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1 e4 e5

Welcome to the definitive modern Grandmaster guide to 1 e4 e5. Your host is strong 2600+ Grandmaster and King Pawn expert Victor Mikhalevski.

For a dissection of the very latest theory go first to the What's new page!

Dear Reader,

Together we are about to experience endless energy and excitement emanating from 1 e4 e5. In preparation for this chess adventure, the ChessPub team have studied literally tens of thousands of fascinating games, from which I then selected and annotated a nice sample featuring very effective weapons to net us lots of points in our own future battles. A reasonable number of my personal encounters crop up, thereby providing practical examples of some opening lines which I particularly recommend.

Games galore, and much more...

The irresistible feast of exciting annotated games which awaits us is also enriched by a spread of puzzles.

13 memorable groups

Of White's 20 possible first moves, 1 e4 is the most popular choice in practice, and there is no sounder reaction for Black than 1...e5. We then have a large mouth-watering menu of ways to continue, and just for luck, I have divided the full range of possibilities into 13 (!) groups, as follows shortly. A chess encyclopaedia normally uses "ECO" codes from C20 to C99 to classify the numerous lines stemming from 1 e4 e5, but GM Motwani also likes to have a memorable title phrase for each of the 13 chosen groups. We hope and feel that the phrases will become even more meaningful when one sees the actual moves of the games within each section, and each main game gets introduced by its very own distinctive one-line caption.

Group # ECO Code Title Phrase
1 C20-22 "White knights hardly jump"
2 C23-24 "Bishop in a hurry"
3 C25-29 "The vivacious Vienna"
4 C30-39 "f for forward"
5 C40 "The black minors stay at home"
6 C41 "Pushing the Philidor pawn"
7 C42-43 "Can the Petroff be perturbed?"
8 C44 "A little tree at move three"
9 C45 "The independent Scotch"
10 C46 "Three leap while one sleeps"
11 C47-49 "Quick quartet: all four head out the door"
12 C50-59 "Italian fashion in or out?"
13 C60-99 "Non-stop Spanish"

Group 13 is clearly a king-size section which in theory deals with every line of the Ruy Lopez (2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5, often called the Spanish Opening, or simply "The Spanish").