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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) Why play the english???? (Read 6789 times)
alumbrado
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Re: Why play the english????
Reply #14 - 05/26/04 at 02:21:44
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Wow!  That's a long paragraph!  But for what it is worth, I agree with pretty much everything in it.  Grin

I don't have the Davies Dynamic Réti book yet, but it is on order.  Smiley

I absolutely agree that it would be foolish to try to learn everything in OfWAtK all in one go, and it is best to wean yourself onto it slowly.

I don't think you necessarily have to play all the systems in it, anyway - for example, I like the 6.h3 lines against the King's Indian, which are favoured by Michael Krasenkow particularly, so I have not bothered with the Bayonet Attack.

And I play 4.Qc2 or 4.e3 against the Slav, rather than going in for the Botvinnik Variation.

I also play the Catalan, so the QGD lines are not all that important to me (although I also play this with black occasionally so I have had a look).

My point about move order was actually meant to be very specific to these Symmetrical English lines - for example, Khalifman does not over the line 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d4 (at least partly, I would guess, because of the famous gambit line 3...cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 5.Nb5 d5! 6.cxd5 Bc5!).

If memory serves he also does not cover 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.Nc3 e6 4.d4 (4.g3! is the recommendation here I think), because of lines where Black plays an early ...Bb4.

As X says, all this sort of thing (there are also lots of move-order contortions to avoid the Grünfeld) makes it highly desirable to have some other ideas to back up the lines given by Khalifman, otherwise it is all a bit too rigid - for my liking anyway.
  

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Re: Why play the english????
Reply #13 - 05/26/04 at 01:47:03
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I recommend Davies' The Dynamic Reti as an intermediate step towards tackling Khalifman's Opening According to Kramnik, if you are thinking about adopting a repertoire based on 1.Nf3.  In my opinion, learning the Bayonet Attack and the Botvinnik Semi-slav all at once is a bit overwhelming.  In the Davies' book, I think a lot of the suggestions allow white to gradually adopt new systems (in particular, those in Khalifman's volumes), without drastically changing the base repertoire.  (I found this to be a bit of a problem with many of the recommendations in Kosten's The Dynamic English.)  Also, I think Donaldson's A Strategic Opening Repertoire for White is worth looking at, though it is hard to come by.  Unfortunately, the book is very disorganized and the games are printed like a database printouts, although there many good ideas in this book.  Also, the recent book on the Catalan by Raetsky and Chetverik (not sure about the spelling) looks very good.  (You may want to look at the German version also, since it is not the same book.  The English follows an annotated game format, while the German follows a tree format.)  There are several transposition possibilites to the Catalan available with the 1.Nf3 and 2.c4 move order, I think this is a good opening for 1.Nf3 players to keep in mind, at least as a second-string weapon.  Often you can obtain favourable transpositions to a Closed Catalan by delaying d4.  For instance, you can avoid the ...Bb4+ check lines where Black provokes Bd2, where the bishop is not on its ideal square (b2) in the main Closed Catalan lines.  (This line is recommended for black in Kaufman's recent book {The Chess Advantage for White and Black, I believe is the name} advocates this line for black.  This is another book that is certainly worth looking at also, though I am getting off topic a little.)  Playing 1.Nf3 offers white a great deal of flexibility, and I am of the opinion that players of the white side seeking to improve, should take advantage of this flexiblity and adopt a repertoire with secondary options, to broaden understanding of the game.  Studying openings arising 1.c4 and 1.Nf3 has led to me toward fascinating, deep openings such the Catalan and the Fianchetto King's Indian, besides the multitude of stategically rich pure English and Reti openings.  In these openings, it really pays to understand the positional and tactical nuances as there are so many transpostional posibilities.  I believe that the study of these openings has improved my overall understanding of the game.  I think openings like this are great, if you want to improve your positional play.  Though, learning these openings on your own is certainly not an easy task, as good books on the openings are sometimes hard to come by.  Sometimes, you'll just have to look at what experts in these openings are doing.  For example, Wojtkiewicz and Vaganian are two players 1.Nf3 players that come to mind.  (Oh, yeah, and of course, Kramnik!)  There are many professionals (many Russian) that make a living on these systems.  In a way, it is little surprising that not more is written on openings like the KID Fianchetto, since it is regularly played by many grandmasters.  I suppose it is because it is not a very appealing amateur opening, since there is so much to learn.  By the way, does anyone know of good book to learn the King's Indian Fianchetto?  The book by Janjgava is the best I've seen, yet leaves a lot to be desired, since there is little written explanation relative to the massive compilation of game references.  This strikes me to be kind of funny, since I think this is the type of opening where it is more important to the know the mainl strategic themes, rather than reams of concrete analysis.  Of course, the problem is that this is a very complex opening, and there are several complicated tactical lines that need concrete analysis.  Well, maybe I have answered my own question.  I think few authors would want to devote the time to writing a comprehensive work that would number over 600 pages, and I doubt many publishers would be intererested, due to the limited audience and the size of the publication.  Ok, I didn't plan on rambling that long, as you can see by the lack of indentation and the meandering style.  Tongue   


  

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alumbrado
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Re: Why play the english????
Reply #12 - 05/25/04 at 10:59:43
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Quite right.  White does not have to play stodgy 'pure' symmetrical lines if he doesn't want to.

Not for the first time on chesspublishing.com I am going to direct people to Khalifman's Opening for White According to Kramnik for a really excellent exposition of the sort of positions that arise after an early d2-d4 by White.  8)

I would add, however, that for the repertoire Khalifman presents, move order is highly significant and frankly rather too inflexible for my taste.  Undecided

So for some more background, Carsten Hansen's Symmetrical English from a few years back also covers these lines very well, imho.
  

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Re: Why play the english????
Reply #11 - 05/25/04 at 08:50:30
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1.c4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nf3 and 4.d4 is not symmetrical at all.
  

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Re: Why play the english????
Reply #10 - 05/25/04 at 07:23:34
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At the moment if I play 1.c4, I usually do it in order to get 1.d4 positions, while discouraging the Stonewall and the Chigorin. However I absolutely don't like the symmetrical variation.

As to 1.Nf3 f5, I think that black really doesn't have to be afraid of 2.e4, it seems to me that 2...fxe4 3.Ng5 Nc6 is a reliable equalising move (and if black wants excitement he could also play the more dangerous lines where he tries to keep the pawn).
  
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Re: Why play the english????
Reply #9 - 05/25/04 at 03:19:35
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But Kt-KB3 prevents ...P-K4!  Aha!
  

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Re: Why play the english????
Reply #8 - 05/20/04 at 07:37:52
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I  agree with Mnb. I think black has a lot of choices in the Reti/English and IMHO i think it is best for black to conceal his formation by choosing a quiet second move such as g6, d6, e6, or even c6. Even c5 is a bit amiguous since Black could play along the main line symmetrical or switch over to a Tarrasch defense w/ e6 and d5. With regard to MNb's move order, I too use 1...g6/d6 against 1. Nf3 if  I want a Dutch.  1. Nf3 d6 and now whatever you play, I will follow with f5 (with the exception of 2. e4 in which case after 2...c5 I've got lovely Sicilian awaiting me).

I also want to say that 1. e4 is white's easiest way to direct the flow of the game. If Black is a positional player, white can usually force black to play some aggressive variation with virtually every opening, including the "ultra-solid" ones like the Caro-Kann. In the case of 1. d4, Nf3, or c4, if black wants a calm, quiet game, he can get it. At the same time, if he wants something a bit more fiery, he can choose Dutch, Modern, Benoni, or a KID formation.
  
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Re: Why play the english????
Reply #7 - 05/20/04 at 05:45:08
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No, I do not want to play the Lisitsin Gambit as Black. But I do want to play the Dutch, so 1.Nf3 d6 or 1.Nf3 e6 or 1.Nf3 g6 with a quick f5 to follow.
Of course I am also ready for a Pirc or a French - mnchess is not.
The question who can choose where the game will go, is in my opinion wrong. As both White and Black move, both direct the course of the game.
A simple example: an Open Sicilian is completely different from a Closed one. Exactly experts on the English might like the similarities between the Closed Sicilian and what I like to call the Closed English ...
  

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Re: Why play the english????
Reply #6 - 05/19/04 at 16:26:21
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I often play the English, although via 1.Nf3 transpositions from the Réti instead of directly via 1.c4. I chose long ago play the flank openings because I felt they offered the best opportunity for White to control the direction of the game (as opposed to 1.e4), while still offering a possibility for an open game (as opposed to 1.d4) or a closed game and being predicated on sound theories offering viability even at the highlest levels of play.

I was tired of playing 1.e4 and hoping Black would be so kind as to play 1...e5, only to be disappointed. I looked back at my game records and saw that less than 25% of my 1.e4 starts were being followed by 1...e5. Consequently I was usually playing the game on the ground of Black's choosing.

In the end I decided I wanted the ability to choose where the game was going. In my humble opinion no opening move beyond 1.Nf3 allows that option better.

You want to play the Sicilian? Too bad, we're going English. You want to play the Dutch? Too bad, we're playing the Lisitsin. You want to play the French? Too bad, we're playing the Réti. After playing a good opponent in a well contested match, nothing pleases me more OTB than thoroughly irritating my opponent with an opening that prevents them from rushing headlong into their pet defense.
  
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Re: Why play the english????
Reply #5 - 02/25/04 at 06:23:21
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I really like lasting advantages, even if they are small!
  
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Re: Why play the english????
Reply #4 - 02/02/04 at 09:38:33
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Quote:
Against the Benoni, you can play the Mikenas or Taimanov lines while against the Dutch there are plenty of sharp, off-beat systems and while the main lines can offer you both strategic and sharp positions.

The Mikenas is harmless, as the central pawns quickly become exposed. The key lines are the Taimanov, the Modern main line (h3 and Bd3), and the Bf4 lines.

Apart from that one fiddling point, I agree with you - the English is generally unlike the Sicilian. Sure,plenty of people play reversed Sicilian lines, but I tend to get the KID against it. The other lines are pretty much unique. Have a look at Kosten's book (The Dynamic English) for a good repetoire based on it, but you have to concede that some lines lead to a lasting butreally small advantage.
  
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Re: Why play the english????
Reply #3 - 12/20/03 at 16:18:26
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Why play the English?

To spite me, would seem to be the answer to that.
1.c4 1-0.

In conclusion, only play the English if you want to beat me!

  

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Re: Why play the english????
Reply #2 - 12/20/03 at 14:24:53
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Sicilian is definitely not the same thing as the english and as a sicilian player I am quite put off by that generalization which is totally untrue.  Angry White's plans in the English are drastically different from Blacks plans in the Sicilian. For example, 1. c4 f5 2. Nc3 Nf6 doesn't look like a sicilian (reversed or otherwise) to me! While it is true that because the english is not usually as sharp as the sicilian that one little slip might not matter as much, theory is certainly very important in an opening where Black has several lines that guarantee relatively easy equality. Theory is also important because there are many positions where White's only practical try for an advantage is to transpose to a normal opening such as a KID, Dutch, QID, Nimzo, or even Sicilian Maroczy bind. This is not to say that the English is not dynamic or that only boring players play it (i happen to admire Tony Kosten's handling of the english), but I would say that black has more choice than white in the lines of the English. Krugman, it seems that you are looking for positions which are are positionally complex, but that also have some lines. Why not play 1. d4? Kasparov's games provide excellent examples of how to squeeze your opponents in the positional lines, as well as how to play agressively (he just loves to throw down that g-pawn against the slav!). There are dynamic and agressive lines against almost all Black options. Queen's Gambit is probably the more strategically and positionally rich of any opening but also has some razor sharp lines in the slav and semi-slav. The Averbach System against the KID looks good while the Classical Nimzo-Indian or the Fianchetto QID are both solid lines but with plenty of space for sharp play. Against the Benoni, you can play the Mikenas or Taimanov lines while against the Dutch there are plenty of sharp, off-beat systems and while the main lines can offer you both strategic and sharp positions. You could also arrive at these systems above via 1. Nf3 and if you choose to do that I would strongly recommend Khalifman's excellent series "Opening for White according to Kramnik" Volumes 1-5 which you can buy together for around $80 USD. Unless you don't have time (or simply don't want to be bothered) studying a lot of theory, don't choose an opening simply because it is easy to learn. Openings have accumulated theory for a reason and there is a reason why most GMs play the main lines and open with 1. d4 or e4 and if they open with 1. Nf3 or c4 usually choose to go back to main line 1. d4  positions. Best of luck in your search for an opening. Choose openings that you feel comfortable playing!

Happy hollidays to everyone and a very happy new year!!
  
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Re: Why play the english????
Reply #1 - 12/20/03 at 13:54:46
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Why play the English? 

Before I answer this, answer the question: why play the Sicilian? 

Roll Eyes  In reality they're pretty much the same thing...except with a few transpositions to know about.

The fact that there is less theory simply means that a slight mistake in move order or idea will not be absolutely destructive to your game.  In other words, it is easier to improvise in the English when unfamiliar with it. 

Also, the Symmetrical English will usually play along the lines of a Closed Sicilian (or at least in my games it has...). 

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Why play the english????
12/20/03 at 12:33:38
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Hi everyone!!!

thus, as my title implies, I want to know why those who play the english, play it. Indeed, I am still looking for a dependable white repertoire and I thought about the english. I am lookoing for an opening which is strategically complex, with lots of choice (like for instance when you play the KID, or the Ruy Lopez as black where you can choose between lots of lines...), but at the same time, can be unbalanced and turned sharp. I know, I am looking for lots of things Smiley
Anyway, does the English fit this description???? I am waiting for your motivations!
The line which seems troublesome for me is the symmetrical english, where, to my modest knowledge, possibilities of active and unbalanced play are rather limited...am I wrong???
Finally, at first, one might think that the English is rather less theoretical than e4, or d4..but when you look at all the different setups black can use, the theoretical work seems important...

Btw, I wish every "Chesspublishers" (and others!) a merry Christmas!
  
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