The English Opening
This Chess opening involves the first move c4, (called The English Opening because a group of English players in around the 1890’s often played it, including Howard Staunton), it is played as one of the main opening choices for white- an alternative to d4(Queen’s Pawn Opening) or e4(King’s Pawn Opening).
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Most positions in this opening are positional in nature rather than the more tactical nature of other openings because white is preparing an attack on the flank, and often fianchettos his bishop with moves such as g3 and Bg2 in order to attack a black central pawn mass.
An early d5 is the most critical reply by Black otherwise he can lose control of the d5 square and thus be on the defensive.
One of the main lines is the Symmetric English:
- c4 c5
- Nf3 Nc6
- Nc3 Nf6
- g3 g6
The main idea for White in the English is to fianchetto his light-square Bishop and gear towards playing on the queenside. He will often play moves such as Rb1, a3, and b4 to gain space on the queenside. In some cases (if Black playes a5 to slow down b4), White can transfer his f3-Knight to c2 via e1 to help with the advancement of the b-pawn to b4. The g2 Bishop is a key attacker in the English, therefore it is worth saving it for as long as possible.
A trap for Black leading to mate is a move order such as The Korchnoi Variation which is 1.c4 e5, 2.Nc3 Nf6, 3.Nf3Nc6, 4.g3 Nd4!?, 5.Nxe5?! Qe7, 6.Nf3?? Nxf3+mate.