The Ruy Lopez: A Guide for Black

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“I consider it the best ‘Ruy Lopez for Black’ book in general ... it has a huge amount of material on ideas and themes, strategy in the Ruy, and how to prepare and practice openings.” - IM John Watson, The Week in Chess

The Ruy Lopez (or Spanish Opening) is one of the critical chess battlegrounds. It has long been recommended as an excellent chess opening for training purposes, as it leads to a wide variety of structures and strategies. This book is a complete guide to handling the black side of the Lopez, based principally around the Zaitsev Variation, upon which Anatoly Karpov relied during much of his career. This line leads to sharp play, often in open battles where Black gains active counterplay and challenges White to seize the initiative on the kingside. The authors explain in detail how Black can weather the storm. They also explain how Black can handle the practical problem of the Ng5 repetition, and recommend reliable procedures against White’s other options in the Lopez, starting off with the Exchange Variation, and moving on to a variety of closed systems. Throughout, the emphasis is on what readers actually need to know and understand in order to play the opening successfully in practice. There is a great deal of explanation of important ideas, and the authors take pains to guide their readers away from potential pitfalls.

“I particularly enjoyed Johannessen’s preface ... many useful tips are presented for players over 1600. The research and analysis are first rate and current. A well-written and well-researched book” - Lou Mercuri, Chess Horizons

Sverre Johnsen is a FIDE-rated player from Norway. He is an enthusiastic chess analyst, researcher and writer, and co-author of Win with the London System one of the most popular openings books of recent years. Leif Johannessen is a young grandmaster, also from Norway. He plays in several national leagues and has represented his country in many team events. The quality of his opening preparation is shown by the fact that he won the prize for most important theoretical novelty in Informator 92.

“Good chess opening books are all about ‘feel’ - do you feel the authors are making you at home in the variation, do you feel they are giving up their ‘secrets’ to you, the reader, and do you get the feeling they are on your side? Well, this book scores very highly in this respect, take the Preface, for example. It’s a 15-page discussion by GM Johannessen on how to learn a chess opening (albeit aimed at the Zaitsev, but the lessons are universal) - and it does the subject matter wonderful justice. I’ve read magazine and internet articles which do not come close to Johannessen’s logical explanation of taking an opening from a thought over a coffee at a chess bookstall to a full part of your tournament repertoire. For my money, the best part of the book, although the rest of the material doesn’t lag behind in quality.” - Munroe Morrison, Open File

“The book is amazingly thorough, with ample amounts of properly referenced analysis, suggestions, and improvements over existing theory, loads of original analysis, and plenty of explanatory prose to support the variations. The author provides detailed descriptions of the strategies and long-term plans for both sides. Moreover, the illustrative games are expertly annotated and provide further material for the student to gain an understanding of the opening. I highly recommend this book to players who are serious about their opening repertoires and about improving their overall game.” - Carsten Hansen, ChessCafe.com

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