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# Theory question

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Many people like to say, that The English Opening with 1...e5, is a Sicilian Defense +1 tempo.

Is it?

Or is the difference in move-order matter more than we think?

I tried to play 1.Nf3 against the lichess.org Analysis board [=Stockfish 14.1 engine], the results are:

Oh great! I'm playing the King's Indian Defense +1 tempo!

Do I?

Or is the change in move-order makes it a completely different opening?

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[one thing I used to do, playing against The Fidelity Chessmaster(R), is to play a beneficial move that I would play Anyway at some point, usually a3 or h3 - thus "giving up the tempo", and then I can play the opening in regular fashion. - I didn't really give it up - a3 is good and beneficial - but perhaps a lot later]

An example:

yes, this sounds correct actually. thx.

#1
"The English Opening with 1...e5, is a Sicilian Defense +1 tempo"
Yes, that is correct.

Botvinnik was of the opinion, that 1 c4 e5 is wrong, because the Sicilian Defence 1 e4 c5 is strong and thus allowing Sicilian with an extra tempo would be wrong.

We know from the Carlsen-Caruana match that 1 c4 e5 is OK for black:
https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1937769
https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1937849

It really is not a Sicilian with an extra tempo.  Black cannot take on typical ideas for White in the Sicilian.  For example, if White tries to play the same setup that Black plays in the Dragon, Black CANNOT take on a Yugoslav attack.  The extra tempo is fatal for Black.  Instead, he has to take on more of a Classical setup (Be7, Be6, Nc6, Nb6).

The same can be said for other openings.  Another prime example is the Exchange Caro vs the Exchange QGD.

In the Exchange QGD, early Bf5 lines lead to a wrecked pawn structure for Black (1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bg5 c6 6.e3 Bf5 7.Qf3! Bg6 8.Bxf6 Qxf6 9.Qxf6 gxf6)

In the Exchange Caro, White does not have this problem, and does not commit to an early Nf3, making the development of the Queen's Bishop difficult for Black, not White!  1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3 (Black did not get in Bd6 in the QGD) Nc6 5.c3 and now if Qc7, White can set up Bf4 via Nge2 and it will not lead to doubled f-pawns.

So again, the difference of 1 tempo makes them completely different openings.  Standard Sicilian strategy does not work for Black and is inferior for White - the extra move gives White things that Black does not get in the Sicilian itself.

indeed. The +1 tempo you supposedly get playing a "reversed" opening is illusionary, to me. As white, you are initiating, not countering punching as say the Sicilian (as black) is. Soo, in a sense you are playing a diff opening. The names are just what it "looks" like but cool, but the strategy is totally different.

#7
The pawn structure is the same. The extra tempo may or may not prove useful.

najdorf96 wrote:

As white, you are initiating, not countering punching as say the Sicilian (as black) is. Soo, in a sense you are playing a diff opening.

Yes, that what I think too.

But, hearing many opinions makes us closer to the truth, hence why I opened this thread.

#6

Let's visualize:

Exchange QGD:

In the Exchange QGD, early Bf5 lines lead to a wrecked pawn structure for Black

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In the Exchange Caro, White does not have this problem, and does not commit to an early Nf3, making the development of the Queen's Bishop difficult for Black, not White!

I didn't get it, sorry.

If you want to figure out the English / some kind of reversed Sicilian then you need to play c4... probably on move 1... in that game you didn't play it at all

Since after 1. c4 e5 Black cannot enter most of the Sicilian main lines, with the colors reversed and a tempo down, it might be more correct to say that 1. c4 e5 leads to a colors reversed anti-Sicilian.

For instance, 1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. g3 Bb4 leads to a colors-reversed Nimzovich-Rossolimo (which is a known anti-Sicilian line).

tygxc wrote:

#7
The pawn structure is the same. The extra tempo may or may not prove useful.

Actually, the pawn structure is NOT the same!

Take the Dragon.

In the Sicilian Defense, White's pawn structure on the Kingside is e4-f3 and then the g- and h-pawns vary based on the attack.  Early h4 vs early g4 lines.  This is known as the Yugoslav Attack

In the English Opening, Black cannot play ...f6 and ...g5 or ...h5.  He will get killed.  The Yugoslav Attack cannot be played in reverse.  Black must play in classical dragon fashion, which the pawn structure is completely different!

It's just like the King's Indian Attack vs the King's Indian Defense.  Pawn structure is NOT the same.  In the KIA, White plays for h2-h4-h5.  In the KID, Black plays for f7-f5-f4.

Apples and Oranges.

blueemu wrote:

Since after 1. c4 e5 Black cannot enter most of the Sicilian main lines, with the colors reversed and a tempo down, it might be more correct to say that 1. c4 e5 leads to a colors reversed anti-Sicilian.

For instance, 1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. g3 Bb4 leads to a colors-reversed Nimzovich-Rossolimo (which is a known anti-Sicilian line).

Even Anti-Sicilian lines are not the same "reversed".

Take the Grand Prix attack.

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Bb5 - This is the "Main Line" of the Grand Prix Attack, if there even is a main line.

Now look at the line in reverse.  Not the same at all!  Marin, of all people, gives this analysis (What is below is a summary of his work, not direct quotes):

1.c4 e5 2.g3 Nc6 3.Nc3 (Forced - 3.Bg2? f5! 4.Nc3 Nf6 and White has absolutely nothing here, yet Black plays this line all the time with the opposing side to move - while not officially Zugzwang for White, it might as well be!) 3...f5 4.Nf3! (4...Bg2? Nf6 and you have the same problem as before) 4...Nf6 5.d4!! (You will see in a moment that if Bg2 is played, this move is not possible, hence 4.Nf3 instead) 5...e4 6.Nh4! And now White has pressure on f5.  If Black guards it with a move like 6...d6, then Black can follow up with ...g5.  If a White Bishop were on g2, his Knight would be trapped!  Instead, the Bishop gets developed classicallly in this line (usually to e2).  The Knight will remain on h4 until ...g5 is played.  Once it is, White will play Ng2, and then h4, with the idea that White is enticing Black to take on h4 or else advance ...g4, in both cases giving the White Knight a beautiful outpost on f4!

So yes, even the Anti-Sicilians are totally different!

ThrillerFan wrote:
tygxc wrote:

#7
The pawn structure is the same. The extra tempo may or may not prove useful.

Actually, the pawn structure is NOT the same!

Take the Dragon.

In the Sicilian Defense, White's pawn structure on the Kingside is e4-f3 and then the g- and h-pawns vary based on the attack.  Early h4 vs early g4 lines.  This is known as the Yugoslav Attack

In the English Opening, Black cannot play ...f6 and ...g5 or ...h5.  He will get killed.  The Yugoslav Attack cannot be played in reverse.  Black must play in classical dragon fashion, which the pawn structure is completely different!

It's just like the King's Indian Attack vs the King's Indian Defense.  Pawn structure is NOT the same.  In the KIA, White plays for h2-h4-h5.  In the KID, Black plays for f7-f5-f4.

Apples and Oranges.

I once tried this reverse something or other.

The pawn structure is the same. The extra tempo may or may not be useful.
Some lines work in reverse, some do not.
Here is an example of Fischer playing a reverse Grand Prix Attack.
https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1044658

Above I gave 2 examples of Caruana playing a reverse Open Sicilian.