|The St. George Defense, also known as the Baker Defense, is a chess opening played with the black pieces. It is given the B00 ECO code as an uncommon opening. The opening begins with the moves 1.e4 a6!?. The St. George Defense is generally considered an inferior response to 1.e4 compared to 1...e5, 1...e6, 1...c5, or 1...c6.|
The first known chess game involving the St. George was a simultaneous game between amateur J. Baker (which the opening often derives its name) and the first official World Chess Champion William Stenitz on 11 December 1868. The advocates of the opening are generally players willing to sacrifice the center in order to gain flank attacks and to avoid theory. Both Michael Basman and Tony Miles have been known to play the St. George. In perhaps its most famous appearance, Tony Miles defeated former world champion Anatoly Karpov. Thus Miles named the opening after the myth of Saint George and the Dragon in which Saint George slays the dragon as Miles slayed Karpov in winning the match.
The major lines in the opening generally start with 1.e4 a6!? 2.d4 b5 and then branch. The main line continues 3.Nf3 Bb7 4.Bd3 e6 5.0-0 Nf6. Another important line is the Three Pawns Attack, sometimes called the St. George Gambit, which continues 3.c4 e6!? 4.cxb5 axb5 5.Bxb5 Bb7. The St. George is also sometimes used to prevent a white bishop from landing on b5 and then the game follows with a French Defense.