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The Ruy Lopez Opening (Spanish Opening) has been played for some 500 years and is renowned for its rich, strategic play. It has been used regularly by every world chess champion and is often one of the first openings beginners learn.
The Ruy Lopez begins with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5. It is one of the most heavily analyzed openings in today’s game and continues to enjoy incredible popularity at all levels (elite players such as Anand, Caruana, and Carlsen frequently play the Ruy Lopez).
There are many chess players who love to play the Ruy Lopez as it’s exceptionally versatile and there is still plenty of room to maneuver and discover new ideas for both sides!
The Ruy Lopez is considered essential to the development of any promising player. Its strategic nature, typical tactics plus the fact it leads to both open and closed positions make it perfect for deepening general chess understanding.
It’s considered to be one of the best openings for beginners because it typically leads to open games, with a lot of play for both sides.
One of White’s key ideas in the Ruy Lopez is to quickly control the center. This is achieved by placing a pawn in the center on the first move (1.e4), a move which also liberates the White’s light-squared bishop and queen.
By playing 2.Nf3, White immediately attacks the Black central pawn on e5. Afterwards, White moves his bishop to b5 from where it threatens to eliminate the knight on c6, Black’s piece that protects the pawn on e5. With these three moves, White immediately puts pressure on the center.
Following these ideas, White achieves the 3 main goals of any opening: control of the center, rapid development, and preparation for castling to safety.
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