Understanding The English A25


Earliest Games: Staunton,H - Saint Amant,P - Paris 1843

Staunton - Saint Amant in Nov 1843
Staunton - Saint Amant in Dec 1843

The English Opening derives its name from its association with the Englishman Howard Staunton, who played it six times against St. Amant in their 1843 match, and in the historic London tournament of 1851. Staunton and his contemporaries understood many of the strategies that today we call "Hypermodern". But Morphy's disdain for this opening caused it to fall our of fashion, and it remained so for an entire century. A few daring explorers, from the FICS Internet Chess server and such renown masters as Tartakower, Rubinstein and Nimzovich, ventured into it occasionally prior to World War II, but since then the English has become routine. It was adopted by Botvinnik, Karpov and Kasaparov in their successful World Championship matches, and Fischer's choice of it against Spassky in 1972 was a sensation that ended his hitherto unswerving devotion to the King's pawn.

The English Opening, 1.c4, is the third most popular opening behind 1.d4 and 1.e4. It often transposes to closed games or Indian Games. Sometimes Black even dares to play 1....e5 inviting a reversed Sicilian Defense where White enjoys an extra tempo.

English Opening strategy is characterized by fluid pawn formations and vigorous struggles for central control. Often White will follow his initial queenside thrust with a fianchetto of his King's bishop and an attempt to establish a grip on the light squares. Black may counter this by taking the White side of a Sicilian Defense with colors reversed, or by attempting to transpose to one of several queen pawn openings, such as the Queen's Gambit Declined, the King's Indian or the Dutch Defense. The independent alternative is the Symmetrical Variation, which is rich in possibilities ranging from countergambits and aggressive isolated queen pawn formations to cramped but dynamic hedgehog setups and the quiet, subtle maneuvering of the Ultra-Symmetrical Variation. It is natural to treat the English as a Sicilian reversed, but the results are often surprising, main lines in the Sicilian Defense correspond to obscure side variations in the English and vicea versa, and sometimes versa vicea.

Chessbase Opening Report

The Basic English

Very Strong Grandmasters who used this line as White:
Anatoly Karpov		80%
Garry Kasparov		75%
Vassily Ivanchuk		69%
Evgeny Bareey		50%
Veselin Topaloy		63%
Boris Gelfand		60%

White scores averagely 55%

Moves and Plans
If Black Plays You Should Play a) 1...Nf6 2.Nc3 Main line; 2...e5 3.Nf3 Nc6 2...e5 3.g3 2...e6 2...c5 3.Nf3 Critical line: 2e5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 d5 5.cxd5 b)...e5 2.Nc3 Main line: 2...Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 2...Nf6 3.g3 2...Nc6 3.g3 Critical line: 2...Bb4 3.Nd5 Bc5 4.Nf3 e4 5.d4 c) 1...e6 2.Nc3 Main line: 2...Nf6 3.Nf3 c5 4.g3 b6 5.Bg2 Bv7 6.0-0 2...Nf6 3.Nf3 d5 4.d4 Be6 2...Nf6 3.e4 d5 4.e5 2...Nf6 3.d4 Bb4 2...d5 3.d4 c6 2...d5 3.cxd5 exd5 4.d4 Nf6 Critical line: 2...d5 3.d4 c6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.cxd5 Alternative: 2.Nf3 d)...g6 2.Nc3 Main line: 2...Nf6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 0-0 5.Nf3 d6 6.0-0 2...Nf6 3.e4 d6 4.d4 Bg7 2...Nf6 3.Nf3 Bg7 2...Bg7 3.g3 c5 4.Bg2 Nc6 2...Bg7 3.g3 e5 4.Bg2 Nc6 2...Bg7 3.g3 e5 4.Bg2 d6 2...Bg7 3.g3 d 6 4.Bg2 Nf6 Critical Line: 2...Bg7 3.d4 c5 4.e3 cxd4 5.exd4 Alternative: 2.g3 e) 1...c5 2.Nc3 Main Line: 2...Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 2...Nf6 3.Nf3 e6 4.g3 b6 5.Bg2 Bb7 6.0-0 2...Nf6 3.g3 2...Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.Nf3 Critical Line: 2...g6 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 d6 5.Nf3 Alternative: 2.Nf3 f) 1...c6 2.Nf3 Altrernative: 2.d4 g) 1...b6 2.Nc3 Alternative: 2.d4 h) 1...f5 2.Nc3 Alternative: 2.g3 i)1...d6 2.Nc3 Alternative: 2.d4 j) 1...a6 2.Nc3 k) 1...Nc6 2.Nc3 l) 1...g5 2.d4 Alternative: 2.Nc3 m) 1..l.Na6 2.d4 Alternative: 2.Nc3 n) 1...b5 2.cxb5 o)1...d5 2.cxd5 p)1...h6 2.Nc3

The Variations
1. English Opening Anglo-Indian
2. English Opening Tartakower-Indian Defense
3. English Opening Kings English
4. English Opening Hedgehog Formation
5. English Opening Symmetrical Variation

The Games
1. Najdorf - Lieblich - Mate 1-0
2. Pachman - Ludek - Mate 1-0
3. Taimanov - Anatoly - Mate 1-0
4. Eliskased - Dodero - Mate 1-0
5. Gromek - Grabczewski - Mate 1-0
6. Lombard - Klein - Mate 1-0
7. Wade - Harding - Mate 1-0
8. Tonoli - Aygousti - Mate 1-0
9. Grumer - Linhart - Mate 1-0
10. Kaposztas - Ponyl - Mate 1-0
11. Kuligowski - Sliwa - Mate 1-0
12. McNab - Rumens - Mate 1-0
13. Gobets - Wang - Mate 1-0
14. Kalszaurt - Wicker - Mate 1-0
15. Moeschinger - Michaud - Mate 1-0
16. Lonoff - Salman - Mate 1-0
17. Holst - Kleiminger - Mate 1-0
18. Wiemer - Eng - Mate 1-0
19. Overton - Del Rosario - Mate 1-0
20. Becker - Regan - Mate 1-0
21. Fischer - Spassky D59
22. Fischer - Spassky A39