I keep losing at my chess club to the Bishop's Opening:

[FEN ""]

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4

I have no idea what to play after that, any help?

  • 5
    In addition to my answer below, you may want to post a game to for us to look at to see if your problem is in the opening, or elsewhere.
    – Herb
    Commented Nov 24, 2016 at 1:35

3 Answers 3


The Bishop's Opening often transposes to the Italian, so black's response depends on which line he wants to play after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4: 3....Bc5 or 3....Nf6. The former allows the Evans Gambit (4.b4), while in case of the latter, black should be ready for 4.Ng5.

According to the GameDatabase of ChessTempo, after 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4, the most popular responses are 2....Nf6, 2....Nc6 and 2....Bc5.

The most popular and probably the most aggressive move is 2....Nf6. Now, white's main options are

  • 3.d3. After 3....Nc6, the game will likely transpose to the Italian after 4.Nf3. Another idea is to try to grab the initiative with 3....c6 4.Nf3 d5.
  • 3.d4, the Urusov Gambit. After 3....exd4 4.Nf3 has several options, e.g. 4....Nxe4, 4....d5 and 4....Bb4+. Moreover, 4....Nc6 transposes to 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d4 exd4.
  • 3.Nc3. Now, black has two good options: 3....Nc6 or 3....Nxe4.

If black wants to play 3....Bc5 against the Italian, then 2....Bc5 against the Bishop's Opening is definitely an option. However, white has the option transpose to the King's Gambit with 3.f4.

If black doesn't want to bother with all the possible transpositions, then he can consider 2....Nc6.

      [StartPly "3"]

      [FEN ""]
      1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 (2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 (3...Nf6 4.Ng5) 4.b4) Nf6 (2...Nc6) (2...Bc5 3.f4) 3.d3 (3.d4 exd4 4.Nf3 Nc6 (4...Nxe4)(4...d5)(4...Bb4+)) (3.Nc3 Nc6 (3...Nxe4)) Nc6 (3...c6 4.Nf3 d5) 4.Nf3


I have played this in the past, and always had trouble with the following line:

[FEN ""]

1. e4  e5  
2. Bc4 Nf6  
3. d3  c6  
4. Nc3 d5

You can also play Bc5 on move 2, to prevent the Urusov Gambit, 3. d4, and likely transpose either into the Italian Game, or white may continue as above into a King's Gambit Declined setup.

  • 1
    Yes, in this line black and takes over the initiative. Compare this to the Italian game where white is attacking the central pawn first and where black cannot easily push c6, d5, because there is a knight at c6. Commented Nov 24, 2016 at 8:34

You can go and convert it into a Giuoco Piano chess opening with the moves:

[FEN ""]

1. e4 e5
2. Bc4 Bc5
3. Nf3 Nc6

Now you have transposed into a regular opening line and can carry forward from there.

  • What about if white plays 3. Qh5 Qf6? Stockfish says that is winning for white... Commented Nov 24, 2016 at 20:20
  • @cascading-style Winning? Really? Anyway, white can't play 3. Qh5 Qf6. White can play 3. Qh5 but then black gets to decide where to put his queen. Probably 3...Qe7 is better. What does Stockfish say about that?
    – bof
    Commented Nov 25, 2016 at 1:49
  • 1
    Well, after 2-3 moves every position is winning for white, by definition. I wouldn't worry too much about that.
    – gented
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 14:52

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