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Ruy Lopez (C88)
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 O-O Be7 6 Re1 b5
7 Bb3

Number of games in database: 1052
Years covered: 1866 to 2017
Overall record:
   White wins 35.1%
   Black wins 22.7%
   Draws 42.2%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Viswanathan Anand  30 games
Milan Matulovic  26 games
Peter Svidler  25 games
Levon Aronian  26 games
Alexander Grischuk  17 games
Viswanathan Anand  15 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Capablanca vs Dus Chotimirsky, 1913
D King vs D Howell, 2003
Anand vs Grischuk, 2007
Spielmann vs Rubinstein, 1909
Topalov vs Anand, 2006
I Cheparinov vs Navara, 2007
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 page 1 of 43; games 1-25 of 1,052  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. E Thorold vs Owen  0-1491866Counties Chess AssociationC88 Ruy Lopez
2. De Vere vs J Wisker  1-0571868BCA-02.Challenge CupC88 Ruy Lopez
3. L C Karpinski vs Pillsbury  0-1391901BuffaloC88 Ruy Lopez
4. Pillsbury vs H Suechting ½-½139190213th DSB Kongress (Hanover)C88 Ruy Lopez
5. J W te Kolste vs Duras 0-1611903DCA Congress 31stC88 Ruy Lopez
6. Loman vs Duras 0-1391903DCA Congress 31stC88 Ruy Lopez
7. Leonhardt vs A Speijer  ½-½711903DCA Congress 31stC88 Ruy Lopez
8. M Lange vs J W te Kolste  1-0391903DCA Congress 31stC88 Ruy Lopez
9. Pillsbury vs G Marco 1-0381903Monte CarloC88 Ruy Lopez
10. Taubenhaus vs Teichmann  0-1321903Monte CarloC88 Ruy Lopez
11. Tarrasch vs Albin  1-0511903Monte CarloC88 Ruy Lopez
12. Schlechter vs G Marco  1-0291903Monte CarloC88 Ruy Lopez
13. Maroczy vs Reggio  1-0541903Monte CarloC88 Ruy Lopez
14. B Leussen vs J Vijzelaar  ½-½681903DCA Congress 31stC88 Ruy Lopez
15. Showalter vs Janowski ½-½561904Cambridge SpringsC88 Ruy Lopez
16. A W Fox vs A Hodges  0-1591904Cambridge SpringsC88 Ruy Lopez
17. T F Lawrence vs Chigorin ½-½491904Cambridge SpringsC88 Ruy Lopez
18. J F Barry vs Showalter  ½-½351904Cambridge SpringsC88 Ruy Lopez
19. Vidmar vs D Bleijkmans  ½-½251905Barmen Main A, GERC88 Ruy Lopez
20. E Cohn vs Duras 0-1431905Barmen Main A, GERC88 Ruy Lopez
21. Gajdos vs Duras 0-1591905Barmen Main A, GERC88 Ruy Lopez
22. J Esser vs Reggio  0-1661905ScheveningenC88 Ruy Lopez
23. Przepiorka vs Swiderski  1-0331905Barmen Meisterturnier BC88 Ruy Lopez
24. Flamberg vs Chigorin  0-1501906Lodz (Match)C88 Ruy Lopez
25. K Treybal vs M Gargulak  ½-½331907BrnoC88 Ruy Lopez
 page 1 of 43; games 1-25 of 1,052  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-27-06  actual: I played a guy on the internet yesterday. I had the white pieces, and here's how it started: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. h3 d5 here I remembered a book line and played 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Nxe5 Nxe5 11. Rxe5 c6 12. d3 Bd6 13. Re1 Qh4 14. Qf3 the book line claimed that this would defend well for white against sacrifices at h3 but after 14...g5 15. Re4 g4 I played 16. Bd2 and realized that I was screwed after 16...f5 before my opponent played the move. So my first anti-marshall game didn't go so well ;-)
Oct-10-06  you vs yourself: [Event "blitz"]
[Site "playchess"]
[Date "2006.10.10"]
[Round ""]
[White "Kgwm"]
[Black "War games"]
[TimeControl "-"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "oft "]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 O-O 8.h3 Bb7 9.d3 d6 10.a3 Nb8 11.Nc3 Nbd7 12.Bg5 Nc5 13.Ba2 Ne6 14.Bxf6 Bxf6 15.Nd5 g6 16.Qd2 Bg7 17.c3 Kh8 18.d4 Qd7 19.Rad1 Rae8 20.Qc2 Qc8 21.dxe5 dxe5 22.Ne3 Nf4 23.Kh2 f5 24.Nd5 Nh5 25.exf5 gxf5 26.c4 e4 27.Nd4 c6 28.Ne3 f4 29.Ng4 c5 30.Nb3 e3 31.cxb5 f3 32.Qxc5 exf2 33.Rxe8 Qxe8 34.bxa6 Qb8+ *

click for larger view

Mar-09-09  Shyfe: Can somebody please explain why 8... bxa4 is never mentioned or played in the 8 a4 anti-marshall? There is only one game in the database, and my book, Easy guide to the Ruy Lopez by John Emms, does not even mention it. However, it seems very playable and chessmaster gives only a +.37 score for white.
Mar-09-09  blacksburg: ...bxa4 is almost never played in any Ruy Lopez variation, ever. the basic idea is that ...bxa4 destroys black's pawn structure on the queenside and eliminates any chance of black getting a queenside space advantage, which is a common ruy lopez idea.

concretely, ...bxa4 results in black having a weak isolated a-pawn on an open file. so with ...bxa4, black is essentially saying, "hey white, don't worry about developing your a1 rook, just leave it there, i'll give it a free open file, and an isolated pawn as a target, too!"

in general, ...bxa4 in the Ruy Lopez compromises black's queenside and is a strategic error. black is "developing" white's a1 rook for him.

and i wouldn't make a habit of judging sharp opening lines based solely on engines. it's a much better idea to look at what strong players have played. you won't find a single ruy lopez specialist playing ...bxa4.

Mar-09-09  Shyfe: Thanks for the logical explanation. It is quite helpful.

I agree with the condemnation of computer analysis in the opening. I was just pointing out that there aren't any clear refutations / tactical flaws.

Sorry for being so defensive, and thanks again for the explanation.

Mar-09-09  blacksburg: you're welcome.
Mar-09-09  chessman95: Another reason that bxa4 is not played, besides what blacksburg already said, is that it repins the knight on c6. After playing a6 and b5, it would not seem logical to let the bishop right back to a4 where it can once again apply pressure on the e5-pawn. Since the rook is gaurding the e4-pawn, it would be hard for black to not lose a pawn. Also, the queenside in this variation is already weak before an exchange, and exchanging pawns would make it a huge long-term weakness. If white can get to an end-game with even material, which would be easy, he would demolish black's queenside.
Mar-10-09  geniokov: Good morning Guys! Whatīs hot here in Ruy Lopez?...About Marshall?...Best response after Black make 7...O-O?
Mar-10-09  geniokov: Iīm an e4 player.whenever i encounter Ruy Lopez and i smell something that were going to enter Marshall attack after 7...O-O, i usually response 8.d4 immediately to avoid heavy analyzed theory.
Mar-10-09  blacksburg: <Best response after Black make 7...O-O?>

i always play <8.d4>, but Mihail Marin writes in "A Spanish Repertoire for Black" that 7...d6 is more accurate if you are not playing the Marshall Attack, as after 7...O-O, white can cause some problems with <8.a4>. after 7...d6 8.a4, Marin suggests that 8...Bg4 is strong.

Mar-10-09  geniokov: Then after 7...d6 8.h3 probably best for White to avoid pin in Knight at f3.....I have to feel if he wants to enter Marshall or not.
Mar-10-09  geniokov: Actually blacksburg the move 8.d4 if black signals to play Marshall after 7...O-O is almost force.White already chalenge Black with the question "Take it or i gonna take you" something like that.
Mar-10-09  blacksburg: <Actually blacksburg the move 8.d4 if black signals to play Marshall after 7...O-O is almost force.>

it's not really forced. there are a few other "anti-marshall" moves - 8.a3 and 8.h3 come to mind.

here's the first two examples i ran into in a quick search.

Tal vs Spassky, 1965

Tal vs A Planinc, 1975

also, check out how Kasparov avoided the Marshall. as far as i know, Kasparov NEVER allowed the Marshall Attack in a serious game.

Repertoire Explorer: Garry Kasparov (white)

Mar-10-09  blacksburg: oops, not <8.a3>, i meant <8.a4>.
Mar-10-09  geniokov: Hmmm.Thanks blacksburg...seems interesting.
Mar-10-09  geniokov: Same with me my friend,iīm also avoiding Marshall attack thatīs why iīm searching continuations which is least explored but playable middlegame....Thatīs why i played 8.d4 after Blackīs 7..O-O.
Mar-10-09  MaxxLange: Kasparov mainly used 8. a4 to duck the Marshall, I think
Mar-10-09  MaxxLange: huh, the Repetoire Explorer shows all, I should have looked first
Mar-10-09  chessman95: I like the a4 anti-marshall. What about after 8.h3? -- besides transposing to the main line what options does black have?
Mar-10-09  Shyfe: <chessman95> After 8 h3: 8...d6 9 c3 transposes to the main lines of the Spanish 8...Bb7 avoids the main lines of the spanish.

8...Bb7 9 c3 (attempting to go into main lines) allows a strong 9...d5. If 10. exd5 Nxd5 11. Nxe5 Nxe5 12. Rxe5 Nf4 is great for black, so white usually won't try to win a pawn as in A Sokolov vs G Sargissian, 2008.

9 d3 is much more popular, but obviously doesn't transpose to the main lines of the closed spanish. The most common line is seen in V Gashimov vs Bacrot, 2008.

In conclusion, 9 h3 Bb7 10 d3 d6 is the most common line in the 9.h3 anti-marshall. White avoids the Marshall Attack, and black avoids the main lines.

Mar-11-09  chessman95: Thanks for the lines. Are there any other anti-marshall lines that you know of? I'd like to experiment with as many as I could get.

By the way, does anyone know of any good books on the Ruy Lopez with good analysis and especially a large coverage of the anti-marshall systems and the marshall attack. Maybe I wouldn't want to avoid it if I could learn it better.

Mar-11-09  Shyfe: According to the opening explorer:
8 c3 = 1969 games
8 a4 = 808 games
8 h3 = 683 games
8 d4 = 384 games

Other moves such as 8 d3 and 8 a3 are less common.

A quick search on amazon leads to The Marshall Attack by Bagdan Lalic as a book with both Marshall main lines and anti-marshall lines.

Mar-11-09  blacksburg: buyer beware! - "The Marshall Attack" by Lalic has a bad reputation in chess circles. for example - the first section on the "Old Main Line" has no annotations or explanations before the 16th move.
Mar-12-09  chessman95: Does anyone know of any other books or online resources on the marshall and anti-marshall? Even a book on the entire Ruy Lopez would be good if it covered those lines.
Premium Chessgames Member
  refutor: what's wrong with 8.Nc3 as an anti-marshall move? i guess the problem is that an eventual ...Na5 allows Black to get rid of the Spanish bishop

i was thinking about how after 8.h3 d5 an eventual Nc3 is strong, so why not just try to play it right away?

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