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Melisa Gallegos
Melisa Gallegos

Beating 1e4 E5: A Repertoire For White In The Open Games By John Emms.pdf

Beating 1e4 e5: A Repertoire for White in the Open Games by John Emms.pdf

If you are looking for a reliable and aggressive way to play against 1.e4 e5, you might be interested in the book Beating 1e4 e5: A Repertoire for White in the Open Games by Grandmaster John Emms. This book presents a complete repertoire for White based on the Italian Game and the Bishop's Opening, two of the most popular and classical openings in chess history. In this article, we will give you an overview of the main ideas and variations covered in the book, as well as some of the benefits and challenges of playing this repertoire.

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The Italian Game and the Bishop's Opening

The Italian Game and the Bishop's Opening are both characterized by the moves 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4, where White develops his king's bishop to the most active square, putting pressure on Black's central pawn and the weak f7-square. The main difference between the two openings is that in the Italian Game, White plays 4.c3 to prepare d4 and gain more space in the center, while in the Bishop's Opening, White plays 4.d3 to keep a flexible pawn structure and avoid some of Black's counterplay. Both openings have a long and rich history, dating back to the 16th century, and have been played by many world champions and top players over the years.

The Main Lines

In his book, Emms covers both the main lines and the tricky sidelines of the Italian Game and the Bishop's Opening, providing detailed analysis and explanations of the key ideas and plans for both sides. He also highlights crucial move-order subtleties and typical tactical motifs that can arise in these openings. Here are some of the main lines that Emms recommends for White:

  • In the Italian Game, after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.cxd4 Bb4+ 7.Bd2 Bxd2+ 8.Nbxd2 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5, Emms suggests the aggressive move 10.O-O, sacrificing a pawn for rapid development and attacking chances. This line leads to complex and sharp positions where White has to play energetically and accurately to prove his compensation.

  • In the Bishop's Opening, after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.d3 Nf6 5.O-O d6 6.c3 O-O 7.Re1 a6, Emms advocates the modern move 8.Bb3, avoiding the exchange of bishops and keeping more tension in the position. This line allows White to play for a small but lasting edge in quiet or dynamic positions, depending on Black's reaction.

  • In the Two Knights Defense, after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 Be7 5.O-O O-O, Emms recommends the move 6.Re1, preparing to meet ...d5 with exd5 and Ng5, with a double attack on f7 and e5. This line leads to interesting and unbalanced positions where White has more space and initiative, but Black has solid development and counterplay.

  • In the Hungarian Defense, after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Be7, Emms suggests the move 4.d4, challenging Black's central control and opening up lines for his pieces. This line gives White a clear advantage in space and development, but Black can try to create some complications with ...d5 or ...Bg4.

The Benefits and Challenges

Playing the Italian Game and the Bishop's Opening has many benefits for White players who want to fight for an advantage against 1.e4 e5. Some of these benefits are:

  • White can avoid a lot of heavy theory and memorization that is required in other more popular openings such as the Ruy Lopez, the Scotch, or the King's Gambit.

  • White can choose between different variations and move orders depending on his style and preference, ranging from calm and positional to sharp and tactical.

  • White can rely on sound and solid principles of development, such as controlling the center, occupying the open files, and creating threats against the enemy king.

  • White can enjoy a pleasant and lasting initiative in most of the lines, putting pressure on Black's position and forcing him to defend accurately.

However, playing the Italian Game and the Bishop's Opening also has some challenges that White players should be aware of. Some of these challenges are:

  • White has to be ready to face different defenses from Black, such as the Petroff, the Philidor, the Latvian Gambit, or the Ponziani, which are not covered in the book.

  • White has to be familiar with some typical ideas and patterns that are common in these openings, such as the Fried Liver Attack, the Traxler Counterattack, or the Max Lange Attack.

  • White has to be prepared to sacrifice material or accept an isolated pawn in some of the lines, in exchange for activity and compensation.

  • White has to be careful not to overextend or lose his coordination in some of the positions, as Black can strike back with counterattacks or counter-sacrifices.


The book Beating 1e4 e5: A Repertoire for White in the Open Games by John Emms is a great resource for White players who want to learn how to play against 1.e4 e5 in a sound yet aggressive way. The book provides a complete and detailed repertoire based on the Italian Game and the Bishop's Opening, two of the most classical and popular openings in chess history. The book is packed with new ideas and analysis, as well as explanations of the key positional and tactical concepts for both sides. The book is ideal for improvers, club players, and tournament players who want to improve their understanding and results in the Open Games.

If you are interested in buying this book, you can find it on Amazon,, or You can also read some reviews and feedback from other readers on these websites. We hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful. Happy reading and good luck with your chess!


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