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Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack (C86)
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 O-O Be7 6 Qe2

Number of games in database: 1320
Years covered: 1868 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 41.5%
   Black wins 27.3%
   Draws 31.2%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Paul Keres  25 games
Isaac Kashdan  24 games
Sergei Tiviakov  18 games
Borislav Ivkov  9 games
Samuel Reshevsky  9 games
Pavel Blatny  8 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Alekhine vs K Junge, 1942
Lasker vs Teichmann, 1909
Keres vs A Tarnowski, 1952
Fine vs Keres, 1938
N Riumin vs Botvinnik, 1935
H Seidman vs Reshevsky, 1942
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 page 1 of 53; games 1-25 of 1,320  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. R Wormald vs De Vere  0-1281868B.C.A. Glowworm Prize tC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
2. Bird vs J Wisker 1-0401873Match (2)C86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
3. Blackburne vs L Van Vliet ½-½281893London ''Black and White''C86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
4. Duras vs J Vijzelaar 1-046190331st DCA Congress, HilversumC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
5. H Wolf vs Swiderski  ½-½59190414th DSB Congress, CoburgC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
6. H Wolf vs G Marco  ½-½23190414th DSB Congress, CoburgC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
7. H Wolf vs H Suechting 0-143190414th DSB Congress, CoburgC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
8. H Wolf vs Teichmann  1-0481905OstendC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
9. H Wolf vs Taubenhaus ½-½291905OstendC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
10. H Suechting vs Salwe 0-1361906OstendC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
11. H Wolf vs G Marco  0-1181906OstendC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
12. P S Leonhardt vs Salwe  0-161190615th DSB Congress, NurembergC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
13. Alapin vs Reti 1-0631908ViennaC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
14. Reti vs Spielmann 0-1361908ViennaC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
15. Lasker vs Teichmann 1-0271909St. PetersburgC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
16. A Speijer vs J Vijzelaar  0-1441909HilversumC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
17. A Speijer vs R Loman  ½-½301909Dutch ChampionshipC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
18. C Thoenes vs H Bodenstein  1-0361910Hauptturnier-BC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
19. C Thoenes vs Z Barasz  1-0521910Hauptturnier-BC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
20. H Fahrni vs J Perlis 1-0691911KarlsbadC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
21. G Schories vs E E Middleton  1-0351913BCF-ch 10th Major OpenC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
22. A Evenson vs Levenfish 0-1781914All-Russian MastersC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
23. Reti / Mayer / A Steiner vs Lasker / Szavay ½-½541917Consultation gameC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
24. G A Thomas vs H Saunders  0-1321919Murton CupC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
25. Reti vs P F van Hoorn  1-0361919AmsterdamC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
 page 1 of 53; games 1-25 of 1,320  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Dec-20-06  marn0: I believe that Andrew Greet has written a recent book on this line for Everyman. Has anyone seen this book or read it? I think I might take up the Ruy Worrall ...
Jan-08-07  bumpmobile: <marn0> I just got it in the mail today. I am reading the introduction as I write. Nothing I can find indicates that Mr. Greet is any kind of expert on the Ruy (3-4 games in the database), but he addresses this and insists that he knows what he is talking about.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eric Schiller: I offer E Schiller vs M Arne, 1995 as my statement on the opening. Do you really think it is slow, <alicefujimori>?
Jan-08-07  notyetagm: <Eric Schiller: I offer E Schiller vs M Arne, 1995 as my statement on the opening. Do you really think it is slow, <alicefujimori>?>

Very nice game. 31 ♔f1!! is stupendous.

What was the book on Spielmann that you were writing that lead you to play the Worrall attack in this game?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eric Schiller: <notyet> My book on Spielmann, revised edition, is sitting around the Harding-Simpole office, it was to be published in 2005. I have no idea what has caused the delay. The first edition came out in 1995.
Jan-09-07  ganstaman: 1) I know how wonderful the ECO system is, but if anyone actually understands it I have a question. That game Eric Schiller presents 4 posts above this one is listed as C77 while this is the C86 page. Maybe I don't know exactly what the Worrall Attack entails, but why isn't his game listed as C86?

2) I'm possibly thinking of taking this opening up as a way to avoid the Open Ruy Lopez and the Berlin Defense. Anyone have any advice or general traps I should be aware of?

Jan-09-07  ganstaman: Oh, I may have figured out the answer to my first question. Does it have something to do with when castling occurs?
Apr-14-07  gambitfan: Opening of the day OPOD Sa 14/04/2007
Oct-17-07  DaveyL: Gazza should've tried this against Kramnik in 2000, to avoid the dreaded Belrin Wall.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Well, the Worrall wouldn't work, because Kramnik played 3....Nf6, not 3....a6. But I don't see why White couldn't play 4. Qe2. <tpstar> has probably tried it.
Oct-17-07  DaveyL: Yep, you just play Qe2 whenever Black plays Nf6 - it might be slow, but surely Kasparov could've squeezed more out of it than he did against the Berlin.
Oct-17-07  acirce: Why do you think so? I doubt 4.Qe2 can give White more than equality.
Oct-17-07  DaveyL: Well, a slightly facetious reply, but plug 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. Qe2 into the opening explorer, and white still wins a very reasonable % of games. But my main point was, Kasparov could find absolutely nothing against Kramnik's Berlin Defence, so why not try something else? Could it be worse?
Oct-17-07  acirce: Yes. He did try something else and it was worse.
Oct-17-07  KingG: According to Kramnik, Kasparov later admitted that he should have tried the d3 variation of the Berlin. I'm not sure why he didn't. Maybe it became a matter of principle for him.
Oct-18-07  DaveyL: I'm impressed at how quickly the Kramnik Police pick up on even the smallest perceived slight against the big man :-)
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <I'm impressed at how quickly the Kramnik Police pick up on even the smallest perceived slight against the big man :-)>

Well, let me join the force for a moment (or maybe I am already a member). Objectively speaking, 4. d3 (or 4. Qe2 followed by d3 at some point) isn't very strong. It's conceding most or all of White's opening advantage in the hopes that White can make something happen later after he maneuvers for a while.

By contrast, Kasparov was getting an advantage in the Berlin (again, objectively speaking). It just happened to be an advantage that was very hard to convert. (A year later in Astana, Kasparov was finally able to breach the wall: Kasparov vs Kramnik, 2001.) As Kramnik foresaw, a maximalist like Kasparov had a very hard time foregoing that advantage.

Oct-18-07  acirce: I don't understand this supposed "perceived slight against the big man". I saw no criticism at all here, possibly of Kasparov if anyone.

The problem with all these "Kasparov should have tried this or that instead of banging his head against the Berlin" is that he DID try other things. Half of his White games in the match (4/8) were NOT Berlins. No success whatever he tried, though.

In game 11 it was actually Kramnik who did not allow the Berlin (playing 3..a6 instead). Why did he do that if it was so obvious that Kasparov could not make headway against it?

Aug-26-08  TommyC: Does anyone know who Worrall was?
Aug-26-08  unsound: Thomas Herbert Worrall seems to have been a Britihs player that Morphy had no trouble against even giving a knight odds: Thomas Herbert Worrall
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: I lost a lot of friends by calling this opening the <Worral Pez>.
Jun-02-11  Catfriend: Of late, Worrall became my main weapon in the Ruy Lopez. Many players don't know anything about it, and in fact consider it a "weird, anti-positional deviation". The fact is, many branches lead directly to standard Spanish positions. But there are nuances, of course, and it's important to feel them.

A nice trap occurring in several continuations:

1. e4 e5 2. Nd3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. 0-0 Be7 <I've just spend three hours on the closed Spanish!> 6. Qe2 <well then, just for you:)> said I! 6..b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. c3 d6 9. d4 <Rd1 is probably more accurate, but 9.d4 applies direct pressure> Bg4 10. Rd1 Re8 <A natural but imprecise move. Qd7 would negate much of White's next move's power.> 11. h3 <forces the exchange! 11..Bh5 12.g4 Bg6 13.dxe5 Nd7 14.e6, note that with Qd7 12.g4 would meet 12..Bxg4 13.hxg4 Qxg4+ and Nxe4> Bxf3 12. Qxf3 Bf8 <Again, rather natural but missing the trap> 13. Bg5 <At the very least, Black will have bad pawns, and will give up the center> h6?? 14. Bxf6 Qxf6 15. Qxf6 gxf6 16. Bd5

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: In my opinion, I think the Worrall attack isn't the greatest out of the Ruy Lopez.
Dec-17-15  Catfriend: <Penguincw> Well of course it's hard to claim it's <the greatest> - BTW, what is?

But I doubt that's why it's played.
There are a few advantages. One is the usual "I'm prepared - you're not" advantage of all sidelines.

Another, related, reason to opt for Worrall is its deceptive similarity to many other lines - with a different place for the queen. Various lines that are ok for Black with Qd1-Re1 are dangerous with Qe2-Rd1. For example, there's the d-file pressure. the b5 pawn, attacked by Qe2, is also a new concern.

Finally, it is by no means a great compromise. It's not like 6. Qe2 is devoid of merits. White has a point, plans of his own, why not consider an alternative to facing the Berlin, trying to squeeze a minute advantage in the exchange variation or face 25-move analysis in the Arkhangelsk?

Jan-22-16  Catfriend: 6. Qe2 returns as the Opening of the Day.

Time for a new line.

<1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. 0-0 Be7 6. Qe2>

<6..b5 7. Bb3> Now 7..d6 8. c3 Bg4 9. Rd1 leads to the main closed lines.

<7..0-0> A more ambitious approach. 8. c3 d5! is a Marshall-like gambit. I used to think it is an edition that favors White, because of the active queen, but a correspondence game of a strong player had me grasp for miracles in order to draw.

<8. d4!> So White plays a gambit himself, instead! 8..d6 9. c3 and we're back to the closed lines. Let us not consider this line, now.

A. <8..exd4 9. e5 Ne8 10. c3> White cares nothing for pawns! Black can either return the material with 10..d3 11. Qxd3, after which White has a comfortable game at no price, or take on c3.

<10..dxc3 11. Nxc3 Bb7 12. Nd5> White took over the board. Careless play by Black will see them squeezed: 12..g6? allows Bh6. 12..Na5? 13. Nxe7+ Qxe7 14. Bg5 Qc5 15. Rac1 Qb6 16. Be7

<12..d6> Forced, more or less.

<13. e6> I used to like 13. Nxe7+ Qxe7 14. Bg5 Nf6 15. Bxf6 gxf6 16. Qe4, but after the precise 16..Na5!, it turns out White doesn't really have anything.

<13..f5 14. a4> In b5 Spanish structures, particularly in the Worrall, when there is nothing concrete to do - always consider the a4 push.

It's a playable position, with White firmly in the driver's seat. Attacking plans include mating attempts on the K-side, hunting the Black pawns on the Q-side, or a Karpovian strangulation (a5, Rfd1, perhaps even g3-h4 in some lines).

B. <8..e4 9. Nxd4 exd4 10. e5 Ne8 11. c3> Again, White is quite willing to give up a pawn.

Now Black has a few choices. Safest is

<11..c5> If Black is familiar with the position, they may well draw. See L Cornford vs J Sarfati, 1985 for a possible continuation.

<11..c6> or <11..d3> - Black returns material without much to show for it.

<11..dxc3> - here it is quite dangerous to accept the pawn.

<12. Nxc3 Bb7 13. Rfd1!> NOT <13. Be3>, see L Cornford vs O Sarapu, 1982 for some analysis.

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