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Ruy Lopez, Open (C80)
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 O-O Nxe4

Number of games in database: 2952
Years covered: 1854 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 37.2%
   Black wins 22.2%
   Draws 40.5%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Michael Adams  23 games
Alexey Shirov  22 games
Peter Svidler  20 games
Victor Mikhalevski  51 games
Viktor Korchnoi  44 games
Sipke Ernst  40 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Kasparov vs Anand, 1995
Karpov vs Korchnoi, 1978
Polgar vs Mamedyarov, 2002
Spielmann vs Tarrasch, 1912
A Cherepkov vs Bronstein, 1961
Z Almasi vs I Sokolov, 1995
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 page 1 of 119; games 1-25 of 2,952  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Loewenthal vs Brien / Wormald 1-0231854LondonC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
2. J H Blackburne / J Kling vs E Falkbeer / A Zytogorski 1-0321864Consultation gameC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
3. G Tegeler vs J Watkinson 0-1261864Bradford - Huddersfield mC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
4. J Minckwitz vs E von Schmidt  ½-½281865Leipzig simC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
5. S Rosenthal vs E von Schmidt 1-0291865Leipzig simC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
6. A Schliemann vs Beger 0-1431866BerlinC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
7. A Schliemann vs Beger ½-½561866BerlinC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
8. G Neumann vs S Rosenthal 1-0381867Neumann - RosenthalC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
9. De Vere vs C Golmayo 1-0331867ParisC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
10. De Vere vs G B Fraser ½-½441867Dundee CongressC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
11. M Lange vs W Paulsen 1-05118687th WSB Congress, Aachen, C80 Ruy Lopez, Open
12. J Minckwitz vs Lange 1-0271869LeipzigC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
13. S Mieses vs J Minckwitz  0-1361869LeipzigC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
14. S Mieses vs J Minckwitz 1-0461869LeipzigC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
15. Paulsen vs E Schallopp 1-07018692nd NSB Congress, HamburgC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
16. J Minckwitz vs Zukertort 1-05518698th WSB Congress, BarmenC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
17. C T Goering vs J Minckwitz 1-0401870LeipzigC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
18. A Stern vs J Minckwitz 0-1191870Baden-BadenC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
19. S Rosenthal vs Winawer ½-½371870Baden-BadenC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
20. Winawer vs Anderssen 0-1351870Baden-BadenC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
21. A Ascharin vs H Clemenz  0-1251870Dorpat Chess ClubC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
22. J N Berger vs O Gelbfuhs 0-1261871ViennaC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
23. S Mieses vs J Minckwitz  1-0341871LeipzigC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
24. S Mieses vs J Minckwitz 0-1501871LeipzigC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
25. Cordel / Minckwitz / Allies vs Anderssen / Goering / Allies 1-0671871LeipzigC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
 page 1 of 119; games 1-25 of 2,952  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>
Dec-05-05  refutor: 7.Bb3 exd4 8.Re1 d5 9.Nc3 seems strong
Dec-05-05  Damodude: isn't that just met with 9..dxc3 though?
Dec-05-05  refutor: 10.Bxd5 looks good
Dec-05-05  Damodude: aha! I geddit - thanks
Mar-05-06  popski: I tryed this open thing today for very first time in blitz game, but something went terribly wrong... :/ 1.e4 e5 2.♘f3 ♘c6 3.♗b5 a6 4.♗a4 ♘f6 5.0-0 ♘xe4 6.♘xe5?! (well, this move is out of the book, but I couldn't find anything better than:) 6... ♘xe5 7.♖e1 f5 8.d3 b5 9.♗b3 ♗b7 10.de4 fe4 and my poor ♔ was stuck in the middle... So, how to play against 6.♘xe5?!
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: <popski> I've never seen 6. Nxe5!? before either. Consider 6 ... Nxe5 7. Re1 Nc5 transposing to the 6. Re1 line after 8. Rxe5+ Be7 Opening Explorer I often see 6. Re1 from opponents under 2000, sometimes because they automatically expect 5 ... Be7, and also because they don't know the 6. d4 theory.
Mar-06-06  popski: Thanks <tpstar>, yes this is much better than my 'invention' :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  WTHarvey: Here are some traps n zaps from C80 miniatures:
Sep-18-06  soughzin: How do you all get to the Open? I've heard the Berlin move order is best 1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5 Nf6
4. 0-0 Nxe4
5. d4 a6
6. Ba5 b5
7. Bb3 d5

Or there's 1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5 a6
4. Ba5 b5
5. Bb3 Nf6 to avoid 5.d4 which can be annoying. (6.Ng5 doesn't work because of d5 and Nd4)

And the usual move order given on the board of course. I dislike 6.Re1 since I feel like I outbooked my Ruy opponent but he/she still often gets a good game.

Jun-03-09  dumbgai: I love the Riga variation (6...exd4) but most people I face play the boring 6. Re1 line and tell me afterwards they didn't know d4 is the main move. Anybody else experience this?
Jun-03-09  MaxxLange: <dumgai> yes. in fact, I get the impression that many amateurs think that 5...Nxe4 is unplayable because of 6. Re1
Mar-04-10  rapidcitychess: Yeah, I have to play the Open Ruy, and the Berlin. I normally get tripped up and lose a pawn. Of course I have fine compensation, but I'm not a tactical player. i detest gambits. How do you get through the open Ruy without gambiting a pawn?
Mar-04-10  CruyffTurn: <rapidcitychess: How do you get through the open Ruy without gambiting a pawn?> Not sure what you mean. Just follow the main lines, White gets his pawn back after a couple of moves. If Black tries to hang on to it, then White gets a good game Fischer vs P Trifunovic, 1961
Mar-04-10  rapidcitychess: Could you give me the main line(s)?
Mar-05-10  MaxxLange: the main┬áline Open Ruy goes:

1 e4 e5 2 Nf6 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0-0 Nxe4 6 d4 b5 7 Bb3 d5 (not 7...exd4, like in the Fischer game) 8 dxe5 Be6

Mar-05-10  rapidcitychess: Thanks Maxx!
Mar-05-10  rapidcitychess: I saw that game in winning chess strategies! Awesome book.
Mar-05-10  Marmot PFL: Black doesn't lose a pawn but sometimes gets a backward c pawn.
Mar-06-10  rapidcitychess: Yeah. Yasser Seirawan recommends the forcing nd2. That book, winning chess Openings, Is a good starter, but you need more in depth things on things such as the Dutch, Nimzo, Kings Gambit, Catalan,and the English. He recommends the English but doesn't even tell you how to play the English. He should make a more in depth book. Also, he needs more modern lines and names. For example, the pin variation shows Ne4?! Qg4!? Nd5 is much better.
May-26-20  The Rocket: This opening never caught on. Why is that?
May-26-20  SChesshevsky: <This opening never caught on. Why is that?>

Probably still an OK defense but most players now days maybe feel it's too loose. Black does get pieces out and can apply some pressure but can face some uncomfortable issues.

White's e5 pawn often ends up pretty stable and can be a pain for black to play around. It can also often end up being useful to white later on.

Sometimes black's c-file can be vulnerable as well as his kside with the N gone and e-pawn restricting the DSB.

Altogether, even with active pieces black's usually still on the defensive and can't really feel comfortable about keeping control of the situation.

Korchnoi, who didn't mind dynamic games, might be most famous Ruy Open player with all those games against Karpov. But I remember Ding Liren played it a bit awhile back and Koneru has it in her rep on the women's side. Here's a couple of games that maybe show some of white's ideas:

Yifan Hou vs Koneru, 2012

Caruana vs Anand, 2019

May-27-20  The Rocket: <Probably still an OK defense but most players now days maybe feel it's too loose. Black does get pieces out and can apply some pressure but can face some uncomfortable issues.>

Yeah but compare it to the Caro-kann. In the classical Caro, you contest the center with two passive pawn moves, losing time, then you bring out the light squared bishop which gets harrassed and or traded, aiding white's development further. The Caro-kann is basically a game of trying to catch up in development before white throws a sledgehammer, and even in the main lines, the structures invariably favors white in any middlegame.

Now in the Open Ruy, black has less concessions, pieces get out without losing time, and the structure long term is solid. White has a normal advantage for an 1.e4 type structure. Nothing more, nothing less.

The Caro is still way more common than the Open Ruy even though black is in more trouble.

May-27-20  SChesshevsky: <...Yeah but compare it to the Caro-kann...>

Ideas are probably really different. Typical Caro usually has black looking for at first a solid structure at cost of being cramped. Then exchanging pieces with the view of eventually breaking out at least somewhat. The whole thing is predicated on not giving up too much while keeping control. This is somewhat the same idea in the closed Ruy.

Open Ruy seems to look to have less solid structure but gets pieces out and more dynamic play. This dynamic play usually means less confidence in keeping control.

Caro might be more common because players today are probably more comfortable with keeping control as much as possible until clear advantage can be seen.

Caro players today and in the past have probably never liked White play that opens up lines or push with kside pawn storms early. These rushes typically cause black to make adjustments that usually end up feeling like the position could be tipping out of control.

That's exactly why I try not to play the Caro against those who've played the advanced with g4 or h4 lines and Panov specialists.

Open Ruy is likely fine compared to the caro or closed Ruy. Just different goals and trade offs that might just not be fashion.

May-27-20  The Rocket: <Caro players today and in the past have probably never liked White play that opens up lines or push with kside pawn storms early. These rushes typically cause black to make adjustments that usually end up feeling like the position could be tipping out of control.>

Even without agressive play, black is lagging behind development and has conceded greater space to white's minor pieces, really regardless of the variation white chooses. It's a passive defense that only Anatoly Karpov has been able to use to good effect at the highest level. You will note that he did not believe in it enough to use it as his standard defense in the Kasparov matches, only whipping it out occasionally.

I compared the Open Ruy with the Caro simply because the Open Ruy is a better opening practically speaking yet nowhere near as popular. I really do think this things have more to do with fads than the actual merits.

May-27-20  The Rocket: Carlsen tried the Caro-Kann once against Anand in their very first WCH match game, but never again. Carlsen got a bad position that Anand should have played on.

Anand tried it several times against Kasparov and lost as well.

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