Sharp variation against the English?

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #1


    Hi everyone,

    When I play against the english I always perform badly as I just don't play as well when I play that slow, boring positional chess. I really want to find a variation against the english that's pretty sharp but not dubious. I'm not sure if this is even possible but I'm sure that someone else has had the same problem with the english and have found a solution. If you have found one or know a line that suits the description please post it here!!



  • 6 years ago · Quote · #2


    although its not exactly raging happy hour, you can usually get a fairly decent semi-tactical game with 1..Nf6 and 2...d5.

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #3


    Thanks, is that the best there is or is there something better?

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #4


    yeah sorry i guess noone knows, its hard to get a sharp game against the english, especially a sound one. especially as black.

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #5


    Thanks lasker fan.. might try that out

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #6


    sharp response vs the english? I wish!

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #7


    There is actually this variation which is completely playable:


  • 6 years ago · Quote · #8


    yeah people will mention the reverse dragon, but its not very sharp least not if black knows whats good for him heh...I would guess that the variation conzipe mentioned is your best bet, or possibly the pseudo grunfeld I mentioned. My own experience with the pseudo grunfeld, however, was slightly dissapointing if white knew how to handle it.

    In the position laskerfan gave 4...Nd4!? is interesitng and sharp....but noone plays Nf3 english players almost always will paly Bg2

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #9


    I agree 1...Nf6 and 2...d5 can lead to a sharp open position, though if 2. Nf3 then before ...d5 you probably want to play ...c5, to enable ...Nc7 if your knight gets chased after cxd5/...Nxd5/e4

    Another line that gets short shrift is 1...e5/2...d6/3...f5

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #10


    If you're a fan of the Dutch defense, you can try the Anglo-Dutch:

    1. c4 f5

    Otherwise, you can always play the King's Indian and launch a kingside pawn storm.

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #11


    The problem I have with playing the anglo-dutch is that whites setup with Nc3, g3, Bg2, d3, e3, Nge2 is very effective against blacks dutch formation. The first point is that black won't be able to play Ne4 as he always does in the dutch against d4 and also blacks key attacking move is usually f4 which is very hard to get in when white has put hes pieces like that.

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #12


    Well If your opponengt plays c4

    Why don't you try C6!

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #13


    He wanted something sharp.
    Not the most solid and defensive opening in the game. Tongue out 

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #14


    Gonnosuke wrote:

    There's a gambit line in the Anti-Benoni complex that can lead to sharp play:

    1.c4 c5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 5. Nb5 d5 6.cxd5 Bc5! (6...Qa5+!?)

    Kasparov and Topalov both played it as young GM's.  Bareev, Gelfand and Friedel have been carrying the torch in recent years with good results.

    See Dangerous Weapons: Flank Openings by Palliser, Kosten and Vigus for in-depth coverage of this line and many more ideas

    The Kasparov Gambit is fantastic, but at lower levels nobody plays 2.Nf3. It's all 2.g3s and Nc3s and such, closed setups, no d4.

    I would suggest playing either a king's indian setup (because you can't be move-ordered) or even better might be 1...e5 with a reversed sicilian of some sort. Most of the top guys play a dragon reversed, like this.

    Also you might consider playing a reversed closed sicilian, or reversed grand-prix attack. All are quite viable, the reversed grand-prix especially has a very straightforward plan of kingside aggression.
  • 6 years ago · Quote · #15


    What do you play again d4? What you play can often affect what you do against c4.

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #16


    You play the english.

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #17


    Be sure to have something against 2.g3 players because it can effect the lines you play quite a bit. For example the early f5 vs 2.g3 doesn't work so well after 1.c4 e5 2.g3 f5 3.d4 e4 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Bg5 with the idea of h2-h4 after the swap when White is the one attacking the kingside.

    Also with the gambit line in the symmetrical you'll need something if White doesn't play d4. The hedgehog isn't really tactical.

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #18


    I always play the Reversed Sicilian with e5 and f5 on the first two moves.

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #19


    It's not so much the variation you choose as your attitude which causes you problems.

    How do I know this?  Well, the English just isn't played so often at the highest levels, among those who may contend to be candidates for the World Championship.  Sure, several of them play it occasionally, but only so as a way to confound preparation (much as a serious poker player bluffs in a big game and hopes he is called, to raise doubt over his bigger bet later on).  It is no one's main line, because it just doesn't promise White as good a chance at obtaining at least the "normal" opening advantage that 1 e4 and 1 d4 can often deliver.

    So you need to get him out of your head.  Play your game, not his.  If you like the 1 ...e5 lines, go for it - it's been popular ever since the English reappeared regularly on the GM circuit in the '60s, and one of the most successful defenses.  But if you are comfortable with the Hedgehog formations and a slower counterattack, go with that, but with the attitude you are already equal or better.

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #20


    Thanks estragon....I'll try that

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