Chess Opening Theory/1. c4/1...e5/2. Nc3

English Opening
a b c d e f g h
8 a8 b8 c8 d8 e8 f8 g8 h8 8
7 a7 b7 c7 d7 e7 f7 g7 h7 7
6 a6 b6 c6 d6 e6 f6 g6 h6 6
5 a5 b5 c5 d5 e5 f5 g5 h5 5
4 a4 b4 c4 d4 e4 f4 g4 h4 4
3 a3 b3 c3 d3 e3 f3 g3 h3 3
2 a2 b2 c2 d2 e2 f2 g2 h2 2
1 a1 b1 c1 d1 e1 f1 g1 h1 1
a b c d e f g h
Position in Forsyth-Edwards Notation (FEN)
Moves: 1. c4 e5 2. Nc3

English Opening edit

2.Nc3 edit

An instant way of reinforcing the attack on d5, Nc3 is the standard second move of the independent lines of the English opening. This move is also useful because it allows 3.Nf3, although some players prefer to play the Bremen System with 3.g3 preparing for 4.Bg2, and thus increasing control over d5 and keeping two good options for the development of the king's knight (a standard Nf3 or Ne2, which keeps the long diagonal open and offers some protection against the pinning and possible exchange of the other knight).

The flexibility of the English opening also applies for the black side which must choose how to develop after this move. While 2...Nf6 is flexible and provides some control over d5, 2...Nc6 is also possible, leading to sharp variations where white will have the initiative on the q-side with moves such as e3, Nge2, d4, Rb1 and b4, while black will have some counterplay on the opposite wing by advancing his k-side pawns, threatening to put the white king in some serious jeopardy.

Another black option is 2... Bb4, which allows Nd5 chasing the bishop, but the resulting poistion is unclear, so most players choose to play a more passive move such as 3. e3 or 3. Nf3, which allows black to take and try to place pawns on dark squares to create an imbalanced and double-edged position.

Theory Table edit

For explanation of theory tables, see theory table and for notation, see algebraic notation..

1.c4 e5 2.Nc3

2 3
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References edit

  • Nunn's Chess Openings. 1999. John Nunn (Editor), Graham Burgess, John Emms, Joe Gallagher. ISBN 1-8574-4221-0.