Bishop’s Opening

Bishop's Opening

The Bishop’s Opening is one of the oldest openings in chess but has fallen out of favor recently. It starts with the moves:

1. e4 e5
2. Bc4

White decides to develop the light square bishop before bringing the knight to f3. The three main responses from black are 2…Nf6, 2…Nc6, and 2…Bc5. White has good chances against each of these lines and can fall into more popular opening variations if they choose.


Black plays the natural kingside knight to f6 and attacks the pawn on e4. White can continue with 3. Nc3 and play a common opening or opt for the Urusov Gambit with 3. d4.

After 3. d4 exd4 4. Nf3, white will normally see black respond with 4…Bc5, 4…Nc6, or 4…Nxe4.

4…Bc5 and white pushes forward with e5 attacking the knight.
4…Nc6 and white also pushes forward with e5.
4…Nxe4 is a bit different as white no longer has the e-pawn to push. In this case white can take Qxd4 with three developed pieces compared to one from black. White also has a strong control of the center of the board.


White has two main options. They can continue with the Italian Game or opt for a more novel line like 3. d3.


Black playing 2…Bc5 shows they are ok mirroring white’s first two moves and wants to control the center of the board in the same way that white has done.

White has a very strong move now with 3. Qg4, but can also opt for the solid Giuoco Piano by playing 3. Nf3. After 3. Qg4 white will normally run into 3. Qg4 g6 4. Qf3 Nf6 5. d4 and either 5…Bxd4 or 5…exd4. Both of these are a mistake for black and white can easily strike with a powerful attack.

While it is not the most common opening, the Bishop’s Opening still offers a lot of creative lines for white that can put black in some very difficult spots. This is a sound opening for white and one that every player should know.

Below you can watch all of the lines referenced on this page and see a much deeper analysis on the Bishop’s Opening.