Two-dimensional liquid chromatography (2DLC) is a very powerful way to greatly increase the resolving power and overall peak capacity of liquid chromatography. The traditional "product rule" for peak capacity usually overestimates the true resolving power due to neglect of the often quite severe under-sampling effect and thus provides poor guidance for optimizing the separation and biases comparisons to optimized one-dimensional gradient liquid chromatography. Here we derive a simple yet accurate equation for the effective two-dimensional peak capacity that incorporates a correction for under-sampling of the first dimension. The results show that not only is the speed of the second dimension separation important for reducing the overall analysis time, but it plays a vital role in determining the overall peak capacity when the first dimension is under-sampled. A surprising subsidiary finding is that for relatively short 2DLC separations (much less than a couple of hours), the first dimension peak capacity is far less important than is commonly believed and need not be highly optimized, for example, through use of long columns or very small particles.