Ruy Lopez – Ideas, Principles and Common Variations ⎸Chess Openings

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Ruy Lopez (Spanish Game) is the most valuable weapon for 1. e4 players. It follows the basic opening principles and teaches you how to control the center, develop pieces and react to your opponent’s threats properly.

In this video I will be covering the main variations of the Ruy Lopez, explaining the basic principles and ideas behind each one, but each individual variation will be covered in much more detail in a separate video. Mastering the Ruy Lopez is something every string chess player has to tackle at some point and there hasn’t been a single world champion or a super grandmaster who doesn’t have it as a major weapon in their opening repertoire.

The Ruy Lopez starts after the moves:
1.e4 e5
2.Nf3 Nc6

From this position black is able to choose from two main moves, 3…a6 or 3…Nf6, each leading to completely different positions. After 3…Nf6 the positions enters the Berlin Defense:
1.e4 e5
2.Nf3 Nc6
3.Bb5 Nf6, and the most common continuation ends in the so called “Berlin Endgame” after the moves:
4.0-0 Nxe4
5.d4 Nd6
6.Bxc6 dxc6
7.dxe5 Nf5
8.Qxd8+ Kxd8, a position in black has forfeited castling rights and accepted doubled c pawns in exchange for the bishop pair.

After 3.Bb5, the most common way for black to play is with 3…a6, immediately challenging the bishop and forcing it to either capture the c6 knight or to retreat. If white responds with
4.Bxc6, then after 4…dxc6 the position has entered the Exchange Ruy Lopez. Similarly to the Berlin, white is arguing that he has a better pawn structure and that any piece trades favor him.

After 3…a3, taking the knight is not as common, though, and by far the most common reply is 4.Ba4, retreating the bishop, but keeping the pressure on the knight, and from here the Ruy Lopez branches out.

The most common continuation after:
4. Ba4 is Nf6, challenging the center and attacking e4, and white continues with
5. O-O Be7
6. Re1 b5 – after Re1 this is now the Closed Ruy Lopez, the starting position of most variations played at top level, and play almost always continues with
7. Bb3 O-O
8. c3 d6 (after 8.c3, black is also able to strike in the center with d5, instead of playing the more passive and solid d6, and the variation is called the Marshall Attack)
9. h3, after which this is the starting position for 90% of high level games, and the first point at which players actually start thinking. Black is the one who gets to choose which variation to go for from here on. The most common continuations are:
9…Bb8 (The Breyer variation)
9…Na5 (The Chigorin variation)

The Ruy Lopez (also called the Spanish Game or the Spanish torture) is one of the oldest chess openings. It was named after Ruy López de Segura, a Spanish priest and chess player who lived in the 16th century. The first mention of the opening was found in Libro del Ajedrez (the book of chess) from 1561, and it has been analyzed and improved upon ever since then.


  1. 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 (3… Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8) 4. Ba4 (4. Bxc6 dxc6) 4… Nf6 5. O-O Be7 (5… b5 6. Bb3 Bb7) (5… Nxe4) 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. c3 d6 (8… d5 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Nxe5 Nxe5 11. Rxe5 c6 12. d4 Bd6) 9. h3 Nb8 (9… Na5 10. Bc2 c5)

  2. I only play d4 lines but because of you I'll play this even if it costs me a lot of rating points cause I dont know them very well

  3. I have not played chess in a long time and I got back into it recently. I have been playing the London system and have had some good success, however, I have always enjoyed the idea of learning and studying the Ruy Lopez. This playlist is probably a good place to start. Thank you!

  4. You should have many more subscribers. I'm a 500 player, only got back into chess after many years this past winter because of quarantine, and I've rediscovered my love for the game and its intricacies. The depth of your chess knowledge and the way it is presented combines to make some of the best chess content on YouTube imho. Keep up the good work man, I really love your videos.

  5. A great video.right into the content without wasting any time.and i love the fact that u creating separate videos for each main lines.that makes it easier to access whatever we want.thanks!

  6. This opening is so boring but just a perfect opening for advance players to improve pozitional chess this is not opening for beginers just nooo

  7. Love your presenting style, direct & very informative of the strategy & tactics of each opening. Thank you

  8. 4:28 sorry im really dumb and new to chess but what if pawn B5?

  9. 4:36 "The pawn on E4 still can't be taken…"

    The pawn on e4 can definitely be taken. Yes, Re1 is the response, but it certainly can (and does) get taken.

    EDIT: at 14:18, the variation is noted. All good, still a weird phrasing at 4:36 tho

  10. Excellent intro and explanation – thank you sir

  11. i love looking at these, i naturally memorize theory easily and this really helps alot

  12. At min. 6, why has white to blay h3? Is it to keep the knight from coming to g4?

  13. The ruy Lopez is amazing! So comfortable to play and logical

  14. Great video, but for the love of God – why on white background?

  15. ♟ Ke1. ♟
    赌; Silver's Coin(s).🏰
    In the Nameth of Luna/ Empress Selene.🕊⌛⏳⌛🕊

  16. 3:00 Why does black take with the d pawn and not the b pawn?

  17. Where is the open spanish? its almost as if it does not exist…

  18. I don't know who you are or where you are but know this I WILL BE WATCHING…..

  19. What opening is black playing in the first 5 minuts?

  20. I thank hanging pawns for this great video who helped alot in understanding the spanish game more better

  21. i think i will watch near all these to practise for my tournament

  22. ?? rook e1 is NOT the move in the open ruy, the correct move is d4

  23. I like the way your videos are made. Concise, straight to the point and not overstimulating. Totally recommend this channel for any advancing players.

  24. Very well explained, this is one of the few opening videos where I can follow along and learn without being overwhelmed

  25. I've been trying to learn more theory about the Ruy Lopez and your video was the simplest and most well spoken one I've watched so far. Thank you, you have my subscription.

  26. Not until I'm playing at a level where nyy king's gambit novelty just cant win. I'm familiar with it, though. I like the idea of the king's indian attack. Just playing ultra stingy and protective with white.

  27. awesome video you actually explain thing other youtubers just show the moves no explaination its like okay… those people shouldnt try to teach chess you on the other hand are awesome thank you!

  28. Great video , very informative! Straight points

  29. Thank you so much for teaching us the theory of the ruy lopez opening. There are very few channels which teach you about openings in depth 🙂

  30. If black Does not play Knight C6 then u can't play ruy lopez RIGHT?

  31. Yeah, finnally i got perfect video for the ruy lopez, thanks man ❤

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