The Italian Game is one of the oldest openings in chess. After 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 white looks to centralize more material by bringing his bishop to c4. While this is a very active square early on, this opening can many times become a very quiet and slow game. Both sides of the board look to stabilize without trading off any material.
The good news is that there are many aggressive variations that white can play to open the game up. If black plays Bc5 then white can play the Evan’s Gambit (4. b4) or the Italian Gambit (4. d4).
One thing that white has to be aware of is multiple traps that black can play. The two most common traps are the Rousseau Gambit (3…f5) and the Blackburne Shilling Gambit (3…Nd4). If you aren’t familiar with these, it’s best to avoid taking the material as it usually leaves white in a tough position.
Watch the video below to watch more detailed explanations of the opening, multiple variations, and extended lines.