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Italian Game: How to Use Giuoco Piano Chess Opening


Chess openings are one of the most important aspects of any chess game and set the tone for the entire match. Players can make or break their chances of winning in their first few moves.


If you want to be a top-notch chess player, adding a variety of strategic openings to your repertoire is crucial, such as the Caro Kann Defense and the Queen’s Gambit opening. Many chess openings can be effective, but this article will discuss one of the oldest and most widely used openings: the Italian Game.


It’s similar to the Ruy Lopez opening. This simple but aggressive chess opening has a handful of variations, including The Evan’s Gambit, The Two Knights Defense, and The Giuoco Piano. Keep reading to learn all about this deadly opening.

What Is the Italian Game?

The Italian Game is a family of various chess openings that begin with the moves:


  1. e4 e5 
  2. Nf3 Nc6 
  3. Bc4

The crucial aspect of this opening is the development of the white bishop to c4, so it can attack Black’s f7 which is now vulnerable. Italian Game openings and moves are for White, so Black cannot utilize these moves to the same effect. The Italian Game is one of the oldest chess openings, dating back centuries, making it a classic one to learn if you love chess.

What Is the Giuoco Piano?

Giuoco Piano is a variation of the Italian Game. They’re very similar, and some people refer to these strategies interchangeably, but they are slightly different. The moves for the Giuoco Piano are:


  1. e4 e5
  2. f3 c6
  3. c4 c5

This chess opening allows Black to control the center, develop pieces to their optimal squares, and protect the king! This opening is relatively easy to pick up, making it popular among beginners who want to play aggressively.


However, it’s a classic and effective opening, so it’s also popular among grandmasters who often use it to protect their king while putting their bishop in an attack position. This opening manages to be defensive and offensive! Check out the easy steps below to give this opening a whirl and see how you like it.


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The Italian Game, including the Giuoco Piano variations, is one of the oldest chess openings, dating back to the 1800s.

What Is the Main Line of the Giuoco Piano in Chess?

The main line is the most popular variation of the Giuoco Piano. The Giuoco Piano main line is playing pawn to c3 and pawn to d2–d4, followed by pushing c3-d4 to gain control of the center. So, the simplified main line of the Giuoco Piano opening is c3!

Italian Game: How to Use Giuoco Piano Chess Opening

Credit: Simplify Chess

Is the Italian Game a Good Chess Opening?

As mentioned, the Italian Game, including the Giuoco Piano variations, is one of the oldest chess openings, dating back to the 1800s, if not earlier. So, it’s no surprise that it is one of the most respected and solid openings suitable for beginners to grandmasters. It’s one of the more aggressive chess openings, creating many attack opportunities, and making for exciting chess matches.

Italian game

What Is the Deadliest Chess Opening?

Of course, the deadliest chess opening depends on how you utilize it. Some of the deadliest chess openings include The Bird’s Opening, The Smith-Morra Gambit, the Vienna Opening, and, yes, the Italian Game! As mentioned above, it’s an opening that creates many attack opportunities, so it’s an aggressive and deadly option.


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How to Use Giuoco Piano Chess Opening in 4 Easy Steps

You can find a breakdown of the moves below in a few easy steps! 

Step 1

As mentioned, the first move gives White the power to control the center. Starting with e4, White puts a pawn forward to begin the opening. While the pawn’s placement is not particularly meaningful, it must be moved forward to create space for the bishop and queen. Pawn to e4 or e5 opens up the diagonal paths for the queen or bishop to take, leading to attack opportunities.

Step 2

In step 2, white aims to develop their pieces to enhance the attack opportunities being set up by the pawn’s movement. This move will focus on the kingside pieces, meaning the queen and bishop. To develop these pieces, the knight moves to f3, setting up a strategy to protect the king, which is the focus of the next step. 

Step 3

Steps 2 and 3 are often melded together, but we’ll separate them here for clarity. In step 3, the White bishop goes to c4, putting it in a solid attack position moving forward. It can also be a decent distraction, so Black focuses on the bishop’s position, giving you a chance to set up pieces to protect your king.

Step 4

Now that the attack pieces have been developed, it’s time to ensure the king is safe! On move four, White can castle, meaning they move two pieces at once, which is rare. The king can be moved two spaces to the right and the rook can move over and in front of the king to create an excellent shield.

Italian game


These are excellent openings to practice with, especially if you prefer closed-style, aggressive matches with lots of action. Which variation you use will depend on whether you are White or Black, so ensure you use Giuoco Piano when it’s beneficial to your game. It’s a stellar opening to practice if you want to be a positional player, so have fun with it!

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