Repertoire against Ruy Lopez with - Yates Variation and Anti - Marshall
IM Renier Castellanos
The Spanish IM and well-known theoretician Renier Castellanos, suggests a repertoire for White against one of the most common openings - Ruy Lopez. In this database, you will discover how to fight against the most popular setups after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 (Berlin Defence and the other 3rd moves for Black will be topic of the other database)
The database contains two main systems for White:
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.d4!?
So-called Yates Variation - which is the most serious alternative to the main line 9.h3.
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.a4!? - Anti - Marshall.
With Yates Variation and Anti - Marshall, White wants to avoid long, forced and heavily analyzed main lines. His task is to minimalize Black's choices and to reach a playable position, where chess understanding is more important than memorization.
This very common opening approach is used by Magnus Carlsen with a great success.
Renier is sharing his ideas in 12 chapters - eight of them are for Yates Variation, and four are for Anti - Marshall.
The database ends with 12 test positions.
Yates Variation is named after the English chess master Frederick Yates.
The main line arises after the moves 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.d4
White’s idea is to fight for the center immediately and not to lose time for h3. In this manner, we also avoid tons of theory in the main lines after 9.h3.
The drawback of Yates System is that White allows 9…Bg4. This is by far the most popular move. Black put pressure on White’s center. White has a choice to close the center with 10.d5 or to keep the tension with 10.Be3.
IM Castellanos was inspired by some games of GM Vallejo and GM Kamsky. That is the reason why he chooses 10.d5!? as main line.
Renier starts the investigation of Yates System with the sidelines and Black’s alternatives to 9…Bg4.
This looks like the most serious alternative, but it is premature, and you can hardly fight for equality that way. White should continue with 10.cxd4 and after 10…Bg4 11.Nc3! and White is better in all the lines.
is a possibility but White continues with d4, and we are in the main lines of Ruy Lopez with an extra tempo.
is more flexible than 9…Bb7. White should continue with Nd2-f1-g3 maneuver and try not to play h3. Both sides have some options but it seems that Black can’t equalize here and 9…Re8 is not that popular.
In the next chapters, IM Castellanos starts to analyze the main line 9…Bg4 10.d5!? Na5 11.Bc2
Black has two options – the immediate break 11…c6
and the fashionable 11…Qc8.
After 11…c6 12.h3 Black has four possible retreats – 12…Bh5, 12…Bxf3, 12…Bd7, 12…Bc8 – main line.
In Chapter 2, the author is dealing with the position after 12…Bh5
It looks sound not to break the pin but it is well known that in these “Spanish” positions Black’s light-squared bishop is not correctly placed on - h5 square.
White has a simple plan – Nb1-d2-f1-g3 followed by Nf3-h4 or Nf3-h2 with an initiative on the kingside. This plan combined with the typical break a2-a4, questioning Black’s queenside, gives White a more comfortable play.
Black has numerous options to fight against it:
13.dxc6 Qc7 14.Nbd2 Qxc6 or 14…Rfd8 followed by d5 but in both cases, White is just in time to reach the desirable setup with Ng3.
13.dxc6 Nxc6 is another option but this capture is almost always not good in this line. Black’s knight is dominated by the c3 – pawn and White has several ways to increase the pressure on both flanks.
Here, the Spanish IM is dealing with 12…Bxf3.
This capture is not suitable for Black, but White needs to be precise. After 13.Qxf3 cxd5 14.exd5 – the pawn on d5 is vulnerable but this can’t compensate the missing light-squared bishop fully.
Black tried 14…Qc7, 14…Rc8, 14…Nc4 but without a favorable outcome.
Reiner shows very convincingly that White has the upper-hand.
Chapter 4 is dedicated to 12…Bd7
This is probably the best square for the bishop, but there is a tactic here. After 13.Nxe5!, White ends up with a bishop pair and promising position. After 13…dxe5 14.d6
Black tried five various moves but it is obvious that White is better after all of them.
From this chapter, Renier starts investigating the main line – 12…Bc8
The variation continues 13.dxc6 Qc7 14.Nbd2 Qxc6 15.Nf1
In this position, the main move is 15…Nc4 but the author also analyzed the immediate 15…Be6. It is hard to get any benefits from delaying Nc4. This line has no independent value.
After 15…Nc4, it is essential to start with 16.a4! instead of the most popular 16.Ng3.
16.a4! is more flexible because in many variations this knight is more useful on the e3 – square.
Later in this chapter is analyzed the most common setup for Black – 16…Be6.
It is important to remember that we should challenge the bishop immediately with 17.Ng5!
The main line continues 17…Bd7 18.b3 Na5 19.Bd2
In this position, Renier analyzes several setups for Black. He proves that with the resource Ne3, in an appropriate moment, White can fight for the advantage.
Renier continues the examination of the main line, but this time he concentrates on the crafty and flexible move 16…Re8!?
White can't delay 17.Ng3 anymore.
This is the starting position of the chapter.
The author analyzes five different moves for Black.
17…h6!? – Black wants to stop Ng5 jump, but now 18.Nh4! and White has some treats on the kingside. Black’s position seems unpleasant to defend.
17…g6!? – rare, but probably not bad at all – White switches to queenside play here. According to the analysis, White can hope for the advantage with an accurate play.
17…Bf8 is also very rare, but the author analyzed it in depth and offered three options for White.
One of the main questions for Black in Yates Variation is where to put his light-squared bishop. Usually, the options are 17…Bb7 or 17…Be6
After 17…Be6 you already know from the previous chapter that 18.Ng5 is unpleasant.
17…Bb7 is preparing the d6-d5 break but after 18.Qe2, Renier proves that Black has some difficulties.
The analyzes in this chapter are detailed and rich of new and unexplored ideas.
Although Black has a decent Naidorf structure plus his position is quite solid, he can’t prove full equality.
The Spanish IM is analyzing 16…g6
We already discussed this structure and this type of positions in the previous chapters.
Renier suggests that we shouldn’t hurry with Ng3. White should keep the option for Ne3 at an appropriate moment.
The last chapter of this part is dedicated to the modern alternative to 11…c6 – the move 11…Qc8!?
This move was first tried by the famous GM Oleg Romanishin.
The idea is quite simple – Black is preparing c7-c6, but also wants to answer 12.h3 with 12…Bd7 when the trick 13.Ne5? is not working with the queen being on c8.
White tried to inquire 11…Qc8 idea with 12.Nd2 followed by b4, but without much success.
Renier recommends following the same ideas as in the 11...c6 line.
The main line continues 12.h3 Bd7 13.Nd2 c6
We can say that Black won half a tempo compared to the 11…c6 line.
The bishop is probably slightly better on d7 than on c8, but also there are some drawbacks.
For example, Bb7 followed by d6-d5 is not possible anymore.
After 14.dxc6 Qxc6 (Renier analyzes 14…Bxc6 and 14…Nxc6 as well) 15.Nf1 Black is at a crossroad again.
Black tried four different moves here.
White is following his usual plan: 16.Ng3 Rfe8 17.a4 is trying to play on both flanks.
Very instructive is the main line here: 17…Nb6 Black tried to put pressure on a4. Now, 18.a5! is an excellent idea followed by 18…Na4 19.Nh2! – and it is clear that White has pressure on the kingside, while Black achieved nothing on the other side of the board.
Black can use the available c8 – square.
Those moves are logical, but Castellanos proves that they failed to equalize.
He found a fantastic idea - the maneuver Re3-d3 at an appropriate moment is very strong.
The fourth alternative is 15…Nb7
In this position, the author comes up with one of his countless novelties and suggests 16.Nh4N! with an excellent play.
We can conclude that 11…Qc8 deserves serious investigation and probably nowadays is even more popular than 11…c6. Armed with Renier’s new ideas, the reader should be able to fight for the advantage in all the lines.
The main benefit of Yates Variation is that White’s plans are similar in all the setups.
The author explained in details the positional ideas. Armed with a good knowledge of this type of positions plus Renier's novelties and explanations, you should be able to score many points in Yates Variation.
Anti – Marshall
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 This is the move order some players use when they want to play the Marshall Attack.
The author suggests a repertoire for White based on the move 8.a4 known as the Anti-Marshall.
Please note that If Black plays 7…d6, the move 8.a4 is not that strong due to the natural 8…Bd7!
After 8.a4, Black has three main replies:
8...b4 which is considered to be the main response.
All these three moves have pros and cons, and they are different in the small details that Renier explained in four chapters.
Here you will find an overview of the variation and analyzed some thrilling gambits for Black.
This move could be very unpleasant for an unprepared opponent.
The Spanish IM suggests an efficient way to meet it: 9.axb5!? and in a few moves the game transpose to a better endgame for White.
8…Na5 is quite a tricky line.
The point is that after 9.Ba2, Black plays 9…d5!? 10.exd5 e4 11.Ne5.
The game is sharp, but IM Castellanos analyzed it profoundly and provided with an antidote against this exciting gambit.
You will find here analyzed the move 8…Rb8
This move has one main drawback – Black is surrendering the a-file too early.
Therefore, White can continue with 9.axb5 axb5 followed with either 10.c3 and 11.d4 or with the calmer 10.d3
This part is devoted to the move 8…Bb7
The problem with this move is that the bishop will not be able to oppose to his White's colleague on b3 and the f5-square is left unprotected.
The author advocates the development with 9.d3 followed by 10.Nbd2 keeping the bishop on the a2-g8 diagonal.
As always in this type of positions, Black should decide where to put his d-pawn.
This is a serious move which was tried by Magnus Carlsen.
IM Castellanos suggests an excellent plan here:
10.exd5 Nxd5 and now is probably better NOT to take the pawn. Instead, he can play 11.Nd2 reaching an Italian type of position. It seems that White keeps some pressure in all the lines.
This is the most natural move which White meets with the typical maneuver – Nd2-f1-g3 slowly preparing c3-d4. White should keep a slight advantage in all the lines, due to the misplaced Black’s bishop on b7.
Renier is analyzing the main line 8…b4
The author is sincere with the readers and does not claim an advantage in this line. Nevertheless, he examines the arising positions in depth and suggests some new ideas.
The main line continues with 9.a5 (following Caruana and So)
If 9…d5, we are pursuing the same strategy as in the previous chapter: 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.d3 followed by 12.Nd2
Black always has some problems to defend the e5 - pawn.
After 9…d6 White should continue with 10.d3 – the knight is aiming to c4, which is a nice outpost for it. Black probably should continue with 10…Be6 11.Bxe6 fxe6 12.Nd2
White’s position appears to be easier to play.
As a conclusion, we can say that in both variations (Yates and Anti-Marshall) Black has chances to equalize, but the play is strategically and tactically very rich.
There is not so much theory to learn and the plans are easy to understand.
IM Castellanos provides us with a lot of novelties and new concepts of play.
As always the database ends with 12 test positions where you can test your understanding.
You can try to solve two of them below.