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King's Pawn Game

King's Pawn Game
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Moves 1.e4
ECO B00-B99, C00-C99
Parent Starting position

The King's Pawn Game is any chess opening starting with the move:

1. e4

It is among the most popular opening moves in chess.

Details about the move and the game plan

White opens with the most popular of the twenty possible opening moves. Although effective in winning for White (54.25%), it is not quite as successful as the four next most common openings for White: 1.d4 (55.95%), 1.Nf3 (55.8%), 1.c4 (56.3%), and 1.g3 (55.8%). Since nearly all openings beginning 1.e4 have names of their own, the term "King's Pawn Game", unlike Queen's Pawn Game, is rarely used to describe the opening of the game.

Advancing the king's pawn two squares is highly useful because it occupies a center square, attacks the center square d5, and allows the development of White's king's bishop and queen. Chess legend Bobby Fischer said that the King's Pawn Game is "Best by test."

King's Pawn Games are further classified by whether Black responds with 1...e5 or not. Openings beginning with 1.e4 e5 are called Double King's Pawn Games (or Openings), Symmetrical King's Pawn Games (or Openings), or Open Games - these terms are equivalent. Openings where Black responds to 1.e4 with a move other than 1...e5 are called Asymmetrical King's Pawn Games or Semi-Open Games.

The Encyclopedia of Chess Openings (ECO) classifies all King's Pawn Games into volumes B or C: volume C if the game starts with 1.e4 e6 (the French Defence) or 1.e4 e5; volume B if Black answers 1.e4 with any other move. The rare instances where the opening does not fall into a more specific category than "King's Pawn Game" are included in codes B00 (includes the Nimzowitsch Defence and unusual moves after 1.e4), C20 (includes Alapin's Opening and unusual moves after 1.e4 e5), C40 (includes the Latvian Gambit and unusual moves after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3), and C50 (includes the Hungarian Defence, the Giuoco Pianissimo, and unusual moves after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4).

Popular continuations

The Black responses which are given one or more chapters in the Encyclopedia of Chess Openings (ECO) are given below, ranked in order of popularity according to ChessBase.

Uncommon continuations

Apart from these eight responses, all other replies from Black are covered together in ECO chapter B00 ("Uncommon King's Pawn Opening"). A few of these are not entirely obscure, and have received extensive analysis.

Rare continuations

The remaining replies to 1.e4 are very rare, and have not received significant and serious attention by masters. MCO does not cover them, considering them so bad as not to merit discussion. These openings sometimes lead to wild and exciting games, and are occasionally employed by weaker players to get better trained opponents "out-of-book". Some have exotic names, they are listed below along with instances where they have been used by strong players.

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Fred Defence after 2.exf5 Nf6

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