Ruy Lopez

The very first moves of a chess match are aptly named “the opening”. Since White moves first, his is White’s opportunity to set the tone of the play, keeping in mind that the primary goals are to gain control of the center board, create opportunities for the mobility of White’s major pieces, and to set up sequences of play that lead to the capture of Black’s pawns and pieces.

The Ruy Lopez is a very old opening named after a 16th century clergyman; Ruy Lopez. Lopez conducted a comprehensive study of chess openings and included the opening subsequently named after him in a 150 page chess book he wrote. Even though the opening was named after him, it was recorded in 1490 in a paper titled the Gottengen manuscript. The Ruy Lopez never caught on in the chess world until the mid 1800’s when a Russian named Jaenisch rediscovered the opening and begin to play the Ruy Lopez in tournaments. In modern international chess play, Bobby Fischer and Gary Kasparov have made the Ruy Lopez their favorite opening.

The basic Ruy Lopez is three moves. White moves Kings Pawn to e4, then kings’ bishop to b5 and kings knight to f3. The knight can be moved ahead of the bishop as a preference. Take a careful look at White’s position after just three moves. The bishop threatens the black king and his pawn, the white pawn and white knight are maneuvering at center board while simultaneously preparing to castle. The Ruy Lopez provides for offense and defense, both, in just three moves. Maybe more importantly, Black must forget all previously considered options and drive the white bishop from b5.

Continued at Ruy Lopez.

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