Simple Dangerous Openings: The Bishop's Opening

Simple Dangerous Openings: The Bishop's Opening

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 The Bishop's Opening
Intended for Ratings 1600-2200 
Style Scale: Very Aggressive
Synopsis: The Bishop's Opening is like the King's Gambit without all
the complications. Supplementary games here.

Back in the romantic days of chess, The King's Gambit was all  the rage. Its open nature produced only but the sharpest and  most tactical games, with many sacrifices thrown in for good  measure. Playing f4 immediately challenges black for the center and gives white the opportunity to open up the f-file, a plan that may may end up giving him a way to attack Black's king- this is the basic premise of the King's Gambit.

But playing f4 immediately has some definite downsides, namely:

  • Black can choose to accept the sacrifice and hold onto it for a LONG time 
  • Seriously though, you're exposing your king on move 2!

Now the Bishop's Opening's main theme is basically the same as the King's Gambit: play f4 and attack on the kingside! However, the difference is white will only push the f4 pawn when it is convenient for him. He will develop his pieces first and only then will he consider moving the f-pawn.

This is an important improvement because it solves two of white's problems with the King's Gambit:

  • If he is able to play d3, he will be able to immediately capture the pawn in case Black decides to take his f4 pawn
  • White's King is much safer than the King's Gambit due to his developed pieces

Middlegame Plans

If white is able to go into the middlegame with the position he has above, there are two possibile plans he can go with:

  • If Black castles kingside, white has the option of closing the game with f5 and pawn storming black's poor castled king:
  • 2. He always has the option of opening up the game and the f-file with fxe5. Then he can double his rooks on the f-file and either
    consider sacrificing a piece on f6 or driving away black's knight via g4-g5. Remember that bishop on c4? Now the two rooks and the bishop are just barrelling down f7! 

I've collected some Bishop's Opening games (with analysis) here. This should give you an idea of how powerful the Bishop's Opening can be if played right.

Paolo del Mundo
FIDE Master (USCF 2403)