I played a rapid game last night and got this symmetrical English position as black:

[FEN ""]
[StartPly "116"]

1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. d4 cxd4 7. Nxd4 O-O 8. Nxc6 bxc6

I found it hard to know where to put my d and e pawns, and how to develop my light square bishop. So, thematically where do black's central pawns and light square bishop develop to and why?


If your opponent is the type to bring his own rope to commit a suicide, I would certainly go for Rb8 d6 Bd7 c5 and later a5 a4 setup, hoping knights will go off the board (on d5) as soon as possible ruining white's gueenside later in the style of Benko gambit, with equal material and stupid (but nice looking) bishop on g2 aiming to nowhere. Reasonable opposition will do everything to stop this plan so the game will certainly not be easy, especially white should stay with knight on c3 or a4, never exchanging it without good reason. Still Rb8 c6 d6 e7 Bd7 looks like setup I would call good plan. Then you just make usefull waiting moves. I don't like d5 plans much as it weakens c5 square making white the captain of the queenside. It is however respectable approach restricting g2 bishop and putting pawn to the center, different handling of the same position.


This does not seem symmetrical to me.

After 8...dxc6 you could have reached a symmetrical and very drawish position.

Playing 8...bxc6 seems more ambitious. Seems like black will want to play d5 sooner or later to get rid of that backward pawn on d7 and to limit the white bishop on g2. Depending on what white does, this might require to play e6 and/or to put the bishop on b7 to support d5 or to a6 to ask white how he wants to defend the c4 pawn. I don't see how the c8 bishop could find any good square along the h3-c8 diagonal anytime soon.

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    The opening is called Symmetrical English (1. c4 c5) even if the game becomes less symmetrical later. – Dag Oskar Madsen Mar 12 '17 at 11:03

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