Ruy Lopez: Latest Trends In The Zaitsev Variation With GM Leonid Kritz (

Ruy Lopez: Latest Trends In The Zaitsev Variation With Gm Leonid Kritz ( Ruy Lopez, also known as the Spanish Opening, is one of the oldest and most popular chess openings ever. The opening is named after a Spanish priest from the 16th century, Ruy López de Segura.

It is one of the most heavily analyzed openings in today’s game and continues to enjoy incredible popularity at all levels (elite players such as Anand, Caruana, and Carlsen frequently play the Ruy Lopez).

Moreover, the Ruy Lopez is considered essential to the development of any promising player. Its strategic nature, typical tactics plus the fact it leads to both open and closed positions make it perfect for deepening general chess understanding.

The Ruy Lopez begins with the following moves: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 (see the diagram on the left).

Ruy Lopez: Latest Trends In The Zaitsev Variation With Gm Leonid Kritz ( are many variations such as the Exchange Variation or the 6.d3-Spanish which can occur from the Ruy Lopez. Yet, the absolute mainlines of the opening start after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 (see the diagram on the right).

Thousands of games between the world’s strongest players have reached this position. Black has many different moves at his disposal, all leading to well-known variations.

  • 9…Bb7: This move introduces the Zaitsev Variation
  • 9…Na5: This move introduces the Chigorin Variation
  • 9…Nb8: This move introduces the Breyer Variation
  • 9…Nd7: This move introduces the Karpov Variation

Ruy Lopez: Latest Trend In The Zaitsev Variation 

In this iChess Club exclusive video, the first part of a series of videos on the aforementioned tabiya from the Ruy Lopez, GM Leonid Kritz, a renowned expert on this opening, dives deep into the waters of the Zaitsev Variation after 9…Bb7.

This position has been debated thousands of times between players of all levels – from the world’s best Super-GMs to countless club players.

GM Leonid Kritz takes a close look at this complicated variation and analyzes the latest theory for Black and White. If you regularly face the Zaitsev Variation with White or play this line with Black and want to stay up-to-date, this video is a must-watch.

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