The English Opening, which occurs after the move 1.c4 (see the diagram on the right), is one of the most popular chess openings for White thanks to its flexibility and many ways to play for the win.
Not only has the English Opening been frequently played by the best grandmasters of the past – Garry Kasparov, Anatoly Karpov, Mikhail Botvinnik and Bobby Fischer – but also it is played by many leading grandmasters today – Levon Aronian, Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Peter Svidler, Hikaru Nakamura, Vassily Ivanchuk and many more.
Most club players are not that well prepared against the English Opening and only have a vague idea of how to counter it. The opening can easily cause some headaches for an unprepared Black player, especially if White is booked up with the latest theory.
It is a common occurrence that club players try to develop naturally against the English Opening and soon find themselves in a strategically lost position. They lose the game without even understanding why they lost.
GM Mihail Marin, a renowned expert on the English Opening, who wrote three excellent repertoire books on the opening for the publishing house Quality Chess, has produced a series of videos on the different variations for both sides in the Symmetrical Variation.
- Did you miss the first part of GM Marin’s series where he covered the latest trends in the variation after 1.c4 c5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5? Click here to watch the video and see the corresponding article.
In this iChess Club exclusive video, GM Mihail Marin takes a look at the Symmetrical Variation where Black tries to break the symmetry by playing an early …d5. This time, however, Black does not seize his chance to play …d5 on the first possible occasion (GM Marin covered this in part 1), but on move 4.
After the moves 1.c4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.g3 d5, he investigates the moves 5.d4 and 5.cxd5 (see the diagram on the right). GM Marin dives deep into the critical variations and latest ideas for both sides.
All in all, however, he shows that White keeps a slight edge in the most testing variations.
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