Chess Opening Theory/1. e4/1...e5

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Open Game
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)

rnbqkbnr/pppp1ppp/8/4p3/4P3/8/PPPP1PPP/RNBQKBNR

Moves: 1.e4 e5
ECO code: C20–C99
Parent: King's Pawn Game
Responses:


Open Game[edit | edit source]

1...e5[edit | edit source]

1...e5 is Black's classical response to 1.e4. By mirroring White's move, Black grabs an equal share of the centre and scope to develop some pieces. 1...e5 is one of the few moves that directly interferes with White's plan of playing d4.

But the move's merit is also a drawback; the longer the position remains symmetrical, the longer White will have an advantage by moving first. Also, the pawn on e5 is undefended and it is easy for White to develop in a way that restricts Black's possible responses, by simply threatening to capture it.

Though the move is still common at every level, it saw a modest decline in popularity during the 20th century.

White's responses[edit | edit source]

a b c d e f g h
8a8 black rookb8 black knightc8 black bishopd8 black queene8 black kingf8 black bishopg8 black knighth8 black rook8
7a7 black pawnb7 black pawnc7 black pawnd7 black pawne7 black kingf7 black pawng7 black pawnh7 black pawn7
6a6 black kingb6 black kingc6 black kingd6 black kinge6 black kingf6 black kingg6 black kingh6 black king6
5a5 black kingb5 black kingc5 black kingd5 black kinge5 black pawnf5 black kingg5 black kingh5 black king5
4a4 black kingb4 black kingc4 black kingd4 black kinge4 white pawnf4 black kingg4 black kingh4 black king4
3a3 black kingb3 black kingc3 black kingd3 black kinge3 black kingf3 white knightg3 black kingh3 black king3
2a2 white pawnb2 white pawnc2 white pawnd2 white pawne2 black kingf2 white pawng2 white pawnh2 white pawn2
1a1 white rookb1 white knightc1 white bishopd1 white queene1 white kingf1 white bishopg1 black kingh1 white rook1
a b c d e f g h
2.Nf3   (King's Knight)

The overwhelmingly popular move here, about 10 times more common than everything else combined, is 2.Nf3.

This threatens Black's undefended pawn while developing a piece in preparation for castling.

a b c d e f g h
8a8 black rookb8 black knightc8 black bishopd8 black queene8 black kingf8 black bishopg8 black knighth8 black rook8
7a7 black pawnb7 black pawnc7 black pawnd7 black pawne7 black kingf7 black pawng7 black pawnh7 black pawn7
6a6 black kingb6 black kingc6 black kingd6 black kinge6 black kingf6 black kingg6 black kingh6 black king6
5a5 black kingb5 black kingc5 black kingd5 black kinge5 black pawnf5 black kingg5 black kingh5 black king5
4a4 black kingb4 black kingc4 black kingd4 black kinge4 white pawnf4 white pawng4 black kingh4 black king4
3a3 black kingb3 black kingc3 black kingd3 black kinge3 black kingf3 black kingg3 black kingh3 black king3
2a2 white pawnb2 white pawnc2 white pawnd2 white pawne2 black kingf2 black kingg2 white pawnh2 white pawn2
1a1 white rookb1 white knightc1 white bishopd1 white queene1 white kingf1 white bishopg1 white knighth1 white rook1
a b c d e f g h
2.f4   (King's Gambit)

Another plan is to try and lever open the f-file for an attack on Black's weak f7 point with 2.f4, the King's Gambit.

This was popular in Victorian times and earlier, but Black has now found a few reliable ways of grabbing the proffered pawn and keeping it.

a b c d e f g h
8a8 black rookb8 black knightc8 black bishopd8 black queene8 black kingf8 black bishopg8 black knighth8 black rook8
7a7 black pawnb7 black pawnc7 black pawnd7 black pawne7 black kingf7 black pawng7 black pawnh7 black pawn7
6a6 black kingb6 black kingc6 black kingd6 black kinge6 black kingf6 black kingg6 black kingh6 black king6
5a5 black kingb5 black kingc5 black kingd5 black kinge5 black pawnf5 black kingg5 black kingh5 black king5
4a4 black kingb4 black kingc4 black kingd4 oxe4 white pawnf4 oxg4 black kingh4 black king4
3a3 black kingb3 black kingc3 white knightd3 black kinge3 black kingf3 black kingg3 black kingh3 black king3
2a2 white pawnb2 white pawnc2 white pawnd2 white pawne2 black kingf2 white pawng2 white pawnh2 white pawn2
1a1 white rookb1 black kingc1 white bishopd1 white queene1 white kingf1 white bishopg1 white knighth1 white rook1
a b c d e f g h
2.Nc3   (Vienna)

a b c d e f g h
8a8 black rookb8 black knightc8 black bishopd8 black queene8 black kingf8 black bishopg8 black knighth8 black rook8
7a7 black pawnb7 black pawnc7 black pawnd7 black pawne7 black kingf7 black pawng7 black pawnh7 black pawn7
6a6 black kingb6 black kingc6 black kingd6 black kinge6 black kingf6 black kingg6 black kingh6 black king6
5a5 black kingb5 black kingc5 black kingd5 black kinge5 black pawnf5 black kingg5 black kingh5 black king5
4a4 black kingb4 black kingc4 white bishopd4 oxe4 white pawnf4 oxg4 black kingh4 black king4
3a3 black kingb3 black kingc3 black kingd3 black kinge3 black kingf3 black kingg3 black kingh3 black king3
2a2 white pawnb2 white pawnc2 white pawnd2 white pawne2 black kingf2 white pawng2 white pawnh2 white pawn2
1a1 white rookb1 white knightc1 white bishopd1 white queene1 white kingf1 black kingg1 white knighth1 white rook1
a b c d e f g h
2.Bc4   (Bishop)

2.Nc3, the Vienna Game, and 2.Bc4, the Bishop's Opening, are simple alternative ways of developing a piece.

They don't give Black a particular problem to deal with, but they aren't bad moves either, and they keep open the option of either d4 or f4.

a b c d e f g h
8a8 black rookb8 black knightc8 black bishopd8 black queene8 black kingf8 black bishopg8 black knighth8 black rook8
7a7 black pawnb7 black pawnc7 black pawnd7 black pawne7 black kingf7 black pawng7 black pawnh7 black pawn7
6a6 black kingb6 black kingc6 black kingd6 black kinge6 black kingf6 black kingg6 black kingh6 black king6
5a5 black kingb5 black kingc5 black kingd5 black kinge5 black pawnf5 black kingg5 black kingh5 black king5
4a4 black kingb4 black kingc4 black kingd4 white pawne4 white pawnf4 black kingg4 black kingh4 black king4
3a3 black kingb3 black kingc3 black kingd3 black kinge3 black kingf3 black kingg3 black kingh3 black king3
2a2 white pawnb2 white pawnc2 white pawnd2 black kinge2 black kingf2 white pawng2 white pawnh2 white pawn2
1a1 white rookb1 white knightc1 white bishopd1 white queene1 white kingf1 white bishopg1 white knighth1 white rook1
a b c d e f g h
2.d4   (Centre)

Or, White can smash the centre open with 2.d4 in order to develop pieces with great speed, sacrificing a pawn or two if necessary.

a b c d e f g h
8a8 black rookb8 black knightc8 black bishopd8 black queene8 black kingf8 black bishopg8 black knighth8 black rook8
7a7 black pawnb7 black pawnc7 black pawnd7 black pawne7 black kingf7 black pawng7 black pawnh7 black pawn7
6a6 black kingb6 black kingc6 black kingd6 black kinge6 black kingf6 black kingg6 black kingh6 black king6
5a5 black kingb5 black kingc5 black kingd5 black kinge5 black pawnf5 black kingg5 black kingh5 white queen5
4a4 black kingb4 black kingc4 black kingd4 black kinge4 white pawnf4 black kingg4 black kingh4 black king4
3a3 black kingb3 black kingc3 black kingd3 black kinge3 black kingf3 black kingg3 black kingh3 black king3
2a2 white pawnb2 white pawnc2 white pawnd2 white pawne2 black kingf2 white pawng2 white pawnh2 white pawn2
1a1 white rookb1 white knightc1 white bishopd1 black kinge1 white kingf1 white bishopg1 white knighth1 white rook1
a b c d e f g h
2.Qh5   (Parham)

a b c d e f g h
8a8 black rookb8 black knightc8 black bishopd8 black queene8 black kingf8 black bishopg8 black knighth8 black rook8
7a7 black pawnb7 black pawnc7 black pawnd7 black pawne7 black kingf7 black pawng7 black pawnh7 black pawn7
6a6 black kingb6 black kingc6 black kingd6 black kinge6 black kingf6 black kingg6 black kingh6 black king6
5a5 black kingb5 black kingc5 black kingd5 black kinge5 black pawnf5 black kingg5 black kingh5 black king5
4a4 black kingb4 black kingc4 black kingd4 black kinge4 white pawnf4 black kingg4 black kingh4 black king4
3a3 black kingb3 black kingc3 black kingd3 black kinge3 black kingf3 white queeng3 black kingh3 black king3
2a2 white pawnb2 white pawnc2 white pawnd2 white pawne2 black kingf2 white pawng2 white pawnh2 white pawn2
1a1 white rookb1 white knightc1 white bishopd1 black kinge1 white kingf1 white bishopg1 white knighth1 white rook1
a b c d e f g h
2.Qf3   (Napoleon)

a b c d e f g h
8a8 black rookb8 black knightc8 black bishopd8 black queene8 black kingf8 black bishopg8 black knighth8 black rook8
7a7 black pawnb7 black pawnc7 black pawnd7 black pawne7 black kingf7 black pawng7 black pawnh7 black pawn7
6a6 black kingb6 black kingc6 black kingd6 black kinge6 black kingf6 black kingg6 black kingh6 black king6
5a5 black kingb5 black kingc5 black kingd5 black kinge5 black pawnf5 black kingg5 black kingh5 black king5
4a4 black kingb4 black kingc4 black kingd4 black kinge4 white pawnf4 black kingg4 black kingh4 black king4
3a3 black kingb3 black kingc3 black kingd3 black kinge3 black kingf3 black kingg3 black kingh3 black king3
2a2 white pawnb2 white pawnc2 white pawnd2 white pawne2 white knightf2 white pawng2 white pawnh2 white pawn2
1a1 white rookb1 white knightc1 white bishopd1 white queene1 white kingf1 white bishopg1 black kingh1 white rook1
a b c d e f g h
2.Ne2   (Alapin)

a b c d e f g h
8a8 black rookb8 black knightc8 black bishopd8 black queene8 black kingf8 black bishopg8 black knighth8 black rook8
7a7 black pawnb7 black pawnc7 black pawnd7 black pawne7 black kingf7 black pawng7 black pawnh7 black pawn7
6a6 black kingb6 black kingc6 black kingd6 black kinge6 black kingf6 black kingg6 black kingh6 black king6
5a5 black kingb5 black kingc5 black kingd5 black kinge5 black pawnf5 black kingg5 black kingh5 black king5
4a4 black kingb4 black kingc4 black kingd4 black kinge4 white pawnf4 black kingg4 black kingh4 black king4
3a3 black kingb3 black kingc3 white pawnd3 black kinge3 black kingf3 black kingg3 black kingh3 black king3
2a2 white pawnb2 white pawnc2 black kingd2 white pawne2 black kingf2 white pawng2 white pawnh2 white pawn2
1a1 white rookb1 white knightc1 white bishopd1 white queene1 white kingf1 white bishopg1 white knighth1 white rook1
a b c d e f g h
2.c3   (Lopez)

a b c d e f g h
8a8 black rookb8 black knightc8 black bishopd8 black queene8 black kingf8 black bishopg8 black knighth8 black rook8
7a7 black pawnb7 black pawnc7 black pawnd7 black pawne7 black kingf7 black pawng7 black pawnh7 black pawn7
6a6 black kingb6 black kingc6 black kingd6 black kinge6 black kingf6 black kingg6 black kingh6 black king6
5a5 black kingb5 black kingc5 black kingd5 black kinge5 black pawnf5 black kingg5 black kingh5 black king5
4a4 black kingb4 black kingc4 black kingd4 black kinge4 white pawnf4 black kingg4 black kingh4 black king4
3a3 black kingb3 black kingc3 black kingd3 white pawne3 black kingf3 black kingg3 black kingh3 black king3
2a2 white pawnb2 white pawnc2 white pawnd2 black kinge2 black kingf2 white pawng2 white pawnh2 white pawn2
1a1 white rookb1 white knightc1 white bishopd1 white queene1 white kingf1 white bishopg1 white knighth1 white rook1
a b c d e f g h
2.d3   (Indian)

Other less common moves:

Statistics[edit | edit source]

Estimated next move popularity:Nf3 81%, f4 6%, Nc3 6%, Bc4 4%, d4 2% all others less than 0.5%

Theory table[edit | edit source]

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

1. e4 e5

2 3 4 5 6 7
Ruy Lopez Nf3
Nc6
Bb5
a6
Ba4
Nf6
O-O
Be7
Re1
b5
Bb3
d6
=
King's Gambit f4
exf4
Nf3
g5
h4
g4
Ne5
Nf6
Bc4
d5
exd5
Bd6
=
Vienna Game Nc3
Nf6
f4
d5
fxe5
Nxe4
Nf3
Be7
d4
Bb4
Bd2
Bg4
=
Bishop's Opening Bc4
Nf6
d4
exd4
Nf3
Bb4+
c3
dxc3
bxc3
Bc5
e5
d5
=
Center Game d4
exd4
Qxd4
Nc6
Qe3
Nf6
Nc3
Bb4
Bd2
O-O
O-O-O
Re8
=
Parham Attack Qh5
Nc6
Bc4
g6
Qf3
Nf6
Ne2
Bg7
Nbc3
d6
=

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References[edit | edit source]

  • Nunn's Chess Openings. 1999. John Nunn (Editor), Graham Burgess, John Emms, Joe Gallagher. ISBN 1-8574-4221-0.
  • Batsford Chess Openings 2 (1989, 1994). Garry Kasparov, Raymond Keene. ISBN 0-8050-3409-9.