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The polish opening is an interesting way to start the game with the white pieces, it offers many chances of winning. Is one of those openings that you have to be prepared for, they are very dangerous.
It will also surprise you with their weird lines and variations! But you can surely get many wins playing this against a lot of players. Even Magnus Carlsen has used this opening himself in some tournaments.
There are many ways to make your opponent go wrong. Also, this opening seems to go against the main principles of the opening. But actually, it has a great positional meaning as an opening, and interesting positional plans may arise out of this opening.
It’s interesting to know that the grandmaster Savielly Tartakower used to play the opening in friendly games. However, this opening is also called the Sokolski opening, in honor of the grandmaster who introduced it: Alexey Sokolski.
The polish opening is an opening that everyone should know. And you can even see the same idea of the Polish opening in other openings too. We have to see important plans to understand the opening better and different ways to play it.
If you want to learn how to play the Polish opening like Magnus Carlsen read this post until the end. We will talk about some theory, give you some ideas and plans you can use with the polish opening and against it, and finally some games.
The mainlines of the Polish opening
To enter the Polish opening white has to play 1.b4 to start, and we already see the weirdness of the movie. It looks like a childish move, but it has great ideas behind it.
Firstly, you are taking space on the side of the board, and you are also allowing the c1 bishop to develop on b2. Indeed, you are not occupying the center, but this also works out in this phase of the game.
There are many ways to proceed with black, and also some interesting counter lines:
The first move d5 is mainline against the polish opening, and the idea is obviously to take the space in the center white didn’t. The game could follow like this:
And you have a good game.
As you can see, the idea is allowing black to take the center, but then attack it with moves like c4, which are crucial in this opening.
The second move would be e5 which is also an interesting idea to use against the Polish. The game could go this way:
It's the most popular line of the Polish opening.
But you can also defend the b4 pawn to prevent black from taking it:
Once again putting a lot of pressure on the center.
Finally, the interesting move a5 could be considered as an anti-Polish opening. The idea is to open lines with black for the rook, and quickly challenging that b4 pawn. The game with this line could follow like this:
And you simply continue with the plan of playing with c4.
Plans and ideas of the Polish opening
In the Polish opening, you are looking to set a trap for your opponent but is not an easy opening trap. It plays with a similar idea to the Alekhine opening, where you let your opponent occupy the center but then counterattack.
Here is the same, if you are acquainted with this idea playing this opening should be easy. Also, by playing b4 in move one you get a strong initiative in the queenside and practically forbid to black the move Nc6.
If your opponent advances too much his center you will always have a solid response with c4 or other moves. Also, the open b-file could, and will play in your favor in the late stage of the game.
The normal pattern to follow in the opening is to lure your opponent to the center, develop, counter attack. Actually, when you start playing the polish opening you realize how easy is to get an outpost out of the structure you have.
And of course, white’s play will be in the queenside, because that is the side where he is stronger. We will see an example showing these ideas.
Sample games of the Polish opening
Here is an amazing example of the Polish opening in action, shown to us by the world champion himself.
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