It's time to learn another opening.


A very popular opening, especially with kids, and rightly so.

Learning this opening will help you win more games, so come on in!

The starting position occurs after the moves
1. e2-e4 e7-e5
2. Ng1-f3 Nb8-c6
3. Bf1-c4 Bf8-c5

If you've seen our DOUBLE FREDDIE lesson you'll be used to this sort of position. It's called the GIUOCO PIANO (which means QUIET GAME in Italian) or the ITALIAN GAME.

White can go for this attack by playing either d2-d3 or Nb1-c3 here.

But if Black's seen the DOUBLE FREDDIE lesson and knows not to castle too soon it can become rather boring.

There's another way to play which is a lot more interesting and a lot more exciting.

If you haven't seen it before the first move might come as a surprise to you.


If you're White try to get two pawns together in the center.

If White plays d2-d4 at once Black can take it (check this out for yourself) so White plays c2-c3.

The big idea is to use the c-pawn to prepare the advance d2-d4.

Black's usual, and best, reply is Ng8-f6, to THREATEN the Pawn on e4.

White can play safe with d2-d3, but it's more exciting to advance the Pawn two squares, giving this position.

Black's best move now is to capture: e5xd4.

If he does anything else he's asking for trouble.

Before moving on to the main line, let's have a look.

If you haven't done so already you might like to play the moves out on your chessboard.

First, suppose Black retreats his Bishop: Bc5-b6. White grabs a pawn - d4xe5, and Black does the same thing - Nf6xe4.

What do you think White should play next?

Yes, it's a QUEEN FORK! Remember?

The White Queen THREATENS CHECKMATE on f7 and the Knight on e4.

Ne4-d6 is met by e5xd6, and Ne4-g5 is met by Bc1xg5.

Bb6xf2+ doesn't help much either: White just moves the King, leaving Black with the same problem next move.

Now go back to this position.

Black might also try to defend his e-pawn by playing Bc5-d6.

Now play these moves on your board:

d4xe5 Nc6xe5 (Bd6xe5 is better)
Nf3xe5 Bd6xe5
f2-f4 Be5-d6 (the only safe square)...

...reaching this position.

White has a strong move in this position: can you find it?

Last time it was a QUEEN FORK. This time it's a PAWN FORK.

If the Bishop moves, White takes the Knight. If the Knight moves, White takes the Bishop.

And if Black PINS the e-pawn with Qd8-e7, White just UNPINS with Qd1-e2.

So, returning once again to this position, Black has only one good move: e5xd4.

White now plays c3xd4, achieving his aim of getting TWO PAWNS TOGETHER IN THE CENTER.

Again Black has to be VERY CAREFUL.

Stop and have a look at this position.

Black's Bishop is still attacked. What should he do about it?

First of all, make sure you can see what happens if Black tries to capture on d4, say Nc6xd4.

White plays Nf3xd4, Black plays Bc5xd4 and White plays...

Qd1xd4! White has won a Bishop for a Pawn.

So Black must move his Bishop.

Suppose first that Black retreats his Bishop to b6, giving this position.

Now White's CENTRE PAWNS dominate the board.

Here he could consider playing e4-e5 to kick the Black Knight on f6 away, and perhaps later d4-d5 to kick the other Black Knight away.

So Black's only good move is to move the Bishop to b4, giving CHECK and gaining time.

Here's the position.

White must decide how to get out of check.

He has two main options, a safe choice, and an exciting, but risky choice.

Let's start with the safe choice, which is Bc1-d2.

After Bc1-d2, Black usually chooses Bb4xd2+, giving this position.

How do you think White should recapture?

Nb1xd2 Qd1xd2

Ke1xd2 Nf3xd2

You can check out for yourself that this is the only way to avoid losing a pawn.

Now Black has to make a decision. What should he do about those centre pawns?

Nc6xd4 Nf6xe4

0-0 d7-d5

Black's best move is to break up White's center by playing d7-d5.

White can play e4xd5, when Black replies Nf6xd5, with an even position.

Now let's go back a couple of moves. Remember when Black exchanged Bishops?

He could also have played Nf6xe4, giving this position.

It looks like Black's won a pawn doesn't it?

But White's got a way to get the pawn back. Let's have a look.

We start off by exchanging Bishops: White plays Bd2xb4 and Black must reply Nc6xb4.

Here's the position, with White to move. He starts with an EXPLOSION ON f7

OK, tell me the move.

I hope you remembered this from the last lesson!

Now White's got the King out, what does he do?

Well spotted - it's a QUEEN FORK.

White will be able to take the Knight on b4, leaving a position where Black can no longer castle.

And if you count the pawns you'll see that he's got his pawn back as well.

Now we'll go back a few moves and see what happens if White plays Nb1-c3 in reply to the Bishop check.

You might like to set up the position on your board and play through the moves yourself.

Make sure you remember them - you'll be tested on them later.

This move is actually a PAWN SACRIFICE. Black can - and should - capture a pawn: Nf6xe4, EXPLOITING THE PIN on the Knight on c3.

White now castles (0-0) to UNPIN the Knight and THREATEN to CAPTURE the Knight on e4.

We've now reached this position, where Black has to decide whether to CAPTURE on c3 with his Bishop or his Knight.

You've probably heard that in OPEN positions such as this one Bishops are better than Knights.

So if your opponent hasn't seen it before he'll probably play Ne4xc3, which we'll look at in a minute.

But as it happens, taking with the Bishop is probably stronger. In reply White often plays d4-d5 instead of the obvious b2xc3, when things get very complicated.

You need to find a book on the opening if you want to take it further.

Before we move on to Ne4xc3, this position could arise after the moves Bb4xc3 b2xc3 Ne4xc3.

Can you propose a move for White here?

Guess what? It's another QUEEN FORK!

If you found the move, well played!

But instead of Ne4xc3 Black should have played d7-d5, when he's a pawn ahead.

Now we'll go back to the other variation and play the moves Ne4xc3 b2xc3 Bb4xc3 (greedy!) giving this position.

White's Rook is THREATENED but he doesn't have to move it! Instead he can play a Bishop move to stop Black castling. Can you find it?

Yes, Bc1-a3 stops Black castling (remember: YOU CAN'T CASTLE THROUGH CHECK!).

If Black's VERY greedy he might take the Rook on a1, giving this position. White's a rook down. What should he do?

Qd1xa1 Qd1-e1+

Rf1-e1+ Resign

Here's the position. Black has to put a piece in the way.

You might like to check out for yourself that White will either win the Black Queen or get CHECKMATE in the next few moves. For instance:

Rf1-e1+ Nc6-e7
Re1xe7+ Ke8-f8
Re7xf7+ Kf8-g8

Finally a few questions to make sure you've remembered everything in this lesson.

What move did we play for White in this position?

And in this position White played...

Black's best move in this position is...


You have now completed the ITALIAN GAME assignment.