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English Defence

a b c d e f g h
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Moves 1.d4 e6 2.c4 b6
Origin P. N. Wallis
Parent Queen's Pawn Game

The English Defence is a chess opening characterised by the moves:

1. d4 e6
2. c4 b6


White often gains a broad pawn centre with 3.e4, which Black puts pressure on with moves like ...Bb7, ...Bb4, and sometimes even ...Qh4 and/or ...f5. It was developed by the Leicester player P. N. Wallis, and was taken up by several leading English players in the 1970s, such as Tony Miles, Jon Speelman and Raymond Keene. It flouts several traditional opening principles, as Black often develops bishops before knights and brings out the queen early. It is a somewhat unusual opening, but has been seen in high-level grandmaster play, usually as a surprise weapon, for example when Viktor Korchnoi used it to defeat Lev Polugaevsky in their world championship semifinals match at Évian 1977 (see below).

Illustrative games

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