If white plays an early d3 in the Ruy Lopez (presumably after c3 to give the light-squared bishop a retreat square) what are some ideas for black? I'm talking about those lines where white doesn't push d4, at least not immediately, but plays more calmly with d3. Svidler made a video series about the d3 Spanish on Chess24, but it's a little hard to tease out the ideas from the moves. I'm looking for an answer here that articulates in plain words what plans and ideas black has at his/her disposal when playing the Ruy Lopez against an early d3.
I've outlined, below, some plans and ideas with which I am familiar. But some of them may be faulty. This is just my modest knowledge of an opening (d3 Spanish) with which I am not that familiar.
- Playing d5 and often then d4. This can be followed up by dxc3 bxc3 b4 to undermine the pawn on c3 and free up the d4 square for occupation (perhaps by a knight).
- Rerouting the f6 knight to d7. This gives black the possibility of f5, which could be viable depending on the situation. It also allows the dark-squared bishop to go to f6, where it pressures d4 and might eventually end up on g7. The knight on d7 can then go to b6.
- Playing on the kingside, Kings Indian style, by maneuvering the f6 knight to g7, playing f5, perhaps rerouting the c6 knight to f7. Why often responds to this plan with an early g4, discouraging black from playing f5, and playing on the kingside him or herself.
- Playing on the queenside, starting with the moves Na5 Bc2 c5. A rook can go on c8, and then black can push c4 or b4, and try to open up the queenside. However, it can sometimes be difficult to pry open the queenside without an open c-file, as you often get in other lines.
Plans 3 and 4 are general plans that apply to most Spanish openings, whereas 1 and 2 are more typical in the d3 Spanish. I guess I have a passing knowledge of what to do in this opening, but, I still feel like it's not nearly enough.
Are there any key ideas or characteristics that I am missing, that are specific to the d3 Spanish? How is it strategically different from other Spanish openings? Are any of my above plans faulty? Can any of the above plans be elaborated more?
[fen ""] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. d3