I have heard that in English opening white should play d4 and Nf3, unless black plays Bc5. In this case white plays d3 and Ne2 in order to block the black bishop. However, that lesson seems to be fairly amateur, since Stockfish disregards this advice. For example, in this position it says that 6.Nf3 is better, while 6.Ne2 is not even in the top three (to let alone the fact it says 4.e3 is bad for some reason).

[FEN ""]

1. c4 e5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 Bc5 4. e3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 

While if black plays 4...O-O, then 5. Ne2 is still the best.

[FEN ""]
1. c4 e5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 Bc5 4. e3 O-O

Is there any logical explanation to it or is it those opening subtleties the engine is too captious at?

  • The "bad for some reason" is Nb4 followed by Nd3+, White standing abysmal. Apr 29, 2023 at 6:07

1 Answer 1


When and why should I develop my knight to e2 or f3 in the English Opening?

The two moves have different advantages and disadvantages. Which one you choose depends primarily on your plans.


  1. Puts more pressure on the center and e5
  2. Might be vulnerable later on to a pin from a bishop on g4


  1. Prepares the f4 pawn push
  2. Can't be kicked by the black advance e4

As with all openings, to get a good position you need to know what plans you are going to try and implement and choose your moves accordingly.

  • So would it be logical to follow Nf3 with h3 in order to present Bg4? And one more question: after Ne2 and f4 may white be going to push forward other pawns on king's side without castling? Apr 29, 2023 at 10:41

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