There are many great chess openings to play with white, but the Ruy Lopez offers lots of variety. There are many different ways to play the opening, no matter your playing style.
This video is a free preview of GM Damian Lemos’ new Deep Dive Ruy Lopez, Volume 2.
Many great chess players and coaches believe the Ruy Lopez is a chess opening that teaches you a lot about general chess play. The Ruy Lopez is a chess opening many feel will help you develop into a better all-around chess player.
One excellent approach that significantly reduces the amount of theory you need to know is finding a sound, solid alternative to the mainline!
This is precisely what you will get and more in the latest Deep Dive Ruy Lopez Volume 2, which covers all of Black’s most reasonable options after 3…a6.
Playing the Ruy Lopez Chess Opening
As in all openings, two sides work hard to implement their ideas and strategies. While learning how to play the Ruy Lopez chess opening with white, pay attention to Black’s ideas.
Knowing beforehand what your opponent is planning makes it easier to find the correct move. Especially if you know the structure and piece placement you are trying to achieve.
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 brings us to the starting position of the Ruy Lopez.
Although the Berlin Defense has become extremely popular nowadays, 3…a6 is played the most by Black. In response, White usually plays 4.Ba4, and after 4…b5 retreats the bishop to b3.
In this position, there are hardly any sidelines for Black apart from 5…Na5.
However, Black is not forced to play 4…b5 and has a sound alternative in the Deferred Steinitz and Morphy Defenses.
The Ruy Lopez Deferred Steinitz Defense
Chess is always about give-and-take. By delaying the capture on c6 for a move, White limits Black to only one pawn capture after Bxc6.
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 d6
The move 4…d6 introduces the Ruy Lopez Deferred Steinitz Defense.
If White plays the regular Ruy Lopez Exchange Variation with 4.Bc6, it gives Black the option of recapturing with the d-pawn or the b-pawn. By capturing on the fifth move, the only recapture available to Black is ..bxc6.
Inflicting a pawn weakness on your opponent is good, but you must not waste any time taking advantage of the weakness.
The more open the position, the easier it is to attack a pawn weakness, so after 5.Bxc6 bxc6, an excellent move for White is 6.d4!
5.Bxc6 bxc6 6.d4
Many strong players, including Alexei Shirov, Jan Timman, and Yu Yangyi, have successfully played this variation against players rated above 2600 Elo. In fact, despite being rated 104 Elo lower than his opponent, Mat Bartel defeated Ivanchuk with this variation.
Bartel, Mat – Ivanchuk, V., 2018.05.30, 1-0
The game between Bartel and Ivanchuk showed a more positional side to the Ruy Lopez. However, Alexei Shirov showed you could play this line in a more attacking, tactical style in his game against Robert Huebner.
Shirov, Alexei – Huebner, Robert, 2016.08.13, 1-0
Ruy Lopez Chess Opening: 4…Nge7
All this looks good, but what if Black is not kind enough to allow you to create a pawn weakness? He could choose to defend his knight before playing d6.
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nge7
Against this defense, there are two things to keep in mind:
- Make use of the d5 square the moment Black moves his knight from e7.
- Do not rush into castling until Black reveals his plans.
White has many sound waiting moves at his disposal, starting with Nc3. Another beneficial waiting move is to create a safe square for your light-squared bishop on a2 by playing a3.
Play might continue 5.Nc3 d6 6.a3 Bd7 7.Bb3 Ng6 8.Nd5 Be7 9.c3 0-0 10.d3 Kh8
White has excellent control of the center, open lines for his bishops, and a centralized knight in this position. White enjoys these pluses in many variations of the Ruy Lopez chess opening.
GM Damian Lemos will show you how to get the most from this position in his latest Deep Dive course.
Take a look at how Kaido Kulatos used these advantages to defeat strong grandmaster Ivan Sokolov.
Kulaots, Kaido – Sokolov, Ivan, 2018.10.18, 1-0
Of course, there’s a lot more to the Ruy Lopez Deep Dive vol. 2 chess course. That being said, GM Damian Lemos has done his very best to offer you a sound, attacking approach by white that does not require memorizing long theoretical lines.
The variations suggested for White are primarily system-based, so knowing the ideas and typical piece setups will guide you to an excellent middlegame position with white.
You will learn all you need to play the Ruy Lopez after 3…a6. By the time you’redone, you will clearly understand what each side is trying to achieve.
In clear, easy-to-understand fashion GM Damian Lemos explains how to play as White in the Ruy Lopez chess opening after 3…a6.
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