English Opening - Reliable and Flexible
The English Opening is an interesting idea with a Hypermodern feel. It offers play of a different nature from the QPG
. White refrains from pushing his central pawns early and plays 1.c4 instead. He stakes an early claim on d5 and proceeds to control the light squares in the center.
Control of the long light square diagonal is his next objective and he achieves this by fianchettoing his light-square Bishop. Pawns on d3 and c4 and a Knight on c3 give him a vice-like grip on those central light squares.
It is a large opening family accounting for entries A10-39
in the ECO Index. Black has many possible replies. The main ones are 1...c5 (Symmetrical English) and 1.e5 (Reversed Sicilian). 1...f5, 1...g6, 1....e6 and 1...c6 are all tested regularly.
The English Opening is divided into 3 main branches. The Symmetrical Branch, the Reversed Sicilian Branch and the rest. Let's start with a look at a couple of the most important lines from the rest.