Chess Traps | Ruy Lopez
The Ruy Lopez also called the Spanish Opening or Spanish Game, is a chess opening characterised by the moves:
1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
The Ruy Lopez is named after 16th-century Spanish priest Ruy López de Segura. It is one of the most popular openings, with such a vast number of variations that all codes from C60 to C99 in the Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings (ECO) are assigned to them.
The opening is named after the 16th-century Spanish priest Ruy López de Segura, who made a systematic study of this and other openings in the 150-page book on chess Libro del Ajedrez, written in 1561. Although it bears his name, this particular opening was included in the Göttingen manuscript, which dates from c. 1490. Popular use of the Ruy Lopez opening did not develop, however, until the mid-19th century, when the Russian theoretician Carl Jaenisch "rediscovered" its potential. The opening remains the most commonly used amongst the open games in master play; it has been adopted by almost all players during their careers, many of whom have played it with both colours. Due to the difficulty for Black in achieving equality, a common nickname for the opening is "The Spanish Torture".
At the most basic level, White's third move attacks the knight which defends the e5-pawn from the attack by the f3-knight. White's apparent threat to win Black's e-pawn with 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.Nxe5 is illusory—Black can respond with 5...Qd4, forking the knight and e4-pawn, which will win back the material with a good position. White's 3.Bb5 is still a good move; it develops a piece, prepares castling, and sets up a potential pin against Black's king. Since White's third move carries no immediate threat, however, Black can respond in a wide variety of ways.
Traditionally, White's objective in playing the Ruy Lopez is to spoil Black's pawn structure; either way Black recaptures following the exchange on c6 will have negative features for him, though he thereby gains the bishop pair. In modern practice, however, White does not always exchange bishop for knight on c6, preferring the retreat 4.Ba4 if chased by 3...a6.
The theory of the Ruy Lopez is the most extensively developed of all Open Games, with some lines having been analysed well beyond move thirty. At nearly every move there are many reasonable alternatives, and most have been deeply explored. It is convenient to divide the possibilities into two groups based on whether or not Black responds with (3...a6), which is named the Morphy Defence after Paul Morphy, although he was not the originator of the line. The variations with Black moves other than 3...a6 are older and generally simpler, but the Morphy Defence lines are more commonly played.