For the Bishop opening,

  1. e4 Nc6 2. Bc4

is this the right way to respond?

    [fen ""]        
    1. e4 {[%clk 0:10:00]} Nc6 {[%clk 0:09:57.8]} 2. Bc4 {[%clk 0:09:56.1]} a6 {[%clk 0:09:54.7]} 3. Qf3 {[%clk 0:09:51.1]} Ne5 {[%Clock 0:00:00.1] What would like to give up over this board, I may tempt to ask, may I. Play you part.!]}
  • 5
    That's not the Bishop's Opening. The Bishop's Opening is 1. e4 e5 2. Bc4.
    – bof
    Commented Aug 4, 2023 at 6:37
  • 1
    Though a better reply than 2 ... a6 would be to transpose to the Bishop's opening with 2 ... e5
    – Ian Bush
    Commented Aug 4, 2023 at 10:07
  • Yes, this is not a Bishop Opening. Agree! It is Nimzowitsch Defence1. e4 Nc6 I had just referred to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nimzowitsch_Defence NOW, I have to find out what variant it is 2. Bc4 in Chess Mega Base Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 8:57

2 Answers 2


2...a6 does not seem like the best way to respond. The bishop has already gone to c4; preventing it from going to b5 isn't something you need to do. You're essentially hoping they'll play 3.Qf3 so you can spring your trap. But what if they play something like 3.d4 or 3.Nf3? Then all you've done is waste a move. A normal developing move would probably be better.

3...Ne5 seems like the best move after the Qf3 move, though. You're defusing the checkmate threat and getting the bishop pair.


In addition to DMs perfectly acceptable answer:

a) Here is the Stockfish quick rating of the moves

  • 1.e4 +0.2 Works since centuries
  • 1...Nc6 +0.4 Nimzowitsch defense, playable
  • 2.Bc4 -0.2 Not the best, e6 and d5 will win a tempo
  • 2...a6 +0.8 Waste of time
  • 3.Qf3 -0.7 Bad, you get the bishop pair and probably development tempi by attacking the Q

But how probable is that this comes on board? Four principled possibilities:

  • White and Black are beginners: The advantage of the bishop pair would be near to meaningless since White probably doesn't know how to use it
  • Black is a beginner, White not: Black knows better ways to defuse shepherds mate AND get a slight edge
  • White is a beginner, Black not: White knows better ways to get a slight edge than testing whether Black knows the shepherds mate
  • Neither White nor Black is a beginner: White wouldn't try Bc4 in the first place but rather play standard theory, say 2.d4
  • "White is a beginner, Black not" - You have that twice. I think the second one should be flipped?
    – D M
    Commented Aug 5, 2023 at 23:41
  • Are these german piece abbreviations?
    – qwr
    Commented Aug 6, 2023 at 0:58
  • Such happens when I write once without five minutes of correction reading afterwards...Edited. Commented Aug 6, 2023 at 6:49
  • Rereading this, I think you flipped the wrong one.
    – D M
    Commented Oct 13, 2023 at 23:56

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