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zdrak 464 ( +1 | -1 )
One variation in the Ruy-Lopez This thread is dedicated to the analisys of one sub-sub-variation in the Ruy Lopez (Spanish) opening, and 5 games that I played in this variation. Hope you'll find this interesting!

Here's the variation I often play as white:

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.0-0 Bg4 (Fischer's move)
6.h3 h5 7.d3 Qf6 and now the normal theoretical line is 8.Nbd2 Bc5
with a difficult game for both sides.

But through trial and error I discovered (not as the first, but I did discover it) that white can just as well
play 8.Be3. How should black respond ? The most critical line is of
course 8...Bxf3, because anything else (eg. 8...Bd6 9.Nbd2) would
lead to an inferior version of known lines. Inferior for black, that
is... white's bishop is developed to e3 instead of being hemmed on
c1, and black's bishop is passive on d6 instead of being active on c5.
So, black must call white's bluff and exchange on f3:

8.Be3 Bxf3 9.Qxf3 Qxf3 10.gxf3 - and we have our ground position.

Black conceded the bishop pair, but white has an ugly pair of doubled
pawns on the f-file. If white is given a chance to get rid of them
by f3-f4, he'll stand better. That's why 10...0-0-0 is bad, and black
must play:

10...Bd6 11.Nd2 Ne7

Again, after 11...0-0-0 12.Nc4 white cannot be prevented from playing f4.

Here are some games I played in this line on the ItsYourTurn server.

The first game is a proof that indeed black must play Bxf3 on his 8th
move: otherwise he's stimply stuck with a bad position.


[Event "January 2002 Main #1 Tournament"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Zdrak"]
[Black "The Rat"]
[Result "1-0"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. O-O Bg4
6. h3 h5 7. d3 Qf6 8. Be3 Ne7 9. Nbd2 Ng6 10. Re1 Nf4

And now, g4 can simply be taken. Of course it wouldn't
be possible without the favourable position of Be3 ...

11. hxg4 hxg4 12. Nh2 Qh4 13. Ndf1 Nxg2 14. Kxg2 Qh3+
15. Kg1 g3 16. fxg3 g6 17. Qg4 Qxg4 18. Nxg4 f5 19. exf5
gxf5 20. Nxe5 and white won, eventhough black delayed
his resignation well beyond good taste.

The second game shows that even if f3-f4 is prevented, white
can get good play - by attacking the center from the other
side (d3-d4) and operating on the d-file.


[Event "January 2002 Main #2 Tournament"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Zdrak"]
[Black "Igor"]
[Result "1-0"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. O-O Bg4
6. h3 h5 7. d3 Qf6 8. Be3 Bxf3 9. Qxf3 Qxf3 10. gxf3
Bd6 11. Nd2 Ne7 12. Kh1 O-O-O 13. Rg1 Ng6 14. Nc4 Rh7
15. Nxd6+ cxd6 16. d4 Rf8 17. Rad1 Kc7 18. dxe5 dxe5
19. Rd3 Rd8??

A blunder, the lesser evil was to let white have the
d-file with advantage.

20. Bb6+ 1-0


The third game is a complicated one! White eventually
manages to make the f3-f4 push with the help of his
king (!) and gets the better of it in the endgame but
throws it all away with a bad blunder on move 48 and
eventually even loses.

[Event "January 2002 Main #2 Tournament"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Zdrak"]
[Black "Werther"]
[Result "0-1"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. O-O Bg4
6. h3 h5 7. d3 Qf6 8. Be3 Bxf3 9. Qxf3 Qxf3 10. gxf3
Bd6 11. Nd2 Ne7 12. Kh1 O-O-O 13. Rg1 Ng6 14. Rg5 Be7
15. Rg2 Bf6 16. Nc4 b6 17. Bg5 Kd7 18. Ne3 Ke6 19. Nf5
c5 20. Be3 Rd7 21. a4 a5 22. b3 Rdd8 23. Rag1 Rh7 24. Kh2
Rg8 25. Kg3 Nf8 26. f4 g6 27. Kf3 Nd7 28. Ke2 Rd8 29. Ng3
exf4 30. Bxf4 g5 31. Bc1 g4 32. hxg4 hxg4 33. f3 gxf3+
34. Kxf3 Bd4 35. Be3 Rh3 36. Bxd4 cxd4 37. Ke2 Ne5
38. Nf5 Ng6 39. Rf2 c5 40. Ng7+ Ke7 41. Rgf1 Ne5 42. Rf5
f6 43. Rxf6 Rg8 44. Re6+ Kd7 45. Rxe5 Rxg7 46. Rf2
Re3+ 47. Kd2 Rg1

At that time I was already guaranteed a spot at the next
round of the tournament, which explains my somewhat sloppy
play ...

48. c3?? Rgg3 49. Rd5+ Ke6 50. cxd4 Rxd3+ 51. Kc2 Rxd4
52. Rxd4 cxd4 53. Rf5? Rc3+ 54. Kb2 Rc5 55. b4 Rxf5
56. exf5+ Kxf5 57. bxa5 bxa5 58. Kc2 Ke4 59. Kd2 Kd5
60. Kd3 Kc5 61. Kc2 Kb4 62. Kd3 Kxa4 63. Kxd4 Kb3 64. Kd3
a4 0-1


Here's game #4, in which white showed that another strategy
can be pursued: attack of the black h-pawn. White won
this pawn, but a slip in the endgame (plus fine defensive
play by black) brought about a draw.

[Event "June 2002 Main #1 Tournament"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Zdrak"]
[Black "o d z y "]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. O-O Bg4
6. h3 h5 7. d3 Qf6 8. Be3 Bxf3 9. Qxf3 Qxf3 10. gxf3
Bd6 11. Nd2 Ne7 12. Kh1 O-O 13. Rg1 Rfd8 14. Nc4 Ng6
15. Rg5 h4 16. Rg4 Re8 17. Nxd6 cxd6 18. Bg5 a5 19. Bxh4
a4 20. Bg3 Ra5 21. f4 exf4 22. Bxf4 Nxf4 23. Rxf4 Rh5
24. Kh2 a3 25. b3 d5 26. f3 Re6 27. Rg1 Reh6 28. Rg3
d4 29. Rfg4 Rh7 30. e5 c5 31. Re4?

This seems to be an inaccuracy. Had white played 31.b4
right away, black would hardly have a way to save himself.

31...R5h6 32. b4 b6 33. bxc5 bxc5 34. c3 Rh4!
35. cxd4 Rxe4 36. dxe4 cxd4 37. f4 Rh4 38. Rf3 Kh7
39. Kg3 g5! 40. fxg5 Rxe4 41. Rxa3 Rxe5 42. Kf4 Rd5
43. Rd3 Kg6 44. h4 Kh5 45. Kg3 Rd8 46. a4 Rd5 47. Kh3
f6 48. gxf6 Kg6 49. Kg4 Kxf6 50. Kf4 Rh5 51. Kg4 Rd5
52. h5 Rg5+ 53. Kh4 Rd5 54. h6 Kg6 55. Kg4 Kxh6 56. Kf4
Kg6 57. Ke4 Rg5 58. Rxd4 Ra5 59. Kd3 Kf6 60. Kc3 Ra8
61. Kb4 Rb8+ 62. Kc5 Ra8 63. Kc6 Ke5 64. Rh4
Ke6 65. Kb7 Ra5 66. Kb6 Rd5 67. Rh6+ Kd7 68. a5 Rd2
69. Kb7 Rb2+ 70. Rb6 Rc2 71. a6 Rc7+ 72. Ka8 1/2-1/2


And here is a 5th game, identical to game #4 until move 15,
when black improves by moving the other rook to d8. This
allows him later to achieve good play with 18...f5!. The
four-rook endgame seems to be drawish, but the game ends
abruptly when black stops making moves, losing on time.

[Event "August 2002 Fast #1 Tournament"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Zdrak"]
[Black "The Priest"]
[Result "1-0"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. O-O Bg4
6. h3 h5 7. d3 Qf6 8. Be3 Bxf3 9. Qxf3 Qxf3 10. gxf3
Bd6 11. Nd2 Ne7 12. Kh1 O-O 13. Rg1 Ng6 14. Rg5 h4
15. Nc4 Rad8 16. Nxd6 cxd6 17. Rg4 Rd7 18. Bg5 f5! 19. exf5
Rxf5 20. Bxh4 Nxh4 21. Rxh4 Rxf3 22. Kg2 Rdf7 23. Rf1
c5 24. b4 cxb4 25. Rxb4 1-0

So, what do you say ? Did you learn anything worthwhile from this ? Do you want to return the favor and teach me something from your own insights ?
tonlesu 12 ( +1 | -1 )
zdrak Yes it is an interesting variation. Thanks, however when you say 1. e4 e5 2. Nf6 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5.0-0 Bg4 (Fischer's move)---which Fischer are you referring to?
zdrak 29 ( +1 | -1 )
The idea of the bishop sacrifice (actually only a pseudo-sacrifice) by Bg4 and h5 was analyzed by Bobby Fischer in the 60's - that was in the period when he played the exchange variation of the Ruy often. Don't know if he actually played the Bg4-h5 idea himself. In Israel, anyway, the Bg4-h5 moves are commonly known as "Fischer Gambit".

atrifix 44 ( +1 | -1 )
5... Bg4 is definitely NOT Fischer's move. The move was known for a long time before Fischer was even born--back in the days of Capablanca, Alekhine, and all the rest. The current consensus then was that Black could obtain a large advantage by playing 6... h5, so 5. 0-0? was regarded as unplayable. Fischer analyzed the move to show that on the contrary, after d3 and Nbd2, Re1, White has nothing to fear, and revived the whole variation beginning with 5. 0-0.
zdrak 21 ( +1 | -1 )
So I guess nobody wants to talk about the variation itself ... about the merit of 8.Be3, and various plans for both sides after the exchange on f3 ? Are we going to get stuck over the question "is it Fischer's move or not" ?
caldazar 154 ( +1 | -1 )
I'm not quite clear on what 8.Be3 accomplishes. 8.Nbd2 is an obvious attempt to avoid doubled pawns, but 8. Be3 allows them (which is the point of Black's play in this line to begin with, so why delay?) by 8... Bxf3 9.Qxf3 Qxf3 10. gxf3 Bd6 as you say. Looks pretty equal to me, whereas in 8. Nbd2, White can usually retain a very slight edge.

8. Be3 only makes sense to me if you're trying to launch a queenside attack, since getting the bishop out of the way first before Nbd2 allows the f1 rook to go to c1 or b1 and the bishop on e3 stares down Black's queenside, but that's not what you're doing in your games. I suppose a case can be made that Be3 supports a d4 advance, but White shouldn't be able to play d4 if Black plays properly.

So after 8. Be3 Bxf3 9.Qxf3 Qxf3 10. gxf3 Bd6 11. Nd2 Ne7 12. Kh1 O-O-O (kingside castling is just silly here) 13. Rg1 Ng6:

14. Rg5 (this doesn't look quite right) Be7 15. Rg2 Bf6 16. Nc4 b6 17. Bg5 Kd7!? (interesting way to defend) 18. Ne3 Bxg5 (the Black king has arrived, the bishop is redundant) 19. Rxg5 Ke6 and I'm not sure White has a decent way to continue since Black has d4 and f4 well under control.

14. Nc4 looks like a better try. Then:

14... Be7?! 15. Rxg6 fxg6 16. Nxe5 looks rather pleasant for White.

14... b6 15. d4 exd4 16. Bxd4 Rhg8 17. Rad1 Bf4 looks fully equal.

14... Kd7 (to borrow a page from one of your opponents) 15. d4 (15. Rad1 looks to be the same thing) exd4 16. Bxd4 Rhg8 17. Rad1 Ke6 also looks fully equal to me.

Just from what little analysis I've done, I'm not really convinced 8.Be3 is better than 8. Nbd2 here.
caldazar 14 ( +1 | -1 )
Correction "I suppose a case can be made that Be3 supports a d4 advance, but White shouldn't be able to play d4 FAVORABLY if Black plays properly."