The Italian Game – Key Ideas, Concepts, Main Lines (15-Minute Chess Opening Series)

Major ideas and lines in the Italian Game for WHITE and BLACK. The Two Knight’s Defense, Giuoco Piano, Fried Liver Attack, Traxler Counterattack, Na5 lines and Evans Gambit are covered.

Follow along with the video with this PGN:
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 (3… Nf6 4. Ng5 (4. d3) (4. Nc3 Nxe4 5. Nxe4 d5) 4… d5 (4… Bc5 5. Nxf7 (5. Bxf7+ Ke7) 5… Bxf2+ 6. Kxf2 Nxe4+) 5. exd5 Nxd5 (5… Na5 6. Bb5+ c6 7. dxc6 bxc6 8. Qf3 Be7 9. Bxc6+ Nxc6 10. Qxc6+ Bd7 11. Qf3 O-O) 6. Nxf7 Kxf7 7. Qf3+ Ke6) (3… Be7 4. O-O Nf6 5. Ng5 O-O 6. Nxf7 Rxf7 7. Bxf7+ Kxf7) 4. c3 (4. Nc3 Nf6 5. d3 d6 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bxf6 (7. Bh4 g5 8. Bg3) 7… Qxf6 8. Nd5 Qd8) (4. b4 Bxb4 5. c3 Ba5 6. d4) 4… Nf6 5. d4 exd4 6. cxd4 Bb4+ 7. Nc3 (7. Bd2 Bxd2+ (7… Nxe4 8. Bxb4 Nxb4 9. Bxf7+ Kxf7 10. Qb3+) 8. Nbxd2) 7… Nxe4 8. O-O Nxc3 (8… Bxc3 9. bxc3 (9. d5 Bf6 10. Re1 Ne7 11. Rxe4 O-O 12. Bg5 Bxg5 13. Nxg5 d6 14. Nxh7 Kxh7 15. Qh5+ Kg8 16. Rh4 f6) 9… d5) 9. bxc3 Bxc3 10. Qb3 Bxa1 11. Bxf7+ Kf8 12. Bg5 Ne7 13. Re1 *

Timestamps:
0:00 – Intro
1:57 – Be7 sideline
2:44 – Two Knight’s Defense
3:28 – Fried Liver Attack
4:17 – Na5 (Polerio Defense)
6:00 – Quiet d3
6:38 – Traxler Counterattack
7:30 – Nc3?
8:35 – Giuoco Piano
8:52 – Quiet Nc3
9:56 – Evans Gambit
10:25 – Classical, c3 (Main Line)
14:29 – Summary

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96 Comments

  1. I thought this was “how to play the Italian” not “how to play against the Italian” 😭

  2. thank you for the great explanatory video

  3. Basically don’t bother with the Italian opening as white

  4. Nelson doesn’t say it explicitly, but I will. Don’t dabble in the Italian game. If you don’t know a lot of theory and your opponent does, you will get your ass kicked. It’s a fun way to play, and a window into the swashbuckling chess days of yore, just know what you are doing.

  5. What's wrong with pawn to h6? It still stops the knight advance, it gives the king a backrank out and leaves bishop and knight options open. I'm no chess expert, I'm about 1625 on lichess at age72 I was 1780, play a few times a week, but now I analyze a position then forget what I had just specifically considered and make stupid moves directly after discounting them. Memory failing senior moments abound, but I always play the pawn move, it seems so obvious to me.

  6. I can play p-d3 for a quiet game?
    Is quiet game anything like a giucoc piano lol

  7. If black stands in a5 then who will save c2 if i jump to d3! plz help

  8. And I thought I finally got an opening learned 😢 back to square one 😭 thanks awesome vid

  9. When black decided to he will do 2 Knight def i have shift to nackmanson gambit when he fall the trap victory is mine😂

  10. Gioko? Bwahaha. It's pronounced 'gjwwohhocoohhh' piano and it means ' slow game' in Italian

  11. Your videos are so great and instructive! Sorry about your loss today in Texas vs Marshall NYC. :/In Italian, Giuoco Piano = "JOE-co"

  12. „You castle and you are playing chess“ i love this guy

  13. Hello Nelson, hope you're fine, I can't find your video on your recommendation against the quiet d3, I like the response d5 but can't seem to find the video anywhere, could you help me please?

  14. If you're playing the Giuco Pianissimo, you can send the knight to g5 if you move the pawn to d3, which opens up support for the knight from the queenside bishop. It also supports the bishop on c4. Later on in the game, if you move the f pawn to f3, you get that cool pawn pyramid, which is really cool defensively, and also for hanging your pieces off with the zillions of pawn diagonals for support.

  15. I like that you teach both sides point of view as you go along in the video, other teachers just focus on one side's point of view. This is a very good video to get the basics of the Itlalian game and all the main variations, I'm much clearer now, I just need to remember the main ideas now.

  16. Coming from a beginner I’m totally lost because you’re simultaneously trying to teach what black and white should do. It would be great to have a separate video on Italian game defence if you are black and not have it in the same video because a beginner brain can only absorb so much lol.

  17. Thank you so much for this video, this is simply perfect for my level (I'm 1200ish ELO)! Have been looking for a good opening series on YT for ages, but only found overly complicated content that ends up discouraging someone who's approaching openings' study, love how you manage to stay linear and simple in the explanation while still introducing several variants, please keep doing this series

  18. I know there are bigger chess youtubers, but you're doing something special here. Keep it up.

  19. I'm getting back into it after a long time and love these videos. Found your channel from the Vienna Gambit which a computer played against me. I didn't know what I played was even called an Italian Game, but this has always been my opening as white.

  20. Haven't yet watched the video but I know it's gonna be 🔥🔥

  21. I like your guides, especially the consistent daily uploads that provide insightful, interesting and enjoyable content for all! Keep it up!

  22. Thanks for good information. It is my time to beat opponents with Italy game.

  23. Hey Nelson! My request to you is that whenever you get time, can you make a similar 15 minute opening course for a offbeat opening against e4. I ask this because I am really tired of playing e5 in response to e4. I feel like I hand over the game completely to my opponent. Sometimes some of them play the kings gambit, Danish gambit, Vienna game, and what not. I would really like such a opening that surprises my opponents and gives me a upper hand. I feel like this would help many people struggling and frustrated like me. Thanks in advance. Take care.

  24. Your 2 hour chess study video made me want to start playing chess. I am also subscribed to bigger chess channels, but your videos are much more inspiring and motivating.

  25. Oh damn it! Been waiting for a series like this! Top notch Hanging Pawns content! I don't think many of us will mind even on a 30 mins series, if you're free to do them. Anyhow, thanks for the series!

  26. Best openings video I've seen from any YouTuber. Don't be afraid to make them longer

  27. What about e5 instead of cxd4 after exd4? It has a better win rate because the opponent needs to play the only move d5 after that and leads to very interesting lines too.

  28. how about instead of b4 the evans gambit,
    is playing a3 first and then b4 good?

  29. Something my brother does a lot in this position is he'll play d3, then Bg5.

  30. a whole video about the italian game and he didnt even say jerome once

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