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Cox-Davis, Danville, IL 1990

1. e4, e5

2. Nf3, Nc6

3. Bb5

The Ruy Lopez, also known as the Spanish Opening, named after a Spanish Priest Ruy Lopez who wrote about it in 1561. White puts indirect pressure on blacks e-pawn. This is the first opening I learned, it is still perhaps my favorite opening. I have scored well with it.

3...a6

4. Ba4, Nf6

5. 0-0, Be7

The Closed Defense. The Open Defense with 5...Nxe4 is completely playable. The text is more popular.

6. Re1, b5

7. Bb3, d6

8. c3

Preparing the central advance d4

8...0-0

9. h3

The Main Line of the Modern Ruy Lopez

9...Na5

The Chigorin Defense, still popular at the club level. At least in my old club. Black plans Queenside expansion.

10. Bc2, c5

11. d4, Qc7

12. Nbd2, Nc6

13. dxe5!?

Here my opponent gave an inquisitive look. He was no doubt expecting either 13. d5 closing the center--the most common continuation, or 13. dxc5 the Rauzer variation.

The text is a rarer idea of Bobby Fischer, attempting to make the most of the weakness of the central d5 and f5 squares, which take on special significance in the Ruy Lopez. The text is completely in the spirit of the opening.

13...dxe5

14. Nf1

The Knight Tour Nb1-d2-e3 or g3 is a major part of Ruy Lopez strategy as white.

14...Be6

Completing development while contesting control of d5

15. Nh4

Intending to occupy the f5 square with Nhf5 and Ng3, or to provoke weakness of the blacks kingside to prevent the plan.

15...Qa5!?

Aggressive. He clears d8 for his rook with the intention of putting a rook on his 2nd (7th)rank and possibly double on the d-file. I took a bit of time here to formulate my plan.

16. Qf3!, Rad8

Obviously not 16...Bxa2?? which is losing after 17. Bd2

17. Bd2, Rd7

18. a4!

A typical Lopez strike which should be studied by all who champion the Ruy Lopez as white.

18...Qd8

Black is ready to give up his rook for two of whites minor pieces, a good trade for him.

19. Bg5, h6

Introducing pawn weaknesses in the formation of the enemy's catled position.

20. Be3, b4

If now 21. cxb4, cxb4 locks up the Queenside.

21. a5!?,

Sacrificing a pawn to keep control of d4.

21...bxc3

22. bxc3, Nax5

Accepting the extra pawn, since compensation is not at all clear.

23. Nf5

White has realized the first stage of his plan landing a knight on f5 with strong pressure against blacks kingside especially on h6.

23...Bxf5

24. Qxf5, Qc7

Black defends e5

25. Ng3, Rb8

26. Bc1!

It was imperative to stop the invasion by ...Rb2 yielding black his desired Queenside counterplay.

26...Rbd8

27. Qf3, Qb6

28. Nf5

My other knight now lands on the f5 square.

28...Nc4

Blacks position appears to be solid. Given one more move black will achieve counterplay by ...Nd2. The most important thing to notice is that his kingside is under pressure and a target for whites pieces. This is the critical moment. White must strike now!

29. Bxh6!!

Smashing through!

29...gxh6

30. Qg3+, Kf8

The Point of the sacrifice on 30...Kh8 or 30...Kh7 comes 31. Qg7#

31. Qg7+, Ke8

32. Qh8+, Bf8

White has invested a piece to slaughter the enemy's positon. I take some time to analyze the best continuation.

33. Ba4!

This pin is quite painful. It reminds me of the Morphy-Allies game with some similar ideas.

33...Nh5

Black vacates the 6th rank so he may bring his Queen to the kingside for defense.

34. Red1

Applying pressure to the pinned piece.

34...Qe6

His original intention of 34...Qf6 runs into 35. Rxd7! and if 35...Qxh8 then 36. Re7# and on 35...Rxd7 36. Bxd7+, Kxd7 37. Qxf8 White is up the exchange and threatens Rd1+.

35. Rab1

Notice it is white who now dominates the open files.

35...Nb6

If 35...Nf6 then 36. Ng7+ wins the black Queen.

The text move (35...Nb6) was played to prevent Rb7 attacking the pinned piece yet again. White has a dominating position and can finish in style.

36. Rxb6!!

Enticing the black Queen from the defense of e5.

36...Qxb6

37. Qxe5+, Qe6

(If 37...Be7 38. Qxe7# due to the pin on the rook on d7)

38. Rxd7!

38...Resigns

After 38...Qxe5 39. Re7++#! or 38...Rxd7 39. Qb8#!

A devastating Ruy Lopez Attack in Classic Style. My Best Game ever!!