Sicilian Defense is black’s most popular response to 1.e4. It is an opening employed at every level, from club players to top Grandmasters. There are many ways to play the Sicilian Defense and the resulting positions can be very different, which makes it a great opening choice for any player, regardless of their style. In general, the Sicilian is a dynamic opening and many lines can lead to sharp positions.
The Catalan Opening has been one of the most fashionable systems in recent years. White fianchettos the light-squared bishop and gains space on the queenside and the center with the pawns. This strategy puts Black under serious pressure and often leads to a risk-free advantage for White. Magnus Carlsen made the Catalan his main weapon for the World Championship match against Ian Nepomniachtchi. Later he also successfully used it in the Tata Steel 2022.
The rise of the Berlin Defense is one of the most notable changes chess theory has experienced in the 21st century. This opening was considered dubious about 20 years ago, but now almost every top grandmaster has it in their repertoire. Same as the Petroff Defense, the Berlin has caused a lot of headaches to 1.e4 players and even made some of them switch to 1.d4.
Want to master an opening preparation? Probably every chess player at some point starts wondering how the champions of different generations would play against each other if time-traveling existed. Would Jose Raul Capablanca or Alexander Alekhine be able to beat the current top players? What about Robert Fischer? People also wonder how a modern grandmaster would stand against Paul Morphy or Wilhelm Steinitz. All these hypothetical situations usually come down to discussing one of the most important changes that chess has ever experienced. Modern players have got an indisputable advantage – they prepare with chess engines!
The London System for a long time was considered to be a harmless and unconventional opening for lazy players. Things have changed once the current world champion Magnus Carlsen started using it to beat the best players in the world. It immediately caught everyone’s attention, and the opening got a huge boost of popularity. Nowadays it has a lot of adherents of different levels. It is a safe, solid, but at the same time, aggressive opening.
Austrian Defense, also known as the Symmetrical Defense, is quite a rare opening.
Most people have never seen its starting position, although it has been known since 1604!
Nowadays it has been played a ton by Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and once even by Magnus Carlsen. He used the Austrian Defense as Black to beat his second, Daniil Dubov.
1.e4 “best by test” opening might very well be the best fit for you! And here are the five reasons why you should consider playing 1.e4 if you are an attacking player!
Are you an attacking player, that always wants to do something ‘active’ in a position and hates maneuvering, prophylactic moves, and other non-essential activities? If you’d rather play a sharp, nerve-wracking, double-edged game, rather than a quiet 20-move draw you should keep reading.
If so, I have awesome news for you!
Benoni Defense comes from the Hebrew expression “Ben-Oni”, which means “son of my sorrow.” This might have given you melancholic impressions, but don’t let it deceive you. The Benoni Defense is one of the most aggressive chess openings. It leads to highly unbalanced positions, and players of all levels opt for it when they want to play for a win against 1.d4.
Nimzo-Indian Defence is probably one of the most common answers against 1.d4 nowadays.
The defense was introduced by Aaron Nimzowitsch, the founder of hypermodern chess. Black doesn’t occupy the centre with pawns right from the start and plays for quick development.
The center is controlled first by the pieces and only later on black will decide on the central pawn break.
Sicilian Dragon is one of the most complex lines of this opening. Black aims for a sharp, aggressive play and puts white under pressure right from the start. It is a line full of tactical ideas, perfect for those who want to play for a win with the black pieces. There are many ways of playing against the Sicilian Dragon with white, but no real refutation has been found against it after all these years.