Openings in chess are very important, because success in the game depends highly on how you develop your pieces, understanding of theory behind moves and ability to avoid traps in early stages of the game. My favorite opening is Ruy Lopez opening named on Spanish Bishop from few hundred years ago. Opening is also known like Spanish game too.

It starts with white following moves:

1 e2-e4, e7-e5, 2 Kf3, Kc6, 3 Bb5

Black usually plays , a7-a6 attacking white light Bishop. That is called Morphy's defense. White might think he can easily remove black Pawn on e5 after Bishop-Knight exchange, but it's just temporary because after Bxc6, d7xc6 and Kxe5 black can move Queen to d4 and attack white Pawn and Knight at same time and after retreating of Knight to f3 he can remove Pawn on e4 with check. He would have better position after that. That is why white usually retreat Bishop to a4.

3 black a7-a6, 4 Ba4 Kf6, 5 0-0

Black is moving his Knight attacking e4 Pawn and white is doing castle in cold blood. He knows black can remove e4, but white can get away with this. This variant where black removes e4 Pawn is called "open variant". There is also closed variant which is black Bishop e7. We'll discuss open variant here.

5 black Kxe4, 6 d2-d4 b7-b5, 7 Bb3, d7-d5, 9 d4xe5

After this black is protecting his d5 pawn with Be6 which also prevent white e pawn from advancing. White is usually play c3 to make space for light Bishop with idea to move Knight from b1 to d2 while black can either move his Knight or his dark Bishop to c5.

9 black Be6, 10 c2-c3, Bc5 11 Kb1-d2

Black is attacking f2 Pawn with Knight and Bishop and can initiate exchange of those peaces for white Rook and Pawn.

Now lets consider some possible moves which are not in main line of this opening like black taking Pawn on d4 in move 6. This is so called "Riga variation". Black would have 2 extra Pawns, but his King open to Rook attack.

1 e2-e4 e7-e5, 2 Kf3 Kc6, 3 Bb5 a7-a6, 4 Ba4 Kf6, 5 0-0 Kxe4,

6 d2-d4, e5xd4, 7 Re1 d7-d5, 8 Kxd4

Rook attacks Knight which can't move because he is on line with King. Black need to protect Knight with d7-d5 after which white can remove Pawn with Kxd4.

It looks like white is in much better position now because black King is on line of fire of Rook from e1 and from Bishop from a4. Black Knight on c6 is under double attack and can't move. Both black Knights are pinned and can't move. It looks like white will gain material here, but there is one clever move for black which leads to draw. That is Bd6!


8 black Bd6, 9 Kxc6 Bh2 check!

White is attacking black Queen trying to force black to do pawn b7-c6 and then want to make double attack on King and Rook with Bc6. But black is more clever than this and do Bh2 check! Now if white do King h2 Queen will go to h4 with check and after King g1 black will do Queen f2 check and no matter where white King goes black can check him with Queen and it's draw game. If he wants to avoid draw white can do Kh1 to avoid check.

10 Kh1, Qd4, 11 Rxe4,

with double attack on King and Queen. If black do Qxe4 white will take Bishop on h2 and gain material. Black is thus forced to do pxe4

11black pxe4, 12 Qd8 check!, Qxd8, 13 Kxd8, Kxd8, 14 Kxh2

Black has Rook and two pawns for white's Knight and Bishop. White has Bishop pair and game is playable for both sides. Who will win will depend on black's ability to use his Rook or white's ability to do some serious damage with Bishop pair he has. He has extra peace after all. Capablanca who played with this game with white won it.

Now let's come back to move 6 and analyze variation if black is not taking d4 Pawn, but do pawn b7-b5. White would retreat Bishop to b2 and black can then remove Pawn on d4. It would look like this:

1 e2-e4 e7-e5, 2 Kf3 Kc6, 3 Bb5 a7-a6, 4 Ba4 Kf6, 5 0-0 Kxe4,

6 d2-d4 b7-b5, 7 Bb3, e5xd4, 8 Re1 d7-d5, 9 Kc3!

When black do e4xc3 white can move Bd5 and fork 2 Knights and after Bb7 he can take Knight with Bxe4 and have possible attack on King by moving Bishop away in next move.

Black must cover with Be7 and white can recover Pawn on c3. White has better position after.Black must not remove Knight on c3. Instead he should move white Bishop to e6.

9 black Be6, 10 Ke4 d5xe4, 11 Rxe4, Be7, 12 Bxe6, f7xe6, 13 Rxe6

Now let's see some famous mistakes and traps in this opening. In this variant black is making blunder in 6th move which leads to losing material or check mate.

1 e4, e5, 2 Kf3, Kc6, 3 Bb5, a6, 4 Ba4, b5, 5 a4, b4, 6 d4, Bd6 (?), 7 pxe5, Kxe5, 8 Kxe5, Bxe5, 9 Qd5 with check mate threat and attack on Rook on a8.

In bellow variant black is moving Knight on d4 and let white check hi with Bf7 following by Kxe5. Black King is going for a walk toward check mate after.

1 e4, e5, 2 Kf3, Kc6, 3 Bb5, a6, 4 Ba4, b5, 5 Bb3 Kd4, 6 Bxf6 Kxe6, 7 Kxe5 Ke6,

8 Qg4 Kxe5 9 f4 Kxe4, 10 Kc3 check mate!

I hope you enjoyed this Ruy Lopez open variant opening tutorial.