The Ruy Lopez, also called the Spanish Opening, is an old chess opening. It is named after the Spanish priest Ruy López de Segura. He may have invented the opening. These are the opening moves:
- 1. e4 e5
- 2. Nf3 Nc6
- 3. Bb5
The Ruy Lopez is one of the most common and well-liked openings. There are many ways to play it. It has always been popular in master chess. White's idea is to try and undermine the center by attacking the knight with his bishop. However, White will not be always able to win a pawn immediately:
- 3... a6
- 4.Bxc6 dxc6
- 5.Nxe5 Qd4 recovers the pawn.
For this reason White usually plays a longer-term strategy, starting with:
- 3... a6
- 4. Ba4 Nf6
- 5. 0-0
Here, Black has two main options. Black can either play with an open center, with 5... Nxe4 or play a closed, positional game with 5... Be7. These openings are called the Open Ruy Lopez and the Closed Ruy Lopez.
The closed variation of the Ruy Lopez comes after these moves:
- e4 e5
- Nf3 Nc6
- Bb5 Nf6
- 0-0 Be7
This line leads to a closed pawn structure. White's idea will be to break open the center with d4. Play typically continues:
- 5. Re1, defending the pawn on e4
- 5... b5, kicking the Bishop back even farther and preventing White from capturing the knight. If White had taken the knight, then the e5 pawn could be taken.
- 6. Bb3 0-0
- 7. c3
These are the main moves for White. However, White can also play 7. h3 or 7. a4. These moves are played in order to avoid the Marshall Variation.
- ECO code: C60–C99. ECO is the Encyclopaedia of chess openings.