# Chess Opening Theory/1. e4/1...e5/2. Nf3/2...Nc6/3. Bb5/3...a6

Ruy Lopez
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# Morphy Defence

By far the most commonly played Black third move in the Ruy Lopez game is the Morphy Defence, 3...a6, which "puts the question" to the white bishop. Although 3...a6 was known earlier, it became popular after it was played by world champion Paul Morphy. White has only two good options, 4. Bxc6 or 4. Ba4. The main point to 3...a6 is that after the common retreat 4.Ba4, Black will have the possibility of breaking the pin on his queen knight by playing ...b5. In fact, White must take some care to not fall into the Noah's Ark Trap in which Black traps White's king bishop on the b3-square with a ...a6, ...b5, and ...c4 pawn advance on the queenside.

## Common Moves

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4.Ba4   (Morphy's Defence Main Line)

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4. Bxc6   (Morphy's Defence Exchange Variation)

## Theory table

For explanation of theory tables, see theory table and for notation, see algebraic notation.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6
4 5
Exchange Variation Bxc6
dxc6
O-O
f6
=
Norwegian defence Ba4
b5
Bb3
Na5
=
Classical Defence Deferred ...
Bc5
O-O
Nf6
+=
Steinitz Defence Deferred ...
d6
O-O
Bg4
+=
Arkhangelsk Defence ...
Nf6
O-O
b5
Møller Defence ...
...
...
Bc5
+=
Russian Defence ...
...
...
d6
+=
Open Defence ...
...
...
Nxe4
=
Main Line/Closed Defence ...
...
...
Be7
=