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Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin (C97)
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 Na5 10 Bc2 c5 11 d4 Qc7

Number of games in database: 1813
Years covered: 1906 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 39.8%
   Black wins 20.7%
   Draws 39.5%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Aleksandar Matanovic  19 games
Isaac Boleslavsky  18 games
Paul Keres  13 games
Borislav Ivkov  43 games
Svetozar Gligoric  29 games
Aleksandar Matanovic  21 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Tal vs Hjartarson, 1987
Fischer vs R Shocron, 1959
Fischer vs Unzicker, 1959
Boleslavsky vs Keres, 1953
Boleslavsky vs Smyslov, 1946
Fischer vs Letelier, 1959
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 page 1 of 73; games 1-25 of 1,813  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Duras vs Chigorin 0-157190615th DSB Congress, NurembergC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
2. A Beck vs K Treybal  0-1291907BrnoC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
3. Maroczy vs J Perlis 1-0471907Trebitsch MemorialC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
4. E Cohn vs P Johner  0-1731908ViennaC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
5. E Cohn vs J N Berger  0-1551908ViennaC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
6. Von Bardeleben vs Salwe ½-½671908ViennaC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
7. F Treybal vs J Kvicala  ½-½321908PragueC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
8. E G Sergeant vs A J Mackenzie  ½-½241909British ChampionshipC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
9. W Ward vs R P Michell  1-0411909British ChampionshipC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
10. A Marder vs Kupchik 0-1721912MatchC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
11. Tarrasch vs Lasker 0-11021916Lasker - TarraschC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
12. Ed. Lasker vs J T Beckner  1-047191718th Western ChampionshipC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
13. A Olson vs Gruenfeld  ½-½601920Gothenburg BC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
14. Znosko-Borovsky vs C G M Watson 1-0481922LondonC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
15. Maroczy vs Reti ½-½581924New YorkC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
16. Ed. Lasker vs Reti 1-0361924New YorkC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
17. A Smorodsky vs Bogoljubov 0-1441924USSR ChampionshipC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
18. A Smorodsky vs A Selezniev  0-1431924USSR ChampionshipC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
19. A Pinkus vs Kashdan 0-1491925Albert Hallgarten prelim-AC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
20. Kupchik vs Torre  ½-½381925MatchC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
21. H Parsons vs C Mansfield 0-1391926Somerset - GloucestershireC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
22. A J Mackenzie vs C Mansfield  0-1301926Birmingham - BristolC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
23. Yates vs Znosko-Borovsky 1-0531927Tunbridge WellsC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
24. W Fairhurst vs G A Thomas  0-1431927ScarboroughC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
25. H Weenink vs M Monticelli  1-0561927London OlympiadC97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin
 page 1 of 73; games 1-25 of 1,813  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-28-04  WhoKeres: You have to wonder if the position after black's eleventh move is perhaps the most common opening position in chess history. Its amazing how resilient and popular the variation is. I always enjoyed studying the black side of this position in particular. What's also amazing is the different number of great players who have used this defense in important games. It suits players of all different styles.
Mar-02-04  Cerebrate2006: in the game from Linares '04 of topalov-Shirov, after 12. d5, black played Nc4, i believe that is a mistake. I posted that in the game, but this would be a better place to see what people who might know this opening better say.
Mar-02-04  PinkPanther: <WhoKeres>
I'd probably say the position after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 (the Najdorf Sicilian) has been reached far more times than this one.
Mar-12-04  ruylopez900: The Closed is one of the best Defences to the Ruy Lopez today! It is only equalled or surpassed by the Marshall Attack and the Flohr-Zaitzev Var. of the Closed. The Berlin is to drawish and not quite in the spirit of the Ruy. Thoughts?
Mar-12-04  ughaibu: How about Bird's or the open defenses?
Mar-12-04  ruylopez900: <ughaibu> I don't think I've ever played against the Bird so I can't offer a true opinion. As for the Open it is sound, yes...but it seems to hand White the initiative too easily. Or maybe I haven't really played against someone who knows it...
Mar-12-04  BiLL RobeRTiE: Raar. I think the main problem with the Open Ruy is Black's crap structure (backwards pawn on c5). In addition to this, White can easily create either a passed pawn or a dangerous attack by pushing his e and f-pawns. These factors are compensated by Black's activity and queenside majority - if he is allowed to play c7-c5, White may be in for some trouble. I personally have used the Open Ruy with some success but wonder why top GMs have stopped using it if it really is as good as I think it might be.
Mar-12-04  BiLL RobeRTiE: I meant backwards pawn on c7. =]
Nov-16-04  gauer: PinkPanther,

I agree that Sicilian Najdorf may currently be a more popular defence to 1 e4, being reached more often, but remember that the position you quote stops at move five (and not move eleven, as compared to the critical Spanish Closed main line answer to 1 e4).

Wielding black, I'd rather take my chances in an unrefuted century year old opening than rely on studying all the sidelines required to get to the Najdorf positions move-order pet line(s) which one may otherwise choose to look at.

It also matches my strategic playing prefence more closely to other parts of my repertoire. I'm much more concerned at studying transpositions toward the Spanish middlegames than the Najdorf, more flexible as the latter move-order may be.

Maybe after I'm finished grading the Spanish, I will worry about the Najorf more often - though I don't expect it to be soon ;^)

Nov-16-04  e4Newman: <in the game from Linares '04 of topalov-Shirov, after 12. d5, black played Nc4, i believe that is a mistake>

I'm going to take you up on that one. The only immediate merit (and it's a weak one) is to prevent white's QN gallop d2-f1-g3.

Nov-16-04  e4Newman: Adams vs Kasimdzhanov, 2004 is another good example of "why not" to play 12...Nc4
Premium Chessgames Member
  IMlday: Agreed, after d4-d5 the N/a5 belongs on f7.
Nov-17-04  e4Newman: In P Seegolam vs G Timoshchenko, 2004 white doesn't appear forceful enough with chasing the N on c4. a4-b3 appears more correct. Also in that game, black opts for ...f6 instead of ...f5 and gets great action out of his R. At any rate, I think white was up against great odds from the start.
Jun-23-05  aw1988: Strangely there are no 3 notable black wins.
Jul-17-05  AwesomeMorphy: Can somebody tell me what is the line like after 11..cxd4?
Jul-19-05  e4Newman: Sorry I missed your question <AwesomeMorphy>. In this line, black wants to take charge of the open or semi-open c-file. An immediate pawn exchange opens that file right up, but the rook has yet to occupy the file. Furthermore, black's QB is still in the way so

12.cxd4 Bb7

is the best move. Now we're still not too far from mainline Chigorin theory, as

13.Nbd2 exd4 14.Nxd4 Re8

sees white with the stronger, but well contested centre. So an immediate


should favour white after say,

13...Bc8 14.Bd3 Bd7 15.Be3

as black must delay or abandon occupying the c-file with a rook. Although I play the Lopez a lot, I haven't seen these move orders too often. They look playable though.

Cheers :)

Aug-13-05  12929011: <WhoKeres> I believe the starting position has been reached more often than any other.
Jul-07-11  Igor Egin: What about 12. a3 ?

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