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Ruy Lopez Opening: How To Open Using Spanish Defense Chess Opening


Chess is one of the most complex and exciting games people can play. It requires a deep knowledge of the game, allows you to learn new strategies, and is excellent for your brain. The thing people love about chess is the abundance of different moves you can do to win, hopefully. 


If you’re the person opening the chess game, using a great opener will help set you up for success. Learning the Ruy Lopez opening is crucial for those new to playing chess or who have been playing but are unaware of it.


It’s one of the best openers out there and fantastic to have under your belt. To learn how to use the Spanish Defense chess opening, keep reading.

What is the Ruy Lopez Opening?  

The Ruy Lopez opening, also known as the Spanish Defense, is a chess opener named after the Spanish bishop Ruy Lopez de Segura. Ruy Lopez was one of the first people that we knew of to write a book on chess back in the 16th century. 


Not only is this one of the oldest chess openings, but it’s also one of the most popular. Chess players of all levels enjoy using this opener because it uses theoretical lines and has complex strategies to help lead to different positions. People love using this opener because it allows you to expand on your chess strategy knowledge and positional game skills.


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Is the Ruy Lopez Positional or Tactical?

One of the reasons the Ruy Lopez opener is a fan favorite among chess players is that it can be both positional and tactical. Whether you’re a positional or tactical chess player, you can use this opener for your game. 

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Whether you're a positional or tactical chess player, you can use this opener for your game.

Can a Beginner Use the Ruy Lopez Opening?

A beginner can absolutely use the Ruy Lopex opening in chess! While people of all chess levels enjoy using this opener, it’s particularly great for beginners because it can be positional or tactical, gives white an attacking start, and isn’t overly complicated to learn.


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How Long Does it Take to Learn the Ruy Lopez?

How long it takes someone to learn the Ruy Lopez opening will depend on the person, how often they practice, and their understanding of the move. Some people might take a few weeks to learn the move, while others might take months to learn and even master. 

How To Open Using the Spanish Defense Chess Opening in 8 Easy Steps

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of the Spanish Defense opening, here are the main eight steps you need to know about: 


  • Step 1: Move a pawn to e5. 
  • Step 2: Opponent moves to e4.
  • Step 3: Move your knight to f6. 
  • Step 4: Spanish formation occurs. 
  • Step 5: Move other pieces to e7 and c6. 
  • Step 6: Move your king to safety. 
  • Step 7: Control your other pieces.
  • Step 8: Look for open opportunities. 
Ruy Lopez Opening

Steps Breakdown

Let’s break down the above eight steps to help you learn how to use the Spanish Defense chess opening. 

Step One

The first step is the easiest. You’ll take your pawn in front of your king and move it two spaces forward to space e5. 

Step Two

Ideally, your opponent will move their pawn two spaces forward as well as to space e4. If they don’t do this, it’s not ideal for this chess opening. 

Step Three

Next, you’ll need to attack your opponent’s pawn on space e4. You’ll do this by moving your knight from its original position to f6.

Step Four

The next move your opponent makes will form the Spanish formation. They’ll likely move their knight to bishop b5 or c3. If they choose b5, you should play a6 so you can trade their bishop for your knight or move the bishop. 

Step Five

You’ll need to move your queenside knight to position c6 and your kingside bishop to e7 to continue giving you the best options for attacking. 

Step Six

You’ll then castle your king to safety so your opponent doesn’t have an easy way to attack. 

Step Seven 

From here, you’ll use your pawns and other pieces to try and take control of the board through whatever moves you see fit. 

Step Eight

Lastly, you’ll continue looking for ways to pressure your opponent and create threats for them for the rest of your game. Be flexible as you look for ways to pressure them because you don’t always know their next move. 

Tips For Successfully Using the Spanish Defense Opening 

As you learn how to perform the Ruy Lopez opening, there are a few tips to help you successfully use this opening:


  • Avoid Common Traps: The Noah’s Ark Trap is common with this opening, so learning to avoid that is vital. 
  • Control the Center: The idea behind this opening is to control the center of the chessboard. Always focus on putting pressure on the center squares, ideally d4 and d5. 
  • Stay Flexible: The Ruy Lopez opening allows for a lot of variation, so you’ll need to be flexible and play off your opponent’s moves and change your plan when necessary. 
  • Study Master Chess Games: There are plenty of videos out there from talented chess players who use this opening. Studying their moves and seeing how they work can help you master the Spanish Defense opening.  
Ruy Lopez Opening


The Ruy Lopez chess opening is one of the oldest and most famous chess game openers worldwide. Chess players of all skill levels choose to use this opener often in an effort to win their match. By following the steps above, you’ll be well on your way to using this chess opener and mastering it. 


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