Here are my understandings of the English opening:
- The English opening is as good as 1.d4.
- Since it is less common than 1.e4 and 1.d4; it is more likely that an average amateur player is less familar with it and thus it is easier for white to play against an amateur player using the English opening.
- There are less lines than say 1. e4. When white plays 1. e4, he needs to be familiar with 1. ... e5, the Sicilian Defense, the Scandinavian Defense, the Caro-Kann Defense, the French Defense etc. On the other hand, when white plays the English, he almost always knows where each piece goes to, regardless of how black replies (except for some rare and dubious lines, such as 1. ... d5). For example, after the 8th move, the following two formations for white are natural and common:
- It is lessly that white will fall into a surprising trap.
Do these factors make the English opening ideal for beginners?
According to GM Simon Willams, he played English exclusively from the age of 6 to 18 and it got him from a child to an international master.