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

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Open Game


a b c d e f g h
8 {{{square}}} black rook {{{square}}} black knight {{{square}}} black bishop {{{square}}} black queen {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black bishop {{{square}}} black knight {{{square}}} black rook 8
7 {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black pawn 7
6 {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 6
5 {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 5
4 {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 4
3 {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} black king 3
2 {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} black king {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn {{{square}}} white pawn 2
1 {{{square}}} white rook {{{square}}} white knight {{{square}}} white bishop {{{square}}} white queen {{{square}}} white king {{{square}}} white bishop {{{square}}} white knight {{{square}}} white rook 1
a b c d e f g h
Common moves:
2.Nf3 - Open Game
2.Bc4 - Bishop's Opening
2.f4 - King's Gambit
2.Nc3 - Vienna Game
2.d4 - Centre Game

Open Game[edit]

1...e5[edit]

Black plays the 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]

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.

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.

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.

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.

Other less common moves:

Statistics[edit]

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

Theory table[edit]

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
=
Bishops 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]

  • 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.