Review: "Marin's English Love - A complete repertoire for White after 1.c4"

by Mark Haast
5/16/2019 – What to do play with White? Mihail Marin, Romanian Grandmaster and renowned author, knows the answer to this difficult question: follow your passion! For Marin this is 1.c4 - the English, an opening Marin knows and loves. To share this love - and to give readers a repertoire with White - Marin recently made two ChessBase DVDs about the English. FIDE Master Mark Haast also likes to play the English - and he liked what Marin has to say about it.

Marin's English Love Vol.1 and 2 - A complete repertoire for White after 1.c4 Marin's English Love Vol.1 and 2 - A complete repertoire for White after 1.c4

The aim of these Dvd's is to build a repertoire after 1.c4 and 2.g3 for White. The first DVD includes the systems 1...e5, the Dutch and Indian setups. The second DVD includes the systems with 1...c5, 1...c6 and 1...e6.


Review: Marin's English Love - A complete repertoire for White after 1.c4

It’s time for something different! This time not a review about a book, but about a DVD. Or actually, two DVDs. The Romanian grandmaster Mihail Marin has again focused his attention on the English Opening. After the well received Grandmaster Repertoire books (The English Opening Vol. 1, 2 and 3), he now comes with two DVDs about the opening he likes so much: Marin’s English Love – A complete repertoire for White after 1.c4 (Vol. 1 and 2).

Marin is mostly known to me as a writer. His previously mentioned books about the English have been the foundation of my White repertoire. Other books by him include Learn from the Legends (ChessCafe-book of the year 2005), Secrets of Attacking Chess and Secrets of Chess Defence. The multiple Romanian champion, however, has more DVDs than books to his name. He has already released more than ten DVDs, mostly about openings such as the Benoni, the Classical Sicilian and the King’s Indian.

Winning against King's Indian — The main line

In the classical system of the King's Indian White develops naturally and refrains from chasing ghosts looking for a refutation of Black's set-up. White instead relies on the fact that natural play should yield him a small but lasting advantage.

The Classical Sicilian

This DVD offers Black a complete repertoire against all weapons White may employ on move six. The recommended repertoire is not as risky as other Sicilians but still offers Black plenty of counter-play.

Flexible opening

Why would you release two DVDs about the English Opening, after publishing 1200 pages on the same subject? Firstly, because the books date from 2009 (Vol. 1) and 2010 (Vol. 2 and 3). In the past decade, the opening theory has not stood still. Yet the DVDs are more than an updated version of the books. In three quarters of the cases, Marin has chosen to combat the Black systems in a different way. Take for example the system with an early …c6. After 1.c4 e5 2.g3 c6


Marin chose the reply 3.d4 in his first book. On the DVD he consciously made the decision to study other lines. Now, for example, he continues with 3.♘f3. He does this to show that the English is a flexible opening that can be played in multiple ways. By the way, the first two moves are the same in every variation, namely 1.c4 and 2.g3. Little has changed in that regard. From the third move and beyond, Marin opts for new ideas. For example, after the moves 1.c4 e5 2.g3 c6 3.g2 g6 4.c3 g7


Marin no longer opts for the Botvinnik System with 5.e4. Although there is little wrong with this, he wants to offer the reader (or, in this case, the listener) something new. So the system with 5.e3 and later d4 is recommended.

This naturally has consequences for the rest of the repertoire. In fact, the Botvinnik System was also his choice against the King’s Indian. In the books, White answers 1.c4 f6 2.g3 g6 3.g2 g7 4.c3 0-0 with 5.e4. After 5…d6 6.ge2 e5 a similar position arises as in the above diagram. This solution cannot be chosen on the DVDs, because the Botvinnik System is avoid-ed. After 1.c4 f6 2.g3 g6 Marin therefore opts for something else, namely a double fianchetto with 3.b3.

Complete repertoire?

Together, the two DVDs should provide the White player with a complete repertoire. The first DVD is about 1…e5, the Dutch and Indian setups. It is classi-fied as follows:

• Early c6
• 2...c6 - Reversed Closed Sicilian
• 2...d6 - Reversed Closed Sicilian without c6
• 2...c6/d6 - Black plays f5 without g6
• 2...f6 - Reversed Dragon
• 2...f6 - Black plays Bc5
• 2...f6 3.g2 h6 and 2...h5 - Odds and Ends
• 1...f5/f6 - Dutch and Indian Setups

The second DVD is about 1…c5, 1…c6 and 1…e6:

• Queen's Gambit Accepted
• Queen's Gambit Declined
• Slav Setup
• Symmetrical English

In principle, all important variations are covered. DVD 1, just like book 1, mainly deals with 1.c4 e5. The Queen’s Gambit Accepted, Queen’s Gambit Declined and Slav Setup can be found on DVD 2, and in book 2. The Symmetrical English is also on the second DVD, although Marin has previously devoted a whole book to it (book 3).

It is difficult to record a complete Eng-lish repertoire on two DVDs, especially if you have done that in 1200 pages be-fore. Nevertheless, Marin has succeeded in clearly illustrating the most important ideas and move orders within the opening. I would, without a doubt, play the majority of the variations dis-cussed. Though, the part related to the Symmetrical English could have been more extensive. After 1.c4 c5 2.g3 c6 3.g2 g6 4.c3 g7 5.f3 d6 6.0-0


only 6…e6 is discussed on the DVD.

In book 3 this move cannot be found, but you can find 6….a6, 6…d7!?, 6…h6 and 6…f6. There are more variations that are not covered, such as 1.c4 c5 2.g3 f6 3.g2 e6 and the Reversed Maroczy with …g6. Of course choices have to be made, but in the third book these variations did have a prominent place. Personally, I have fewer problems with skipping a sideline such as 1.c4 b6 (Anti-Owen).


Book or DVD?

Although there is much more information in a book, the DVD format has its advantages. It is nice to listen to verbal explanations, especially in the case of Marin. His explanation makes it a lot easier to understand the variations in question. On DVD 1 he regularly confuses White and Black, but that "problem" has been resolved on DVD 2. Another advantage of DVDs is that different coloured arrows on the chessboard can be used as visual support for the explanation. Marin makes sporadic use of this possibility. If it is up to me, he should do that more often.


Do you want to play the English Opening? Or have you been playing the English for a while, but looking for new inspiration? Then Marin’s English Love – A complete repertoire for White after 1.c4 is definitely recommended! Also, or especially, if you already have read his Grandmaster Repertoire books on the English. The reason for this being that the DVDs are largely based on other systems than the trilogy. In just under 14 hours, Marin will teach you the most important ins and outs of his favourite opening.

Buy Marin's English Love - A complete repertoire for White after 1.c4 in the shop...

A Dutch version of this review first appeared at

Mark Haast is a FIDE Master from the Netherlands. Most of the time he is busy with chess. Besides his work for a chess publisher, he is also coaching students to improve their play. Lately, his personal aim is to achieve the International Master title.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register