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

Number of games in database: 2074
Years covered: 1852 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 29.0%
   Black wins 29.0%
   Draws 41.9%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Emanuel Lasker  29 games
Alexander Alekhine  23 games
Eduardas Rozentalis  19 games
Mark Hebden  34 games
Herman van Riemsdijk  16 games
Svetozar Gligoric  14 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Lasker vs Capablanca, 1914
Capablanca vs Janowski, 1914
Lasker vs Tarrasch, 1908
H Mattison vs Rubinstein, 1929
B Verlinsky vs Alekhine, 1909
F Hermann vs H Hussong, 1930
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 page 1 of 83; games 1-25 of 2,074  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. F Deacon vs Morel  0-1261852Simul, 3bC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
2. Mohishunder vs Cochrane ½-½641855CalcuttaC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
3. A Schroeder vs F Deacon  1-0341860Casual gameC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
4. J Mayall vs J G Campbell  ½-½471860MatchC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
5. F Amelung vs H Clemenz  0-1381862Dorpat Chess ClubC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
6. G Vogt vs A Ascharin  0-1441864Dorpat Chess ClubC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
7. S Boden vs W Wayte  1-0331865Casual gameC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
8. J Minckwitz vs E von Schmidt 0-1501866von Schmidt - MinckwitzC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
9. G Reichhelm vs Mackenzie  0-1371867Mackenzie - Reichhelm 2nd US Championship MatchC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
10. Prince Dadian vs Prince of Villafranca  1-0421873MatchC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
11. Winawer vs S Rosenthal 1-0641878ParisC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
12. Chigorin vs Schiffers 0-1221879Chigorin - Schiffers Third MatchC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
13. Chigorin vs Schiffers 1-0331879Chigorin - Schiffers Third MatchC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
14. Chigorin vs E von Schmidt 0-1291879Chigorin - SchmidtC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
15. F M Teed vs Steinitz 1-0461883Offhand gameC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
16. J F Malta vs C Messemaker  0-1471885DCA Congress 13thC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
17. E Schallopp vs Burn  0-1381886CCA Congress Masters InternationalC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
18. E Schallopp vs J M Hanham  1-0471886CCA Congress Masters InternationalC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
19. E Schallopp vs Blackburne ½-½4218875th DSB Congress, FrankfurtC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
20. J M Hanham vs F Young  0-1311887Hanham - YoungC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
21. A F Wurm vs I Orchard 1-0271887Wurm - OrchardC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
22. J I Schlesinger vs P Seuffert 1-0361888Seuffert - Schlesinger MatchC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
23. W Pollock vs N MacLeod 1-03118896th American Chess Congress, New YorkC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
24. J Holzwarth vs A Csank 0-11151890Kolisch MemorialC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
25. G Marco vs A Schottlaender  1-02818927th DSB Congress, DresdenC68 Ruy Lopez, Exchange
 page 1 of 83; games 1-25 of 2,074  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 5 OF 5 ·  Later Kibitzing>
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  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  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.
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.
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 24…Nb2 followed by 25…Ka3 was the wrong way to go. (24…Kc4 seems better). He figured that at that point his knight was OK, with two attackers and two defenders. But, after 26 Rxb2, below, he’s done for.
Oct-02-08  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  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  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.
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  parisattack: <An Englishman: Good Evening: Why do different searches produce different results? >

I count 14 - but not all Barendreghts.

Dec-02-09  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?

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Welcome to all.
Oct-20-15  parisattack: You found us! Unfortunately all the 'Queen Pawn' openings are aggregated so even when highlights something like the Baltic there is no forum for it...unless I am missing something.
Oct-20-15  haydn20: I remember back in the Fischer fad days playing 4...dxc6 (of course) and if 5. 0-0 then ...Bd6. If I remember right, White pretty much had to play 6 d4 to get anything and Black had a nice, free game.
Oct-20-15  parisattack: 5. 0-0 was the favorite of Barendregt. Fischer rolled it out at Havana 1966 and won three nice games with it:

Fischer vs Gligoric, 1966

Fischer vs Portisch, 1966

Fischer vs E Jimenez Zerquera, 1966

There was speculation in the Soviet chess magazines that Fischer latched on to the idea after this game:

Fischer vs Geller, 1961

Apparently ...Bg4 was considered something of an antidote to the Barendregt. At least that's my memory of things; it has been awhile. But there was a long article in Shakmatyi USSR on the variation not long after Havana.

Jun-12-16  Candy Man: The listed stats for this variation show Black with a winning percentage. Why should White adopt this variation?
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