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English, Symmetrical (A30)
1 c4 c5

Number of games in database: 3964
Years covered: 1851 to 2017
Overall record:
   White wins 35.7%
   Black wins 20.0%
   Draws 44.3%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Wolfgang Uhlmann  61 games
Viktor Korchnoi  54 games
Ulf Andersson  36 games
Lubomir Ftacnik  70 games
Walter Shawn Browne  53 games
Ulf Andersson  31 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Karpov vs Ribli, 1986
Carlsen vs Aronian, 2007
Kramnik vs Anand, 1996
Kramnik vs Carlsen, 2008
Polugaevsky vs Ftacnik, 1982
Larsen vs Fischer, 1971
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 page 1 of 159; games 1-25 of 3,964  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. S Angas vs S Boden  0-123 1851 ProvincialA30 English, Symmetrical
2. F Deacon vs E Lowe  1-031 1851 London m3A30 English, Symmetrical
3. A Brodie vs Staunton 0-152 1851 LondonA30 English, Symmetrical
4. Somacarana vs Cochrane  0-145 1855 CalcuttaA30 English, Symmetrical
5. S Solomons vs V Green  1-023 1862 LondonA30 English, Symmetrical
6. S Solomons vs J W Rimington-Wilson 1-033 1862 LondonA30 English, Symmetrical
7. W Potter vs G MacDonnell  0-159 1876 LondonA30 English, Symmetrical
8. Paulsen vs C T Goering  0-174 1876 MSB-02.KongressA30 English, Symmetrical
9. Paulsen vs Wemmers  ½-½39 1880 WiesbadenA30 English, Symmetrical
10. A Schwarz vs C F Schmid  1-061 1880 WiesbadenA30 English, Symmetrical
11. Mackenzie vs J Noa  1-038 1883 LondonA30 English, Symmetrical
12. A Skipworth vs J Noa  1-040 1883 LondonA30 English, Symmetrical
13. C Messemaker vs W Siebenhaar  1-018 1884 DCA Congress 12thA30 English, Symmetrical
14. C Smyth vs A Vorrath 1-024 1892 Team Match JuniorA30 English, Symmetrical
15. W J Miles vs J L Jacobsen  0-133 1901 NSW chA30 English, Symmetrical
16. H Fowler Lee vs C Medinus  0-122 1903 4th Western ChampionshipA30 English, Symmetrical
17. H Fowler Lee vs S P Johnston  ½-½44 1903 4th Western ChampionshipA30 English, Symmetrical
18. B Gregory vs Nimzowitsch 1-036 1904 Coburg AA30 English, Symmetrical
19. Tartakower vs J Mieses  ½-½47 1908 ViennaA30 English, Symmetrical
20. Fahrni vs Duras ½-½53 1911 KarlsbadA30 English, Symmetrical
21. Tartakower vs A Vajda  ½-½33 1921 BudapestA30 English, Symmetrical
22. Hilse vs O Wegemund  0-157 1922 22. DSB KongressA30 English, Symmetrical
23. F Schubert vs Chodera  1-039 1925 Kautsky mem 2ndA30 English, Symmetrical
24. Reti vs Gruenfeld 1-047 1926 SemmeringA30 English, Symmetrical
25. Alekhine vs Nimzowitsch ½-½21 1927 New YorkA30 English, Symmetrical
 page 1 of 159; games 1-25 of 3,964  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: I find myself playing a variation of this with the Black pieces, not because I want to, but when White is unambitious you can't stop it. It usually develops like this: 1.e4 c5 2.c4
Feb-03-04  blunder maker: 1. c4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. g3 Nf6 4. Bg2 e6 5. e3 Ne4!? anyone here move 5. ... Ne4 ?i have beat my strong opponent by using this move!
Feb-13-04  marcus13: Bunti. I dont think at my strengh there is really drawish opening. Drawish opening are only good for titled player. I am sure i can win (and also lose) game on this variation.
Feb-17-04  Aliasad: blunder maker, 5... Ne4 seems like a straightforward blunder to me, what am I missing? Hey Bunti, from my (very little) experience of this opening, I would say that the symmetrical english is a solid line for black and leads to games that are quite tactically interesting with a lot of jockeying for position. IMO it usually leads to closed positions but watch out for an early d4 or a later central pawn attack by white to open things up.
Feb-24-04  blunder maker: Aliasad,ya,u are right,that's why my name is blunder maker,=)
Mar-25-04  PaulKeres: IMHO, perhaps the best reply for Black is 1...c5, but I think 1. c4 is a tricky opening to tackle, and a strong opening by a white player who knows what he's doing.
Jun-21-04  Klashnikov168: I play a cure-all variation as black. 1.c4 c5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.g3 d5 4.cxd5 nxd5 5.Bg2 this is a common line but the rest is secret. Only people who play white in the sicilian would know what I'm talking about but if anyone wants to know the line I'll post the rest as black.
Jun-21-04  Helloween: <Klashnikov168> That is a common "internetish" line, but not really correct as far as move orders go. 2.Nf3 is almost universal in the Symmetrical English, and now if Black plays in a similar fashion as he does in the line you give, 2...Nf6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.d4! e6 and now both 6.e3 and 6.e4 keep an advantage for White.
Jun-22-04  Klashnikov168: I better not give the line. I don't think my coach would like that. But I will tell you its a maroczy bind.
Jun-22-04  Dick Brain: I've played it many times over about 20+ years (always Black). As a matter of fact I was inspired to play the symmetrical english from Ulf Andersson's games which makes sense from the above table.
Jun-29-04  get Reti: I like to play 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c5 4.g3 b6 5. Bg2 Bb7 6. O-O Be7 7. d4 cxd4 8. Qxd4 as white. This usually turns into a hedgehog. This position can be reached without playing these moves in this exact order, usually it is.
Jul-08-04  Klashnikov168: Ok here is the line. 1.c4 c5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.g3 d5 4.cxd5 nxd5 5.Bg2 Nb4(The secret) and blacks plan is to play Nc6, e5, Be6, f6, Be7 and white has to push d3 or e3. If d3 the e2 is a problem and if e3 then d2 is a problem in the endgame as well. If you play it right white has no threats. Like qa4 or a3 nb6 b4 so this is very solid.
Aug-12-04  tomh72000: Anymore "secrets" for us? ;)
Aug-12-05  who: <Klashnikov168> What do you mean about Nb6. That's an illegal move.
Aug-12-05  sitzkrieg: Queen!?
Dec-22-07  angelwings4i: FISH!! "Fischer Ending"
Premium Chessgames Member
  Method B: 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 c5 4.Nc3 b6 5.Bg2 Bb7 6.O-O a6 7.Re1 Be7 8.e4 d6 9.d4 cxd4 10.Nxd4 Qc7 11.Be3

click for larger view

what is white's answer to 11...Qxc4? 12.Qa4+ is the move? I suppose it is blunder (queen trap maybe) because no games in the database with this move but I can not see the solution.

Feb-13-08  nescio: <Method B> There is no particular solution with forced moves. It's just that after 11...Qxc4 12.Rc1 the black queen is in a very uncomfortable spot. If it stays on the c-file, then 13.Nd5 and Nc7+ will be decisive. If it goes out still further (12...Qb4), then 13.Nb3 and something has to be done about 14.a3, forcing it back to the c-file. But after for example 11...Qxc4 12.Rc1 Qb4 13.Nb3 d5 14.ezd5 exd5 I would consider the position absolutely hopeless, with threats to d5 and c7 (by Bf4 also) and the position of the black king in the centre. But White has so many attractive possibilities that he might get an attack of "embarras du choix". :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Method B: <nescio> okay. thanks a lot. it was very helpful.
Mar-15-09  WhiteRook48: I thought the English always continued 1...e5
Apr-17-09  Bob726: Typically in the hedgehog type formations, why does black most times play his rooks to c8 and e8 instead of c8 and d8? Doesn't the rook on d8 protect the pawn on d6 and keep on the e8 square for the knight to defend d6. What is the rook doing on e8?
Apr-17-09  blacksburg: <Bob> a common manouvre in the hedgehog is Be7-d8-c7 after Qc7-b8, so black would like to have d8 open for regroupings. also, the queen's rook doesn't always go to c8, it can go to d8 as well. in general, black isn't so much concerned about defending the d6 pawn, and is more concerned about positioning his pieces to benefit from from a central break. black should not be trying to just hold the d6 pawn for a long time, he should be trying for a central break. the e8 rook can become very active after the d5 break.

here are a couple of games illustrating the central breaks, and the resulting activity of the black pieces.

Karpov vs Ulf Andersson, 1975

K Grigorian vs G Agzamov, 1981

in general, black's manouevering in the hedgehog tends to be rather subtle and difficult to understand, IMHO.

Apr-17-09  SniperOnG7: <Bob726> In some hedgehog positions, you do indeed see the rook on d8 too. This is in preparation for an eventual ...d6-d5 (one of black's two liberating breaks; the other being ...b6-b5).

However, more often than not - especially in the English Hedgehog - the d5 break is difficult to achieve. In this case, a rook on d8 is rather useless.

Before continuing, it is useful to know that white's most common plan is a kingside attack of one sort or another. This may take the form of f2-f4-f5 and/or f2-f4, g2-g4-g5

These plans are rather dangerous. Once the pawn reaches f5, black is often forced to let white exchange on e6 (or play ...e6-e5 which results in a backward exposed d-pawn down the semi-open file). After the exchange (fxe6 fxe6), black is left with a backward, weak Pe6 that can be easily targetted via Bg2-h3 or Nd4.

It then becomes clear that the rook on e8 is very beneficial as a prophylactic move: a dropback of Be7 to f8 allows black to protect Pe6, and thus neutralizing some of the poison in white's plan.

Hope that helps ^^

Apr-17-09  SniperOnG7: <blacksburg> Haha you bet me to it. Good thing our posts contain different aspects about the position.
Jul-18-12  JustWoodshifting: [Event "Engine Match Games 360m/40+180m/20+120"]
[Site "North America"]
[Date "2012.07.18"]
[Round "1.2"]
[White "Deep Fritz 13"]
[Black "Deep Rybka 4.1"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A30"]
[PlyCount "71"]
[EventDate "2012.07.16"]

A30: English Opening: Symmetrical Variation: Hedgehog Defence" 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. Nc3 e6 4. g3 b6 5. Bg2 Bb7 6. O-O Be7 7. d4 cxd4 8. Qxd4 d6 9. Bg5 a6 10. Bxf6 Bxf6 11. Qf4 Nd7 12. Qxd6 Nc5 13. Qf4 Bxc3 14. bxc3 Qb8 15. Qe3 O-O 16. a4 Qc7 17. Qe5 Qb8 18. Rfd1 Rd8 19. Qh5 Rxd1+ 20. Rxd1 Qc7 21. a5 Bxf3 22. Bxf3 Rc8 23. axb6 Qxb6 24. Qe5 a5 25. Rd6 Qb1+ 26. Kg2 h6 27. Bc6 Qb6 28. Bb5 Qa7 29. f3 a4 30. Rd2 a3 31. Ra2 Qe7 32. Qf4 Ra8 33. Bc6 Rc8 34. Bb5 Ra8 35. Bc6 Rc8 36. Bb5 1/2-1/2

[Event "Engine Match Game 360m/40+180m/20+120m"]
[Site "North America"]
[Date "2012.07.18"]
[Round "1.1"]
[White "Deep Rybka 4.1"]
[Black "Deep Fritz 13"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A30"]
[PlyCount "166"]
[EventDate "2012.??.??"]

"A30: English Opening: Symmetrical Variation: Hedgehog Defence" 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. Nc3 e6 4. g3 b6 5. Bg2 Bb7 6. O-O Be7 7. d4 cxd4 8. Qxd4 d6 9. Bg5 a6 10. Bxf6 Bxf6 11. Qf4 Be7 12. Rfd1 Nd7 13. Ne4 Bxe4 14. Qxe4 Rc8 15. Rac1 O-O 16. Nd4 Bf6 17. e3 Re8 18. Qd3 Ne5 19. Qb3 Rc5 20. f4 Nd7 21. Nc6 Qc7 22. Nb4 Ra5 23. Qc3 Nb8 24. Qd2 Rd8 25. b3 Qd7 26. Nd3 Nc6 27. a4 Qe8 28. Rc2 h5 29. Ra2 Be7 30. b4 Rf5 31. Rc1 Rc8 32. Bh3 Rf6 33. a5 bxa5 34. b5 Nb8 35. Qxa5 axb5 36. Qxb5 Nd7 37. Ra7 Nc5 38. Nxc5 dxc5 39. Bg2 Bf8 40. Qxe8 Rxe8 41. Rb1 Rd8 42. Bf3 g6 43. Kf2 e5 44. Rbb7 Bd6 45. Bd5 Rf8 46. Kg2 Kg7 47. Rd7 Bb8 48. Rab7 exf4 49. exf4 Bd6 50. Kg1 Kg8 51. Kh1 Kg7 52. Kg2 h4 53. Kh3 hxg3 54. hxg3 Rh8+ 55. Kg2 Rf8 56. Kh2 Kg8 57. Kh3 Kg7 58. Kg4 Kg8 59. Ra7 Kg7 60. Ra2 Bb8 61. Ra1 Re8 62. Ra5 Rc8 63. Rb5 Rc7 64. Rxf7+ Rcxf7 65. Bxf7 Bxf4 66. gxf4 Rxf7 67. Rxc5 Ra7 68. Kg5 Rf7 69. Re5 Rc7 70. c5 Rc6 71. f5 Kf7 72. Kf4 Rf6 73. Ke4 Rxf5 74. Rxf5+ gxf5+ 75. Kxf5 Ke7 76. Ke5 Kd7 77. Kd5 Kc7 78. Kd4 Kb7 79. Ke3 Ka6 80. Ke4 Kb7 81. Kd3 Ka6 82. Kc4 Kb7 83. Kc3 Ka6 1/2-1/2

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