Investigations of the Exchange Variation

I am beginning to investigate some of the theory of the Exchange Variation of the Ruy Lopez. I figure if R. Fischer played it regularly, it can't be half bad.

The lines of interest for me result after 5. 0-0.

I would like to challenge all players with a rating above my own to challenge me to play this variation with me as White in either a open challange or in the upcoming Ruy Lopez thematic tournament.

From what I have gathered in my reading this opening allows Black certain advantages such as the Bishop pair while allowing White an advantage of better pawn structure and development. 

There are 3 primary lines that I find of interest. The first is that of the Alapin Gambit. This variation is characterized by the the Bg4 pin. It does commit Black early to giving up the bishop pair if White wants to force the matter. I am not too sure about the soundness of this gambit line for Black since it is Black who has the advantage of the Bishop pair and is willing to give up the additional advantage of the light squared Bishop.


This is the second position of interest and it also follows from the previously mentioned Alapin variation. There are several lines that develop from this tabiya. Most noteable in the game Ljubojevic - Spassky, Tilburg 1978.

According to the theory Black has no difficulties. I think this position would make for an interesting middlegame exploration.

More later as my studies allow me to post.


  • 9 years ago


    Much of what I am saying here is paraphrased from "Chess Opening Essentials Vol 1 The Complete 1.e4". (COE)

    Fischer's contribution was 5.O-O which had previously been thought dubious because of 5...Bg4.Today 5...Bg4 is concidered inferior to 5...f6 and 5...Qd6. COE claims that after 6.h3 Black is in a "crisis situation" except for 6...h5 as you have shown on your diagram. COE claims that 6...Bh5 loses a Pawn due to 7.g4. I have played two games which follow this line and I am losing both of them, so I certainly don't see the "crisis situation". I can provide you with those games when I figure out how to post them in this forum. (And when I have more time.)

  • 9 years ago


    I also have a recently developed interest in the Exchange variation. Being new to this website I've only completed one game. My rating is 1332 and at two other sites are approximately 1650 at one and 1400 at the other. I'm pretty much of an average player - or as they say - an "improving" player. If you like we could play two games - one as White and one as Black - rated or unrated. My only condition is that I will need a lengthy time control because I already have overloaded myself with games at the other websites. I would play these games for thier educational purposes rather than in a competative spirit - so we could openly discuss the progress of the games if you like. Let me know if you are interested.
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