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Austin Gomez
Austin Gomez

How To Play The English Opening In Chess



The English Opening, which starts with 1.c4, is the fourth most commonly played opening move in chess. By playing this move, White allows the queen to move freely and also discourages Black from responding with 1...d5. Additionally, White ensures that the c-pawn will not be blocked behind a knight on c3. The resulting positions often resemble those that arise from 1.d4 openings rather than 1.e4 openings, and the move d4 is frequently played later on.




How to Play the English Opening in Chess


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By definition a beginner doesn't know very much about chess and to progress needs to learn much. In openings the standard approach, therefore, is to learn the classics: Ruy Lopez, Italian, Kings Gambit, 4 Knights, Scotch, Sicilian, French, Caro Kann.


Some chess teachers would start by teaching the Kings Gambit for this reason. Chess needs to be fun and tactics are fun and most games end because of some missed tactic by the opponent. If you only ever learn how to play calm positions then you will lose all your games where your opponent manages to make the game tactical.


You also seem to suggest a formulaic way of playing the opening. Play more or less the same moves in the English and you will end up in one of two tabiyas which you give. This is also very wrong. One of the key skills a beginner needs to develop is to always consider the ideas and aims of his opponent's moves. Just playing automatic moves will lead to many quick defeats.


There are many ways for black to respond and they give rise to different problems for white which can't be addressed by just playing more or less the same moves. The opening theorist IM John Watson actually wrote 4 separate books on the English because of this. He wrote one book each for black's responses: 1 ... e5, 1 ... c5, 1 ... Nf6 and a catch-all "other replies".


Also, it's important to consider how playing the English will affect the beginner's chess progress in the long-term. If the beginning instead played 1.e4 he would become acquainted with a wealth of common openings integral of chess. This would benefit his foundation, as well as be helpful when playing as Black against 1.e4 (which is more common than the English).


The English opening is the 4th most common opening for white. Although the English has its own style, the opening is very flexible and many times transposes into other opening lines. The objective of the opening is to apply pressure on the center d5 square without committing the queen pawn or the king pawn. Since the move is a flank move many players like the English because of its hypermodern style of play (using pieces from the sides along with minor pieces to apply pressure and control the center).


The English Opening is an opening that is characterized by the c4 move from White. It is named after the unofficial World Champion Howard Staunton. This is because in the 1840s this opening was often played by Howard Staunton. It is a hypermodern, flexible and dynamic chess opening. Due to its flexibility, it is one of the most sought after openings for white. Grandmasters of the previous generations such as Garry Kasparov, Anatoly Karpov, Mikhail Botvinnik and Bobby Fischer have used this opening widely. In fact, even todays grandmasters Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura use this opening frequently. The Encyclopedia of Chess Openings (ECO) classifies this opening under the categories from A10 to A39.


In the symmetrical variation, black mainly copies whites moves and it is actually a very solid variation of the English opening. Black blocks the c4 c5 pawn chain from white that may threaten control of the center of the board. This could result in a number of different structures depending on the progress of further gameplay. Despite that, it is a safe opening for black that fights for the d4 square from the sides.


1 c4 remains an excellent choice for the club and tournament player. This book focuses on the set-up popularised by the sixth world champion, Mikhail Botvinnik, the so-called Botvinnik formation with 2 Nc3, 3 g3, 4 Bg2, 5 e4 and 6 Nge2. This system is compact but still aggressive and rewards an understanding of plans and strategies rather than rote memorisation of moves.In Opening Repertoire: The Iron English leading chess authors Simon Williams and Richard Palliser guide the reader through the complexities of this dynamic variation and carves out a repertoire for White. They examine all aspects of this highly complex opening and provide the reader with well-researched, fresh, and innovative analysis. Each annotated game has valuable lessons on how to play the opening and contains instructive commentary on typical middlegame plans.* A dynamic and easy-to-play repertoire for White* Complete coverage featuring several new ideas* Take your opponents out of their comfort zone!


Richard Palliser is an International Master and the editor of CHESS Magazine. In 2006 he became Joint British Rapidplay Champion and in 2019 he finished third in the British Championship. He has established a reputation as a skilled chess writer and written many works for Everyman, including the bestselling The Complete Chess Workout.


If you are just beginning your chess journey there must be one thing but you struggle with more than anything, it is probably regarding openings. Learning chess openings can be quite a struggle since there is so much to study, this article will help you on that.


If you have watched any competitive chess tournaments lately then you are likely to have encountered this variation in most of the games, this is for a good reason. It is probably the most fundamental chess opening out there that features everything about a chess opening.


It allows white to gain an advantage right out of the opening (specific regarding space and development), but not so much that black is just completely losing. This is a theme that is common for all good chess openings that you will ever study.


There are only really few chess openings that can completely decide the game if the opponent plays correctly, more often than not the lines would just be normal. This is recommended for beginners since it can introduce them to the true nature of chess.


Another reason why it is so good comes from the position that it promotes, it has a complete package offer of what is common in all other openings. By mastering this particular variation you are likely to play themes in all other openings that you will eventually encounter.


This is probably the most important variation following the 1.d4 line, understanding how this is played will unlock more opening opportunities for beginners. Unlike the 1.e4, the 1.d4 is much more quiet, although not as quiet as the English opening (1.c4).


This also introduces the idea of gambits to a beginner, since most people who start playing chess only care about material and never about positional edge. Punishing an opponent that overguard their gambited pawn is also quite easy.


If you look at the picture above the italian game is very similar to the Ruy Lopez except the bishop was developed to a different square, however, this is a completely different chess opening. This is not as rudimentary as the Ruy Lopez but it is still good for beginners.


If you are an aggressive player and do know how to convert advantages, some other openings like the scotch game would be better. Italian games are usually on the positional side with a good attacking setup.


This is the thing with this question, it is hard to pinpoint the best chess opening since both black and white will have their own respective variations. This means that the best opening for white will not be applicable to the black pieces, they need to be separated.


Many chess professionals who play against the Ruy Lopez will prefer to go with the Berlin defense from among all other variations, the main line leads to an endgame that is somewhat drawish. This is good for beginners since they can avoid opening traps and go straight into the endgame.


This one is still common in the high levels although not as common as the Berlin defense, the goal of this opening is pretty similar though. The Petroff is considered to be a somewhat drawish chess opening that will give an equal position if both sides play correctly.


There is also another greater benefit in playing the Sicilian defense, mainly of the variety that the player can study rather than sticking to a single opening. The sicilian offers numerous lines that give unique positions over its other variations so beginners can experiment quickly.


On the other hand the best beginner chess opening for black would be the Sicilian defense, it is pretty solid and black is usually the one who will control the tempo of the game. It also has numerous lines that will provide opportunities for future opening study.


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The English Opening is an aggressive, flank opening that begins with pawn to c4 where White attempts to control the center from flank pieces. Unlike an opening such as the Italian, which is usually played less aggressively, White can choose how to approach the opening.


As in the Réti, play can become closed, should both sides refuse a central clash, but also very open, should White continue with an early d4, for instance. Thus, the opening appeals to all types of player, from those who prefer calm positional manoeuvres, and those in between, to sharp, tactical hackers (like myself!)


English specialists come in two flavours, those who play the opening from time-to-time, and use it mainly to reach favourable 1 d4 openings, whilst avoiding certain defences (1 c4 Nf6 2 Nc3 g6 3 e4 is a case in point, forcing a Grünfeld player to play the King's Indian after the further 3...d6 4 d4), and those who live to play the English. Into the former category come: 041b061a72


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