C80 Ruy Lopez, Open Variation for White

Ruy Lopez, Open Variation for White – C80 [Notes by Hoffer]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Nxe4 6.Re1

X-raying the King through the Ne4.  The X-ray is a powerful tactic.  6.Re1 is rarely played, yet if Black doesn't know these lines he is in big trouble.  6.d4 is played 99% of the time by Grandmasters with only a 56% win ratio and memorization of ten times the variations as 6 Re1.


Attacking our treasured Lopez Bishop.  Black knows this and is usually eager to capture it.


A key move creating a major trap! In the Lopez we normally play c3 to create a hiding hole for Ba4 after …b5.  By ignoring the threat against Ba4, we threaten a strong tactical combination.


Merrily snatching the poisoned Bishop here is always a mistake and Black often falls for it.

Better is 7…Be7 8.Nxe5! Nxa4?  (8…Nxe5 9.Rxe5 Nxa4 10.Nd5 transposes to the text;  Better is 8…0–0 9.Bxc6 dxc6 10.d4 with the superior endgame for White.) 9.Nd5 0–0 10.Nxc6 dxc6 11.Nxe7+ Kh8 12.Qh5 transposes to Yates-Conde in the note below after 8….Nxe5;

If Black plays it safe with 7…Ne6 8.Bxc6 dxc6 9.Nxe5 gives White winning endgame chances.


Setting up a discovered check on the King from the X-raying Re1 which allows the rogue Knight to go anywhere he pleases!  Disco check is the most dangerous tactic in chess.  Disco lives!


It is very important to know what to do if Black plays 8…Nxc3 9.Nxc6+  (Discovered check from the Re1.) 9…Be7 10.Nxe7!!  (This is much more powerful than taking the Queen as the Ne7 creates the WINDMILL tactic with disco checks from the X-raying Re1 allowing the Ne7 to move anywhere it please with check.) 10…Nxd1 11.Ng6+!!  (Preventing 11…Kf8 and forcing Black to play …Qe7.) 11…Qe7 12.Nxe7+-  (The material is temporarily equal, but not really. Black's Nd1 is trapped while White's windmill Ne7 continues to frolic at will!) 12…Nxb2  (Or 12…Kd8 13.Nxc8! Nxf2 14.Kxf2 Rxc8 15.d3+-) 13.Ng6+ Kd8 14.Nxh8 Nc4?? 15.Nxf7#;

The alternative is 8…Be7 9.Nd5! 0–0  (9…Nxe5 transposes to the text.) 10.Nxc6 dxc6 11.Nxe7+ Kh8 12.Qh5 Nb6  (12…Be6 13.Rxe6! fxe6 14.Ng6+ Kg8 15.Nxf8 Qxf8 16.Qg4 Nb6 17.Qxe6+ Kh8 18.b3!! Re8 19.Ba3 Qxf2+ 20.Kxf2 Rxe6 21.Re1 with a winning endgame.) 13.Re4  (Threatening Qxh7+!) 13…Qd6 14.b3 h6 15.Bb2 Nd5 16.Be5+- Yates-Conde, Hastings 1923.

9.Rxe5+ Be7 10.Nd5!

Winning the Be7 while Black's Na4 will not reenter the game due to his wandering to oblivion.


10…d6? 11.Rxe7+ Kf8 12.Qf3+- wins for White rather easily.

11.Nxe7+ Kh8

The Knight is doing his job at e7 by forcing Black's King into a corner so do not move him! This position is ripe for a checkmating combination if White rapidly gets more pieces into the attack!


White is threatening a beautiful and stunning sacrifice.  Do you see it?


Black has no useful defense yet White must understand the following spectacular checkmates:

A) 12…h6 13.d4  (Freeing our Bc1 to join in the attack on the now weak h6 pawn.) 13…Kh7

[Black tries to defend h6. Other moves lose quickly:

A1) If 13...Re8  (Be careful. Black is trying to win the Ne7.)  14.Qxf7! wins;

A2) Or 13...d6 14.Bxh6! Bf5  (Not 14...gxh6? 15.Qxh6#; Nor 14...g6 15.Bxf8+!! gxh5 16.Rxh5#)  15.Bf4+ Bh7 16.Qxh7+!! Kxh7 17.Rh5#]

14.Qf5+ Kh8  [Or 14...g6 15.Qh3 h5 16.Rxh5+! Kg7  (Not 16...gxh5 17.Qxh5+ Kg7 18.Qh6#)  17.Rh7+ Kf6 18.Nd5!#] 15.Bxh6 gxh6 16.Qf6+ Kh7 17.Rh5 Qxe7 18.Rxh6+ Kg8 19.Rh8#;

B) 12…g6 13.Qh6 d6 (Other moves simply delay the Black King's fate.) 14.Rh5!! gxh5 15.Qf6#.


A dazzling Queen sacrifice that ends the game.

13…Kxh7 14.Rh5#  1–0

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