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Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer Defense (C94)
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 O-O Be7 6 Re1 b5
7 Bb3 O-O 8 c3 d6 9 h3 Nb8

Number of games in database: 260
Years covered: 1954 to 2019
Overall record:
   White wins 35.0%
   Black wins 18.1%
   Draws 46.9%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Milan Matulovic  11 games
Mikhail Tal  8 games
Bruno Parma  8 games
Lajos Portisch  7 games
Boris Spassky  7 games
Karl Robatsch  5 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Karpov vs Gligoric, 1972
Karpov vs Spassky, 1973
Short vs Mamedyarov, 2012
A Medina Garcia vs Spassky, 1955
B Milic vs Spassky, 1955
Browne vs Portisch, 1972
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 page 1 of 11; games 1-25 of 260  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. A Bannik vs V Koval  0-1581954UKR-chC94 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer Defense
2. V Sherbakov vs Furman 0-1351955USSR ChampionshipC94 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer Defense
3. B Milic vs Spassky 0-15119552nd World Student Team-chC94 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer Defense
4. A Medina Garcia vs Szabo 0-1531955Gothenburg InterzonalC94 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer Defense
5. A Medina Garcia vs Spassky 0-1321955Gothenburg InterzonalC94 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer Defense
6. A Laurencena vs Shocron  ½-½411955ARG-chC94 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer Defense
7. Vasiukov vs G Borisenko  ½-½421956URS-ch sfC94 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer Defense
8. Y Kotkov vs Korchnoi  ½-½251956TbilisiC94 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer Defense
9. Polugaevsky vs Chukaev  1-0441956Ch URS (1/2 final)C94 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer Defense
10. Y Kotkov vs Krogius  ½-½451956Tbilisi f-USSR chC94 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer Defense
11. B Milic vs Petrosian  ½-½191956YUG-URSC94 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer Defense
12. Bronstein vs Wade  1-0401956Moscow ol (Men) fin-AC94 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer Defense
13. V Ciocaltea vs G Barcza 0-1401956Moscow ol (Men) fin-AC94 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer Defense
14. Pachman vs E Walther  ½-½201957Dublin ZonalC94 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer Defense
15. B Djurasevic vs E Walther  ½-½59195813th olm qual. group 4C94 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer Defense
16. R Flores Alvarez vs M S Grunberg  1-0671959SantiagoC94 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer Defense
17. J Sherwin vs Benko  0-133195960th US OpenC94 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer Defense
18. Gligoric vs Benko 1-0551959Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade CandidatesC94 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer Defense
19. Keres vs Benko 1-0211959Bled-Zagreb-Belgrade CandidatesC94 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer Defense
20. C B van den Berg vs Gruenfeld  ½-½341961HoogovensC94 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer Defense
21. Tal vs Robatsch 1-0411963Capablanca Memorial 2ndC94 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer Defense
22. Gufeld vs Kholmov  ½-½331963USSR ChampionshipC94 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer Defense
23. A Bannik vs V Shiyanovsky  ½-½151964UKR-chC94 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer Defense
24. Ivkov vs Gufeld 1-0311964SarajevoC94 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer Defense
25. Ivkov vs L Lengyel  1-0571964Amsterdam InterzonalC94 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer Defense
 page 1 of 11; games 1-25 of 260  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
May-31-03  maa: Why the Knight move back on b8
May-31-03  bishop: Im not an expert, but here is my take on this.The Pawns should go first with the pieces behind. The Knight in front of the Pawn is awkwardly placed, it can't do anything by itself. The Knight will go to the d7 square next, making way for the c-Pawn to go to c6 or c5. The loss of time is not that important as the position is closed up for now. Also, White threatenes to push his d-Pawn to d5 driving the Knight back anyway, followed by the the good move a4 which will weaken the Black Pawns on the Queenside. Black does not have a good response to a4, if he plays ...bxa4 then his a-Pawn will be isolated and weak. If he guards the b-Pawn with say ...Rb8 then White will play axb5 and Black's b-Pawn will be isolated. With the Knight out of the way Black can reply to this dangerous attack to his Queenside with the move ...c6 which holds everything in place. To sum up ...Nb8 is a regrouping of the pieces with the purpose of having a more flexible position. You may ask, Well why not put the Knight on d7 to begin with, but that is another question.
May-31-03  maa: thank
Sep-15-03  PinkPanther: What kind of a winning percentage is this for black? Who in their right mind would play this variation if those percentages were accurate.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Take your pick. Either Tal,Browne,Jansa,Portisch,Spassky and Robatsch aren't in their right minds or the percentages need looking at.
Sep-16-03  BiLL RobeRTiE: the % is fine for other codes of it (c95 96)
Sep-16-03  Kenkaku: Tal, Browne, and Jansa played the white side of it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <Kenkaku><Tal, Browne and Jansa played the white side of it.> Thanks for that.
Sep-09-06  oao2102: Unzicker vs Tal, 1960
Sep-22-07  Cactus: Percentages have to be taken with a grain of salt. Me personnally- I take no notice of them. The Breyer makes perfect sense- if some of the people that played this defence blundered, is that the opening's fault?
Aug-17-10  rapidcitychess: <bishop><why doesn't the knight go to d7 in the first place?> I think it might be illegal. <1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nd7!> A joke of course, you could get on d7 by playing the Philidor though.
Aug-02-11  wuvmuffin72: I've noticed that Carlsen, Kamsky, Svidler, Kasparov, Karpov, Beliavsky, Spassky, Topalov, Kramnik and Anand have all played the Breyer.
Aug-02-11  MaxxLange: the backwards redeployment of the Knight must be playable only because White's development is slow in the Closed Ruy

I guess it is also an anti-move against the White d4-d5 idea, since the Knight just goes to d7 and then c5

Jan-19-13  Tigranny: Is the Breyer more solid than the Chigorin? I've been playing the Chigorin without success recently and wanna try the Breyer soon.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Tigranny> Here are some reasons why even top players chanced their arms with Breyer's bizarre-looking 9....Nb8 over the old Chigorin line:

Geller vs Smyslov, 1970

Karpov vs Spassky, 1973
Karpov vs Unzicker, 1974.

There was also this Breyer (Karpov vs Spassky, 1973) which Spassky lost before the game with Karpov noted above.

Premium Chessgames Member
  gezafan: Boris Spassky has played this opening with great success during his career. It's a solid opening.

Positional players might like it. Karpov played it at one time.

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