lopez
3. P Journoud vs de Riviere 0-1661859Paris m2C78 Ruy Lopez
4. Morphy vs H G Cattley 1-0311859Blindfold simul, 8bC78 Ruy Lopez
5. George Maude vs Kolisch  0-1241860London mC78 Ruy Lopez
6. George Maude vs Kolisch 0-1621860London mC78 Ruy Lopez
7. Kolisch vs Paulsen  ½-½241861BristolC78 Ruy Lopez
8. Kolisch vs Anderssen 1-0481861Anderssen - KolischC78 Ruy Lopez
9. NN vs V Grimm 0-1131864IstanbulC78 Ruy Lopez
10. G Neumann vs Paulsen 0-1561864Berlin m3C78 Ruy Lopez
11. G Neumann vs Paulsen  ½-½351864Berlin m3C78 Ruy Lopez
12. Mackenzie vs G Reichhelm  ½-½531866New York mC78 Ruy Lopez
13. Mackenzie vs G Reichhelm  1-0291867MatchC78 Ruy Lopez
14. De Vere vs Kolisch 0-1301867ParisC78 Ruy Lopez
15. S Rosenthal vs J Wisker  1-0471870London m1C78 Ruy Lopez
16. Adolf Stern vs S Mieses 0-1221871Bad EmsC78 Ruy Lopez
17. M Judd vs A Johnston 1-07418712nd American Chess CongressC78 Ruy Lopez
18. De Vere vs J Wisker  0-1441872BCA-04.Challenge CupC78 Ruy Lopez
19. G MacDonnell vs J Wisker  0-1811874London mC78 Ruy Lopez
20. J A Congdon vs F Perrin 1-04718743rd American Chess CongressC78 Ruy Lopez
21. Mackenzie vs M Judd ½-½4418743rd American Chess CongressC78 Ruy Lopez
22. M Judd vs F Bock ½-½6218743rd American Chess CongressC78 Ruy Lopez
23. L D Barbour vs A Roberts  0-14018764th American Chess CongressC78 Ruy Lopez
24. E Schallopp vs W Paulsen  1-0361877LeipzigC78 Ruy Lopez
25. Wemmers vs W Paulsen  1-0511878WSB-12.KongressC78 Ruy Lopez
 page 1 of 189; games 1-25 of 4,711  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Oct-24-06  Stevens: has anybody ever seen this move? i have looked in all the databases i have access to and can find no games that relate to it. it seems odd, as there is seemingly no refutation. is it a novelty? i have tried it in a few games with good results.

Opening Explorer

in this position black plays 8...Nxe4, with 9.Qe2 Bxf2+ 10.Rxf2 Nxf2 to follow.

click for larger view

Black has a rook and pawn for 2 minor pieces. I think whites best continuation is 11.Qxf2. If the knight isn't captured immediately then the move ...Nh3+ is appealing, doubling the h pawns, since the knight is lost anyway. If white tries 11.Nxe5 as in the game below, he can soon run into trouble. Can anybody add any input? At worst it has surprise value, a tactical position with even chances with uneven material.


1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O b5 6. Bb3 Bc5 7. a4 Rb8 8. c3 Nxe4 9. Qe2 Bxf2+ 10. Rxf2 Nxf2 11. Nxe5 O-O 12. Kxf2 Qh4+ 13. Kg1 Nxe5 14. Qxe5 Bb7 15. d4 Rbe8 16. Qg3 Qxg3 17. hxg3 Re1+ 18. Kh2 Rxc1 19. axb5

Oct-24-06  e4Newman: now that's a wide open game - very tactical - not sure which side i'd rather play

i imagine initiative would be very important

can't recommend any improvements right away, this would require a lot of thought...many candidate moves

crafty thinks white is much better off, must be the material imbalance

Oct-24-06  Stevens: <e4newman> thanks for the response

<i imagine initiative would be very important > yes, i think you are right. with preperation and some familiarity with the position though, i think black would have good attacking chances. he can mobilise quite quickly and the white queenside is undeveloped.

<crafty thinks white is much better off, must be the material imbalance> i've done a bit of work with fritz on this line, and it sees the position as unclear. It actually likes 8...Nxe4 9.Qe2 d5, but this isn't what i wanted out of the 8th move. I liked the idea of unbalancing with the rook and pawn vs knight and bishop.

If you have any time to look at this i'd be most grateful for any furthur analysis.

Oct-24-06  who: <ruy> what if 16.d5 (Fritz)?
Oct-24-06  e4Newman: shall i start with 11.Qxf2
Oct-25-06  Stevens: <e4Newman: shall i start with 11.Qxf2> yes, i think 11.Qxf2 is by far the best. Kxf2 exposes the king a bit too much, and the results of 11.Nxe5 can be disastrous for white (see earlier posts)
Oct-25-06  Stevens: sorry, in an earlier post i said that black had a rook and pawn for bishop and knight. In fact of course he has rook and 2 pawns for the 2 minor pieces.
Oct-25-06  Stevens: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O b5 6. Bb3 Bc5 7. a4 Rb8 8. c3 Nxe4 9. Qe2 Bxf2+ 10. Rxf2 Nxf2 11. Qxf2

click for larger view

Now 11...0-0 for black?

11...d6 and ...e4 seem to get met by 12.Bxf7+!
11...d5 faces 12.Qc5 Qd6 13.Qxd6 cxd6 14.Bxd5
the only possible is maybe 11...Qf6 but this looks dodgy to me too. 11...0-0 looks ok for black though doesn't it?

click for larger view

Oct-25-06  e4Newman: i began a pgn for this position because i'd like to try it sometime

here are my thoughts so far-i would play 11...O-O

you're saying you played 8...Nxe4 as black with good results? still not sure if i'd want white or black here

1.e4 e5
2.Nf3 Nc6
3.Bb5 a6
4.Ba4 Nf6
5.O-O b5
6.Bb3 Bc5
7.a4 Rb8
8.c3 Nxe4
9.Qe2 (9.axb5, 9.d4) Bxf2+
10.Rxf2 Nxf2
11.Qxf2 (11...d6 12.Nd4 and the N can't be captured due to 13.Qxf7#. Also, 12...Qd7 is forced and still results in mayhem. Yes, 12.Bxf7+ is bad for black, even after 11...e4, but that e-file is most critical and there are no other good candidates so 11...O-O is best. Both sides are poorly developed. 11...d5 creates too many weaknesses, especially the QN-some combination of axb5 and Qc5 is decisive. 11...Qf6, hmmm, hoping to simplify with an exchange of queens?) *

Oct-25-06  Stevens: <11...Qf6, hmmm, hoping to simplify with an exchange of queens?) > in a word, yes!

<i began a pgn for this position because i'd like to try it sometime> great, i'd love to know any discoveries you make.

it's a tricky one thats for sure. but i still think there is scope for black to play here. After 11...0-0 whites 12.d4 seems good. I'm at work at the moment so i'm doing this a. on a 2D board and b.without an engine, so on both counts this is not definative! After 12.d4 white looks pretty good. The dark bishop is activated and Bg5 is strong. The best i have found so far is 12...bxa4 which seems the only way to deflect the powerful light squared bishop. After 13.Bg5 Qe8 14.Bxa4 exd4 15.cxd4 black looks a little safer than before. Does black also have 14...f6?

I need to get my board out to look at this properly, but like i said, maybe black has enough to make it playable, even as an experiment. The familiarity with the weaknesses of both sides could give the player an edge in a very unclear and unfamiliar position.

Oct-25-06  e4Newman: move 12: not sure where to go as white, probably just axb5, but let's look at 12.d4

only a slow version of crafty here, all it can do is point out obvious blunders

my thought after 12...bxa4 13.Bg5 Qe8 14.Bxa4 is:

14...f6 15.Be3 then either exd4 or e4

15...Rxb2 or Na5 have tricky combinations too

Oct-25-06  e4Newman: the wide open tactics remind me a little of this Lopez I drew against a much stronger opponent (correspondence, no computers allowed)

[Event "Swiss-498.2.04"]
[Site "IECC"]
[Date "2005.10.23"]
[White "Newman, Ben"]
[Black "??"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "1088"]
[WhiteCountry "CAN"]
[BlackElo "1833"]
[BlackCountry "USA"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 b5 5.Bb3 Nf6 6.O-O Nxe4 7.d4 exd4 8.Re1 d5 9.Nc3 Be6 10.Nxe4 dxe4 11.Rxe4 Be7 12.Bxe6 fxe6 13.Nxd4 Qd5 14.Qg4 Nxd4 15.Rxd4 Qe5 16.Be3 Bd6 17.g3 O-O 18.c3 Qf5 19.Qxf5 exf5 20.Re1 Rae8 21.Rdd1 Re4 22.Bd4 Rxe1+ 23.Rxe1 Kf7 24.f4 Rd8 25.Kf2 c5 26.Be3 Be7 27.Ke2 a5 28.Rc1 a4 29.c4 Rb8 30.cxb5 Rxb5 31.Rc2 Bf6 32.Kd3 Rb7 33.Bxc5 Bxb2 34.Kc4 Bf6 35.Rd2 h6 36.Bb4 g5 37.Rg2 gxf4 38.gxf4 Rb8 39.Re2 h5 40.h3 Rg8 1/2-1/2

Oct-26-06  Stevens: cool. yes it's kind of a hybrid of the regular open ruy with 6...Nxe4 and the fashionable line that includes 6...Bc5. i like your game.

I still haven't had a chance to run most of this through fritz to get it's input, but i think so far it looks ok. i think d4 is quite active for white, and i like the idea of ...bxa4 because it takes the pressure off of f7 for a while. I'll post some more thoughts when i get a couple of hours to set up my board and do it properly!

Oct-26-06  Stevens: hmm, it's possible that white could play 12.axb5 before d4 thus keeping the bishop aimed at f7 and avoiding blacks bxa4. that might be better. i think what this shows though is that there a lot of reasonable looking moves here, but if someone goes wrong they can get in trouble very quickly. probably something you can only use once on someone if they like preperation!

yes, i was looking at some potential rook sacrifices too. if the black queen ends up on e8 as it does in some variations, black can prey on the weak e1 square and whites undeveloped q-side. if the queen and knight can be lured from defending e1 then a mate is possible for the unwary. there are lots of tactics available.

Premium Chessgames Member
  refutor: a line you guys would probably like would be the dilworth variation

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Bc2 O-O 11.Nbd2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 as in Ljubojevic vs Yusupov, 1987 and Short vs Yusupov, 1989 amongst others

Oct-26-06  Stevens: thanks <refutor> - i'll have a look through those games as soon as i get the chance.
Oct-26-06  Stevens: <refutor> are you familiar with this dilworth variation? do you have any thoughts on my line? i'd really like to get valuable insights from good players here.

the only "downside" to the dilworth variation for me is that white can deviate with 9.Nbd2 which avoids the exchanges on f2. this key aspect of unbalancing the material was the reason i liked the line given earlier. if white plays 9.c3 however, as given in your games linked below, black can continue with a similar theme with ...Bc5 and the knight sac on f2. How did you find those games?!

Opening Explorer

Premium Chessgames Member
  refutor: <how did you find thoe games?>

a combination of opening explorer and knowing what to look for...i've been playing the open lopez for years.

after 9. Nbd2 Bc5 what can White do? play 10.Nxe4 a line along the lines of 10. ...dxe4 11.Bxe6 Qxd1 12.Rxd1 fxe6 13.Ng5 looks even on material but complicated to play

Jan-04-07  duffer: Can anyone direct me to information about the Archangel variation? (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 b5 6.Bb3 Bb7) It seems interesting for Black, but I haven't found any books, articles, etc.
Jan-04-07  e4Newman: Emms' "Easy Guide to the Ruy Lopez" has a chapter devoted to it and the Moller. That book handled it well. It's a few years old now, but I don't think the theory on those lines has changed much. They were quite popular for GMs a few years ago. They're fun lines with a few traps.
Mar-17-07  SirBruce: I play the Archangelsk and Möller frequently in my Chessmaster games, and find them quite fun.

However, I ran into a new move today with a test GM personality that I'd never encountered before and isn't in the chessgames database. I was black; the computer is white:

[Event "Chessmaster 9000 Rated Game"]
[Site "San Jose, CA USA"]
[Date "2007.3.17"]
[Round "6, Game 6"]
[White "Nezhmetdinov"]
[Black "Bruce Woodcock"]
[TimeControl "3600"]
[Result "0-1"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O b5 6.Bb3 Bb7 7.Re1 Bc5 8.c3 O-O 9.d4 Bb6 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.dxe5 Nxe4 12.Be3 Bxe3 13.Rxe3 Qg5 14.Bd5 Bxd5 15.Qxd5 Nf6 16.Qd1 Nh5 17.Nd2 Nf4 18.Qf3 c6 19.Qg3 Qxg3 20.hxg3 Nd5 21.Re2 Rae8 22.Rae1 f6 23.e6 dxe6 24.Rxe6 Kf7 25.Rxe8 Rxe8 26.Rxe8 Kxe8 27.c4 Nb4 28.a3 Nd3 29.b3 Ne1 30.Ne4 bxc4 31.Nd6+ Kd7 32.Nxc4 Nc2 33.f3 Nd4 34.Nd2 Kd6 35.g4 Nc2 36.Nc4+ Kc5 37.Kf2 Kd4 38.Nd6 c5 39.Nf5+ Kc3 40.Nxg7 Kxb3 41.f4 c4 42.g5 fxg5 43.f5 c3 44.Ne6 Kxa3 45.f6 Nb4 46.f7 c2 47.f8=Q c1=Q 48.Qf6 Qb2+ 49.Qxb2+ Kxb2 50.Nc5 a5 51.Kf3 Kc3 52.Kg4 Nd3 53.Na4+ Kb3 54.Nb6 Ne5+ 55.Kxg5 Nc4 56.Nd7 Kb4 57.Nf6 a4 58.Nd5+ Kb3 59.Nf4 a3 60.Nd3 Kc3 61.Nc1 Ne5 62.Kf6 Nd3 63.Na2+ Kb3 64.Kf5 Kxa2 65.Ke4 Nb4 66.Kf5 Kb2 67.Kf6 h5 68.Kg5 a2 69.g3 a1=Q 70.g4 hxg4 71.Kxg4 Qf1 72.Kg5 Nd3 73.Kg6 Ne5+ 74.Kg5 Qf3 75.Kh6 Qf4+ 76.Kg7 Qf7+ 77.Kh8 Ng6# 0-1

The novelty occured after the following position:

click for larger view

Typically white plays 10.Bg5 here, although the database shows many possible alternatives: Be3, dxe5, a4, and a3. But the computer uncorked a rather unexpected 10.Nxe5!? A flurry of captures later and the position simplified:

click for larger view

I didn't like this position as black at all -- instead of my usual Spansih Game where I slowly gain space until I force my opponent into a bad exchange, I'm instead left with a very equal, very open position. However, white eventually doubled pawns on the g-file and I was able to win from the following position a few moves later:

click for larger view

Still, it wasn't easy, dancing the knight around, and I could very easily have wound up in a KNvK endgame. So my question is: why hasn't anyone played 10.Nxe5 before?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Colonel Mortimer: Yes it seems that 10.Nxe5 is the sternest test for Black in the Ruy Lopez when White chooses the main line and when Black opts for the devastating 'archangel'. How annoying that White can now 'almost' fight for a draw in this line - which of course is unavoidable if White foolishly accepts the main line Ruy. How splendid <Bruce> that they laughed in your face when you said the "Spanish Torture" was just a myth - how wrong they were! But I commend the objectivity you bring into your research for your new book "White plays the Ruy and Black wins" by way of always unearthing new lines for White that puts him within a sniff of a draw. Keep up the scholarly research!
Mar-17-07  SirBruce: Sarcasm aside, I think white only lost because of imprecise play. Forcing the exchange of queens was unnecesary and caused the doubled g pawns which ultimately led to the loss. The endgame wasn't played very well, either.

Even if Nxe5 is somehow a forced win for black (hah!), my question is simply why it hasn't been played much if at all, as it seems to give white plenty of chances.

Apr-15-10  rapidcitychess: What is the Archangel and Moeller? Are you referring to the Moeller in the Giuco Piano?
Aug-04-16  rainingpieces: Computer played a weird move against me: 5...Bd6. Obviously it just makes Black's game harder to play, but there does not seem to be any direct refutation to this move. Computer actually just gives White a slight edge.
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