Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Tabiya:Ruy Lopez 5.d3

In the Ruy after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6, the main line is 5.O-O, which allows black the choice of the open Ruy 5...Nxe4. White regains the pawn easily, because the half open e-file is dangerous to black's uncastled king.

However, white can avoid the Open Ruy by 5.Qe2 (Wormald) or 5.d3. Both of these avoid some of the trickier lines for white in the Closed Ruy, but both have drawbacks. Today, I want to look at my Tabiya after 5.d3.

White will be one tempo slower in the basic Ruy plan, but that plan is a closed game, where tempo are not so critical. White gains several options that are not available if he goes straight ahead for the d4 based plan.

But he also gives black an option not available after 5.O-O Be7.  5...d6 6.c3 {an escape hatch for the Ba4} 6...g6 {black can go for the immediate fianchetto rather than the slower one in the mainline Ruy} 7.O-O Bg7 8.Re1 O-O 9.Nbd2 {The theory seems hot right here. Kaufman recommends ...b5 and moving into familiar Ruy territory, but ...Nd7 seems to be fashionable.} 9...b5 10.Bb3 Na5 11.Bc2 c5 12.Nf1 h6:

If white goes for a "normal" Closed Ruy by playing for d4, he is several tempo behind. More likely he will play for a kingside attack, but black should have enough defensive resources and the central counterstrike ...d5. As usual, white will have to prepare d3d4 with h2h3 which signals that the Na5 should come back to c6.

I think I will use the position after 9.Nbd2 to search for games to review.

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