Chess Opening Theory/1. e4/1...e5/2. Nf3/2...Nc6/3. Bb5/3...a6/4. Ba4/4...Nf6

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< Chess Opening Theory‎ | 1. e4‎ | 1...e5‎ | 2. Nf3‎ | 2...Nc6‎ | 3. Bb5‎ | 3...a6‎ | 4. Ba4
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Ruy Lopez, Main Line
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 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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Ruy Lopez Main Line[edit]

Black's move 4...Nf6 threatens White's e-pawn. White may defend it directly with

  • 5.d3, the Anderssen Variation or
  • 5.Nc3 transposing to the Four Knights, Spanish Variation

but both moves interfere with White's natural plan of playing c3 and d4. Without playing c3 and d4 to create some central tension it will be difficult to generate open files for the rooks; additionally White's star attacker currently residing on a4 is liable to get swapped off if it does not have the option of retreating to c2.

  • 5.Qe2, the Wormald Attack, retains the option of c3 and d4, and introduces the medium-term plan of shifting the king's rook across to d1 in a single move after White castles kingside. The downside is that it places the queen on a file that's very likely to get opened, or at least half-opened. Put your rooks on open files and your queen on a closed one!

The main line, and a more subtle way of maintaining material equality, is 5. O-O, after which Black can grab a pawn but cannot hold on to it.

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}}} black king {{{square}}} white rook {{{square}}} white king {{{square}}} black king 1
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5. O-O   (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 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}}} white pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white knight {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 3
2 {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{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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5. d3   (Anderssen Variation)
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 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}}} white knight {{{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}}} black king {{{square}}} white bishop {{{square}}} white queen {{{square}}} white king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white rook 1
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5. Nc3   (Spanish Four Knights /Tarrasch Variation)
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 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}}} white queen {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn 2
1 {{{square}}} white rook {{{square}}} white knight {{{square}}} white bishop {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white rook 1
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5. Qe2   (Wormald Attack)
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 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}}} white pawn {{{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}}} black king {{{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
a b c d e f g h
5. d4   (Mackenzie-Variation)
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 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}}} white bishop {{{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}}} black king {{{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
a b c d e f g h
5. Bxc6   (Bayreuth Variation)

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 Nf6
5 6
Open Defence O-O
Nxe4
d4
b5
Main Line/Closed Defence ...
Be7
Re1
b5
=
d3
b5
Hopkins Gambit ...
5. c4
=

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References[edit]

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