[October 19, 2017] Updated Opening Line by GM Slaviša Brenjo:
Ruy Lopez, Closed Defense with 8. d3 (incl. Pilnik Variation)

[Line 394 : 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. d3]

By choosing 8. d3, White shows that he doesn’t have too big expectations out of the opening – he mostly opts for slow positional maneuvering instead. Yet, in view of Black’s recent good results in the Marshall Attack, as well as in some fashionable Anti-Marshall lines, this line has become increasingly popular.

Black’s usual response is 8… d6, preparing the topical Na5. The main reaction from White is 9. c3, though 9. a3 is an interesting alternative. In both cases, Black gets roughly equal chances with Na5 and c7-c5. For example, after 9. c3 Na5 10. Bc2 c5 11. Nbd2, Black’s position is fine both after 11… Na5 and 11… Re8.

[Diagram: White to Move] This position occurred in a top-level game C. Lutz – M. Adams, Germany 1994. Lutz, as White, managed to find an attractive path to exploit Black’s poor piece coordination and his poorly protected King.

Click here to see the line in our viewer…

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