Here's an email I sent to a friend who also plays on here.
Could be useful to anyone much below 1500:
Favourite openings for us attacking types!
You said that you don’t really think you’re a 1500 player but I disagree. You know all the tactics & play well above the 1400 level most of the time.
Always playing 1.e4 (like me) tells me that you prefer tactical, open games rather than strategic, closed positions.
I think the key to success is to learn the principles of a few openings & develop a repertoire that covers the broadest amount of possibilities with the least amount of headache!
Here are some attacking ideas put pretty simply for white with 1.e4 & also against 1.e4 using the Sicilian & Centre-counter attack openings.
Try to at least work through each one once on your board if you can.
I’ve put it in terms I understand, so you should be fine. It shouldn’t take long & I think will help you.
(But hopefully not too much!)
The idea’s very simple – white offers the f-pawn to get black to basically give up the centre & leave a weakness on the f-file.
So 1.e4…e5, 2.f4…exf4, 3.Nf3… then black can play g5 or d5 or Nf6 etc.
White’s ideally looking to play Bc4, castle to K-side + then bring rook to f1 to attack the f7 square with the file half-open.
Notice that by playing d4 white controls the centre & attacks the f4 pawn with Bc1.
It’s a real hack against the black k-side that can result in an early onslaught!
As I said before, if black tries to hang on to the pawn on f4 then they generally weaken their position with odd-looking moves like g5 or Nh5.
This is ideal to use against the Sicilian Defence which is probably the most common (& strongest I think) reply to 1.e4
So 1.e4…c5 then 2.d4…cxd4 (most times they will take the gambit pawn) 3.c3…dxc3 (in for a penny&hellip
You may panic at this stage & think damn - I’ve got ½ open c & d files – my queenside’s vulnerable!
But this is part of the plan. You’ve given up a pawn, but after 4.Nxc3 you have a lead of an extra tempo, a firm foot-hold on the centre & some great attacking chances.
You should look to get your rooks on c1 & d1 & get your bishops on decent diagonals. Black can often have real problems getting his pieces active, especially his queen.
If possible, white’s next moves should be perhaps 5.Nf3, 6.Bc4, 7.0-0, 8.Qe2, 9.Rd1
That virtually completes the development. The next 5-10 moves could end the game!
I played this against you fairly recently. It’s worth looking at that game now knowing what my plan was.
You’ll definitely come across this one if you play 1.e4 all the time.
I think I’ve played it against you at least once.
White will almost always accept the challenge & take the pawn, knowing that black will probably lose slightly on early development by re-taking with his queen. Black hopes the queen can cause havoc with white if he’s not careful.
2.exd5…Qxd5, then rationally 3.Nc3 – attacking the queen & developing at the same time. 3…Qa5 (the nuisance value move) white can’t easily chase the queen away & it’s on the white king’s diagonal.
4.d4…Nf6, 5.Nf3 then …c6 or Bg4 for instance.
It’s very open play with both d & e files ½ open – lots of potential for both sides to attack.
I know you said you only knew it was 1...c5.
Well the idea is to create an imbalance in the centre & counter on the Queenside whilst allowing white some chances on the Kingside. It’s a great attacking choice for black against 1.e4 – probably the most aggressive response apart from the centre-counter attack opening 1.e4…d5
There are literally hundreds of versions & sub-versions. I only know 2 really!
1.e4…c5, 2.Nf3…Nc6, 3.d4…cxd4, 4.Nxd4 then there are many options for black, like 4…e5 or Nf6 or g6 (looking to fianchetto early)
Play through these first moves & you’ll get the general idea of how flexible it is.
1.e4…c5, 2.Nf3…d6, 3.d4…cxd4, 4.Nxd4…Nf6, 5.Nc3…g6
This really is great counter-attacking stuff. It’s easy to see how the position could explode for both players if you play this variation.
You are then looking to fianchetto the bishop to g7, then castle behind it.
Expect an early win against anyone unprepared!
The problem is that often when you play a Sicilian, some opponents are reluctant to play d4 & exchange the pawns although that is their best shot.
They play moves like 3.Nc3 or Bb5+ or Bc4.
If this happens, just develop normally & look for a weakness against white’s central pawns.
Compared to the Sicilian, this one’s really easy to remember & very effective for white.
Most people start out playing chess using the Italian Game (Giuoco Piano) opening.
This is a version that gives that tired, boring opening a real kick up the bum!
So 1.e4…e5, 2.Nf3…Nc6 3.Bc4…Bc5 (yawn) but then 4.b4!
What you’re doing is attacking the bishop so it’ll probably take the gambit pawn (most will I think) to set-up a big centre with 5.c3 attacking it again, then eventually d4. Just try it if you get the chance. You should have plenty of attacking chances.
Those are definitely my favourites & I hope you have a look through these, as the basic concepts are pretty straight-forward I think.