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The English Defence is a chess opening characterised by the moves:

English Defence
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
b6 black pawn
e6 black pawn
c4 white pawn
d4 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
e2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
g1 white knight
h1 white rook
Moves1.d4 e6 2.c4 b6
OriginP. N. Wallis
ParentQueen's Pawn Game
1. d4 e6
2. c4 b6



White often gains a broad pawn centre with 3.e4, which Black puts pressure on with moves like ...Bb7, ...Bb4, and sometimes even ...Qh4 and/or ...f5. It was developed by the Leicester player P. N. Wallis, and was taken up by several leading English players in the 1970s, such as Tony Miles, Jon Speelman and Raymond Keene.[1] It flouts several traditional opening principles, as Black often develops bishops before knights and brings out the queen early.[1] It is a somewhat unusual opening, but has been seen in high-level grandmaster play, usually as a surprise weapon, for example when Viktor Korchnoi used it to defeat Lev Polugaevsky in their world championship semifinals match at Évian 1977 (see below).

Illustrative gamesEdit

  • PolugaevskyKorchnoi, Évian 1977:[2]
    1.d4 e6 2.c4 b6 3.e4 Bb7 4.Qc2 Qh4 5.Nd2 Bb4 6.Bd3 f5 7.Nf3 Bxd2+ 8.Kf1 Qh5 9.Bxd2 Nf6 10.exf5 Bxf3 11.gxf3 Nc6 12.Bc3 0-0 13.Re1 Qh3+ 14.Ke2 Rae8 15.Kd1 e5 16.dxe5 Nxe5 17.Be2 Nxf3 18.Qd3 Rxe2 19.Rxe2 Qg2 20.Rhe1 Nxe1 21.Kxe1 Qxh2 22.Re7 Qg1+ 23.Ke2 Qg4+ 24.Ke1 h5 25.Qg3 Qxg3 26.fxg3 Rf7 27.Bxf6 gxf6 28.Re8+ Kg7 29.Kf2 Kh6 30.b4 Kg5 31.Ra8 Kxf5 32.Rxa7 d6 33.a4 Ke6 34.a5 bxa5 35.Rxa5 f5 36.c5 Rh7 37.cxd6 cxd6 38.b5 h4 39.gxh4 Rxh4 40.Ra8 Rb4 41.Rb8 Kd5 42.Kf3 Rb3+ 43.Kf4 Kc5 44.Rc8+ Kxb5 45.Kxf5 Re3 46.Kf4 Re1 47.Rd8 Kc5 48.Rc8+ Kd4 49.Kf3 d5 50.Kf2 Re5 51.Ra8 Kc3 52.Ra3+ Kb4 53.Ra1 d4 54.Rc1 d3 55.Rc8 d2 56.Rb8+ Kc3 57.Rc8+ Kd3 58.Rd8+ Kc2 59.Rc8+ Kd1 60.Rc7 Rf5+ 61.Kg2 Ke2 62.Re7+ Kd3 63.Rd7+ Ke3 64.Re7+ Kd4 65.Rd7+ Rd5 0–1
  • Susan PolgarSpeelman, Netherlands 1993:[3]
    1.d4 e6 2.c4 Bb4+ 3.Nc3 b6 4.e4 Bb7 5.d5 Qe7 6.Be2 Nf6 7.f3 exd5 8.cxd5 c6 9.dxc6 Nxc6 10.Nh3 d5 11.exd5 0-0-0 12.Bg5 Rhe8 13.Bxf6 gxf6 14.Nf4 Qe5 15.Qd2 Bxc3 16.bxc3 Nb4 17.Kf2 Nxd5 18.Nd3 Nxc3 0–1
  • Lucian Filip-Igor Kovalenko, Iasi, Romania 2014[4] 1. d4 e6 2. c4 b6 3. g3 Bb7 4. Nf3 Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Bxf3 6. exf3 Bxd2+ 7. Qxd2 d5 8. cxd5 Qxd5 9. Nc3 Qxf3 10. Rg1 Qh5 11. Nb5 Na6 12. Qc2 Ne7 13. Qa4 0-0 14. Qxa6 Qxh2 15. Rg2 Qh6 16. Qa3 Nf5 17. g4 Nh4 18. Rg3 c6 19. g5 Qg6 20. Bd3 Nf5 21. Nd6 Qh5 22. Bxf5 Qh1+ 23. Ke2 Qxa1 24. Bc2 Qc1 25. Qd3 g6 26. Ne4 Rad8 27. Rh3 Kg7 28. Rxh7+ 1–0

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Lawton, Geoff (2003). Tony Miles:It's Only Me. Batsford. p. 281. ISBN 0-7134-8809-3.
  2. ^ Lev Polugaevsky vs. Viktor Korchnoi, Évian 1977
  3. ^ Susan Polgar vs. Jonathan Speelman, Netherlands 1993
  4. ^