The Ruy Lopez is one of the most popular chess openings for both sides after 1.e4, and despite this I feel like there are few good detailed resources for players of the white side wishing to play the main lines in the Ruy.

What makes this seem so strange to me isn't just the relative underrepresentation in comparison to popularity of the opening, but rather that it seems like there are plenty of good resources for white against other major replies to 1.e4 (for instance, GM Negi has personally managed to produce well-received, complete repertoire books against the French, the Caro and the Sicilian (and the somewhat obscure Philidor defense)). Also, I have noticed that there are complete repertoire books in some of the mainlines in the Ruy, but these seem to be from black's point of view as far as I can tell.

My question is therefore: why aren't there more resources on the mainline Ruy from white's point of view? Is it difficult for authors to find good lines for white to recommend, making them hesitant to publish anything (for instance the Berlin giving players on the white side too much of a headache)? Or are there other reasons, like the mainline Ruy being more easy to play from the white side, making authors feel like you're supposed to figure it out by yourself as white?

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    I am almost sure that the 1.e4 series by GM Negi will continue with the Ruy Lopez for White. You have to agree that it's an overwhelming effort to write such a book. And yes there are really few books on the main line Ruy from White's point of view... we really need more. You may try "Starting Out: the Ruy Lopez" by John Shaw for the time being... also the Neil McDonald "The Ruy Lopez Move by Move" book has some coverage of the main lines. Oct 21, 2017 at 15:06
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    @A.N.Other Agreed, it's certainly not an easy task, and I wish GM Negi the best of luck if he's trying to write the book(s). I've read Shaw's book, which is a pretty nice introduction but unfortunately not as detailed as one could hope. Not read the McDonald book although I've heard it's supposed to be pretty good at explaining key concepts and ideas. Right now I don't play the Ruy as white, but when I did it was pretty disheartening to realize there wasn't very much written on the subject for white players. I just remembered that today, hence the question.
    – Scounged
    Oct 21, 2017 at 15:32
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    I do agree with you. We really need a few good repertoire books based on the main line Ruy for White. If you haven't it, you may also like Khalifman's series on 1.e4 "According to Anand". This might be considered the best book (actually a series of books) advocating the main line Ruy for White, among others. It's not an easy read. Oct 21, 2017 at 15:38
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    Ruy Lopez (Worrall Variation) by Nigel Short is a good book. Oct 21, 2017 at 16:21
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    There are pieces written about parts of a white repertoire, e.g. lots of articles on the Ruy in New In Chess Yearbooks. But a whole mainline repertoire is huge. Oct 22, 2017 at 14:25

2 Answers 2


I personally think the task is too daunting. There are so many defenses for Black to cover. Some sideline like the Worrall or the exchange Ruy Lopez are each full books on their own. Secondly, the subtleties are highly abstract and difficult to explain in a book. I think Karpov could write a book similar to his book on the English opening where he doesn't try to cover variations but instead just annotates a bunch of relevant GM games.

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    How about Khalifman's "Opening Repertoire According to Anand"? He's advocating the main line Ruy for White. It's obviously an huge work, and not an easy read... Oct 22, 2017 at 10:26

Nowadays more and more resources complementary to books are appearing, in particular video series and online lectures. For the (advanced) Ruy Lopez I definitely recommend watching and studying

  • The Spanish 6.d3 by Peter Svidler: not only he covers the variation at great depths but his approach and way of explaining teach a great deal about how to tackle Spanish structures in general. Very insightful and fun to watch!

  • Next to that, and on a somewhat different tangent of the Spanish, there's Yasser Seirawan's lecture on the Berlin defense (mostly) from white's point of view as he studied the Carlsen vs Anand game 11 of 2014 in which Carlsen clinched the match. The explanations go to great depths and are highly instructive.

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