Chess Opening Theory/1. e4/1...a6

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St. George Defence
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.e4 a6
ECO code: B00
Parent: King's Pawn Opening

St. George Defence[edit]


When played seriously this defence is workable. Black lets White grab the center like in a "hypermodern" opening, while gaining power on the queenside. Usually, b5 and Bb7 will follow soon (attacking e4 pawn, eventually with help of Nf6). That way, Black can enter a very playable middlegame, contrary to what we might have expected. Tony Miles has beat Karpov using this opening.

In response to this move, White can either start taking control of the center with 2. d4 or try to prevent the b5 move with 2. c4. But this last move is considered inferior because of 2...e5, where Black would have a slight advantage (the same goes for 2. a4).

Also note that White can try to set a powerful trap for unadvised Black players (but those who play the St. George as Black are generally advised players) by playing 2. Bc4. If 2...b5, then 3. Bxf7+ Kxf7 4. Qh5+ and White can manage to win a rook.

White can also choose to develop a Knight first with 2. Nf3 or to challenge Black on the diagonal with 2. g3.

Theory table[edit]

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

1.e4 a6
Main line d4
c4 +/=
Bc4 =
Nf3 =
g3 =

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