It’s major news when a legendary player reveals his opening secrets. And when he has rarely written about his games or preparation methods, and was famous for meticulous, ahead-of-his-time opening analysis, it makes it a true publishing event.

Yet that is what eight-time world championship candidate Lajos Portisch has done. In this book, he opens his extensive opening files and presents the most important games and unused novelties in the Ruy Lopez (or Spanish Game). He also explains the strategies and ideas behind these lines, and places the key games in their historical settings. Anecdotes abound, as do reflections on his key rivals, including Fischer, Karpov, Tal, Larsen and Smyslov.

This is also a thoroughly modern work. As well as drawing upon games from his own long career, Portisch includes important Ruy Lopez games by modern champions, including Anand and Carlsen, describing them from his own unique perspective. All analysis has been computer-verified, with Portisch’s hand-made variations standing up to scrutiny in most cases, but with the computer adding new and surprising twists. Thus we see how human creativity can remain a vital component in modern preparation.

Lajos Portisch is one of the greatest players of the modern era. An elite player from the 1960s to the 1990s, he qualified for the candidates eight times and was board 1 for the Hungary team that won olympic gold in 1978, ahead of the USSR. He is one of the 12 Hungarian ‘Sportsmen of the Nation’ – the country’s highest sporting honour.

Download a pdf file with a sample from the book.

“Written with love and passion” – Soloscacchi

“This book is particularly suitable for players who already have some knowledge of the Spanish Game, and want to deepen this further. Through the combination of analysis and experience, the reader gets the best of both worlds: namely the accuracy and sharpness of the machine and the intuitive, formable insight of the human being. All in all, a neat book” – Zyon Kollen,

“Portisch’s notes are absolutely delightful, combining personal reflections on his contemporaries with excellent analysis. Summing up, this is a fabulous book – fully accessible to club players and with sufficient depth to entice strong tournament players to enter its entertaining and instructive pages” – Sean Marsh, CHESS MAGAZINE

“Another super read from Gambit, written by the legendary Lajos Portisch, who had the nick name as the ‘Hungarian Botvinnik’. To see Portisch and his contemporaries of that time is a truly fascinating time trip. Readable and highly educative... this is a great chess book!” – John Elburg,

“A window into the secret lab of one of best analysts/strategists in chess. It is a great opportunity to read Portisch talking in first person, and making it easy for an amateur to understand the otherwise complex opening theory/evolution of the Ruy Lopez. Warmly recommended” – Miguel Ararat,