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Ruy Lopez, Closed (C84)
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 O-O Be7

Number of games in database: 2272
Years covered: 1859 to 2017
Overall record:
   White wins 38.2%
   Black wins 24.7%
   Draws 37.1%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Viktor Kupreichik  63 games
Yuri Balashov  23 games
Michael Adams  23 games
Mark Hebden  45 games
Michael Adams  45 games
Pavel Blatny  36 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Kasparov vs Leko, 2001
Carlsen vs Aronian, 2008
Karpov vs Geller, 1983
Tal vs Spassky, 1965
Ljubojevic vs Karpov, 1975
Ivanchuk vs Aronian, 2008
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 page 1 of 91; games 1-25 of 2,272  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. J G Campbell vs R Wormald 1-057 1859 London m2C84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
2. Loewenthal vs Morphy ½-½47 1859 Simul, 5bC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
3. A de Lelie / J Pinedo vs Anderssen  0-148 1861 UnknownC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
4. Blackburne vs S Wellington 1-027 1862 ManchesterC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
5. Shumov vs Kolisch  0-131 1862 St Petersburg mC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
6. S Urusov vs Kolisch 0-142 1862 2C84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
7. Cole vs Mackenzie  0-149 1862 LondonC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
8. G Neumann vs Paulsen  ½-½21 1864 Berlin m3C84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
9. Bird vs J Minchin 0-128 1866 LondonC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
10. G MacDonnell vs J Minchin  1-029 1866 LondonC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
11. S Urusov vs Kolisch  1-032 1866 MatchC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
12. Bird vs J Minchin 0-138 1866 LondonC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
13. V Knorre vs Zukertort 1-052 1866 BreslauC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
14. Owen vs De Vere  0-135 1866 Counties Chess AssociationC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
15. Bird vs Steinitz 1-022 1866 London mC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
16. S Rosenthal vs J Wisker  ½-½48 1870 London m1C84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
17. G MacDonnell vs J Wisker  1-044 1873 Bristol mC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
18. D M Martinez vs J Mason 1-046 1874 Philadelphia m2C84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
19. Chigorin vs H Von Schuetz  1-025 1881 BerlinC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
20. H Charlick vs W Tullidge 1-065 1888 Australian ChampionshipC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
21. Burille vs J W Baird ½-½35 1889 USA-06.Congress New YorkC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
22. Showalter vs M Judd 0-198 1889 USA-06.Congress New York (20-2)C84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
23. Lipschutz vs J W Baird 1-036 1889 USA-06.Congress New YorkC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
24. Gossip vs Von Bardeleben  ½-½40 1889 BreslauC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
25. G Marco vs Englisch  0-140 1890 Kolisch MemorialC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
 page 1 of 91; games 1-25 of 2,272  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-07-03  waddayaplay: What are the tactics in the closed Ruy Lopez?
Dec-07-03  Bears092: few and far between
Dec-07-03  Dick Brain: Is this ECO code primarily referring to games where white plays moves other than 6.0-0? I believe that most people who play 6. Nc3 are looking to keep the game simplified and avoid opening preparation, perhaps waiting to win on an endgame blunder.
Dec-07-03  BiLL RobeRTiE: yeah this is for lines where white doesnt play 6. Re1, assuming that's what you mean.
Dec-08-03  Dick Brain: That explains why the chart shows only about a 0% incidence in recent decades. If games with 6. Re1 were included it seems that something would show.
Dec-08-03  waddayaplay: Ok - I asked on C84 since that is the first ECO-code of the closed Ruy Lopez. I'll take the question to C92.
Dec-28-05  square dance: im an enthusiastic 1.e4 player, but i really dont understand the closed ruy like i should. i know many of the moves, but a couple of moves out of book and im planless. i was wondering if someone could illustrate the key ideas, key squares, common tactical idea, etc. i realize that asking for advice on any opening in general can be tricky since there are several variations, but any help would be great. thanks in advance.
Dec-28-05  SnoopDogg: <square dance> Proficiency in Closed Ruy Lopez positions really shows and demonstrates ones understanding of chess. I remember talking to Finkel about this and we both think that everyone should at least experiment with the Ruy since it involves a great deal of understanding in chess to excell in.

Anyway, Closed Ruy Lopez positions usually involve white taking the center of course and black throwing either pawns at it (Chigorin) or pieces at it (Beyer). Usually there are 3 main variations played against it: the Chigorin, Beyer and Zaitsev.

The Chigorin involves tension everywhere with the pawns striking the center. Blacks typical plan if he keeps the center closed is usually to put a knight on c5 (maybe even to d3 if things work out right), figure out how to develop the c8 bishop, advance pawns on the queenside and maybe get an open b-file for his rooks to get in the game.

click for larger view

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White's plan on the other hand is to seek play on the kingside since the center is closed and the queenside is black's. White usually tries to advance kingside pawns by playing N1h2 f4 and maybe interesting f5!?. However, I don't recommend f5 because it usually blocks white's play on the kingside when you want to play on that side not block it. Instead, some key squares are f5 for the knights. If you can control that square and open the f-file, white could have very good attacking chances. Also be careful to see if black makes any unecessary weaknesses or moves a key defender away from the kingside.

Such motifs for tactics can be Nxg7! and Bxh6!

One being this position

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White eventually finished black off with Qe3 and e5! then leading to an unstoppable position

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Yet still defendable.

Lastly some key advice. Don't try and force things. This opening requires great care in maneuvering and only when you are mathematically/tactically correct you should start forcing things that you have calculated to a better position. Also tension in the opening shouldn't be removed unless position really calls for it.

I hope you understood some parts of that :-). It is kinda difficult explaining since you are right there are so many different variations and motifs, patterns that you don't know where to start.

Dec-28-05  square dance: <snoopdogg> thanks! i really appreciate the time and effort you put into answering my questions. your advice is exactly the kind of head start i was looking for.

i actually used to feel comfortable playing the ruy a year or two ago when i was playing weaker competition, but i dropped 2.Nf3 in favor of 2.f4 for quite some time now and since ive improved, and returned to 2.Nf3, i find myself uncomfortable against the ruy, which just wont cut it. i believe every 1.e4 player has to (at least) be able to hold his own against the ruy. thanks again.

Dec-28-05  SnoopDogg: <square dance> No problem! If you really want to improve you understanding of the Closed Ruy Lopez you should study Michael Adams games. I promise you if you study those games intensively then the plans/tactical motifs/patterns will be like your native tongue to you. Everything will seem to flow naturally especially in blitz since your almost always in familiar territory.
Dec-29-05  SnoopDogg: Well I've decided to give an annotation to Mickey's games to give some idea of how his games show alot of understanding of the Closed Ruy. (two posts long)

click for larger view

Here this position arose from Adams-Psakhis Palma de Mallaroca 1989. Here we're out of the opening and now we see the plans for black and white. Black's plan would be to expand on the kingside with f5 and more importantly get rid or activate that bad bishop on e7. The reason why black should play f5 is because his pieces support it with the rook and g pawn, plus it gains much needed space there. Black already has good squares for the knights ready to jump in to c5 and c4, however, he must wait to stop white's play and get his other pieces involved into the game.

White's plan is to stop black's counterplay right now. Why? Because white already has a static advantage in space with the d5 pawn. When you have an advantage that isn't going away like space, you must try to stop your opponents plan. Also since white has completed development he must not only stop play but find on which side of the board to get play. So the logical move here is 19. g4! which expands on the kingside, but most importantly stops f5 in its tracks.

Here black played 19. Bg5! getting the bad bishop some type of activity and hoping to trade it off.

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Adams sees that there is no need to rush things so he continues with 20. Rad1 getting his last undeveloped piece to the action. Here I think Psakhis plays to passively with 20. Qd8? 20. e5! with play on the dark squares and an excellent post for the knight with the rook coming into play with tempo would be best. In addition it opens lines to the king which is already somewhat weakened due to the g4 advance and pawn on h3.

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Adams then plays 21. Kg2 (improving kings position for safety) ...21. Qf6 22. Rh1 Adams now sees that kingside expansion for himself would be best for his position. Qxf3+ 23.Kxf3 Bf4 24.h4 Kg7 Here Adams wants to improve the position of his knight and support a kingside advance to prevent any black counterplay on that side.

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So Adams plays 25. Be1! because trading white's bishop for black's misplaced bishop isn't good for white.

Dec-29-05  SnoopDogg: The next series of moves show white pursuing kingside and black rerouting the bishop to the fianchetto and trying to bring pressure on a newly created weakness (backward c-pawn) Kg8 26.Ng2 Bh6 27.Ke2 Nc4 28.b3 Ncb6 29.g5 Bg7 30.h5 e4 31.Ne3 Rac8 32.Bxe4 Rfe8
33.Rh4 Re5

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Here white got into a little trouble while grabbing the extra pawn. Black has activated his pieces masterfully and is looking to penetrate the position. Adams solves the problem of the g-pawn with h6 (more territory) then 35. Bg2 and if Rxg5?! then f4 gets the exchange.

Psahkis realizes he can undermine white's pawns on g5 and h6 since advanced pawns in the endgame are usually weak. So the next few moves show just that.

Rce8 36.Rg4 f6
37.Kf1 fxg5

click for larger view

Now we reach a position with some problems for white. White's rook on g4 isn't doing anything and needs some activity, also white's knight would like to go to greener pasteurs. So how does Adams do it? 38. a4! opening a file for the rook and after bxa4 39.bxa4 Nf6 40.Rb4 the knight can come into c4.

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Here Psahkis blundered in time pressure with 40. Nbd7? and after 41. Nc4 it traps the rook and black resigned after a few more moves.

Dec-29-05  blitzjamendoza: white can play 6.Bxc6 here to sidestep the other lines like marshall attack, chigorin defense,symslov, breyer,zaitsev variations after 6...dc 7.d3 Nd7 8.Nbd2 0-0 9.Nc4 f6 10.Nh4 play on the k-side
Dec-29-05  square dance: <snoopdogg> once again, thanks! and again, the time and effort you put in to these posts is greatly appreciated. i look forward to going over your notes.
May-14-06  netlava: Post 12
Aug-20-06  WTHarvey: Here are some traps n zaps from C84 miniatures:
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: It seems that 6.d3 is being played more and more in this position rather than the mainline 6.♖e1. White figures that instead of creating a c3/d4 pawn centre, a small centre with d3/e4 in a symmetrical position gives a small edge, due the following factors: White bishop on a4 is more actve than the Black bishop on e7; after Nd2 the Knight hasmore flexibility than the Black Knight on c6; and the extra tempo is worth something.
May-22-09  blacksburg: <Graham> such things have been played for a long time.

Steinitz vs Chigorin, 1892

anything is better than going into the Marshall Attack.

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