Nigel Davies – The English Opening

12/3/2008 – "I don’t know many people who actually enjoy playing against the English Opening," the reviewer writes. "In my experience, club and tournament players are rarely well prepared to meet it. Thus it seems a very reasonable idea to add it to your collection of favourite openings." You can do this with Nigel Davies' trainer DVD. Order it now or read this review by Sean Marsh.

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The English Opening

By GM Nigel Davies

Chessbase, 8 hours

I don’t know many people who actually enjoy playing against the English Opening. In my experience, club and tournament players are rarely well prepared to meet it. Thus it seems a very reasonable idea to add it to your collection of favourite openings.

The repertoire analysed on this new DVD is based around the move order 1 c4 and 2 g3.

Following a short introduction (in which he shows how beat Nigel Short in a mere five moves – albeit when the future World Championship challenger was only eight years old), GM Davies methodically works through all of Black’s reasonable options of meeting 1 c4.

He starts with 1...e5 (12 lectures) and then moves on to 1...c5 (8 lectures). Next up is 1...e6 (8 lectures), followed by 1...Nf6 (6 lectures), 1...c6 (2 lectures), before concluding with coverage of 1...Nf6 2...g6, 1...f5 and 1...b6 (one lecture each).

By advocating 2 g3, GM Davies is able to bring lines into the repertoire which may not be the top theoretical recommendations but nevertheless carry a decent sting, especially against an unwary opponent. For example, when Black is hoping for a mainline reverse Dragon in this position:

…the recommendation is that White should eschew the normal development of the Knight to c3 in favour of creating different problems for Black to fathom. White can play b3 and Bb2, with early pressure on e5, and has options of heading for a quick e2-e3 followed by d2-d4. Black will probably spend extra time over the board trying to work out whether or not …e5-e4 is healthy option.

The Botvinnik System is given against lines in which Black follows up 1...e5 with a Kingside fianchetto.

1...c5 is met in an offbeat way too, with White opting for a slow build up via the route: 1 c4 c5 2 g3 g6 3 Bg2 Bg7 4 e3 eventually completing development in harmonious fashion before pushing in the centre.

White’s intended set-up is nicely demonstrated in the game Filip-Uhlmann.

Filip went on to gain a solid space advantage which he definitely put to good use.

Attempts by Black to transpose into main line Queen’s Pawn openings are stubbornly declined. For example, 1.c4 Nf6 2.g3 e6 3.Bg2 d5 4.Nf3 Be7 5.0–0 0–0


Panchenko – Lengyel

…White declines to enter a Catalan and opts instead to keep the game ‘Retified’ with 6 b3

This is the theme throughout the presentation: White heads for positions he should understand better than his opponent and in which the real struggle comes in the middlegame.

The average length of the video clips is around the 12 minute mark. With the total running time clocking in at an astonishing eight hours, it stands to reason that it will take a number of sessions to view all of the material so the bite-sized chunks make the whole thing easily digestible.

GM Davies provides all of the strategies, plans and possible tactics necessary to turn 1 c4 into a very potent practical weapon. A big bonus is that, given the nature of the lines analysed, the viewer’s general positional understanding of chess will undoubtedly improve.

This DVD will appeal to those looking for brand new opening repertoire (and one the opponent can’t avoid). Those who already enjoy playing 1 c4 will find plenty of interest too and will be able to pick and choose which new lines to add to their existing arsenal.


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