Is the English opening a good chess opening? Analyzed

Are you looking for an opening with the white pieces that are silent yet still optimal? You might have come across the English opening if you are searching for something like this, this describes it perfectly.

This makes you wonder if this is a really good opening choice for chess players in general, and that is going to be the focus of this article. Whether the English opening is actually a good option for you?

As someone who has been playing the English opening for years, here is what I know:

The English opening is probably one of the best lines to go for if you prefer silent positions, these are positions where there’s not a lot of things going on and both players are only looking for improvements. It is also a good opening if you are looking for a draw with white.

If you have no idea what the English opening looks like, here is a good picture of it:

The English opening starts after pawn to c4, the picture above illustrates it.

This is a good topic for me to write on since I have been playing it for a long time, and I know many lines played in this variation. 

I am sure that you will like everything that I’m going to share in this article, I will really put an effort into this piece of writing. With all of that in mind, let’s get started.

The English opening is a good opening if you prefer silent positions

The English opening is the best one to choose if you’re looking for a positional game where not a lot of things are happening. There’s not a lot of traps in this line and you can play peacefully.

What I mean by silent are positions where there are not a lot of interesting things going on, most of the moves available are just maneuvering and slight improvements.

It is the complete opposite of an aggressive variation, something where there are a lot of attacking opportunities and tactics involved. 

The English opening usually leads to lines that are more on the positional aspect where both players are constantly looking for long-term advantages over short-term ones. 

You need a lot of patience to play the English opening, however this is also the beauty of it. If you hate complicated positions where there are too many things going on then this is a good option for you.

The English opening is one of Alphazero’s favorite openings. This is because the English opening offers a lot of positional opportunities.

If you prefer positions where there are not a lot of tactics involved, then this can be a good opening choice. It doesn’t offer a lot of positions that will lead to a tactic-heavy game.

The English opening is a good opening if you are playing for a draw

If you are looking for positions that are most likely going to end in a draw, the English opening is a great option. The lines are mostly silent and there’s not a lot of risks involved.

In situations where a draw is preferred (perhaps because of a tournament standing) players want to play it safe in order to at least not lose a whole point.

People don’t want to play an aggressive opening where their opponent can get a lot of chances for a conversion, the English opening is one of the best options when looking for a draw.

Since the games are likely to be more on the positional side, it means that there’s no one tactical shot that can end the game very quickly. If the opponent wants the win they have to work hard for it.

This is why the English opening is a good opening choice in this situation, since it doesn’t offer a lot of attacking opportunities, you are more likely to achieve a drawn result.

The English opening is a good opening if you are still a beginner

If you are a beginner and don’t know a lot about openings, the English opening makes it so that you don’t fall for any trap early in the game. This is good if you are still developing your game.

A lot of beginners struggle when dealing against opponents who have studied a lot of opening theories, it is hard to play when you are still just learning yourself. 

The English opening is a good option for these kinds of people since they are very likely to avoid a lot of traps that can end the game on the spot. 

This means that you can actually play the game without having to worry about some random trap that the opponent has studied beforehand, you can test your skills this way.

Take note that it doesn’t mean that you will win the game indefinitely, it just means that you can play without falling for some preparation. Both sides would have to play with their own brain and have to live with the result.

The English opening is not suitable for you if you are an aggressive player

The primary downside of the English opening is it doesn’t offer a lot of variation for attacks, this is probably not something that you want to play if you are an aggressive player.

As I have stated above, it is primarily a silent opening that doesn’t play too well with tactics. It can have tactical shots here and there but it is not a primary theme of the English opening.

Most of the variations will be positional and just maneuvering, this can in fact be bad for aggressive players who usually do not have a lot of patience to wait for a long time. 

This can also be an upside though if you are playing it against someone who has an aggressive style, they are likely to be uncomfortable when playing against the English opening.

Now, it doesn’t mean that this opening doesn’t have some variations that can be considered aggressive, however those lines are incredibly limited with this opening.

But if you are an aggressive player looking for tactical-heavy games, you should definitely avoid the English opening since it doesn’t create the positions that you may like.

Final thoughts

The English opening is probably the best opening out there if you prefer a silent position without many things going on, there are only a few openings like it. 

Of course there are many other similar openings that can give the same vibe, however, I believe that the English opening is the most simple and effective.

The only downside is that you don’t get a lot of aggressive play which just means that you should avoid playing this opening on move 1. With white you have full control over whether the game should see the English.

There is no chance for your opponent to deviate since you have the first move as white, I think this is an excellent choice overall. That concludes the article, sleep well and play chess.