Basics of The Ruy Lopez in Chess

Learn the basics of The Ruy Lopez, a popular chess opening, from Chess NYC in this Howcast video.


Hi, my name is Rebecca Texman. I am on Chess I am gonna talk to you today about the Ruy Lopez. The Ruy Lopez is one of the oldest and most important openings in chess. First of all, this opening is not only just played by beginners this is also played by the top chess players such as Magnus Carlson and Bobby Fischer but let’s learn the basics of the Ruy Lopez so let’s start. There are three important principles that we wanna focus on at the beginning of the game. First in principle that we need to understand is these four squares. These are the center of the board.

I need to call these the super squares, within the super squares the idea is we wanna try and get our pawns towards the super squares as white jumps to e4, black is going to attack back with e5. The Ruy Lopez then starts with Knight f3 attacking the pawn on e5. Black's typical defense in this position and probably his best defense is knight c6 defending the pawn and developing a piece getting into our second principle which is development. Now there are two variations in the Ruy Lopez, there is the Spanish variation and the Italian variation. In the Italian variation the bishop goes to c4, in the Spanish variation the bishop goes to b5.

Today I am gonna talk to you about the Spanish. Bishop b5 is our next attack so black is not too concerned about white taking here, what black's next move typically is either just to develop its knight, get your knights out first or develop a bishop lets go with developing the knight to f6 and now white decides to play d3 defending its pawn change and getting ready to castle. There is number of variation that black can play. A typical variation would be bishop c5 attacking the f2 square, white ready to castle, Castles, black also ready to castle, Castles. Now there is an important move here c3. An idea behind c3 is that we want to keep this bishop. If black plays a6 which is a typical move, we want to keep this bishop and push it back to a4. If they come again with b5 we now have tuck of A square that we can put our bishop in and get it ready for an attack towards the king and this is all typical standard opening then we can have black create its pawn chain getting ready to open up either develop its bishop on the king side or free and shadow its bishop. Now, an important move is rook e1 controlling the center five. Say white decides or black decides to move its bishop on g4 we have a now a conundrum. We need to figure out where to place this knight because our knight cannot come to its typical square on c3 and we never want to put our knights on the rim, because the knight on the rim is kind of grim.

We always want to develop our knight towards the center so we are going to create what's called the Russian knight and put it on d2. Black is going to continue with its opening and then the idea is white is going to create an attack by bringing its knight onto its king side pushing away black's bishop and using its knights bringing its queen in eventually to create and attack over on the king's side. The idea here is white is gonna create a strong attack on the king side where black is gonna try and create an attack on the queen side. White typically does not need to worry about this attack and focus mostly on its attack over here and that is the basic of the Ruy Lopez.

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