Ruy Lopez – Ideas, Principles and Common Variations ⎸Chess Openings

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Ruy Lopez (Spanish Game) is the most valuable weapon for 1. e4 players. It follows the basic opening principles and teaches you how to control the center, develop pieces and react to your opponent’s threats properly.

In this video I will be covering the main variations of the Ruy Lopez, explaining the basic principles and ideas behind each one, but each individual variation will be covered in much more detail in a separate video. Mastering the Ruy Lopez is something every string chess player has to tackle at some point and there hasn’t been a single world champion or a super grandmaster who doesn’t have it as a major weapon in their opening repertoire.

The Ruy Lopez starts after the moves:
1.e4 e5
2.Nf3 Nc6

From this position black is able to choose from two main moves, 3…a6 or 3…Nf6, each leading to completely different positions. After 3…Nf6 the positions enters the Berlin Defense:
1.e4 e5
2.Nf3 Nc6
3.Bb5 Nf6, and the most common continuation ends in the so called “Berlin Endgame” after the moves:
4.0-0 Nxe4
5.d4 Nd6
6.Bxc6 dxc6
7.dxe5 Nf5
8.Qxd8+ Kxd8, a position in black has forfeited castling rights and accepted doubled c pawns in exchange for the bishop pair.

After 3.Bb5, the most common way for black to play is with 3…a6, immediately challenging the bishop and forcing it to either capture the c6 knight or to retreat. If white responds with
4.Bxc6, then after 4…dxc6 the position has entered the Exchange Ruy Lopez. Similarly to the Berlin, white is arguing that he has a better pawn structure and that any piece trades favor him.

After 3…a3, taking the knight is not as common, though, and by far the most common reply is 4.Ba4, retreating the bishop, but keeping the pressure on the knight, and from here the Ruy Lopez branches out.

The most common continuation after:
4. Ba4 is Nf6, challenging the center and attacking e4, and white continues with
5. O-O Be7
6. Re1 b5 – after Re1 this is now the Closed Ruy Lopez, the starting position of most variations played at top level, and play almost always continues with
7. Bb3 O-O
8. c3 d6 (after 8.c3, black is also able to strike in the center with d5, instead of playing the more passive and solid d6, and the variation is called the Marshall Attack)
9. h3, after which this is the starting position for 90% of high level games, and the first point at which players actually start thinking. Black is the one who gets to choose which variation to go for from here on. The most common continuations are:
9…Bb8 (The Breyer variation)
9…Na5 (The Chigorin variation)

The Ruy Lopez (also called the Spanish Game or the Spanish torture) is one of the oldest chess openings. It was named after Ruy López de Segura, a Spanish priest and chess player who lived in the 16th century. The first mention of the opening was found in Libro del Ajedrez (the book of chess) from 1561, and it has been analyzed and improved upon ever since then.


  1. Very well explained, this is one of the few opening videos where I can follow along and learn without being overwhelmed

  2. I like the way your videos are made. Concise, straight to the point and not overstimulating. Totally recommend this channel for any advancing players.

  3. 𝕗𝕠𝕣𝕥𝕟𝕚𝕥𝕖 𝕓𝕒𝕝𝕝𝕤 𝟜𝟚𝟘 says:

    ?? rook e1 is NOT the move in the open ruy, the correct move is d4

  4. Why the Bishop can’t just go back to C2 after B5 and winning a move?

  5. i think i will watch near all these to practise for my tournament

  6. I thank hanging pawns for this great video who helped alot in understanding the spanish game more better

  7. This is the type of content I feel I'd normally have to pay for. Incredibly grateful for your generosity, and I look forward to solidifying my opening play with these videos. Have a great one!

  8. What opening is black playing in the first 5 minuts?

  9. I don't know who you are or where you are but know this I WILL BE WATCHING…..

  10. Where is the open spanish? its almost as if it does not exist…

  11. ♟ Ke1. ♟赌; Silver's Coin(s).🏰In the Nameth of Luna/ Empress Selene.🕊⌛⏳⌛🕊

  12. 3:00 Why does black take with the d pawn and not the b pawn?

  13. Great video, but for the love of God – why on white background?

  14. The ruy Lopez is amazing! So comfortable to play and logical

  15. At min. 6, why has white to blay h3? Is it to keep the knight from coming to g4?

  16. i love looking at these, i naturally memorize theory easily and this really helps alot

  17. Again, an excellent video. I really look forward to your opening series, as your method of instruction is very logical.

  18. Thank you for these excellent videos…very instructive and easy to follow.

  19. not many tubetubers like hanging pawns. Very good presentation of top quality chess

  20. Hello Tomic, can you do something similar with Italian opening theory? thanks

  21. I'm sorry but how does playing 1…e5 STOP white from playing 2.d4? The centre counter opening does just that!

  22. Great instructive video! I really feel that I learnt something from that! Awesome.

  23. Very useful explanations, thank you for sharing

  24. what is the c60-c99 on the upper leftside of the video?

  25. Im stuck on hard level chess app, anytips how to beat the AI? Im playing white.

  26. 4:35 My classmate is an unorthodox player, he plays b5 instead of knight challenging the bishop and if I try to save the bishop he will continue to develop his pieces which is a disadvantage for me. What should you think the best move/ should I do?

  27. what if black plays kA5 before he castles challenging the bishop before a retreat square is crated on c2 ?

  28. I've been leisurely playing chess since I was a child but have recently taken a keener interest in the game and have decided to study chess to become a better player. This video was very helpful and has given me many things to contemplate. I have been playing the RL and really like the games that arise from it. Thank you!

  29. What if you open with e4 and they open with c5? Can you still play the ruy lopez?

  30. Is there any Hanging Pawn variation in Ruy Lopez ?

  31. Excellent video! I have been watching agadmator, finegold and SLC videos for a couple of years and have been one of their early subscribers. They are great for learning about and enjoying famous games and lines, but for a person who wants to learn chess, your channel seems to be doing the best job so far! Your video is very methodical, keep up this approach. Subscribed 🙂

  32. @ Hanging pawns Thanks for uploading these opening tutorials, I only learn chess last month, you videos help me get 1400 ratings at lichess, Thanks!!! I hope a new opening video will come out because those last ones are about magnus vs caruana the championship, thanks😁🇵🇭👍

  33. I Really liked this video…very simple and straight to the point….

  34. Awesome and logical explanations of Spanish opening ideas in general ,awaiting your next videos separately in details for each variations, keep it up and thanks for sharing

  35. Finally I found a very good channel that gives me correct idea in opening👍👍👍
    Really this video is super👌👌👌
    Thanks a lot🙏

  36. What about if you opened with e5 and black moved hf6? (h is horse)

  37. الشطرنج للجميع Chess For All says:

    Great presentation

  38. Really excellent video. Highly informative with excellent presentation

  39. Super channel. An encyclopedia on chess

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