The English Opening Part 1 by GM Arun and GM Magesh

The English Opening Part 1 by GM Arun and GM Magesh

| 31 | Opening Theory


As we had mentioned the previous week, today we will be discussing the English opening. It has been named  after the famous English Chess Master Howard Staunton. One of the trickiest parts with this opening is that it can be transposed into a number of other openings, so if we can understand the pawn formations and initial ideas it would be very useful to steer our opponents into territories in which they may not be comfortable otherwise. By not commiting any moves in the center, just like the Reti opening, 1.Nf3, white retains his ideas to play both d4 or e4 later transposing the game into those respective openings.



Let us first take a look at all the possible contiunations for black after 1.c4...



1...Nf6 - One of the main responses for black; just like white, black keeps all his possibilities alive with this non-commital move.

1...e5 - Black immediately takes control of the central black squares. He can either choose a King's Indian Defense (KID) plan(g6,Bg7) or Nimzo(Bb4) ideas.

1...e6 - Black prefers Nimzo Indian defense type of positions with the e6-d5 pawn formation. He can chose to develop  his dark squared bishop to b4 or to e7.

1...c5 - Black goes for a symmetrical pawn structure here. This can also transpose into a Sicilian Maroczy bind type of position if white gets e4 and d4.

1...c6 - Leading to a Slav type of position against d4 and Caro-Kann type positions against e4.

1...g6 - Black is trying to reach a typical KID type of position here.

1...f5 - Black is trying to reach a typical Dutch kind of position here.


Black can mix and match with these possibilities, for example, he can play Nf6 and e6, Nf6 and c5, g6 and c5 etc, However we should keep in mind some of these moves like f5 and c5 or e6 and g6 would not go well together.


The first game we will see today is between the two legendary players, Tigran Petrosian and Robert James Fischer. One of the most unique parts about Fischer was his killer instinct. In one of the TV interviews that Fischer had given during his younger days, when he was asked what would be the most satisfying thing for him in a chess game, his reply was "To crush your opponent's mind and soul" It may sound a little too ruthless, but no wonder he remained in the top for so many years as he precisely managed to do what he intended to.  Now let us watch this magician in action.


Petrosian is not really the kind of player who is on the receiving end too much; the next game should give an ample idea about his capabilities with the English opening.

Our next game is the second game of the World Championship match between Gary Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov in the year 1987. Sometimes one should wonder if someone can study everything in chess by just studying the World Championshop matches as they offer so much to learn.

No one can put Kasparov down, however we will have to wait one more week to see his comeback. We always try to give different perspectives for our readers, that is why we choose games in such a way that the readers can understand both White's and Black's ideas (White and Black winning) in any given opening. We have plenty more coming in the English next week.

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