chessbase india logo

Caruana's "Navigating the Ruy Lopez" - Review by IM Roven Vogel

by Roven Vogel - 16/03/2020

Roven Vogel won the World Youth under-16 Championship in 2015. At the beginning of this year, he qualified for the next Tata Steel Challengers Tournament in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands by winning the Qualifiers in Wijk. To get a better understanding of how the best players study and work, he took a close look at Caruana's DVDs about the Ruy Lopez which he considers to be entertaining and helpful for chess players of all levels. What better way to delve into Caruana's mind before the Candidates, than by studying about Ruy Lopez, straight from the former World Championship Challenger's voice and analysis. Photo: ChessBase

Fabiano Caruana on the Spanish – a review

The most recent World Championship challenger gives excellent recommendations for White to pose major problems for Black in the 'Spanish'. All three volumes offer great entertainment and chess of the highest quality. For club players, I particularly recommend volume 3.

The majority of young players start with the brave move 1.e4, often because their first chess coach taught them to play in that manner. The tactical explosions, the enormous risks and the strategic complexities that might follow this bold decision can only be discovered after many games.


Objectively, the best answer to 1.e4 is 1…e5. Whether top player or amateur — they all want to pose problems to their opponents, and, if possible, get an advantage in the opening. The "Spanish" (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5) is a very direct approach to pose Black problems.


In his customary calm manner, and with a lot of eloquence and wit Fabiano Caruana explains why the Spanish gives Black a lot of problems to solve but also shows the many options Black has to defend.


Oliver Reeh, ChessBase veteran and International Master, sits faithfully next to Caruana and asks questions that are probably of interest to many viewers, e.g. whether the centre pawn should be captured or if it should be better left alone, or on which side White should push ahead to get some initiative. As an answer to the first kind of question Caruana often offers tactical fireworks in smaller and larger bursts. But his answer to whether White should play on the kingside or on the queenside is both professional and a bit unsatisfying: "It depends…". However, with such answers and the explanations for them Caruana manages to combine high quality opening recommendations with enormous entertainment.

Now, I would like to take a closer look at the content of all three DVDs.


The first volume contains profound and briefly explained variations to force the advocates of the Marshall attack into uncomfortable situations. The analyses are presented in extreme depth, but due to Caruana's way of explaining these lines they are not only for titled players but also help amateurs to understand White's opportunities. Caruana presents two critical lines to test each of the classical systems (Breyer, Chigorin and Zaitsev) which gives the viewer the choice between a more careful and a more risky approach.


The second volume is the most attractive for players who have a title or who have aspirations to acquire one. Caruana's insights about the Berlin were interesting and helpful for me but I nonetheless think it is possible that some amateurs might consider the precision that is required from White to get even a minimal advantage as a bit intimidating. This is in stark contrast to Caruana's recommendations against the Open Variation or the Averbakh Variation which offer a lot of action.


In the third volume Caruana deals with popular sidelines against the Ruy Lopez. This part probably offers the highest value for club players, since Caruana presents pragmatic, easy to understand and objectively critical variations that pose significant problems for Black. I can very well imagine that to know Caruana's recommendations in these line might help you to a lot of easy wins, especially in games between club players and in games with shorter time-controls.

Buy all three Volumes

You can also buy each volume separately

About the Author

In 2015 Roven Vogel became World Youth Under-16 Champion and in the same year he became an International Master. In January 2020, he won the Qualifiers event at the Tata Steel Tournament in Wijk aan Zee and qualified for the Wijk aan Zee Challengers 2021.

Related news:
Master Class Vol. 8: Magnus Carlsen – new edition!

@ 03/10/2021 by ChessBase Shop (en)
New: Robert Ris: Calculation Training in Attack & Defence Vol. 1+2

@ 15/09/2021 by ChessBase Shop (en)
New: Nico Zwirs: The Fianchetto Scandinavian (1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6)

@ 04/09/2021 by ChessBase Shop (en)
New: Mihail Marin: The Catalan vs. the Semi-Slav, Chebanenko and Triangle

@ 20/08/2021 by ChessBase Shop (en)
New: Master Class Vol. 14: Vasily Smyslov

@ 22/07/2021 by ChessBase Shop (en)
New: Nicholas Pert: A Complete Black Repertoire versus the English, 1...e5

@ 09/07/2021 by ChessBase Shop (en)
New: How to study the classics by Adrian Mikhalchishin

@ 04/06/2021 by ChessBase Shop (en)
New: The Saemisch Variation against the King's Indian and Benoni by Jan Werle

@ 20/05/2021 by ChessBase Shop (en)
New: The Flexible Open Spanish by Sipke Ernst

@ 18/04/2021 by ChessBase Shop (en)
New: Andrew Martin: The Grünfeld Formula

@ 07/03/2021 by ChessBase Shop (en)
New: Nico Zwirs: The flexible Panov – a weapon against the Caro-Kann

@ 03/02/2021 by ChessBase Shop (en)
New: Nicholas Pert: A Black Repertoire versus the Anti-Sicilians

@ 13/01/2021 by ChessBase Shop (en)
The new Fritztrainer - Practical chess strategy: The Bishop

@ 16/12/2020 by ChessBase Shop (en)
New: Mihail Marin - The English Opening - Tactic and Strategy Toolbox

@ 28/10/2020 by ChessBase Shop (en)
New: Chris Ward - Sicilian Dragon: The Real Deal!

@ 14/10/2020 by ChessBase Shop (en)
New: Sergei Tiviakov - How to play the Ruy Lopez with Qe2

@ 06/10/2020 by ChessBase Shop (en)
New: Sokolov's first Fritztrainer - Understanding Middlegame Strategies Vol. 1 + 2

@ 17/09/2020 by ChessBase Shop (en)
NEW: Claus-Dieter Meyer / Karsten Müller: Magical Chess Endgames

@ 09/09/2020 by ChessBase Shop (en)
New: Master Class Vol. 13: Tigran Petrosian

@ 30/08/2020 by ChessBase Shop (en)
Daniel King: Powerplay 28: Tactic Toolbox King’s Gambit

@ 19/08/2020 by ChessBase Shop (en)
New: Simon Williams - The Exciting Budapest Gambit

@ 03/08/2020 by ChessBase Shop (en)
New: Nicholas Pert - An attacking Repertoire with 1.d4

@ 24/06/2020 by ChessBase Shop (en)
New: How to slay the Sicilian Vol. 1-3 + Tactic Toolbox by Pruijssers and Zwirs

@ 13/06/2020 by ChessBase Shop (en)
Is the Benoni really back in business?

@ 05/05/2020 by Roven Vogel (en)
New: Fundamentals of Chess Openings and Tactics by Qiyu Zhou

@ 27/04/2020 by ChessBase Shop (en)
New: Daniel King: Power Play 27: The King's Gambit

@ 16/04/2020 by ChessBase Shop (en)
New: Kasimdzhanov: The Benoni is back in Business

@ 07/04/2020 by ChessBase Shop (en)
NEW: Charlie Storey: The White Sniper

@ 19/03/2020 by ChessBase Shop (en)
NEW: Erwin l’Ami: The Benko Gambit Explained

@ 11/03/2020 by ChessBase Shop (en)
NEW: Mastering the Sicilian Najdorf

@ 21/02/2020 by ChessBase Shop (en)
NEW: Sicilian The Rossolimo and Moscow Variation Bundle by Jan Werle

@ 04/02/2020 by ChessBase Shop (en)
NEW: A nightmare for the Najdorf

@ 07/01/2020 by ChessBase Shop (en)
New: ChessBase Magazine #193

@ 03/01/2020 by ChessBase Shop (en)
NEW: Mastering Pattern Recognition in the Opening

@ 06/12/2019 by ChessBase Shop (en)
New: ChessBase Magazine #192

@ 03/11/2019 by ChessBase Shop (en)
NEW Simon Williams bundle: The London System with 2.Bf4 Reloaded & Tactic Toolbox

@ 30/10/2019 by ChessBase Shop (en)
Niclas Huschenbeth recommends...

@ 06/10/2019 by ChessBase (en)
A new generation of FritzTrainers: for Windows and (now) Mac and iOS!

@ 27/09/2019 by ChessBase (en)
Navigate the Ruy Lopez with Fabiano Caruana

@ 12/09/2019 by Sagar Shah (en)
NEW: Nicholas Pert: Typical Mistakes by 1000-1600 Players

@ 03/09/2019 by ChessBase Shop (en)
8 hours of training material to understand Vishy Anand better!

@ 29/08/2019 by ChessBase Shop (en)
NEW: Christian Bauer: The nasty Nimzowitsch Defence

@ 19/08/2019 by ChessBase Shop (en)
NEW: Sergei Tiviakov: Queen’s Indian Defence – The Modern Approach

@ 31/07/2019 by ChessBase Shop (en)
NEW: Nicholas Pert: A Sicilian Stunner - The Kalashnikov

@ 14/07/2019 by ChessBase Shop (en)