The Complete Guide About The English Opening

Writing about a very unique opening that I use a lot is a really pleasurable experience for me. I decided to write about the English Opening because this strategy offers great benefits to the player that are using it. That is the reason why in our days, it is a popular opening and many Grand Masters have it in their arsenal. In this article, you will learn more than the basics behind the English opening and you will be able to practice it. Make sure that you will check out other articles that I have written about strategies and recommendations about nice chess sets.

An Introduction to the English Opening

The English Opening is a beautiful and amazing strategy that offers one major advantage in comparison with other openings. Among the players, the English Opening is also known as the ‘real chameleon’, the animal that is changing color depending on its surroundings. They use this metaphor to demonstrate the fact that this opening can be transformed into other popular openings such as Nimzo-Indian Defense, Queen’s Gambit, King’s Indian Defense, Grünfeld Defense and more.

The starting move of this opening is 1.c4. Actually, if you reverse the color of the pieces, the English Opening is similar to Sicilian Defense. White is trying to add pressure in the critical and central d5 square. It’s a good idea for White to make a fianchetto in the kingside. There many possible responses for Black. Here are the basic Variations.

English, Anglo-Gruenfeld, Smyslov Defense

King’s English Opening

English, Queen’s Indian, Romanishin Variation

Illustrative games in the English Opening

I have selected some interesting games that will help you master the English Opening. I have written some comments in order to help you to get the most out of this article. The games are played by World Champions and Grand Masters who have made a few mistakes. Therefore, it would help you a lot to analyze each move.

English Opening, Bremen

English Opening Symmetrical Variation

Anatoly Karpov was at an excellent condition in the Linares tournament. He
finished in the first place and he won 11 out of 13 games (2 and a half points
ahead of Kasparov).

English Opening, Carls’ Bremen System

English Opening

Recommended Books and Courses

Despite my effort to present you the English opening, there are countless variations related to it. So, if you like this opening and you want to use it frequently then, buying a book can be the most efficient way to master it. I have made some research and I have selected some of the best books about the English opening.

  1. Grandmaster Repertoire 3 – The English Opening
  2. Opening Repertoire: The English
  3. Grandmaster Repertoire 5: The English Opening
  4. Grandmaster Repertoire 4: The English Opening
  5. The English: Move by Move

Final Thoughts

The content of this article may seem difficult to master but with a few practice, you will see a huge improvement. Chess is like running a marathon and it is not like a sprint. Keep working and you will see results. You can check my other articles about chess strategies and openings like Pirc Defense, Caro-Kann Defense, French Defense and if you need inspiration in practicing chess then, you should take a look at our reviews about chess sets.

Please write your opinion about this article in the comment section because a good comment is inspiring me to keep writing. If you have found value in this article, please share it with friends so they will get improved in chess. Enjoy chess!

6 thoughts on “The Complete Guide About The English Opening”

  1. Hi Giannis,

    Some random rambling thoughts:

    Transpositions between the English, Reti, and Nimzo-Larsen Attack are many. These three are good to know but sometimes leaves my head swimming with too many ideas.

    In some of these games an interesting structure is d2+e3+f2+Be2 which looks to me like a fianchetto in the middle of the board…but fianchettos are flank formations by definition. Not sure what to call it but I find my king is very safe here and I can delay castling for some time if I choose.

    Thanks again for you nice web site.


    • I agree the examples demonstrate some interesting concepts. It’s great that you have shared your feedback. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Thank you Giannis for posting this. I’m just discovering Carls’ Bremen systems & can’t wait to play them over the board. Do you know of any books addressing1 c4 e5 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 g3 Bc5 4 e3 d5 5 Nf3 Bf5? I guess I’m diverging at 3….Bc5…. thanks again.

    • Thanks for your comment. Grandmaster Repertoires books cover many variations including this. I suggest you take a look at 5-7 games available online so you can get the big picture of this variation. Then you can dive in with these books.


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