A) 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 . . .

A1) 2....Be7 A4) 2....Qg5 A7) 2....c6
A2) 2....Ne7 A5) 2....g6 A8) 2....b6
A3) 2....b5 A6) 2....Qe7 A9) 2....Qh4

Position after 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4

A) 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 . . .
B) 2....Nc6
C) 2....f5
D) 2....d6
E) 2....Bc5
Links & Acknowledgments
Bishop's Opening PGN File

Unlike the move 2.Nf3, which attacks Black's e-pawn and therefore limits Black's possible responses to some extent, the Bishop's Opening allows Black a wide range of second move alternatives. Fortunately, none of them are especially good. But White should be prepared to face them from time to time, especially in club or blitz play.

A1) 2....Be7? 3.Qh5 g6 4.Qxe5 Nf6 5.d3 Nc6 6.Qg3 ± Estrin.

A2) 2....Ne7? 3.Qh5 Ng6 4.Nf3 f6 (4....d6 5.Ng5 ±) 5.Nh4 +- Edwards--Kuhla, Correspondence 1986.


Position after 5.Nh4
The game Edwards--Kuhla ended after a rapid assault on Black's Kingside position. After 5.Nh4, Black must lose material due to the pin on the h-pawn.  

A3) 2....b5?! 3.Bxb5

A3a) 3....f5 4.d4! Nf6 (If 4....exd4 5.e5! in the style of MacDonnell--Labourdonnais, London 1834, with colors reversed is probably better than 5.Qxd4!? Nf6 6.exf5 Bb7 7.f3 Bd6?! 8.Ne2 Na6 9.Qe3+ Kf7 10.Qb3+ Bd5 11.Bc4 c6 12.Bxd5+ Nxd5 13.O-O ± Mongredien--Anderssen, London 1851) 5.dxe5 Nxe4 6.Nf3 Bc5 7.O-O c6 8.Bc4 Qb6 9.Qe2 Ba6 10.Nbd2 Nxd2 11.Bxd2 Bxc4 12.Qxc4 Be7 13.Bc3 Na6 14.Rad1 Nc7 15.Nd4 g6 16.e6 Nd5 17.exd7+ Kxd7 18.Nxc6 Qxc6 19.Rxd5+ Kc7 20.Be5+ 1-0 Jacobs--Kunholm, 1990.

White to play after 9....Ba6
Black's initiative was blunted in the game Jacobs--Kunholm after White forced exchanges with 10.Nbd2. Also strong was 10.Nc3 as 10....Nxc3 11.bxc3 Bxc4 12.Qxc4 allows White to play either Nd4 or Ng5 with advantage.  

A3b) 3....c6
Black's chances in this line should not be underestimated. White needs to play actively to claim the advantage.

A3b1) 4.Ba4 Bc5 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.d3 (6.Nf3 d5 7.exd5 e4 8.dxc6 0-0 9.d4 Bb4 [9...exf3 10.dxc5 fxg2 11.Rg1] 10.Ne5 Qa5 11.c7 Bxc3+ 12.bxc3 Qxc3+ 13.Bd2 Qxc7 14.c4 ±) 6...d5 7.exd5 0-0 8.Bg5 (8.dxc6 Qb6 9.Qf3 Bg4 10.Qg3 ±) 8...cxd5 9.Qd2 Bb7 10.Nge2 Qb6 11.0-0 Ng4 12.Bh4 (12.Nd1 h6 13.Bh4 g5 14.Bg3 f5 15.h3 f4 16.hxg4 fxg3 17.Nxg3 Rf4 18.Bb3 Rxg4 19.Ne4 ±) 12...f5 13.Bb3 Ne3 14.fxe3 Bxe3+ 15.Bf2 Bxd2 16.Bxb6 axb6 17.Nxd5 Kh8 18.Rad1 (18.Nxb6? Be3+) 18...Bg5 19.Ng3 (19.Kh1 Bd8 20.d4 e4 21.Nef4 +=) 19...Ra5 20.Nc7 g6 21.Kh1 (21.Ne6? Be3+) 21...Be7 22.Ne6 Re8 23.d4 exd4 24.Nxd4 Bf6 25.c3 h5 26.Bf7 Re3 (26...Re7 27.Bxg6 Rg7 28.Bxf5 h4 29.Be4 hxg3 [29...Bxd4 30.Rxd4 hxg3 31.Rd8+ Rg8 32.Rxg8+ Kxg8 33.Bxb7] 30.Bxb7 Bxd4 31.Rf8+ Rg8 32.Rxg8+ Kxg8 33.Rxd4 +-) 27.Nge2? (27.Bxg6 h4 28.Ngxf5 Ree5 29.Nxh4 Bxh4 30.Rf8+ Kg7 31.Rxb8 +-) 27...Kg7 28.b4 Ra7 29.Bc4 Ba8 30.Ne6+ (30.Nf4 Rxc3 31.Nb5 Rxc4 32.Nxa7 Rxb4 is unclear) += 30...Kh6 31.Kg1? b5 32.Rd6? (32.Kf2 Re5 33.Bb3 Bxg2 34.Rg1 Bh3 is unclear) 32...bxc4 33.N6f4 Kg7 34.Nd4 Rxa2 35.h4 Kf7 36.Nf3 Rxc3 37.Ng5+ Bxg5 38.hxg5 Rg3 39.Rf2 Ra1+ 40.Kh2 Rg4 41.Nxg6 Be4 1-0 Morten Topholm Rud--Steen Brydegaard, CBF Pokalfinalen 2001. Clearly both White's and Black's play could be improved, but White held the edge throughout the opening.

Black to play after 13.Bb3.
White missed many opportunities to squelch Black's initiative in the game Morten Topholm Rud-Steen Brydegaard. In the diagrammed position, Black played 13....Ne3!? 14.fxe3 Bxe3+, leading to practically even chances after 15.Bf2 Bxd2 16.Bxb6 axb6 17.Nxd5.  

A3b2) 4.Be2 Nf6 (4....d5 5.exd5 cxd5 6.Bb5+ Nd7 7.Qe2 Bd6 8.Nf3 Qe7 9.Bc6 Rb8 10.Nc3 Bb7 11.Bxb7 Rxb7 12.Nxd5 Qd8 13.O-O Ngf6 14.Nxf6+ Qxf6 15.d3 O-O 16.Ng5 Nc5 17.Ne4 Nxe4 18.Qxe4 Qe7 19.c3 f5 20. Qd5+ Kh8 21.b3 e4 22.Bg5 Qc7 23.dxe4 fxe4 24.h3 a6 25.c4 h6 26.Be3 Qe7 27.c5 Bb8 28.Rfd1 Bc7 29.Qh5 Bb8 30.Rd5 Rd7 31.Rad1 Rxd5 32.Rxd5 Qf6 33.Qd1 Bf4 34.Bxf4 Qxf4 35.Qd2 1-0 Jendrossek--Zuechner, Correspondence 1990) 5.d3 d5 6.f4! exf4 7.e5 Nfd7 8.Bxf4 Nc5 (8....Qb6!) 9.Nf3 (9.c3!?) 9....Ne6 10.Bg3 Qb6 11.Nbd2?! Bc5 12.Nb3 Be3 13.d4 Na6 14.Qd3?! Nb4! 15.Qc3 Nxd4! 16.Nfxd4 Bxd4 17.Nxd4 Qxd4 18.Qb3 Qe4 19.O-O-O! a5 20.Bf3 Qg6 21.a3 Qg5+ 22.Kb1 Nxc2 23.Qxc2 Bf5 24.Rd3 O-O 25.Ka1 Qg6 26.Rhd1 Rfd8 27.Qc3 Bxd3 28.Qxd3 Qe6 +- 29. Be4 g6 30.Bf3 Rd7 31.h3 h5 32.Bf4 Rb7 33.g4 Rab8 34.Rd2 Rb3 35.Qe2 a4 36.gxh5 Qe7 37.Ka2 Rxa3+ 38.bxa3 Rb3 39.Rb2 Qxa3+ 40.Kb1 Rxf3 41.Bg5 Rxh3 42.hxg6 Rh1+ 43.Bc1 fxg6 44.Rb8+ Kh7 45.Rb7+ Kh8 46.Qd2 Qf3 47.e6 Kg8 48.e7 Kf7 49.Qb2 1-0 Friedlander--Anderssen, Breslau 1856.

Black to play after 6.f4!
Despite his careful retreat with 4.Be2, White was able to fight for the initiative while retaining his extra pawn in the game Friedlander-Anderssen.  


A4) 2....Qg5?! 3.Nf3!

A4a) 3....Qxg2? 4.Rg1 Qh3 5.Bxf7+! Kd8 6.Rg3 (6.d4 exd4? 7.Rg3 +- Lane) 6....Qh6 7.d4 Qb6 8.Bxg8 Rxg8 9.Nxe5 ± Leach.

A4b) 3....Qg6

A4b1) 4.Nxe5 Qxe4+ 5.Qe2 Qxe2+ 6.Kxe2 Nh6 7.d4 d6 8.Bxh6 dxe5 9.Be3 exd4 10.Bxd4 Nc6 = Leach.

A4b2) 4.O-O d6 (4....Qxe4? 5.Nxe5 +-) 5.d3 Bg4 6.Nc3 Nc6 7.Be3 O-O-O =

A4b3) 4.Nc3! d6 5.d3 c6 (5....Bg4 6.Nd5 Kd8 7.h3 Bxf3 8.Qxf3 +=; 5....Be6 6.Nd5 Bxd5 7.Bxd5 c6 8.Bb3 +=) 6.Ng5!? Be6 (6....Nh6 7.Qf3) 7.Bxe6 fxe6 8.Qg4 Kd7 9.f4! Nh6 (9....h6?! 10.f5! ±) 10.Qg3 exf4 11.Bxf4 +=

A5) 2....g6 3.Nf3 (White, of course, has any number of good plans here, including development by 3.Nc3 and 4.d3 followed by immediate attack with 5.f4 or even 5.h4-h5!? if Black castles.) 3....Bg7 (On 3....d6 4.d4 transposes to the Larsen variation of Philidor's Defense. By playing 3....Bg7, Black keeps his options open.) 4.d3!? (A simple and sound method of development. Also good is 4.d4 exd4 and now either 5.Nxd4 Nc6 = [not 5....Nf6?! 6.e5] or the more ambitious 5.c3!? or 5.Bg5!? with interesting gambit play.) 4....b6?! 5. Ng5 Nh6 6. Qf3!? O-O 7. h4! d6 8. h5! Qe7 9. hxg6 hxg6 10. Qg3 Be6 11. Nxe6 fxe6 12. Bxh6 Nc6 13. Qxg6 Nd4 14. c3 Nf5 15. Bxg7 Nxg7 16. Rh7 Rf7 17. Nd2 Raf8 18. Bxe6 Qxe6 19. Rxg7+ Rxg7 20. Qxe6+ +- Khraizat-Daniels, Detroit 1994.

A6) 2....Qe7 3.Nc3 (3.Nf3 d6 4.O-O h6 5.d4 c6 6.dxe5 dxe5 7.Be3 Nf6 8.Nc3 += Mueller--Behle, NRW 1988) 3....c6 4.Nf3 (4.a4 d6 5.d3 Be6 6.Nge2 Nd7 7.a5 Ngf6 8.O-O h6 9.Ng3 g5 10.Bxe6 fxe6 11.d4 exd4 12.Qxd4 += Neubert--Bondick, Correspondence 1981) 4....h6 5.d4 d6 6.Qd3 Nd7 7.O-O g5 8.Be3 Qf6 9.b4 Ne7 10.d5 Ng6 11.dxc6 bxc6 12.b5 ± Bb7 13.bxc6 Bxc6 14.Bb5 Ne7? 15.Rfd1 1-0 Goldberg--Pelikan, Correspondence 1989. White must strive aggressively to open up lines when Black seeks a closed position. If Black achieves a closed game he will have a comfortable equality.


Position after 12.b5!
The game Goldberg--Pelikan saw White break through Black's hedgehog formation with an interesting b-pawn push. After 12.b5!, White gains control over the square d5 (a great outpost for the Knight at c3) and leaves Black's pawn at d6 hopelessly backward.  

A7) 2....c6 3.d4 d5 (3....exd4 4.Qxd4 +=; for 3....Nf6 see The Urusov Gambit website) 4.exd5 cxd5 5.Bb5+ Bd7 6.Bxd7+ Nxd7 7.dxe5 Nxe5 8.Ne2! (8.Qe2 Qe7 9.Nc3 O-O-O = Zifroni--Boim, Ramat Hasharon 1993) 8....Nf6 9.O-O

A7a) 9....Be7 10.Nbc3 += Lisitsin.  White has good play against Black’s isolated d-pawn.

A7b) 9....Bc5 10.Bg5 Neg4 11.Nec3! Qb6 12.Qe2+ Kf8 (12....Qe6 13.Qxe6+ fxe6 14.h3 Ne5 15.Re1 ±) 13.Bxf6 Nxf6 14.Na4 +=

A7c) 9....Bd6 10.Nbc3 Bc7 11.Bg5 Neg4 12.h3 h6 13.Bh4 g5 14.hxg4 gxh4 15.Nd4 += Rg8 16.f3 Be5 17.Re1 Qd6 18.f4 Nxg4 19.fxe5 Qc5 20.Ncb5 h3 21.Qf3 Rg7 22.Qxh3 O-O-O 23.Qc3 Qxc3 24.Nxc3 Rg6 25.Re2 Rb6 26.b3 Rg6 27.Rf1 Rd7 28.Ncb5 Ra6 29.e6 fxe6 30.Rf8+ Rd8 31.Rxd8+ Kxd8 32.Nxe6+ Kd7 33.Nc5+ Kc6 34.Nxa6 Kxb5 1-0 COMP 386/33 Rex 2--COMP Super C, 1991.

A8) 2....b6 3.d3 (3.Nf3 Nc6 4.d4 exd4 5.c3!? in the style of the Goring Gambit seems appropriate here, but not 3.d4 exd4 4.c3?! Bb7! =; 4.c3 followed by 5.d4 is an alternate plan) 3....Nf6 4.f4 exf4 5.Bxf4 d5?! 6.exd5 Nxd5 7.Qe2+ Be7 8.Bxd5 Qxd5 9.Bxc7 ± Bruhl--Conway, London 1788.


Position after 4.f4.
In the game Bruhl--Conway, White put pressure on the pawn at e5, practically forcing Black to either surrender the center with 4....exf4 or weaken his Queenside with an eventual ....d6. In any event, White made it difficult for Black to use the Queenside fianchetto. And after the desperate 4....exf4 5.Bxf4 d5?! White won a pawn.  

A9) 2....Qh4

A9a) 3.Qe2 Nf6 4.d3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Qh5 6.c3 Na5 7.Nbd2 Be7 8.d4 Nxc4 9.Nxc4 exd4 10.cxd4 Bb4+ 11.Kf1 b6 12.e5 Ng8 13.h3 Ba6 14.g4 Qg6 15.d5 h5 16.Nh4 Qh7 17.g5 ± Colin Leach.

A9b) 3.Nc3! Nf6 (3....Bc5 4.Qe2 d6 5.Nd5 Kd8 6.Nf3 Qh5 7.d4 exd4 8.Nf4 Qg4 9.Bxf7 Bb4+ 10.Kf1 ±) 4.Nf3 Qh4 5.d3 Nc6 6.Nb5 Bb4+ 7.Bd2! Kd8 8.Bxb4 Nxb4 9.Qd2 Nc6 10.O-O-O! a6 11.Nc3 b5 12.Bb3 ± Goeller


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Last modified: December 15, 2002
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