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Sharp variation against the English?

  • #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!!



  • #2

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

  • #3

    Thanks lasker fan.. might try that out

  • #4

    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.

  • #5

    Well If your opponengt plays c4

    Why don't you try C6!

  • #6
    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.
  • #7

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

  • #8

    You play the english.

  • #9

    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.

  • #10

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

  • #11

    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.

  • #12

    Thanks estragon....I'll try that

  • #13

    play a dutch defense against c4.  The dutch is usually pretty tactical, especially in the variations where white castles kingside

  • #14

    What about the reverse Grand Prix Attack or The Reversed Closed Sicilian?

    Both are quite sharp in the normal sicilian, with tactical oppurtunities and the ability to start a perfectly sound kingside attack.

  • #15

    Why don't you try c4 c5? This solves most problems of the english. Most don't know how to deal with it anyways, so it's a big chance to get an advantage.

  • #16

    Ya but if you are losing vs English, try the Slav. If played accurately, it's a draw in which case you might lose your fear of the english and try something else like c5!

  • #17

    The Dutch or a King's Indian approach IS sharp, but there is no telling the white player will play d4. These people usually enjoy the c4-d3-e3 centre. When it gets really tricky, they flick in f4, stopping most attacks.

    Some of the best other lines are with c5 and e6. In case of centre action (d4) you always have Bb4 pinning the knight, and Qb6. That's especially good in the white g3 lines.

    c5 and d5 can indeed be good. If white does nothing active, you set up the reversed Maroczy bind. (Rubinstein system.)

    Any line with Bb4 is solid. This is after e5 or even e6. It's very positional, but if you can take the knight on c3 with doubled pawns and play it well, you can give white a serious headache.

    So there are a lot of interesting lines against the English, but you need to know the ideas very well, because most lines are positional.


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