The Ruy Lopez is the cornerstone of classical play in chess. There are probably more variations for the Ruy Lopez than any other opening. With the common use of the double king’s pawn opening (1.e4 e5), the Ruy Lopez is one of the most played openings that any chess player will come across. It’s almost imperative that any chess player study some of the more popular defenses against the Ruy Lopez and understand some of the key concepts of the opening.
From the beginning, white looks to develop his bishop while pinning down black’s knight to the king. Although many openings focus on the f7 square early on, the Ruy Lopez is a slower and more methodical approach to attacking black’s king.
Always be aware of what your opponent is trying to do when playing the Ruy Lopez, as many players have a very specific defense designed for playing against the Ruy Lopez.
The Ruy Lopez is sometimes considered a slow and boring opening but the better player should usually come out with the win. There are not as many tricks or surprises in the Ruy Lopez and is recommended against any opponent that you know you have a distinct advantage in skill level.
Watch the video below to watch more detailed explanations of the opening, multiple variations, and extended lines.