Reactions to an E4 Opening
If you’re playing black, you’ll probably want to have a decent reaction ready for 1.e4, which is white’s most common opening move. White has a lot of alternatives for their opening move, while black may respond in a variety of ways once white plays e4.
In reality, in this situation, all 20 conceivable black plays have been tried, and almost all of them are plausible, with at least half of them having been tried enough times to be regarded theoretically meaningful.
Top Chess Reactions to an E4 Opening
There is, however, a ranking system for the best five movements. In tournament play, just eight movements are considered frequent. The top eight replies to white’s most popular opening are shown below.
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1 – c5
The Sicilian defense, often known as c5, has become the most preferred technique to answer to e4. C5 fights back in the center by assaulting the d4 square, just like e5 (the second entry on this list). This is a dynamic maneuver that creates imbalanced positions in which both sides can compete for victory. The c5 move is one of the most effective strategies for black to obtain an advantage over e4.
2 – e5
A traditional retort to e4 is to move the king’s pawn two squares ahead in return. This results in a “open game,” which is a word for a game with tactical warfare in which both sides must be on the lookout for swift and deadly attacks. These movements give rise to popular openings like the Ruy Lopez and the Italian opener.
3 – e6
The French defense begins with e6, indicating that black is willing to trade some room and movement for a very robust pawn foundation. While this opening has a reputation for being drawish and monotonous, this is not a fair assessment because many lines are extremely sharp, and the draw rate for the French defense is not significantly higher than for other common answers to e4.
4 – c6
The Caro-Kann Defense is signaled by the c6 move, which is a very strong opening that is arguably less adventurous than the other more common openings. In fact, of all the moves on this list, it has the greatest draw percentage. Nonetheless, it has remained popular at all chess levels. Amateurs will find the basic concepts simple to grasp, while specialists will appreciate the advantageous pawn arrangements for black.
Continue on to number 5 of 8 in the list below.
5 – d6
While the first four moves are undoubtedly the most popular—indeed, they are nearly the only movements performed in games involving world-class players these days—there are a number of other plays that have a moderate amount of popularity. Starting with d6, the Pirc defensive helps white to build up a very powerful pawn center, allowing the first player to score well in these lines. They are, however, far from broken, letting the Pirc to retain considerable appeal at all levels of chess save the highest.
6 – d5
Starting with d6, the Scandinavian defense enables white to steal a pawn right away, which black would normally recoup by putting out the queen on the second move. Despite the fact that the queen may be assaulted right away, this opening has shown to be quite resilient, and various variations have contributed to increase the line’s playability. While white has a good score, d5 is a better move than it appears at first (particularly in lines where the queen retreats to d6 rather than a5).
7 – g6
G6, often known as the contemporary defensive, shares many similarities with the Pirc, and the two openings frequently translate into the same lines. The current option may be preferable. It helps white to create a large center by playing e4 and d4, but it also allows black to undercut that structure. At practically every level of play, databases reveal that g6 is one of black’s finest efforts for a victory.
8 – Nf6
At first glance, Nf6 may appear to be an odd move: white can then play e5, displacing the knight. But, in the opening known as Alekhine’s defensive, this is all part of the game plan. This opening, named for the world champion who invented the defense in the 1920s, leads to lines that are highly unusual compared to the majority of the other movements on this list, with white frequently pushing many pawns to chase the black knight across the board. White, on the other hand, must be careful not to overextend, or the pawns would create a weakness for black to exploit.