The Ruy Lopez, considered the most common of the chess openings, begins with both black and white kings' pawns advancing. Then white brings out the king's knight which puts pressure on black's advanced king pawn. Black brings out the queen's knight to defend its pawn. What makes this a Ruy Lopez is that white brings out the king's bishop to attack the black knight. The contested square in this is the black's king's pawn (e5). With this opening white has pressure on e5 from the king's knight and a pin on the black knight that is defending the square from the king's bishop. It is also known as the Spanish Torture. This is widely viewed as the most powerful of the openings for white and is the most studied of all the openings, some books will say the Ruy Lopez has been studied more than all other openings combined. It's definitely a nice way to use white's one free tempo to slowly strangle black.

The battle for the center begins.

Here is the notation:

1. e4-e5
2. Nf3-Nc6
3. Bb5
 

see also Morphy's Defense, The Worrall Attack, The Ruy Lopez Exchange Variation and The Noah's Ark trap

chess openings
endgames in chess

In addition to the above, the "Ruy Lopez" is a hair style much favored by Bryan Ferry in 1973: It's a combination of a DA and a mullet. Strong men have bitten their own legs off in fear at the sight of it.

Fortunately, the "Ruy Lopez" cut was banned by international treaty in 1975. There are now 112 signatories to the Ruy Lopez Ban Treaty, notable holdouts being South Africa, France, the People's Republic of China, Syria, and North Korea. With the recent passing of hardline hepcat Hafez Assad and the accession of his son Bashar Assad, observers of the Middle Eastern scene expect that Syria will soon join the ban in order to promote better trade relations with the US and Europe.

Jennifer Lopez was unavailable for comment at press time, but she has outspokenly supported the ban on several occasions.

The Ruy Lopez is also known as the Spanish Game and, more affectionately, as the Spanish Torture.

A common mistake for Black to make early in this opening is:
1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5 Bc5

Because this allows White to take the pawn, 4. Nxe5 ... if Black takes back with 4. ... Nxe5, d4 decisively gains control of the center.


Update (February 10th, 2001): dunne has pointed out to me that, in this variation, Black can play 4. ... Bxf2+

After 5. Kxf2 and 5. ... Nxe5, 6. d4, Black's position wouldn't be too bad indeed.

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