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English (A20)
1 c4 e5

Number of games in database: 6374
Years covered: 1851 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 38.5%
   Black wins 28.5%
   Draws 33.0%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Mihai Suba  46 games
Manuel Bosboom  36 games
Aleksandr Rakhmanov  36 games
Viswanathan Anand  28 games
Samuel Sevian  25 games
Fabiano Caruana  25 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Petrosian vs Korchnoi, 1971
Karpov vs Hjartarson, 1989
Carlsen vs Anand, 2008
Barcza vs Bronstein, 1949
Tartakower vs Lasker, 1924
Larsen vs Korchnoi, 1973
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 page 1 of 255; games 1-25 of 6,374 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. F Deacon vs E Lowe  1-0451851London Chess Club tA20 English
2. F Deacon vs E Lowe 1-0491851Deacon - LoweA20 English
3. M Wyvill vs E Lowe 1-0411851LondonA20 English
4. Staunton vs E Williams ½-½301851Staunton - WilliamsA20 English
5. Szen vs K Hamppe  1-0561853Vienna mA20 English
6. R Brien vs F G Janssens  ½-½471854London mA20 English
7. T Barnes vs Zytogorski 0-1441855Kling's Coffee HouseA20 English
8. R Brien vs Bird 1-0421858BirminghamA20 English
9. E Pindar vs J Kipping 1-0191861Manchester CC ch mA20 English
10. E Pindar vs Blackburne  0-1491861Blackburne - Pindar m(2)A20 English
11. S Solomons vs J Hannah  1-0311862B.C.A. Handicap tA20 English
12. T Barnes vs J Hannah  ½-½3218625th BCA Congress, LondonA20 English
13. S Solomons vs J Hannah  ½-½381862B.C.A. Handicap tA20 English
14. Owen vs Dubois ½-½7118625th BCA Congress, LondonA20 English
15. J Minchin vs G MacDonnell 0-1441866LondonA20 English
16. De Vere vs S Rosenthal 0-1231867ParisA20 English
17. E Rousseau vs S Rosenthal  0-1511867ParisA20 English
18. De Vere vs Winawer 0-1351867ParisA20 English
19. J Swan vs O Michaelis  0-14218691st Michigan State Chess Association TournamentA20 English
20. H Harding vs H Hosmer 0-11718712nd American Chess Congress, ClevelandA20 English
21. H Harding vs Mackenzie 0-13418712nd American Chess Congress, ClevelandA20 English
22. H Harding vs Mackenzie 0-13518712nd American Chess Congress, ClevelandA20 English
23. H Harding vs H D Smith 0-13818712nd American Chess Congress, ClevelandA20 English
24. A Johnston vs M Judd  ½-½3918712nd American Chess Congress, ClevelandA20 English
25. A Johnston vs M Judd  0-1411872Ohio State ChampionshipA20 English
 page 1 of 255; games 1-25 of 6,374 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-20-09  chessman95: I agree. I think part of the reason they haven't done very well recently is because the few GMs who play those openings only play them occasionly, so they probably don't know them inside-out as they do other openings. If somebody could regularly play hypermodern openings and actually learn how to play them correctly, then maybe we would see the statistics rise for white.
Feb-26-09  FiveofSwords: <whiskeyrebel> Right, of course, you see, white wants black to play the game so he doesnt have to haha. Of course black can decide, if he wants, not to let his buttons get pushed and then what do you do. play for c5? I dont think any of the strongest players have made 1 c4 or 1nf3 their main move. Fisher obviously was an 1e4 player. If he played 1nf3 there was a special reason. I understand my statement was a little unfair but theres a lot of truth to it as the defensive responses to it show.
Feb-26-09  blacksburg: <I dont think any of the strongest players have made 1 c4 or 1nf3 their main move.>

kramnik played 1.Nf3 as his main move for a long time. and korchnoi played 1.c4 hundreds of times.

Feb-26-09  blacksburg: according to the database, Kramnik has won 46% of his games as white after 1.Nf3. in comparison, Anand has won 47.3% with white after 1.e4. so i'd say that 1.Nf3 has worked out pretty well for him.
Feb-26-09  unsound: I'm not sure <FiveofSwords>'s continued dismissiveness really merits a response. (The very act of playing 1.c4 "usually" shows a fear of playing chess, according to FOS.) However, personally I feel as though in some ways I'm "playing chess" more when I play the English than in some other openings. I switched from 1.e4--open Sicilians and the King's Gambit, which was fun, but almost always resulted in a headlong rush into a tactical melee. The point of the English, as I take it, is that it is much less committal, and its flexibility allows for a range of plans--according to the setup black chooses, it still might make most sense to attack on the kingside, but a more effective strategy might well be to apply queenside pressure, or even to operate on both wings at once--and various different configurations in the center are possible. For me, having to make early strategic decisions about what set-up best counters black's is challenging and still fun.

If you don't like playing black against it--well, good. But I think you should stop pretending you know the single right way to play chess. It makes you come over as something of a jackass, which I'm sure is not accurate.

Feb-26-09  KingG: I'm not going to bother trying to defend the English(an opening I don't play, but I do play 1.d4 and the Sicilian, which are obviously not unrelated) against <FiveofSwords>'s nonsense, but I do want to point out something he posted on Sicilian, Alapin (B22).

<ive always played the alapin, and studied a huge amount of theory on it. In the main lines black has a couple of ways to equalize, but I dont think any other sicilian is different in this respect. It has potential to get very tactical, but white keeps a huge amount of control in the position so the tactics tend to be rather one-sided. Black will have a very, very difficult time playing aggresively versus this opening, and usually gets punished if he tries. Theres a tremendous number of interesting possibilities to deviate from the 'main lines' for both sides so you rarely wind up playing the exact same 1st 10 moves or something. Another nice thing about this is that plenty of harmless looking logical moves black can play could quickly put him in a terrible position if white knows the way.>

How exactly is this any different from the English, apart from the fact that it's more difficult to equalise in the English than in the Alapin? Personally I think the Alapin is the more 'cowardly' of the two openings, and contains far less strategic depth.

Mar-08-09  FiveofSwords: <kingG> honestly, I lose a lot to the english and just hate it. It just makes me angry. I think theres a big difference between the english and the alapin however. mostly, its quite obvious what white's idea is in the alapin...its very direct. white just wants to guaruntee a long term control of the center by a move that sortof attempt to nullify the idea of 1..c5. In the english, its really not clear at all what white is actually doing. He's sortof abandoning the center except for one square, d5...and his pressure is like something that creeps up on you and you never see it coming unless you are very vigilant about move order nuances and know how to play your opening vs the english. But anyway I disagree that the alapin is easier to equalize against. The strategy in the alapin is rather more direct and simple than the english, and if white is playing it to win, like i do, then its really not cowardly at all..I almost always sacrifice a pawn in the alapin in fact for a very sharp and dangerous position. maybe you play people who play the alapin to draw so never see this sort of stuff. Anyway i certainly never see it in the english either heh.
Mar-08-09  FiveofSwords: basically the reason i have such a emotional reaction to the english is because I really play black to win, always, no matter who the opponent is. If i see the english or 1nf3 it just crushes my spirit, cause what on earth are you supposed to do against that heh. So I wind up having to play cowardly moves just so I dont lose. can't stand this.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: <FiveofSwords>, I played nothing but 1.c4 toward the end of my career, but I loved playing *against* it as much as I loved using it! There are lots of ways for Black to play for the win against it. Like gambits? Play 1.c4,c5; 2.Nf3,Nf6; 3.d4,cxd4; 4.Nxd4,e5!?; 5.Nb5,d5. Like the KID? Simply play the main line.

Never hate an opening; that's a great way to keep losing to it. Also, consider something an IM once told me. If there is an opening that you absolutely hate to face--start playing it yourself! I got to play a lot of sacrificial attacks with the English, so why not you?

Mar-20-09  FiveofSwords: i dont like the KID tho (I really cannot play cramped, closed or nearly closed equal material positions well at all. one thing all my openings do is absolutely not allow those sorts of positions.) and I would never expect to see 3.d4...if the guy is ok with playing 3 d4 in that position then they are probably going to play the english in some way im happy with in any of the other lines. What i hate is when they refuse to allow any sort of contact in the position at all until they have gotten all their bits directed.
Mar-20-09  chessman95: <i dont like the KID tho (I really cannot play cramped, closed or nearly closed equal material positions well at all. one thing all my openings do is absolutely not allow those sorts of positions.)>

I hate the KID as well. It just 'gives' white the center and there are those annoying variations against it like the Four Pawns Attack. I find it a bit of a shocker however that you say you don't like closed positions. The Alapin Sicilian doesn't do much to <absolutely not allow those sorts of positions.>

Mar-20-09  blacksburg: i think it's important to point this out - if you hate your opponent's opening, then he has chosen wisely.
Mar-21-09  chessman95: Or maybe you've just chosen unwisely. I've stopped playing many openings over the years simply because of responses I don't like.
Mar-21-09  refutor: i think <AnEnglishman>'s advice of <if there is an opening that you absolutely hate to face--start playing it yourself> is good advice. even if you get beaten on the "other side" of it, the experience may give you some ideas on how to crush it.
Mar-21-09  chessman95: Yes, that's good advice. I used to struggle with 1.e4 mainly because of the Sicilian, but after I did some studying and started playing it myself my performance against it was much better. Now I enjoy playing both sides of the Sicilian, and play only 1.e4.
Mar-27-09  Nuncle: <FiveofSwords: i dont like the KID tho (I really cannot play cramped, closed or nearly closed equal material positions well at all. one thing all my openings do is absolutely not allow those sorts of positions.)>

How odd. I always found that the KID practically plays itself.

Mar-27-09  WhiteRook48: I like the KID a lot, but I only play it with the white pieces
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: I started playing 1. c4 recently, and the results have been very good, simply because strong opponents sometimes seem to lose their marbles against it. One game started 1. c4 d5? 2. exd5 e6?, which has got to be the worst gambit I've ever seen. Anyway, <fiveofswords>' posts certainly jibe with my initial experiences.

<fiveofswords>, following up on <An Englishman>'s post re <Play 1.c4,c5; 2.Nf3,Nf6; 3.d4,cxd4; 4.Nxd4,e5!?; 5.Nb5,d5>, check out this game, and cheer up.

Mikhalchishin vs Kasparov, 1981

Mar-27-09  acirce: <One game started 1. c4 d5? 2. exd5 e6?, which has got to be the worst gambit I've ever seen.>

I recently saw worse in the same "line", played by an 1800 in a classical game on my club:

1.c4 d5 2.cxd5 Nf6 3.e4 Nxe4

.. of course not an intentional sacrifice, but he joked afterwards that the "gambit" should be named after him.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: Worst Gambit Ever = R Rehfeld vs O Bohne, 1989
Mar-27-09  chessman95: I think this might be about the most unsound gambit in chess... but it worked! H Phillips vs Pillsbury, 1899
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <chessman95> <acirce> <tpstar>

I guess I should say that 1. c4 d5 2. ed e6 is the worst gambit that's ever been played against me. Though someone on Gameknot recently tried out a questionable new move in the Halloween Gambit: 1. e4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. Nxe5 Nxe5 5. d4 Ng6 6. e5 Ng8 7. Bc4 d5 8. Bxd5 c6 9. Bg5 (the Screaming Howler variation?). It took me quite a while to realize that I could take the QB....

Another awful gambit that worked, the mirror image to 1. c4 d5: B Vergani vs Blackburne, 1895

Jun-14-09  refutor: recently i've been getting into the english by 1.g3 e5 2.c4...i prefer those positions to the "normal" 1.g3 e5 lines
Jun-14-09  parisattack: <refutor: recently i've been getting into the english by 1.g3 e5 2.c4...i prefer those positions to the "normal" 1.g3 e5 lines>

There is something to be said for delaying Nc3 in the Reversed Sicilian. Soltis wrote a small monograph on the idea 'Winning with the English Opening.'

Aug-10-18  JustWoodshifting: [Event "CM-XI vs Leela ID 10459"]
[Site "My Burgh"]
[Date "2018.08.09"]
[Round "1.1"]
[White "Chessmaster"]
[Black "Leela ID 10459"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A20"]
[WhiteElo "2660"]
[BlackElo "2600?"]
[Annotator ",Karl"]
[PlyCount "87"]
[EventDate "2018.08.09"]
[EventCountry "CAN"]
[WhiteTeam "Netherlands"]
[WhiteTeamCountry "NED"]

-- A20: English Opening: Accelerated Fianchetto Variation -- -- Game Time = 10 Hours per Game -- 1. c4 e5 2. g3 -- End of Opening -- Nc6 3. Bg2 d6 4. Nc3 g6 5. Rb1 a5 6. a3 Bg7 7. d3 Nd4 8. e3 Ne6 9. Nf3 f5 10. O-O Nh6 11. b4 axb4 12. axb4 O-O 13. Bb2 g5 14. Nd2 g4 15. Ra1 Rxa1 16. Qxa1 Nf7 17. Qa7 Nfg5 18. Bxb7 Bxb7 19. Qxb7 Qe8 20. b5 Qh5 21. Qd5 Kh8 22. f4 gxf3 23. Nxf3 e4 24. Nd2 f4 25. gxf4 Qh3 26. Ncxe4 Bxb2 27. Nxg5 Qxe3+ 28. Kh1 Nxg5 29. fxg5 Rg8 30. Nf3 Qe2 31. Kg1 Be5 32. h4 Rf8 33. Qe4 Qxe4 34. dxe4 Bc3 35. Kf2 h5 36. Rd1 Bb4 37. Rd5 Rf4 38. Ke3 Rg4 39. e5 Rxc4 40. b6 cxb6 41. exd6 Bxd6 42. Rxd6 Rc7 43. g6 Kg7 44. Nd4 -- Analysis by Stockfish 9 64: Depth = 50 -- 1. +- (#12): 44... ♔g7-f8 45.♘d4-f5 ♖c7-c8 46.♖d6-f6+ ♔f8-e8 47.g6-g7 ♔e8-d7 48.♖f6-f8 ♖c8-c3+ 49. ♔e3-d4 ♖c3-c1 50.g7-g8♕ ♖c1-d1+ 51.♔d4-c3 ♖d1-c1+ 52.♔c3-b2 ♖c1-c5 53.♕g8-f7+ ♔d7-c6 54.♘f5-d4+ ♔c6-d6 55.♖f8-d8+ ♔d6-e5 56.♕f7-f5# 2. +- (#11) : 44... ♖c7-c8 45.♔e3-f4 ♔g7-f8 46.♔f4-g5 ♖c8-c1 47.♖d6-e6 ♖c1-g1+ 48.♔g5-f6 ♖g1-f1+ 49.♘d4-f5 ♖f1xf5+ 50.♔f6xf5 ♔f8-g7 51.♖e6-e7+ ♔g7-f8 52.♖e7-f7+ ♔f8-e8 53. ♔f5-f6 ♔e8-d8 54.g6-g7 b6-b5 55.g7-g8♕# 3. +- (#11): 44...♖c7-c3+ 45. ♔e3-f4 ♔g7-f8 46.♖d6-e6 ♖c3-c4 47.♔f4-e5 ♔f8-g8 48.♘d4-f5 ♖c4-c5+ 49.♔e5-f6 ♖c5xf5+ 50.♔f6xf5 ♔g8-g7 51.♖e6-e7+ ♔g7-f8 52.♖e7-f7+ ♔f8-e8 53.♔f5-f6 ♔e8-d8 54.g6-g7 b6-b5 55.g7-g8♕# 4. +- (#11): 44...♖c7-e7+ 45.♔e3-f4 ♖e7-e1 46. ♘d4-f5+ ♔g7-f8 47.♖d6-d8+ ♖e1-e8 48.g6-g7+ ♔f8-f7 49.♖d8xe8 ♔f7xe8 50.♘f5-d6+ ♔e8-d7 51. ♔f4-e5 b6-b5 52.g7-g8♕ ♔d7-c6 53.♕g8-c8+ ♔c6-b6 54.♕c8-b7+ ♔b6-c5 55. ♕b7xb5# 5. +- (#10): 44...♖c7-c5 45.♘d4-e6+ ♔g7xg6 46.♘e6xc5+ ♔g6-f7 47. ♖d6xb6 ♔f7-e7 48.♔e3-e4 ♔e7-d8 49.♖b6-b7 ♔d8-e8 50.♔e4-e5 ♔e8-f8 51.♖b7-d7 ♔f8-g8 52.♔e5-f6 ♔g8-h8 53.♔f6-g6 ♔h8-g8 54.♖d7-d8# -- ♗lack ♖esigned -- 1-0

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