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View Full Version : How to defend against this Ruy Lopez variation?



Ausknight
07-03-2009, 10:30 AM
At the moment I'm opening with the Ruy Lopez and whilst I personally use the classic line of 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc5, I've come across other white players online opening with the following instead :

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4

It's a slight variation which puts immediate pressure the following turn with either sacrificing the Bishop with Bxf7+ (forcing the king to take and removing a castle from the equation - Is this actually worth the trade in material?) or threatening the potentially potent follow up with Nh5 (which leads to a nasty Nxf8).

Question is, how do you defend against this variation?

Cheers

Capablanca-Fan
07-03-2009, 10:59 AM
At the moment I'm opening with the Ruy Lopez and whilst I personally use the classic line of 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc5, I've come across other white players online opening with the following instead :

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4

It's a slight variation which puts immediate pressure the following turn with either sacrificing the Bishop with Bxf7+ (forcing the king to take and removing a castle from the equation - Is this actually worth the trade in material?) or threatening the potentially potent follow up with Nh5 (which leads to a nasty Nxf8).

Question is, how do you defend against this variation?

Cheers
I'm not sure what you're asking. 3. Bc4 can be answered well by 3... Bc5 or Nf6.

Zwischenzug
07-03-2009, 11:03 AM
Actually, this opening is the Italian game. Anyway, sacking the bishop for a pawn so early in the game is a bad idea for white. Sure black can't castle but he can survive. 3...Nf6 or 3...Bc5 would be normal for black here.

Spiny Norman
07-03-2009, 11:07 AM
As Jono (edit: and Zwischenzug) said, there are a couple of good moves.

I invariably play 3...Bc5 in that position, because when playing 3...Nf6 Black needs to know the theory after White's 4.Ng5 (Fried Liver Attack, IIRC) and for beginners that's not an easy line to play. With 3...Bc5 the diagonal from Black's Qd8 to the g5 square is not blocked, preventing the immediate 4.Ng5 by White.

Rincewind
07-03-2009, 11:15 AM
I haven't been an e4 or e5 player for several years but the line you give is not considered the Ruy Lopez. It is called both the Giuoco Piano (quiet game) and Italian Opening. There are many lines but generally the Bishop sac is not working just yet and Black normally plays 3...Bc5.

If 4.Bxf7 Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6! seems hair raising but black is better thanks to the material (although his king is exposed and so he has to be careful).

The usual lines after 3...Bc5 are either 4.b4 called the Evan's Gambit (which can be accepted) or the mainline 4.c3 Nf6 where White will usually play 5.d3 or d4. But things are pretty solid now since the knight on f6 defends the queen checking squares the Bxf7+ move is unlikely to cause any problems for a while.

Ausknight
07-03-2009, 11:18 AM
As Jono (edit: and Zwischenzug) said, there are a couple of good moves.

I invariably play 3...Bc5 in that position, because when playing 3...Nf6 Black needs to know the theory after White's 4.Ng5 (Fried Liver Attack, IIRC) and for beginners that's not an easy line to play. With 3...Bc5 the diagonal from Black's Qd8 to the g5 square is not blocked, preventing the immediate 4.Ng5 by White.

Omg there's a line called the Fried Liver Attack?

That alone makes chess worth playing IMHO! HAHAHAHAHAAHA! LOVE IT!

Okay, so if my opponent pulls the pin and goes for Bxf7+ I just take back with the king? What then? It kind of leaves me a little exposed which as a beginner worries me a bit. Can I swing across the Rook from h8 to f8 and swing the king back in behind? With no pawn protecting on f7, I just feel like no matter what I do I'm dangerously exposed.

I guess I need more theory research on this line, or just learn a better response from the classic Ruy Lopez from white.

I have to admit I'm in the VERY early stages of learning opening lines, so a lot of what I see at the moment I mostly respond with tactical positioning with no theory behind me. I always worry about this because there's a lot of traps for the beginner in many opening lines and it's lead to more than one loss for me.

At present I generally only open with the Ruy Lopez as white and to be quite honest, respond with rubbish when playing as black. Looks like I need to stick my head into a few books and start a decent education on openings!

Spiny Norman
07-03-2009, 11:34 AM
If you have a high-bandwidth internet connection, a lot of these openings are covered on YouTube (at least in a brief overview, including some of the usual traps to watch out for).

Beyond that, I can recommend the book series called "Starting Out ..." (e.g. Starting Out: Ruy Lopez) which can be purchased from all good chess retailers and/or Amazon Books. I have about a dozen of them and they give me at least a rudimentary understanding of the themes and usual plans for the major variations of each opening/defence.

There's also a good website (www.chessgames.com) that has an openings explorer. I am a member there, which allows me to delve into openings/games and see how "normal" most of the moves are in any position.

If you get really serious, ChessBase or Chess Assistant (I have the latter) gives you more than 3M games which are indexed by opening lines.

Ausknight
07-03-2009, 12:22 PM
If you have a high-bandwidth internet connection, a lot of these openings are covered on YouTube (at least in a brief overview, including some of the usual traps to watch out for).

Beyond that, I can recommend the book series called "Starting Out ..." (e.g. Starting Out: Ruy Lopez) which can be purchased from all good chess retailers and/or Amazon Books. I have about a dozen of them and they give me at least a rudimentary understanding of the themes and usual plans for the major variations of each opening/defence.

There's also a good website (www.chessgames.com) that has an openings explorer. I am a member there, which allows me to delve into openings/games and see how "normal" most of the moves are in any position.

If you get really serious, ChessBase or Chess Assistant (I have the latter) gives you more than 3M games which are indexed by opening lines.

That's fantastic, thanks for the info!

I've just become a member of the ICC as well, is this sort of stuff covered there at all?

Capablanca-Fan
07-03-2009, 01:14 PM
Omg there's a line called the Fried Liver Attack?

That alone makes chess worth playing IMHO! HAHAHAHAHAAHA! LOVE IT!
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5 d5 5. exd5 Nxd5?! [5... Na5 gives Black a strong initiative for a P] 6. Nxf7 [the "Fried Liver"] [6. d4 first is probably even stronger] 6... Kxf7 7. Qf3+ Ke6 and a difficult game for Black


Okay, so if my opponent pulls the pin and goes for Bxf7+ I just take back with the king? What then? It kind of leaves me a little exposed which as a beginner worries me a bit. Can I swing across the Rook from h8 to f8 and swing the king back in behind?
Yes, that's called artificial castling or castling by hand.


With no pawn protecting on f7, I just feel like no matter what I do I'm dangerously exposed.
But exposed to what? White's just blown an attacking piece permanently for just minor temporary discomfort.

NB:
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. Ng5?! 0-0 6. Nxf7? Rxf7 7. Bxf7+ Kxf7 is exceedingly bad play for White, because B+N will prove much stronger in the middlegame than the R+P which have little to do as yet


I guess I need more theory research on this line, or just learn a better response from the classic Ruy Lopez from white.
Yes, the Ruy is a good opening for White to last a lifetime, unlike the Italian, and should guarantee an advantage against rubbishy Black lines.

Ausknight
07-03-2009, 10:13 PM
Thank you so much for your help there Jono!

That Fried Liver Attack is something I've seen before actually (I just didn't know it had a name), although it was more of an accident than anything when I come across it :)

I personally don't like sacrificing material for positional advantage unless it leads to an overwhelmingly strong position (that's obvious as well).

As a beginner, the trade off for position is something that goes against our basic playing ethos. Before we have experience and knowledge of opening lines in our repertoire, we usually play hope chess (http://www.jeremysilman.com/chess_thinking_cap/040703_part_4.html) and simple tactical play, of which one of the main priorities is maintaining a material advantage at all times.

So when the other noobies I play on ICC start throwing 'free' material at me in such a fashion, I start to wonder if the trade off in material for position early on like that is really worth it and these guys are ahead of me in thinking, or if they're simply trying too hard for a quick kill and fall on their swords? Sometimes, I can't see a tactical blunder like this for a well disguised trap, which is why I'm usually cautious about it.

It would seem that despite my initial confusion, my suspicions are correct - these early game spite checks more or less are just a ?? move :)

On opening lines for black though, I've been checking out some of the easier defensive lines from the Sicilian (Najdorf variation) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5KFk1RtGvA) which seem a little safer, although they might be a little advanced for where I am now as it's a lot more moves. Still, it feels more comfortable a response to an e4 opening from white than e5. (As an aside, I really like the tutorials by Jrobichess, nicely presented for a beginner I've found)

The biggest problem I find with learning my opening lines at the moment is that because I play against a lot of new players at my level, they have virtually no concept of opening theory at all and play any old rubbish to get the action going as soon as possible, so more often than not I have to abandon playing classical opening lines a few moves in simply to defend something I'm not expecting that's throwing early pressure on.

Spiny Norman
08-03-2009, 05:44 AM
Pre-empting Jono's reply perhaps, but the reason that there are tried-and-true opening lines is that the other lines don't work very well. So when someone goes "out of book lines" take a little time to try to work out why. There is a reasonable chance that its either a blunder or an inferior line, so if you can find the right follow-up move you will get an advantage. But I agree that its tough trying to figure that out when you haven't built up your own mental opening library of experience to draw on.

Spiny Norman
08-03-2009, 05:53 AM
I thought I would give a little example of what I mean. In a game I am playing online at the moment:

1.e4 c5 2.Qh5 Nf6 3.Qxc5 Nxe4

I'm Black. I normally don't play the Sicilian, and I had never faced 2.Qh5 before. I don't know the theory, but I suspect its not played very often and the reason for that is that it is inferior (premature development of the queen exposes it to attack, "normal" 2nd moves by White are 2.Nf3, 2.Nc3, 2.c3, 2.Bb5 and so on). So I chose 2...Nf6 which develops a piece with tempo (Queen must move). After 3.Qxc5 Nxe4 the queen must move again. Most places it goes, I will follow up with 4...d5 and I have achieved a number of goals:

-- one of the main ideas of the Sicilian is that Black exchanges his c-pawn for a centre pawn, giving him a central pawn majority ... and I will have achieved something similar, exchanging my c-pawn for the (I think, very important!) e4-pawn.

-- White has been running around with his queen and has still not developed a minor piece

-- my d5-pawn gives me occupation/control of the centre and the opportunity for a later e5 pawn thrust to open lines

Now of course the stronger players here will no doubt expose my shallow thinking and give me 3 reasons why White is better(!), and if so I will take my medicine like a man, but I hope that little explanation gives you an idea of how to approach tackling an unexpected move in the opening.

Desmond
08-03-2009, 07:25 AM
Best way to avoid Bxf7 sacs is 1...e6 ;)

Rincewind
08-03-2009, 11:37 AM
Now of course the stronger players here will no doubt expose my shallow thinking and give me 3 reasons why White is better(!), and if so I will take my medicine like a man, but I hope that little explanation gives you an idea of how to approach tackling an unexpected move in the opening.

I'm not that much of a stronger player than you and I don't think White is any better than Black in that line but by the same token I don't think Black has any huge advantage either (after 4.Qe3 say). However, rather than letting white take the c-pawn with the queen you could have defended it with some useful move like e6 or d6 and then get a tempo on his queen later with Nf6. For example after 1.e4 c5 2.Qh5 d6 3.Bc4 e6, and White's queen just looks plain silly. There is no way for White to get an attack on f7 and you are threatening to play Nf6 winning a tempo whenever you please.

Capablanca-Fan
08-03-2009, 01:50 PM
Best way to avoid Bxf7 sacs is 1...e6 ;)
Why would you want to avoid an early Christmas gift? ;) E.g. from an early age, I loved people trying the Double Muzio against me.

Capablanca-Fan
08-03-2009, 02:02 PM
I think the lines suggested by Snail King and Rincewind are both sensible and good for Black. In SK's line, I might play 4. Qe3 Nf6 to advance the e-pawn with preparation. 4... d5 is not bad though, and should be compared with the exchange Caro Kann:
1.e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Bd3 Nc6 5. c3 Nf6 6. Bf4

1.e4 c5 2. Qh5 Nf6 3. Qxc5 Nxe4 4. Qe3 d5 5. d4 Nc6 6. Bd3 Nf6 [6... Nd6 is probably even better, with ideas of ... Bf5 as well as supporting the minority attack better] 7. c3

In the game of GO, this sort of analysis, reversing move orders and making comparisons with known positions, is called Tewari. Comparing the above, we see that White's game is different from the genuine opening by having the Q misplaced on e3 instead of the B well developed on f4.

Mephistopheles
23-03-2009, 03:26 PM
Why would you want to avoid an early Christmas gift? ;) E.g. from an early age, I loved people trying the Double Muzio against me.
I'll happily venture it against anyone around my strength (i.e. not terribly strong) and, if I could be bothered learning the theory, I'd probably give it a crack against just about anyone.

As I understand it, White is generally regarded as OK-ish in the line. Mind you, my books o' King's Gambit theory might be out of date at around 8 years old.

Hardly relevant any more, as I play the King's Bishop's Gambit these days anyway. No chance of Philidor or Hanstein dullness.

useless patzer
23-03-2009, 09:39 PM
Thanks for this thread- very informative. The openings are my weakness and I need all the help I can get in learning theory, which is not so easy now I'm in my late 30's.

Igor_Goldenberg
26-03-2009, 12:15 PM
Thanks for this thread- very informative. The openings are my weakness and I need all the help I can get in learning theory, which is not so easy now I'm in my late 30's.

IMHO, learning the opening nowadays is much easier then it used to be with all the info available (I agree that separating seeds from weeds is still a difficult part, though).

Spiny Norman
26-03-2009, 12:34 PM
Incidentally, here's how my 1.e4 c5 2.Qh5 game turned out ... I'm black ... in the end I decided against the d5 follow-up and played a bit more conservatively ... and my opponent gradually gifted me several pieces:

1.e4 c5 2.Qh5 Nf6 3.Qxc5 Nxe4 4.Qe3 Nf6 5.Bb5 a6 6.Ba4 g6 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.O-O O-O 9.Bb3 Nc6 10.a3 d5
11.d3 Re8 12.Qd2 Bg4 13.Ng5 h6 14.h3 Bh5 15.Nc3 Qd7 16.Na4 Rad8 17.Nc5 Qc8 18.c3 hxg5 19.Qxg5 Nh7 20.Qd2 g5
21.d4 Bg6 22.Nd3 Na5 23.Bd1 Nc4 24.Qe2 e5 25.Qg4 Qxg4 26.Bxg4 Bxd3 27.Re1 e4 28.Bf5 Bf6 29.b3 Nd6 30.Bg4 Nf8
31.Bd2 Ne6 32.a4 Rd7 33.b4 Nc4 34.Bc1 Bd8 35.a5 Kg7 36.g3 Kg6 37.f3 f5 38.fxe4 fxg4 39.exd5 Rxd5 40.hxg4 Nc7
41.Rxe8 Nxe8 42.Ra2 Nf6 0-1

useless patzer
26-03-2009, 03:45 PM
The young American GM Hikaru Nakamura is a bit of a fan of 2 Q-h5, but it can sometimes rebound (http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1361150)on him....

Desmond
26-03-2009, 03:57 PM
I believe Smerdon may also have played it, or that might have been 1.e4 e5 2.Qh5, or then again I could be completely wrong.

Igor_Goldenberg
30-03-2009, 08:27 AM
I believe Smerdon may also have played it, or that might have been 1.e4 e5 2.Qh5, or then again I could be completely wrong.
In 1994 Rogers played Qh5 against Djuric (1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 c6 3.Qh5)

Basil
30-03-2009, 10:33 AM
In 1994 Rogers played Qh5 against Djuric (1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 c6 3.Qh5)
IN 1972, aged 6, I might have played 2.Qh5 against my father. Then again, I might not :uhoh:

Igor_Goldenberg
02-04-2009, 10:00 PM
IN 1972, aged 6, I might have played 2.Qh5 against my father. Then again, I might not :uhoh:
Where you also a GM at that time?

Basil
02-04-2009, 11:32 PM
Where you also a GM at that time?
Yes, a Gunner Mini! ;)

Nicholas D-C
23-04-2009, 11:00 AM
Go to www.chessgames.com, use the opening explorer, and look up some games on the lines you have trouble with. This is a useful tool for learning an opening better.

Sheroff
02-05-2009, 06:18 PM
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ is called the Jerome Gambit, and is unsound. A remember a nice brevity which from memory continued ...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ g6 7.Qxe5 d6 8.Qxh8 Qh4 (Black can attack too!) 9.0-0 Nf6 10.c3 Ng4 11.h3 Bxf2+ 12.Kh1 Bf5 13.Qxa8 Qxh3+! 14.gxh3 Bxe4#. I think that's right - I'm just dragging that one out of my brain without a board while I'm sitting here.

If you're new to 3.Bc4, then ...Bc5 is probably a safer answer than ...Nf6, which can lead to a lot of tricky lines for the Guioco Piano newbie...

Good luck!

Kaitlin
02-05-2009, 06:31 PM
without reading the thread or whats its about ..apart from the heading..

wispher.... Ive got a fork and Ive sharpened it before I came (and smile)...

Capablanca-Fan
02-05-2009, 08:56 PM
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ is called the Jerome Gambit, and is unsound. A remember a nice brevity which from memory continued ...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ g6 7.Qxe5 d6 8.Qxh8 Qh4 (Black can attack too!) 9.0-0 Nf6 10.c3 Ng4 11.h3 Bxf2+ 12.Kh1 Bf5 13.Qxa8 Qxh3+! 14.gxh3 Bxe4#. I think that's right - I'm just dragging that one out of my brain without a board while I'm sitting here.
Pretty good memory then! Yes, Blackburne won this one (http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1029000).

Sheroff
04-05-2009, 04:09 PM
Thanks Jono -

Yes, keeping useless games from yesteryear and obscure traps in my head is what I do best...

If only I knew how to play rook and pawn endgames as well...

Kevin Casey

PS In line with this thread, I think your game with Black against Smerdon's 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 was one of the finer examples of how to defeat that opening that I've had the pleasure of observing - well done.