The Bishop's Opening (1.e4 e5 2.Bc4) is among the first recorded opening lines and was played by Greco, though he and his contemporaries much preferred the King's Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.f4). Philidor was the first to analyze the Bishop's Opening extensively in the late eighteenth century. He preferred 2.Bc4 to 2.Nf3 because it left open the possibility of pawn to f4 to secure a space advantage and fight for the center with pawns. In the nineteenth century, Howard Staunton examined the line and played numerous games with it as both White and Black (especially in his match with Cochrane in 1842). But it was not until mid-century that the romantic approach to the opening, played to gain both time and space, gained popularity due to the success of Adolph Anderssen and others. Because Anderssen led the way to an exciting approach to this line, his games are featured in this section of the website and will eventually be completely annotated.

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

In our own time, the Bishop's Opening has been dusted off by Bent Larsen and John Nunn, and more recently by Vishwanathan Anand, Anatoly Karpov, and Garry Kasparov. These players, however, generally prefer the slow maneuvering lines with 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 which often resemble the closed lines of the Ruy Lopez. In this article and related sites, I recommend instread the swashbuckling Urusov Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d4) against 2....Nf6 and gambit alternatives for White against other Black moves.

Unusual Second Move Alternatives for Black>>>

Contact: Michael Goeller,
Last modified: May 15, 2004
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