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Ruy Lopez, Classical (C64)
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Bc5

Number of games in database: 2151
Years covered: 1839 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 41.2%
   Black wins 25.8%
   Draws 32.9%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Emanuel Lasker  13 games
Aleksandar Matanovic  11 games
Evgeni Vasiukov  9 games
Michele Godena  35 games
Darcy Lima  28 games
Jonny Hector  23 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Lasker vs Steinitz, 1896
Ljubojevic vs J Durao, 1974
Vasiukov vs S Giterman, 1960
Gufeld vs Kavalek, 1962
Mayet vs Anderssen, 1851
R Nezhmetdinov vs Myagmarsuren, 1965
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 page 1 of 87; games 1-25 of 2,151  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. W Hanstein vs von der Lasa ½-½491839?C64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
2. W Hanstein vs von der Lasa  ½-½291839?C64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
3. W Hanstein vs von der Lasa ½-½681841BerlinC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
4. Saint-Amant vs Cochrane 0-1231842Casual gameC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
5. E Rousseau vs C Stanley ½-½601845Rousseau - StanleyC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
6. Horwitz vs Kieseritzky 0-1551846Kieseritsky - HorwitzC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
7. E A Dudley vs B Raphael 1-0251847Blue Lick tournamentC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
8. Bird vs A Simons 1-0501850LondonC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
9. Bird vs C F Smith 1-0211850LondonC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
10. Mohishunder vs Cochrane 1-0211850CalcuttaC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
11. Mayet vs Anderssen 0-1151851BerlinC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
12. Mohishunder vs Cochrane  0-1541851CalcuttaC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
13. Mohishunder vs Cochrane  0-1271851CalcuttaC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
14. E Williams vs Loewenthal ½-½681851Loewenthal - WilliamsC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
15. F Greenaway vs Anderssen  1-0291851Casual gameC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
16. Szen vs Falkbeer 1-0381852Vienna mC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
17. E Williams vs Harrwitz 0-1461852Harrwitz - WilliamsC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
18. E Williams vs Harrwitz 0-1941852Harrwitz - Williams 1852/53C64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
19. D Urusov vs Shumov  1-0421853St Petersburg mC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
20. Szen vs Harrwitz 1-0231853LondonC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
21. M Lange vs Dufresne  1-0301853Berlin - 1e Berliner SchachgesellschaftC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
22. Loewenthal vs Harrwitz 1-0401853Harrwitz - Loewenthal mC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
23. de Riviere vs E Sheppard  1-0281854Casual gameC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
24. Mayet vs Anderssen 1-0271855BerlinC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
25. Zytogorski vs R Brien 1-0541855Kling's Coffee HouseC64 Ruy Lopez, Classical
 page 1 of 87; games 1-25 of 2,151  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>
Aug-05-05  Swapmeet: <ArturoRivera> I'm no expert, but it looks to me like 5.Nxe5 just wins a pawn, while considerably increasing the pressure on c6. 5...Qg5 seems like an intersting try, but after 6.0-0 I think white is better. Of course 5...dxe4 would just lose immediately to 6.Nxc6.
Aug-05-05  sneaky pete: 3... Bc5 4.c3 d5 was pioneered by Jerzy Konikowski and has been played in numerous correspondence games since around 1970. Schiller and Watson give one refutation (starting 5.Nxe5 Qg5 6.Qa4 ..) in their 1995 "Big book of busts" and another (starting 5.Nxe5 Qg5 6.0-0 ..) in a more recent webpublication ("The open games as white"). I haven't checked the first bust, but the second is no good: 5.Nxe5 Qg5 6.0-0 Qxe5 7.d4 Qe6 8.dxc5 dxe4 9.Re1 Bd7 10.Bg5 .. "Black cannot equalize now. Black's king has great difficulty escaping from the center", but only if black does not play 10... Nge7 11.Nd2 f5 with ... 0-0-0 soon to follow.
Aug-09-05  ArturoRivera: Inspired by Morphy, in your line <.d4 fxe4 6.Bxc6! dxc6(a) 7.Nxe5 Bd6 Qh5+ g6, doesnt white wins a pawn by Nxg6 and black cant take it due tp the rook hanging on h8, and if then Nf6 chasing the queen, white still has a retreat square for the queen in the black's queen diagonal, then, why is it not played?
Dec-14-05  paladin at large: I see that Spassky had good results with the classical defense - is it still considered a viable alternative to the Morphy Defense in the Ruy Lopez at high level play? Thanks in advance.
Dec-29-05  jperr75108: seems somewhat illogical to play into Whites idea of c3, and d4. With white I am usually happy to see this stuff.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WTHarvey: Here are some puzzles from C64 miniatures:
Sep-07-06  TheKid: How come the Classical has gone out of style? Even if the grandmasters have analysed it to death, it still must be playable at least under 2200.
Sep-07-06  NateDawg: <TheKid> I once read an interesting theory in "Chess Life" magazine as to why people play certain openings. Grandmasters like to refute openings that "common" people (under 2200 or so) play, or at least find a way to get an advantage. Chess books and magazines cover the openings that Grandmasters play, and amateurs use openings they read about in books and magazines. Therefore, if a popular opening is considered by grandmasters to be sub-optimal, gradually amateurs will stop playing it also.

The example that "Chess Life" gives is the Marshall Variation of the French and Sicilian Defenses, which many people have never even heard of. It goes 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. ♘c3 c5 or 1. e4 c5 2. ♘f3 e6 3. d4 d5. The Sicilian variation was played 33 times in this database, the French variation, 25. This opening apparently used to be quite popular, but, as the Grandmasters ceased to like it for its dullness and simplification, it all but disappeared from the chess world.

The reason that grandmasters do not especially like the Classical Ruy Lopez for Black is (I think) for two main reasons: one, it has been discovered that it is best to play ...a6 and ...♘f6 first, and two, the bishop at c5 is exposed and subject to counterattack by ♘a4 or ♙c3 followed by ♙d4.

A more common variation with ...♗c5 nowadays is the Neo-Arkhangelsk, the main line of which goes 1. e4 e5 ♘f3 ♘c6 3. ♗b5 a6 4. ♗a4 ♘f6 5. 0-0 b5 6. ♗b3 ♗c5. Black will continue with ...♗b7, while White will usually put a pawn at d4, supported by one at c3.

Sep-18-06  TheKid: Interesting point. The lure of fashion snares everyone it seems.
Apr-24-08  whiteshark: Opening of the day:

As for the line <4...f5 5.d4 fxe4 6.Bxc6! dxc6 7.Nxe5 Bd6 Qh5+ g6 9.Qe2! Qh4 10.Nd2> A Davies vs Speelman, 1988 I think you have to look for good other 4th moves seriously.

Aug-01-08  WarmasterKron: Other 4th moves? How about 4...Qf6!?:

NN (1374) - Kron (1450)

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Bc5 4. c3 Qf6 5. O-O Nge7 6. d3 h6 7. Re1 d6 8. Bc4 O-O 9. Nbd2 Be6 10. Bxe6 fxe6 11. b3 g5 12. Bb2 g4 13. b4 Bb6 14. b5 Nd8 15. Nc4 gxf3 16. Qxf3 Bxf2+ 17. Kxf2 Qh4+ 18. g3 Rxf3+ 19. Kxf3 Qf6+ 20. Kg2 d5 21. Ref1 Qg5 22. h4 Qh5 23. exd5 exd5 0-1

IM Andrew Martin called it the "If it's good enough for Capa" variation, in reference to R Lopez Martinez vs Capablanca, 1911

Feb-04-09  blacksburg: <IM Andrew Martin called it the "If it's good enough for Capa" variation>

you gotta be careful with capa and the opening....

Janowski vs Capablanca, 1916

Feb-04-09  blacksburg: also, is this opening "respectable"? it's either this or the berlin, i'm sick of the exchange variation...
Feb-04-09  blacksburg: ok nevermind, i don't like this line...
Feb-19-09  chessman95: I don't know this line very well, so what I usually do is play 4.Nxe5(!?) and if black recaptures with the knight then I fork with d4, and if Black plays Bxf2+ then I take the bishop and have even material, the bishop pair, and an exposed king.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Opening of the Day

Ruy Lopez, Classical
1.e4 e5 2.♘f3 ♘c6 3.♗b5 ♗c5

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Here is an interesting variation:

[Event "Dutch championship"]
[Site "Amsterdam, NED"]
[Date "2000.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Carl Wemmers"]
[Black "Ivan Sokolov"]
[Result "*"]

1. e4 e5 2. ♘f3 ♘c6 3. ♗b5 ♗c5 4. c3 ♘f6 5. d4 exd4 6. e5 ♘e4 7. O-O a6 8. ♗a4 dxc3 9. ♕d5 cxb2 10. ♗xb2 ♗xf2+ 11. ♔h1 ♘c5 12. e6 ♘xe6 13. ♖xf2 O-O

click for larger view

Who do you prefer - White's development and attacking chances, or Black's extra pawns for the piece?

Oct-25-15  zanzibar: <GrahamC> According to Stockfish White is better, the eval being +0.94/20.

But it looks like Black has the easier game, finding the right moves for White is more exacting.

Here's the game in its entirety:


[Event "NED Team Ch"]
[Site "Amsterdam NED"]
[Date "2000.02.06"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Wemmers, Xander"]
[Black "Sokolov, I"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2350"]
[BlackElo "2637"]
[ECO "C64i"]
[EventDate "2000.02.05"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.e5 Ne4 7.O-O a6 8. Ba4 dxc3 9.Qd5 cxb2 10.Bxb2 Bxf2+ 11.Kh1 Nc5 12.e6 Nxe6 13.Rxf2 O-O 14.Nbd2 Ne7 15.Qh5 Ng6 16.Bb3 Nef4 17.Qf5 d5 18.Qc2 b6 19.Ne5 c5 20. Nxg6 Nxg6 21.Raf1 Be6 22.Nf3 f6 23.Qd2 Qd7 24.Re1 Bf7 25.Rfe2 d4 26. Re4 Rae8 27.h4 Rxe4 28.Rxe4 Bxb3 29.axb3 Qd5 30.Qc2 Ne5 31.Nd2 h5 32. Qd1 Nd3 33.Kg1 Qf5 34.Qb1 Qf2+ 0-1


Oct-25-15  zanzibar: The move 7...a6 is only played ~3.4% of the time according to <MillBase>.

Instead, 7...d5 seems ML (main line).

In fact, here's the Cordel (Classical) ML according to popularity, till move 12:

<1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.e5 Ne4 7.O-O d5 8.exd6 O-O 9.dxc7 Qxc7 10.cxd4 Nxd4 11.Nxd4 Qb6>

(White to move)

click for larger view

It's striking how well Black does in actual games, the tree from here being:

Move ECO Frequency Score AvElo Perf AvYear %Draws

1: Be3 3: 37.5% 33.3% 2480 1987 67%

2: Bd3 3: 37.5% 33.3% 1986 0%

3: Nc3 1: 12.5% 50.0% 2525 1976 100%

4: Qe2 1: 12.5% 0.0% 1970 0%


TOTAL: 8:100.0% 31.2% 1983 38%


Both Stockfish and Critter suggest the TN 12.Qc2 as the move here, although it hasn't been played in <MillBase>.

I have one walkthrough with Stockfish where White's rook gets pinned (R+P for B+N) on f2 for 23 moves as both sides maneuver for advantage before the bishop finally captures the rook.

Oct-25-15  zanzibar: It's a little too bad <CG> doesn't do some of the simple math to track a player's score with the opening, e.g.

Spassky seems to have had incredible success with this line, only losing one game with Black.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <zed> It is unfortunate that a lot of the fun for Black in the Cordel Gambit is taken out of things by the line used in the game pointed out above by <whiteshark>.

Instead of 7.Nxe5, believe I played 7.Nfd2 against Curdo at the Jim Bulger Memorial in 1985 and was hoping for 7....Bd6 8.fxe5 e3, as played in R Lau vs A Bastian, 1983. Do not recall how the game actually went, though it was a fairly short draw.

Oct-26-15  zanzibar: <perf> are you talking about the Cordel Gambit with 4...f5?

I was referring to the straight-lace version with 4...Nf6 (which van der Sterren says "is a more solid alternative" than 4...f5).

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <zed> Indeed I am; much more in Curdo's style than 4....Nf6.
Oct-26-15  zanzibar: <perf> - figures Curdo would play the gambit. I'll have to look at it a little deeper.

The tree stats don't show such a big difference in scoring at move 4 branch, 4...Nf6 scores 57.9% vs 4...f5 scoring 56.9%:


Move ECO Frequency Score AvElo Perf AvYear %Draws

1: Nf6 C64h 421: 41.4% 57.9% 2416 2391 1984 32%

2: f5 C64f 275: 27.0% 56.9% 2355 2361 1984 23%

3: Nge7 C64d 100: 9.8% 65.5% 2344 2274 1972 37%

4: Qf6 C64e 82: 8.0% 57.9% 2361 2342 1974 23%

5: d5 50: 4.9% 67.0% 2344 1985 18%



TOTAL: 1015:100.0% 59.3% 2387 2357 1981 28%


I'll have to look into it, but I think with best/conservative play Black really does get some incredible scoring. In other words, I'm not sure how White improves on the line I showed in my first post.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <zed> Curdo and I played numerous times in those days: we had already enjoyed a 130-move game in a Modern Steinitz at the 1983 Queen City Open, then twice in '85, I played Curdo's own speciality 5.d4 against his Modern Steinitz and managed +1 -1.
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