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Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin, (C99)
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 12 Nbd2 cxd4 13 cxd4

Number of games in database: 1569
Years covered: 1907 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 37.9%
   Black wins 22.1%
   Draws 40.0%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Alexey Shirov  13 games
Isaac Boleslavsky  13 games
Peter Leko  11 games
Varlam Vepkhvishvili  38 games
Herman van Riemsdijk  20 games
Eugenio Torre  18 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Fischer vs Keres, 1959
Smyslov vs Keres, 1941
Tal vs Pliss, 1950
Geller vs Keres, 1951
Ragozin vs Botvinnik, 1940
Bronstein vs Keres, 1956
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 page 1 of 63; games 1-25 of 1,569  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Schlechter vs Chigorin 1-0321907Ostend (Championship)C99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
2. H Suechting vs P Johner 1-027190816th DSB Congress, DuesseldorfC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
3. Lasker vs Ed. Lasker ½-½1031924New YorkC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
4. Kashdan vs Kupchik 1-0461926Rice Progressive Chess Club chC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
5. R P Michell vs A Teller  0-1691926Hastings 1926/27C99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
6. Kashdan vs O Tenner  0-1781927Manhattan CC-chC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
7. A Selezniev vs Leonid I Shapiro  1-04119285th Ch UkraineC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
8. L Steiner vs Kashdan 0-1371930Kashdan - L. SteinerC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
9. A Wojciechowski vs D Przepiorka  1-0501934KatowiceC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
10. J van den Bosch vs T van Scheltinga 1-0341936AmsterdamC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
11. R P Michell vs T H Tylor  ½-½381937British ChampionshipC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
12. Boleslavsky vs E Korchmar 1-0401938Ukrainian ChampionshipC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
13. D Rovner vs I Pogrebissky  ½-½401938URS-ch sf KievC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
14. P Trifunovic vs L Furlani  ½-½431938LjubljanaC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
15. S Cohen vs Kashdan  1-01021938United States ChampionshipC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
16. J M Aitken vs T H Tylor  ½-½461938British ChampionshipC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
17. L Abramov vs L Shamaev  1-038193914th Ch LeningradC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
18. J Balogh vs Szabo  0-1451939BudapestC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
19. I Rabinovich vs Levenfish 0-1551939Leningrad / Moscow trainingC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
20. I Rabinovich vs Flohr 0-1371939Leningrad / Moscow trainingC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
21. M Yudovich Sr. vs Levenfish 1-0471939USSR ChampionshipC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
22. H Burdge vs J Levin  ½-½621939Ventnor CityC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
23. J W Collins vs J Levin  0-1371939Ventnor CityC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
24. R Garcia Vera vs J Vinuesa  0-1611939RosarioC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
25. C Hounie Fleurquin vs Alekhine 0-1621939MontevideoC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
 page 1 of 63; games 1-25 of 1,569  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>
Jul-04-04  PinkPanther: The Ruy Lopez Main Line by Flear. I just got it the other day and it's great, with annotated games in not only the Chigorin Variation, but in the Zaitsev, Breyer, Smyslov and "Karpov" Variations as well. It also features in depth coverage of the sidelines, primarily of the Chigorin Variation.
Jul-04-04  Phoenix: <PP>How new is it? I should probably have a book on one of my favorite openings.
Jul-04-04  refutor: thank you pinkpanther...i'll check it out
Jul-04-04  PinkPanther: It's a good book. I've only played through a few of the games thus far, but the book is great, I would give it a B+ at worse. Most books by Readyman seem to have good quality, not only in the construction of the book but in the material as well. But I must warn you, this book doesn't deal with the Marshall Attack, you have to get another book for that (which I also have and am very happy with).
Jul-04-04  Phoenix: Many thanks, PP. Sounds like a good read!
Jul-04-04  Helloween: I have had this book as well, for a couple of months now. The theory is extremely fresh and the coverage of sidelines is great. He even includes a section on how to deal with early d2-d4 and h3-ommitting systems by White at the end of the book. The game selection is quite good, and most of the games are recent. One thing to mention, is that Flear is extremely pragmatic and objective: White is doing at least slightly better in almost all of the main variations.
Jan-02-06  vampiero: what is the idea behind 14. Nf1 exd4 just giving up the pawn, how is white supposed to respond?
Jan-02-06  refutor: what move before 14.Nf1?
Jan-04-06  vampiero: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Na5 10. Bc2 c5 11. d4 Qc7 12. Nbd2 cxd4 13. cxd4 Nc6 14. Nf1
Feb-18-06  McCool: Is this the longest opening with an ECO code?
Mar-13-06  blingice: This is actually the most played line on Gameknot, according to their version of the Opening Explorer.
Jun-07-06  sitzkrieg: <Panther et. al.)
I am looking for recent games with

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Na5 10.Bc2 c5 11.d4 Qc7 12.Nbd2 cxd4 13.cxd4 Bb7

What is the verdict on this line in your book?
Why isnt this played often in top level modern chess? It seems very natural and good for black. If i look at this line I can't understand what ppl mean with the spanish torture.

Jun-08-06  borisbadenoff: <sitzkrieg: Why isnt this played often in top level modern chess? It seems very natural and good for black. If i look at this line I can't understand what ppl mean with the spanish torture.>

Well maybe they don't play it because at high level it has a pretty bad standing: The last 24 games in this database from the view of white: +13 -3 =8

At first glance the problem seems to be the badly placed knight at a5.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Here's an example of Black undergoing extensive Torture.

Kiril Georgiev vs Pinter, 1989

Jun-08-06  e4Newman: <sitzkrieg:> Not sure about the opinions of "top level players", as you say, but in my exerience if you want to encourage white to close the centre with 14.d5 then it's a good move. You then have time to reposition the bishop via c8, but the rook would also be nice on c8. So you have a bit of a conflict that I believe can be easily worked out given the time you now have with a closed centre.

Nice example <keypusher>

Jun-08-06  sitzkrieg: Yes, but I dont see why Bc8 needs to be played; f.e. you can play Nd7 followed by f7-f5 and the bishop at b7 stands very well. Also the knight at a5 can go a5-c4-b6 and add pressure on the centre too. <Keypusher> Thanks I will look to the game!
Jun-08-06  sitzkrieg: Ah, Bc8 in that game too. THe f5 plan looks much more natural (and better) to me (but i am not as good as pinter:P)
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <sitzkrieg> Neither am I! And I don't play the Black side of the Ruy Lopez. Just responding in general to your plan:

<you can play Nd7 followed by f7-f5 and the bishop at b7 stands very well. Also the knight at a5 can go a5-c4-b6 and add pressure on the centre too.> The bishop b7 would seem to "bite on granite" until black played ...f5...fxe4 and even then the bishop would achieve activity only if White did not recapture with a pawn. (Of course f3 is a weakening for white!) The other problem with the bishop at b7 is that it does not guard f5, where white so often hopes to place a knight in this opening.

Of course these comments are too general to be worth much. Whether ...Bb7, ...f5 and ...fxe4 is a good plan in a particular game depends on many other factors. I am only suggesting reasons for why Black seems to play ...Bb7 and then ...Bc8 so often in practice.

I was hoping to find a Karpov game against this system, since he is such a fine positional player on both sides of the Ruy Lopez (or was, back when he played 1. e4 and 1....e5 all the time. But I didn't succeed.

Jun-08-06  sitzkrieg: That is strange, I would assume that something like this would be played more by black. Another strange thing is that Fritz 6 gives d5 not as main book line (red!) but Nf1 (after 13. .. Bb7)-but then black has a choiche of several equalizing moves. d5 looks most logic.

So take the line with 14.d5 Rac8 15.Bd3 (Bb1) Nd7.
Now the book of Fritz gives Nf1
and after f5 suggests exf5 (and voila Bb7 and Na5 will be ok) or Bg5 (not so scary either). Another alternative (non book) is 17.Ne3 (or g3) but even then there is no time to play f3 or prevent f5xe4. Only weaknes for black i can see is maybe the field e6 but all in all I would expect it to be very popular for black since it looks very level and Fritz confirms that. I also cant find anything really better at move 16 so all in all white has not much choiches either.

It defenitely looks better then Bc8 and nothing like a "torture". If someone has a theory book/line on this with a verdict on the white advantage (or own opinion:) )I would be most interested.

Jun-08-06  e4Newman: <So take the line with 14.d5 Rac8 15.Bd3 (Bb1) Nd7.>

15.Bd3 = torture.
Take 15.Bb1 Nd7 16.Nf1 f5 17.exf5 (just take it) Nf6 18.Ng5 Bxd5 19.Ne3 Qb7 20.b3 Rfe8

has been tested successfully.

Jun-08-06  sitzkrieg: Thanks! I admit that does look good for white (but not so good that it can explain the abscence of this line in modern chess). Fortunately I always play 2.f4 so thats one worry less for me:)
Apr-16-07  gambitfan:
Apr-16-07  e4Newman: <gambitfan>
have you used the notes function on the opening explorer. i find it's a neat tool.


Apr-17-07  gambitfan: <e4Newman> Yes, I use it, but the problem is to link
Dec-02-08  ruelas007: In J Soto vs E Matsuura, 2001, black tries a plan like u all describe ( Bb7, Rc8, f5, Bc8)but this all takes its time so white got the upper hand by piece maneouvering and with good criteria playing 26.b4 to leave the knight out for the whole game, then sac the exchange and win the game nicely against an IM
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