Chess Opening Theory/1. e4/1...e5/2. Nf3/2...Nc6/3. Bb5/3...a6/4. Ba4

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Ruy Lopez
a b c d e f g h
8 {{{square}}} black rook {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black bishop {{{square}}} black queen {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black bishop {{{square}}} black knight {{{square}}} black rook 8
7 {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn 7
6 {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black knight {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 6
5 {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 5
4 {{{square}}} white bishop {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 4
3 {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white knight {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 3
2 {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn 2
1 {{{square}}} white rook {{{square}}} white knight {{{square}}} white bishop {{{square}}} white queen {{{square}}} white king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white rook 1
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Ruy Lopez, Morphy Defence[edit]

The last two moves ...a6 and Ba4 have made no substantial change to the position, therefore Black's options are much the same as they were on his previous move, although they are now known as deferred defences.

4...Nf6 is the most often played move and is referred to as the main line (rather than the Berlin Deferred). It attacks White's currently undefended e-pawn and helps prepare kingside castling.

4...d6 is the Steinitz Deferred. Much more popular than the true Steinitz Defence, it cuts out any threats to the e-pawn and reserves the option of an f5 push.

4...Bc5 is the Classical Defence Deferred. It develops a piece and controls the a7-g1 diagonal.

Hunting down White's bishop now is not wise. If Black plays 4...b5 5.Bb3 5...Na5, hunting down White's light-squared bishop, which is a good thing. However, it takes a lot of time, and after O-O Nxb3 axb3, Black is far behind in development. The game Pavlovic-Agdestein, 2003 continued (after 5...Na5) 6.0-0 6...d6 7.d4 7...f6 (holding on to e5 is Black's main idea in the Ruy Lopez) 8.Nxb3 axb3 (Black doesn't have one piece off the back rank). Now, White can attack after Bb7 Qe2 g6 Be3 c6 dxe5 fxe5 Ng5 Be7 f4! opening more lines.[1]

Common Moves[edit]

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8 {{{square}}} black rook {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black bishop {{{square}}} black queen {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black bishop {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black rook 8
7 {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn 7
6 {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black knight {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black knight {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 6
5 {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 5
4 {{{square}}} white bishop {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 4
3 {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white knight {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 3
2 {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn 2
1 {{{square}}} white rook {{{square}}} white knight {{{square}}} white bishop {{{square}}} white queen {{{square}}} white king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white rook 1
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4...Nf6   (Morphy's Defence Main Line)
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8 {{{square}}} black rook {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black bishop {{{square}}} black queen {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black bishop {{{square}}} black knight {{{square}}} black rook 8
7 {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn 7
6 {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black knight {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 6
5 {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 5
4 {{{square}}} white bishop {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 4
3 {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white knight {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 3
2 {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn 2
1 {{{square}}} white rook {{{square}}} white knight {{{square}}} white bishop {{{square}}} white queen {{{square}}} white king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white rook 1
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4...b5   (Caro variation)
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8 {{{square}}} black rook {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black bishop {{{square}}} black queen {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black bishop {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black rook 8
7 {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black knight {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn 7
6 {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black knight {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 6
5 {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 5
4 {{{square}}} white bishop {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 4
3 {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white knight {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 3
2 {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn 2
1 {{{square}}} white rook {{{square}}} white knight {{{square}}} white bishop {{{square}}} white queen {{{square}}} white king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white rook 1
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4...Nge7   (Cozio Defense)
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8 {{{square}}} black rook {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black bishop {{{square}}} black queen {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black knight {{{square}}} black rook 8
7 {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn 7
6 {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black knight {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 6
5 {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black bishop {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 5
4 {{{square}}} white bishop {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 4
3 {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white knight {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 3
2 {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn 2
1 {{{square}}} white rook {{{square}}} white knight {{{square}}} white bishop {{{square}}} white queen {{{square}}} white king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white rook 1
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4...Bc5   (Classical Defence Deferred)
a b c d e f g h
8 {{{square}}} black rook {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black bishop {{{square}}} black queen {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black bishop {{{square}}} black knight {{{square}}} black rook 8
7 {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn 7
6 {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black knight {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 6
5 {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 5
4 {{{square}}} white bishop {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 4
3 {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white knight {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 3
2 {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn 2
1 {{{square}}} white rook {{{square}}} white knight {{{square}}} white bishop {{{square}}} white queen {{{square}}} white king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white rook 1
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4...d6   (Steinitz Defence Deferred)

Theory table[edit]

For explanation of theory tables see theory table and for notation see algebraic notation.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4
4 5 6
Main Line Ba4
Nf6
O-O
Be7
Re1
b5
=
Steinitz Defence Deferred ...
d6
c3
Bd7
d4
Nge7
=
Caro variation ...
b5
Bb3
Na5
O-O
d6
=
Classical Defence Deferred ...
Bc5
O-O
Nf6
c3
b5
=
Schliemann Defence Deferred ...
f5
d4
exd4
e5
Bc5
+/=

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References[edit]

  • Batsford Chess Openings 2 (1989, 1994). Garry Kasparov, Raymond Keene. ISBN 0-8050-3409-9.