Chess Opening Theory/1. e4/1...e5/2. Nf3/2...Nc6/3. Bb5/3...a6/4. Ba4/4...Nf6/5. O-O

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< Chess Opening Theory‎ | 1. e4‎ | 1...e5‎ | 2. Nf3‎ | 2...Nc6‎ | 3. Bb5‎ | 3...a6‎ | 4. Ba4‎ | 4...Nf6
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Ruy Lopez, Main Line

Ruy Lopez Main Line[edit | edit source]

Black has a number of options here:

Developing the f8-bishop to allow castling is a logical step.

  • 5...Be7 and
  • 5...Bc5 are both played; Bc5 carries more superficial attacking potential along the g1-a7 diagonal, but Black's natural plan of playing ...d6 will cut this bishop off from the defence of the kingside, plus it means White's natural plan of c3 followed by d4 will come with gain of tempo. Be7 is the most common move for these reasons. The bishop is not necessarily a bad piece on e7, where it supports the knight against any coming Bg5 ideas, and in the long term if Black is forced into playing ...g6 to evict a White knight from f5, it's useful to have the bishop available to redeploy to g7 via f8.
  • 5...b5 plans to develop the c8-bishop on b7 and the f8-bishop on c5, where they both aim at the kingside along adjacent diagonals. The difference between this move and the immediate ...Bc5 is that on ...Bc5 White can play c3 and get the bishop back to c2 in one move; here she must lose a tempo going via b3. Hence ...b5 is more common than ...Bc5.
  • 5...Nxe4 gives the a game a different flavour. Black tries to distract White from her development by snatching a pawn, leading to a more open position. As usual when a player grabs a pawn in the Ruy Lopez, trying to hold on to it turns out to be a bad idea.

Common Moves[edit | edit source]

a b c d e f g h
8a8 black rookb8 black kingc8 black bishopd8 black queene8 black kingf8 black kingg8 black kingh8 black rook8
7a7 black kingb7 black pawnc7 black pawnd7 black pawne7 black bishopf7 black pawng7 black pawnh7 black pawn7
6a6 black pawnb6 black kingc6 black knightd6 black kinge6 black kingf6 black knightg6 black kingh6 black king6
5a5 black kingb5 black kingc5 black kingd5 black kinge5 black pawnf5 black kingg5 black kingh5 black king5
4a4 white bishopb4 black kingc4 black kingd4 black kinge4 white pawnf4 black kingg4 black kingh4 black king4
3a3 black kingb3 black kingc3 black kingd3 black kinge3 black kingf3 white knightg3 black kingh3 black king3
2a2 white pawnb2 white pawnc2 white pawnd2 white pawne2 black kingf2 white pawng2 white pawnh2 white pawn2
1a1 white rookb1 white knightc1 white bishopd1 white queene1 black kingf1 white rookg1 white kingh1 black king1
a b c d e f g h
5...Be7   (Closed variation)

a b c d e f g h
8a8 black rookb8 black kingc8 black bishopd8 black queene8 black kingf8 black bishopg8 black kingh8 black rook8
7a7 black kingb7 black kingc7 black pawnd7 black pawne7 black kingf7 black pawng7 black pawnh7 black pawn7
6a6 black pawnb6 black kingc6 black knightd6 black kinge6 black kingf6 black knightg6 black kingh6 black king6
5a5 black kingb5 black pawnc5 black kingd5 black kinge5 black pawnf5 black kingg5 black kingh5 black king5
4a4 white bishopb4 black kingc4 black kingd4 black kinge4 white pawnf4 black kingg4 black kingh4 black king4
3a3 black kingb3 black kingc3 black kingd3 black kinge3 black kingf3 white knightg3 black kingh3 black king3
2a2 white pawnb2 white pawnc2 white pawnd2 white pawne2 black kingf2 white pawng2 white pawnh2 white pawn2
1a1 white rookb1 white knightc1 white bishopd1 white queene1 black kingf1 white rookg1 white kingh1 black king1
a b c d e f g h
5...b5   (Columbus variation)

a b c d e f g h
8a8 black rookb8 black kingc8 black bishopd8 black queene8 black kingf8 black bishopg8 black kingh8 black rook8
7a7 black kingb7 black pawnc7 black pawnd7 black pawne7 black kingf7 black pawng7 black pawnh7 black pawn7
6a6 black pawnb6 black kingc6 black knightd6 black kinge6 black kingf6 black kingg6 black kingh6 black king6
5a5 black kingb5 black kingc5 black kingd5 black kinge5 black pawnf5 black kingg5 black kingh5 black king5
4a4 white bishopb4 black kingc4 black kingd4 black kinge4 black knightf4 black kingg4 black kingh4 black king4
3a3 black kingb3 black kingc3 black kingd3 black kinge3 black kingf3 white knightg3 black kingh3 black king3
2a2 white pawnb2 white pawnc2 white pawnd2 white pawne2 black kingf2 white pawng2 white pawnh2 white pawn2
1a1 white rookb1 white knightc1 white bishopd1 white queene1 black kingf1 white rookg1 white kingh1 black king1
a b c d e f g h
5...Nxe4   (Open variation)

a b c d e f g h
8a8 black rookb8 black kingc8 black bishopd8 black queene8 black kingf8 black kingg8 black kingh8 black rook8
7a7 black kingb7 black pawnc7 black pawnd7 black pawne7 black kingf7 black pawng7 black pawnh7 black pawn7
6a6 black pawnb6 black kingc6 black knightd6 black kinge6 black kingf6 black knightg6 black kingh6 black king6
5a5 black kingb5 black kingc5 black bishopd5 black kinge5 black pawnf5 black kingg5 black kingh5 black king5
4a4 white bishopb4 black kingc4 black kingd4 black kinge4 white pawnf4 black kingg4 black kingh4 black king4
3a3 black kingb3 black kingc3 black kingd3 black kinge3 black kingf3 white knightg3 black kingh3 black king3
2a2 white pawnb2 white pawnc2 white pawnd2 white pawne2 black kingf2 white pawng2 white pawnh2 white pawn2
1a1 white rookb1 white knightc1 white bishopd1 white queene1 black kingf1 white rookg1 white kingh1 black king1
a b c d e f g h
5...Bc5   (Neo-Arkhangelsk Variation)

Theory table[edit | edit source]

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.O-O

5 6 7
Closed Defence O-O
Be7
Re1
b5
Bb3
d6
=
Open Variation ...
Nxe4
d4
b5
Bb3
d5
=
Columbus variation ...
b5
Bb3
Bb7
d3
Be7
=
Neo-Arkhangelsk Variation ...
Bc5
c3
b5
Bb3
d6
=

when contributing to this wikibook, please follow the conventions for organization.

References[edit | edit source]

  • Modern Chess Openings 15th ed, 2008. Nick de Firmian. Random House, New York. ISBN 0-8129-3682-5.
  • Nunn's Chess Openings. 1999. John Nunn (Editor), Graham Burgess, John Emms, Joe Gallagher. ISBN 1-8574-4221-0.