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"Hanging" the e4 pawn as white in some variations of Ruy Lopez

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  • "Hanging" the e4 pawn as white in some variations of Ruy Lopez

    Consider the situation when White plays the standard Ruy Lopez/Spanish opening moves - e.g. consider the line 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 b5 5. Bb3.

    Suppose now Black chooses to play 5...Nf6.

    In this position, I usually end up playing 6...d3 to defend the e4 pawn (note that 6...Nc3 appears the lose the e4 pawn to 7. b4). BUT I do not want to and prefer to play ...d4 at some point later without having to waste a tempo by playing 6...d3 beforehand.

    However in the position after 5...Nf6, (see here), the website tells me I can it is actually mainline to play 6. O-O. Why is this? What do I do if Black responds with the naieve 6...Nxe4?
    Last edited by sartre; 03-03-2012, 08:42 PM.

  • #2
    d3 is waaaaay passive. the e-pawn is indirectly defended in this line, just ignore it.

    Qe2 saves the day. then you get his e-pawn and a heck of a nice position.

    you could play d4! and bust things wide open. lots of options in that position.
    Alexander Alekhine is my chess hero.

    An eerie chess short story: The Empty Chair

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    • #3
      Thanks Skwerly! Qe2 is very nice. Yes I'd like to play d4 after playing c3.

      Yes I hate 6...d3, it leads to boring positions, I only played it because I couldn't think of other options at the time.


      • #4
        Originally posted by sartre View Post
        However in the position after 5...Nf6, (see here), the website tells me I can it is actually mainline to play 6. O-O. Why is this? What do I do if Black responds with the naieve 6...Nxe4?
        The result here is what's called the open Ruy Lopez.

        This is a very popular system that has been used my many top players. It's shown up in World Championship and other top matches (most famously by Korchnoi against Karpov, but also by Anand against Kasparov).

        This is NOT a naive move. It is a very reasonable way to play for the win at all levels.

        1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4


        6.d4! is clearly the best move. Attempts to force an immediate crisis on the e-file with 6.Re1 don't give white much.

        6. ... b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6.

        We now reach the main branching point of the open Ruy. Many players of white like 9.c3, however, I've had very good success with the Dilworth Variation, which runs:

        9. c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 0-0 11.Bc2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6.

        Black gets good compensation for his sacrificed material. The resulting positions are a lot of fun to play for black if you like to attack. For white, the line isn't as one-slip-and-you're-dead as the Marshall attack, but still not to everyone's tastes. This may partially explain why both Karpov (against Korchnoi) and Kasparov (against Anand) played:


        Here the main line runs:

        9. Nbd2 Nc5 10.c3 d4 11.Ng5!!

        A stunner first unleashed by Karpov against Korchnoi. Can you imagine having to response to that move over-the-board? Black /CAN/ survive grabbing the knights with 11. Qxg5, and he can decline it with 11.Bd5. Anand, however, played:

        11. ... dxc3 12.Nxe6 fxe6 13.bxc3 Qd3

        Anand had drawn Kasparov four games earlier from this position after 14.Nf3 0-0-0. However, given time to think about it, Kasparov came back with:

        14.Bc2!! Qxc3 15.Nb3! Nxb3 16.Bxb3

        And white would go on to win in a barn-burner in the 10th game in New York, 1995.

        See game 10 of Karpov-Korchnoi's Baguio match for Karpov's use of the sac, although Korchnoi declined it and got a draw.

        9.Qe2 is also an option, and a perfectly reasonable choice. You should plan to bring the king rook to d1, and if black plays Bc5, oppose it with Be3.
        Last edited by Ronaldinho; 03-04-2012, 01:07 AM.