Kindred’s Special: The Bishop’s Opening — 1. P-K4 P-K4 2. B-B4

This opening is also called Philidor’s Opening.  It was examined in the Gottingen Manuscript, and by  Lucena and Lopez but it was Philidor who mapped out the theoretical foundation in a true explorer’s sense.  He saw the point of B-B4 (Bf1-c4) as striking immediately at the weakness of the f7 square in chess with dangerous plan P-KB4 (f2-f4).

The Germans developed a defense against it called the Berlin system that continues 2. ….  N-KB3 (Nf6) which neutralizes P-KB4 (f2-f4) by 3. …. P-Q4 (d7-d5) that set the tone for value seen in a central counter-thrust for active counterattack in other opening positions.

White has ways to continue his aggressive posture after 1. P-K4  P-K4  2. B-B4  against various ideas seen by Black over the years.  Lets take a look a some examples:

2. …  B-K2  is a blunder because after 3. Q-R5  g6  4. Q:K5  N-KB3  5.  P-Q3 leaves White a pawn up with good development.

Following suit by 2. … B-B4 (Bf8-c5) was a popular way for Black to play the defense.  The volume of possible variations from this gives me an opportunity to recommend the excellent pamphlet book by 7th World Champion Yakov Estrin with Igor Glazkov titled 3 Double King Pawn Openings, featuring the Bishop’s Opening, Hungarian Defense and Ponziani Opening.

2. … P-QB3  3. P-Q4  P-Q4 (3…N-B3  4. P:P  N:KP  5. Q-K2!)  4.  P:P  P:P  5. B-QN5+  B-Q2  6. B:B+  N:B  7. P:P  N:P  8. N-K2  N-B3  9. O-O  B-K2  10. N-QB3  with a pull.

A great investigative master was Bent Larsen and a brilliant player who explored and played many of the offbeat lines where he introduced favorable positions and sharp games in his own practice (namely, he walked his talk and writings.)  So lets take a look at just one from his book Bent Larsen’s Best Games – Fighting Chess with the Great Dane.

White:   Bent Larsen  vs. Black:   Bela Berger   Bishop’s Opening    1964 Amsterdam Interzonal

1. e4  e5   2. Bc4  Nf6  3. d3  d5

Here, Larsen gives d5? stating that his opponent underestimated his modest opening system. This whole variation goes back many years with much analysis and Black’s handling of this position was commonly known as playable. What Larsen objectively gives as his own treatment of the position’s merits and subsequent play of this particular line illustrates Larsen’s superb positional and attacking judgment.

4. e:d5  N:d5  5. Nf3  Nc6  6. O-O  Bg4

The game Ernst -Gerhard, Berlin 1935 continued: 6…Be7 7. R-e1  f6 8. d4  e:d  9. N:d4  N:d4  10. Q:d4  Nb6  11. Qe4  N:c4  12. Q:c4  c6  13. Nc3 Kf8  14. Bf4 and White is better.

7. Re1  Be7  8. h3  B:f3  9. Q:f3  Nd4!

Forces White to pull up some magic; example being  10. Q:d5  Q:d5  11. B:d5  N:c2  keeps Black  in the game.  After 10. Qd1, Black gets time to breathe.

10. Qg4!  O-O  11. R:e5  Nf6  12. Qd1  Bd6  13. Re1  Re8  14. Be3

White is a pawn up and adds to his pluses.

14. … c5  15. Nd2  Bc7  16. Nf3 Qd6  17. B:d4  c:d4  18. R:e8+  R:e8  19. c3  d:c3  20. b:c3  Nh5?

Knight on the rim is not square minded.  Better was a defensive Re7. White now increases square count.  21. Qa4!  Re7  22. Q:a7  Nf4  23. Q:b7  h5  24. Qc8+  Kh7  25. h4  1-0).


8 Responses to “Kindred’s Special: The Bishop’s Opening — 1. P-K4 P-K4 2. B-B4”

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