1.e4 or 1.d4 – which is the better move?

5/28/2014 – We all know that 1.e4 is an attacking move, producing explosive, decisive games. 1.d4 is muted, leading to closed positions that are more likely to end in draws. But is this impression rooted in fact? Ioannis Halkias, a physicist and mathematician from Spoa-Karpathos, Greece, – himself a 1.e4 player – has some very original arguments that may come as a big surprise. What do you think?

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1.e4 or 1.d4 – which is the better move?

By Ioannis G. Halkias

The arguments presented in this article are original and cannot be found in other chess books or papers. In fact, if you do come across any article relevant to what I am about to discuss, it would probably support the exact opposite opinion to the one I am expressing here. I am, however, convinced that it would be wrong in claiming so. I have attempted to examine the issue from an objective point of view and avoid any prejudice or preconception – especially regarding my personal preference of 1.e4.

1. Controlling the center

When it comes to controlling the center, moving to 1.d4 would clearly be the best option. The reason is quite simple: d4 can control two central squares when e4 can only control one. Playing 1.d4, we are able to control both d4 with the queen and e5 with the pawn, while playing 1.e4 will only help us control d5. Therefore, 1.d4 is clearly the best option in order to control the center.

2. Center and stability

When it comes to stabilizing the center – and therefore our strategic plans for the game – the best move to play would again be 1.d4. If the player chooses to play 1.e4, his completely unprotected pawn can offer the opponent the opportunity to counterattack, regardless of his preferred method of playing. He could, for example, take advantage of the situation and strategically develop his pieces using the French Defense, or push forward leading to a tactical game by playing the Alekhine or the Scandinavian. On the contrary, after playing 1.d4, the black player cannot directly threaten that pawn as it is being protected by the queen. As a result, when playing against this opening, the black player will develop his pieces and strategy slowly, waiting for his opponent to commit a mistake. The development of new opening theories has of course provided many possibilities to pursue an active and offensive game when facing 1.d4, but even taking this fact into consideration, the difference in dynamics between the positions arising after playing 1.d4 and 1.e4 is very obvious.

3. Center and pawn activity

Regarding which move activates the most pieces, the answer still lies with 1.d4. By playing 1.d4 we activate two pieces: our king bishop and the queen, our most powerful piece, which immediately gains access and control to the center. If we opt to play 1.e4, however, we only free our queen’s bishop on f1.

Every chess opening book claims that after playing 1.e4, the queen is also freed on the diagonal d1-h5. However, this is misleading since a player’s usual next move would be to block her with Nf3 followed by h3 in order to avoid being pinned by the black bishop moving to Bg4. The most usual and perhaps the only opportunity to move the queen on the aforementioned diagonal can arise when playing with an amateur and we checkmate from h5 or f3, or when using some dubious openings.

In conclusion, if we play 1.d4, the queen supports the center providing control and stability (see paragraph 2), whereas if we opt for 1.e4 instead, the queen’s role in the game is rendered insignificant until the game progresses further.

4. Space

The space we control is measured by the number of squares behind our pawns. 1.d4 is the best option once again. After playing 1.d4, one will usually follow by playing c2-c4, either in the next move or in the following couple of moves. The player will thus be able to increase the number of squares behind his pawns while at the same time he manages to control four squares in his opponent’s side (the side after the middle of the board). In fact, this is an excellent method to develop an ideal pawn formation (one pawn right next to the other) which provides maximum dynamic. On the contrary, even though such a formation can be developed after playing 1.e4 (the well-known King’s Gambit), this opening has been almost completely abandoned and is normally only played by more amateur players, since it ends up exposing the king – Ivanchuk had some good results with it lately though!

Therefore, one can safely conclude that, when it comes to space control, playing 1.d4 followed by c2-c4 will clearly prove more beneficial, as this formation will secure four squares of the opponent’s side and three in the center of the board which is of great importance (these three squares are d5 and e5 controlled by the two pawns and the d4 square which is controlled by the queen). Playing 1.e4, on the other hand, will only help the player control two squares of the opponent’s side (d5 and f5) and only one in the center (d5). Another advantage of 1.d4 is the dynamic of the pair of pawns that cannot occur after playing 1.e4.

5. Weak Squares

Every pawn move, regardless of how good it is for the game, will always result in several weakened squares behind and next to the pawn. The squares holding the greatest significance are usually the ones at the center or the extended center of the board. In this case, opening with 1.e4 or 1.d4 will have the same outcome. After playing 1.e4, the d4 central square is rendered weak, which will prompt the player to play c3 multiple times in order to support it and also allowing him a beneficial d4 push later, in order to eliminate this weakness. On the other hand, playing 1.d4 will weaken the e4 square, which may seem difficult to defend at first because, if we follow the same strategy as after 1.e4 (meaning that instead of playing c3 and d4 we play f3 and e4), we will immediately weaken the king’s position (we will have probably proceeded with a short castling by this time). However, this is not necessarily true; there are openings following this exact plan, such as the Carlsbad and Saemisch which are very respectable.

Finally, in both cases, if the white player decides so, he can easily remove any control the black player may have gained on these squares by pushing his own pawns and exchanging them for those of his opponent. For example, after playing 1.e4 and e5 (or c5 in order to control the d4 square), the white player can then continue by playing 2.Nf3 and 3.d2-d4 in order to exchange his opponent’s pawn immediately. Playing 1.d4 can result in the exact same outcome. A great example of this is the Dutch Defense which focuses the black player’s game exactly around the e4 weakness. The white player can play 1.d4 f5, 2.Nc3, e6, 3.e4 (if 2. …Nf6, 3.Bg5 and the e4 comes back again). In conclusion, when examining these weaknesses, both 1.e4 and 1.d4 can have the same result.

6. The World Championship test

Another method to compare these two moves, using actual facts and information instead of general ideas, is to observe the world championships. In a world championship, the players prefer the move they consider more beneficial; the move they believe will offer them more opportunities to achieve victory (especially when playing white). The contenders have, of course, practiced time and again and every defeat signifies a major weakness. What is more, world championships constitute a great study sample simply because there is no other tournament where players demonstrate such seriousness and concentration. Let us examine the results of the modern chess era, meaning the most recent world championships, starting from the year 2000 when Kramnik became world champion.

  • In 89 games 1.e4 was used 25 times resulting in: only one win, three losses and 21 draws.
  • In 89 games 1.d4 was used 62 times resulting in: 18 wins, 6 losses and 38 draws.
1.e4 wins: 4% losses: 12% draws: 84%
1.d4 wins: 29% losses: 9% draws: 61%


  • The move 1.d4 is the preferred opening move almost three times more often than 1.e4 in world championships. It reduces the chances of defeat and offers over seven times more possibilities of victory. The number of draws resulting from this move is also significantly smaller, proving that it is actually more offensive that the 1.e4 opening, contrary to common belief.

  • The last and only victory achieved by playing 1.e4 occurred ten years ago (!) by Peter Leko, a chess player famous for only opening with 1.e4 (he thus knew the resulting positions very well). However, even he abandoned it (before the end of the match) and continued with 1.d4. His case also brings Fischer to mind, who almost exclusively opened with 1.e4 as well. But during his match against Spassky for the world championship two out of his three victories, while playing white, were not achieved by 1.e4.

  • The last known defeat after playing 1.d4 occurred in the last world championship between Anand and Carlsen. Anand could end the match in a draw, but he needed to win the game and was thus forced to play in a more risky and reckless manner, which resulted in his defeat. Therefore, the real percentage of defeats after using the 1.d4 opening, not counting the one mentioned above, becomes 8%.

  • Vassily Ivanchuck said that Anand shouldn't waste his white games against Carlsen with 1.e4 but play 1.d4 right away, as in his (Ivanchuck's) opinion this would give Vishy more chances for a win. We think this might well be true, since every time Anand was close to wining a game it had started with 1.d4!

Psychological factors

Despite all that was said above, I personally still prefer opening with 1.e4. In fact, in most cases I feel (and see) that it provides me with a more offensive and dynamic position and game. What could the reason behind this be? In my opinion, it is due to the fact that most chess players started our “career” by playing 1.e4 and, by experience alone, we are more familiar with the positions following this move and are thus able to plan ahead more accurately and hold the advantage of the first move longer. After all, the positions arising from 1.e4 are strategically simpler and the goals of the game are easier to pinpoint – usually the opponent’s king!

About the author

Ioannis Halkias is a physicist with a wide range of academic interests, from physics and mathematics to politics and philosophy. As a kid he had shown talent and love for natural sciences and thus entered the physics department at the University of Crete where he is now working on physics and on the mathematics of finance. His hobbies mainly revolve around sports, music – and chess.

Regarding chess Ioannis tells us that he learnt to play the game at age seven, by watching kids playing at school. He became so excited by the game that he went home, drew a chessboard and the pieces on paper and started playing by himself. His father bought him a board, but young Ioannis soon stopped playing when he discovered that he was able to beat his father and there were not any clubs on his island for stronger opposition. He didn't really start again until he was nineteen and had moved to a big city for studies. There he met strong players for the first time. He played in a small tournament, where he tied for first place, but stopped playing when a coach told him that he had no future in the game because he had started competitive chess too late in his life. Three years later he participated in a tournament again ("just for fun!") and drew against FM Ioannis Maris – while beating some considerably stronger players. The two Ioannises have been training together ever since. John Halkias is the original chess thinker, John Maris the player with the creative-attacking style. The latter is climbing the rating scales, the former says he has "gained experience which would take me a lot of years to reach otherwise!"

Message from the author: "Only now that I have worked with Frederic Friedel I know what a great job he is doing for ChessBase. Many thanks for the help on publishing this article. Without his guidance and advice not even I would have liked it!" – This message is inserted at Ioannis' insistance. It was he who did all the research and provided all of the content. Fred sharpens pencils. And he got an invitation to Greece for doing so.

Your opinion: we are genuinely interested to hear what you think of Ioannis Halkias' ideas on the first opening move. Please use the discussion section at the bottom of the page to express your opinions, not our feedback and mail form, which for technical reasons is often not read.


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rexempire rexempire 2/20/2019 10:44
Do not talk about which pawn you move, just move it, please.
amosburn amosburn 4/3/2018 05:34
So moving the QP two squares is a good idea. If I have White,how can I prevent my opponent from doing that? I know! 1.e4!!
CPM CPM 6/2/2014 04:29
This is an interesting article, and I can’t disagree with its specific assertions (and I’m sure you’re a stronger player than me!). But I think it overlooks one specific element of the openings which is of critical importance, namely the response of black.

The reason that e4 is a more uncompromising move (not necessarily better) is that it is harder for black to equalise quietly. What’s the best way to play for a quiet game after e4 or d4? I’m sure most people would agree that it’s to maintain symmetry in the centre. It is here where you can see why e4 has the reputation of being more uncompromising.

After e4, e5, Nf3, it would seem natural that the quietest way to defend the pawn is to move another pawn. But, of course, you can’t do this because f6 is a disastrous move, and d6 obviously blocks the f8 bishop in and leads to a very cramped position for black. However, we know that after d4, d5...Nc3 statistically virtually throws white’s advantage away completely, whereas c4 is met by c6, which doesn’t block a bishop in and has been shown historically despite centuries of analysis to be rock solid.

If you look at e4, e5, Nf3:


and d4, d5, c4:


You will see that the latter is about 6% more likely to draw, which proportionately works out that you’re around 1.2 times more likely to draw if you see a symmetrical continuation to d4 on the board. Responding quietly to e4 is not so easy, as although the Petroff is possibly the most drawish of all mainstream openings, it offers black very little hope of victory, whereas Slav / Semi-Slav have been shown to simply be rock solid openings that do offer black opportunities.

Of course, there are many other possibilities than merely responding symmetrically, but I think one of the primary reason aggressive players have historically played e4 is that there is no easy way to keep the game quiet, or at least no way that is as successful as the Slav / Semi-Slav.
hydra00 hydra00 6/1/2014 09:09
I don't own any chess engine so I'm curious: after 48 hr think, what is H4's evaluation after
1.e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 ?
Makelaris Makelaris 6/1/2014 07:56
Hello hydra00

That's an interesting point but I would rather not to trust the engines on openings. They are not good at this phase and that's why they are using "trees", meaning OUR opening theory. I was once trying to figure out at around what move can I trust the engine -I gave up! :)

For example, check the main line of the Scandinavian: 1.e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5
here the computer (Houndini 4 pro) first thinks it's a lost position (more than 0.70) then it drops close to lost and then it goes "up and down"... But of course this is a fine line used by top GM Seirawan and Anand even trusted it in his WC against G.Kasparov.
hydra00 hydra00 6/1/2014 01:04
Perhaps the strongest evidence for d4's superiority is that it's the move preferred by all 3 of the top chess engines (Stockfish, Komodo, Houdini) when letting them think on the opening position for several hours/days/weeks.
Makelaris Makelaris 5/31/2014 01:24
Hello Balthus

You are correct and I am thankful for pointing out the mistake, it seems like I missed a game -the game with one of my favourite endgames!

White's winning percentage will grow now from 4% (1 out of 25) up to 7.7% (2 out of 26) so 1.e4 is still losing more than it's winning and of course still scores much less than 1.d4, thus this "major error" does not change much.

Thank you again for the correction! :)
Balthus Balthus 5/31/2014 12:49
The statistics is flawed. The last game of the Kramnik-Leko match famously concluded by Kramnik winning a Caro-Kann with white (1.e4 c6). Judging by that major error alone, I am a bit wary of the solidity of the research, while the arguments seem appealing, if not new.
Jorge Shinozaki Jorge Shinozaki 5/30/2014 06:30
That's an interesting and thoughtful point of view.
Thank you Ioannis and have a good evening.
DPLeo DPLeo 5/30/2014 06:19
Great article! I believe the opening statistics also support 1.d4 is best. This may be dated but one opening database has: 1.e4 (54.5%) and 1.d4 (56.3%). More than 200,000 games were played with each move to obtain the percentages. The average elo was over 2500, which was very strong for the time period. The data is more than 20 years old so it would be interesting to see the opening statistics for super strong players from a more recent time period.

Makelaris Makelaris 5/30/2014 05:53
Hello Jorge

I think it is a nice idea, but I have to agree with Kramnik that, there is not the harmony of the starting position as in classical chess. Almost every time, the pieces are so badly placed that you can only play at only one way, trying to place them on better squares for saving your position -especially when you are black! On the other hand, the harmony of the initial position at classical chess, allows so many ways to develop that we have all these great openings.
Jorge Shinozaki Jorge Shinozaki 5/30/2014 03:14
Hello Ioannis,
Thanks for the interesting article.
I wonder what do you think of Fischer Random Chess.
Makelaris Makelaris 5/30/2014 02:50
I had a look at Berliner's book these days.
I think it is a great book and I liked even more for being easy to read without the chessboard, so thanks for sharing! But, not "everything is there" as mentioned (I only found one similarity with my article) but in general I can detect a common way of thinking which I trust to be a good sign. On his foreword, I even saw the same "worrying" of whether people will pay attention to his ideas or disregard them. I need to add that, I found his dislike of isolanis a bit hyperbolic and recalled Siegbert Tarrasch' saying "he who is afraid of an isolated queen's pawn should not play chess" -I find this to be hyperbolic too!

Since I have the chance, I want to add some words about the queen's influence on the game regarding point 3. First of all, there has been a mistake (which is my fault), the title of point 3 is "Center and Pieces activity". There I mention that after 1.e4 "the queen’s role in the game is rendered insignificant until the game progresses further" this is not completely true and it is one of the points I said that I could argue more but didn't due to lack of space. It's true that we can't see the queen playing a major role after 1.e4 but that doesn't mean that she doesn't influence the game at all. For example after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 black would like sometimes to play 2. ...f5 (and he has tried it) but this is almost a blunder due to 2.Nxe5 and if 2. ...fxe4 3.Qh5+ and black loses. So the queen does play a role after 1.e4 too -by eliminating many of black's choices. Theory has disregard much of these lines due to their immediate refutation but they are still notable for our discussion. Of course, the same case occurs many times after 1.d4 where given a blunder the queen can win a piece after moving to a4 -the 1.d4 players know what I am talking about.
Makelaris Makelaris 5/30/2014 09:05
Magnet0, what is even more interesting at the world championships is that 1.e4 is losing three times more than it's winning!!

PHILOCHESS, I like flank openings, I play the Bird myself a lot of times! Today with opening theory progressing, no matter what you play chances are that your opponent will be very well prepared so why not play something you like?! Truth to be told, when I stopped playing the Bird and went for "the main lines" I was surprised with the fact that I had so much better positions and winning easier. On the other hand, from my little experience I agree with Larsen that "flank openings are great for the attacker since if the attack fails not a lot of pieces have been exchanged.." Meaning that you can re-organize your remaining forces and attack again! If you are a flank-opener I strongly recommend you study Larsen, he was playing all kinds of flank openings (K.I.A., Bird and Larsen's attack of course!) no-matter of the opposition and was winning the world champions with them!

Here is a very nice and instructive example of him dominating both flanks -and crushing the great Gligoric:

Vinkovci, Date 1970.10.18 - Round "12"
Larsen, Bent - Gligoric, Svetozar ,
King's Indian Attack - A05 1-0

1. g3 g6 2. Bg2 Bg7 3. e4 c5 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. O-O Nf6 6. d3 O-O 7. Re1 d6 8. Nbd2 Rb8 9. a4 b6 10. Nc4 Bb7 11. h4 (preventing d6-d5 because of exd5 Nxd5 , h4-h5) Qc7 12. Bd2 Rbd8 13. Qc1 d5 14. Bf4 Qc8 15. exd5 Nxd5 16. Bh6 Rfe8 17. Bxg7 Kxg7 18. h5 (As mentioned earlier) Nf6 19. h6+ Kg8 20. Qf4 Nh5 21. Qd2 f6 Now white continues with the second plan, attack the queen-side. It's a key factor in this openings to understand when you need to stop the king-side attack and go after the queen-side personally I'm still working on that! 22. a5 b5 23. a6 (When you press on a flank opening, press hard!) Ba8 24. Na5 {and g3-g4 with pressure all over the board!} Nb4 24. Na5 e5 25. Qc3 Nd4 26. Nb7 Bxb7 27. axb7 Qxb7 28. Nxd4 cxd4 29. Bxb7 dxc3 30. bxc3 Re7 31. Rxa7 Kf8 32. Rb1 f5 33. Rxb5 {And
the Endgame is easily winning.} .... 1-0

Additionally, on this period I am working on 1.Nf3. This move seems to me so different than 1.e4 or 1.d4 that one day I was wondering who was the first to come up with this move.. On my database first comes Napoleon de Bonaparte!! But the game was a "disappointment" it was not a Reti but it went like this: 1. Nf3 Nc3 2. e4 e5 ... When I thought of it a little the disappointment became excitement! So when opening with 1.Nf3 you can either go for Reti or for 1.e4! I worked on that and raised my rating on chessbase about 200 elo points (previous account) by switching openings to my opponents! For example when my opponent was thinking that I would play the Reti and he was going for the Slav I would change at a point where he was not expecting it to 1.e4 and he would have to play the Caro-Kann. In Napoleon's case above I would go like this: 1.Nf3 Nc3 2.c4!? and believe it or not black is already in trouble unless he knows the Chigorin opening - but what are the chances for that? Lately, even an IM got into trouble with this idea, he went for a Nimzo and suddenly had to play a bad version of the French defence against the KIA! Usually they don't understand that they are playing a different opening and keep on with their plans or when they understand it, it is already too late!

All the above show how much you can experiment and have fun with the flank openings! :)
Interesting article! What is your opinion on flank openings (English, Bird's, Réti, etc)?
Fabio Biancalana Fabio Biancalana 5/30/2014 12:10
Rule number 1 for a physicist: check the literature! Berliner is one of the fathers of computer chess and his book is a classic
Makelaris Makelaris 5/29/2014 09:42
Hi guys! ;)

This the "author"...

First of all I have to admit that (with all the respect to mr Hans Berliner) I have never read his book and neither any of the people I showed my work -thus we decided to publish it. I will read it though since I'm interested in knowing his thoughts.

Secondly, I want to say that I found all your comments to be very interesting and I am grateful for your feedback! I myself have a lot to argue on every paragraph of the article but yet.. this is an article and not a book! So space was not on my side this time...

About the world Championships I stopped at 2000 because I had to stop somewhere and it's not easy to decide when, for me that's where the era of modern chess begins. On that matter I also have to add that I examined only the World Championships of Classical character since I agree with Kasparov that the World Championship is (and should stay) a match and not a tournament. So the World Championship in Mexico (where Anand won his title) is not included -that's sad for all of us (the 1.e4 players) because we had some wins there!

Finally, I would also like to add a small part of my conclusions -which were not included in the article:

In the end, which move is better?

According to all the information mentioned above, objectively speaking, opening with 1.d4 seems to be a better move than 1.e4. However, chess is too complex for a game’s outcome to be decided by the first move. I do not even believe it plays such an important role in the end. Besides science chess is also an art, in this article I have merely attempted to analyze the initial position the same way I would analyze a position in the middle of a game, by following objective criteria. However, I am not sure whether such objectivity can ALWAYS exist in chess. For example, when in a position, Karpov and Kasparov would probably play sometimes a different move (due to their different styles), and to my mind they could still both be right (etc...).

I wish you all health and beautiful games! ;)

(For all of you reading this quote for a second time.. it had to be re-posted for technical reasons!)
tkokesh tkokesh 5/29/2014 07:49
Getting both d2-d4 AND e2-e4 in early is necessary for White to get "optimal" scope for both bishops as quickly as possible. However, it is far harder to enforce e2-e4 after 1. d4 than d2-d4 after 1. e4. Even in openings in which White is prevented from playing 2. d4 after 1. e4, d2-d4 usually quickly follows, as in the Alekhine's Defense, Open Sicilian, and Scotch Gambit.
begamot begamot 5/29/2014 07:31
Statistics... like a lamppost to a drunk... are there more for support than illumination. Could it be that 1.e4... leads to a more tactical game more quickly... and thus the strongest players prefer to play strategically... 1.d4... when playing those of equal strength. In my opinion, fear is a prime motivation for 1.d4... Why play bravely and boldly, and, perhaps, best... when you can wait... and wait... for your opponent to falter. I agree... patience is the best strategy among equals... but 1.d4... the best move... cannot be assumed from this all too human preference.
Kingpawnkid Kingpawnkid 5/29/2014 08:34
On the part where is written "By playing 1.d4 we activate two pieces: our king bishop and the queen, our most powerful piece, which immediately gains access and control to the center. If we opt to play 1.e4, however, we only free our queen’s bishop on f1..." king bishop and queen bishop needs to be exchanged. Besides, this article brings up an interesting discussion and the statistics shown widely supports white's d4 on number of wins at WCC, although I believe the results in the complete database are just slightly better for d4 according to an article published here at Chessbase.
Magnet0 Magnet0 5/29/2014 04:26
This was a fun read and good food for thought for beginning players, I think. However, to me the main flaw in the logic that lead to most of the strategic conclusions is the fact that, after x opening moves of a normal game between competent players, resulting middlegame positions will render a lot of them a bit irrelevant. The proposed advantages of d4, after one or two moves, are nowhere near decisive. And after 10-15 moves, I doubt many strong players are lamenting their lack of central control and development options resulting from their earlier blunder, 1. e4??

Joking aside, I did enjoy this (and also enjoyed Berliner's The System lol). The WC bit was interesting, and that only one e4 victory occured since 2000 genuinely surprised me. Though cutting that data off at 2000 seemed a bit arbitrary and shallow. Rooplal's point about surprise value in WC is very true, and there's little reason supporting data for the article should be limited to WC games, anyway. -shrug-

Besides, we all know White to play and win 1. c4! :)
Chump Chump 5/29/2014 03:45
"Fabio Biancalana This does not seem to be original at all to me. Everything is described in Hans Berliner's book "The System"."

100% correct!
theoldmanhomeyard@gmail.com theoldmanhomeyard@gmail.com 5/28/2014 11:47
Whilst I agree that most players first learn to play with 1.e4, this tends to lead to more concrete positions so pregame analysis/prep counts for more. On the other hand 1.d4 is more transpositional and harder for Black to guarantee what opening line will be played - hence the greater choice may well improve winning chances.
patrice_vezeau@hotmail.com patrice_vezeau@hotmail.com 5/28/2014 11:46
Two opening why to not play 1.e4 Belin and Petrov
Fabio Biancalana Fabio Biancalana 5/28/2014 10:32
This does not seem to be original at all to me. Everything is described in Hans Berliner's book "The System".
AngeloPardi AngeloPardi 5/28/2014 09:52
Note that e4 used to be more used than d4 before 2000, when Kramnik began using the Berlin.
There are trends in openings : most top level games after d4 are now Slavs or semi-slavs, it doesn't mean that the King's indian is worse than the Slav. But Anand won the WC against Kramnik thanks to the Slav, which lead to an increase of the use of this opening.
Before Kasparov retirement the trends were different.

And look at top-level tournaments, you will see that there are just as many d4 games as e4 games.
Finally, results with an opening are highly dependent of the user, some player just can not get the right feeling with an opening.
ewenardus ewenardus 5/28/2014 09:38
I think this is an interesting article, and I specially think that the final paragraph on most chessplayers beginning with e4 an important thing to take into consideration.
Maybe king safety is an important factor that was not taken into account - generally, satrting with e4 means it´s easier/quicker to clear space for castling.
I do think that the world championship test takes up quite a bit of the discussion, but the information given is not proportional to this importance. On one hand, making the cut in 2000 is something I don't completely understand, and on the other, as Rooplal states, the preparation for this king of match means that manytimes one adopts different opening perspectives that one usually does.
Still, I tought this article to be interesting.
Rooplal Rooplal 5/28/2014 07:07
In the section on the World Champion test, Halkias starts by stating he is using facts to analyse the difference between d4 and e4. However it is well known that in world championship matches the selection of an opening has more to do with a surprise effect on the opponent, and not walking into their preparation into ones own pet systems. This is significant to choice. Fischer surprised Spassky, Kramnik surprised Kasparov, Anand surprised Kramnik. The value of d4 or e4 can not be reduced by such a shallow survey.