Chess Opening Theory/1. e4/1...e5/2. Nf3/2...Nc6/3. c3

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Ponziani Opening
a b c d e f g h
8 a8 b8 c8 d8 e8 f8 g8 h8 8
7 a7 b7 c7 d7 e7 f7 g7 h7 7
6 a6 b6 c6 d6 e6 f6 g6 h6 6
5 a5 b5 c5 d5 e5 f5 g5 h5 5
4 a4 b4 c4 d4 e4 f4 g4 h4 4
3 a3 b3 c3 d3 e3 f3 g3 h3 3
2 a2 b2 c2 d2 e2 f2 g2 h2 2
1 a1 b1 c1 d1 e1 f1 g1 h1 1
a b c d e f g h
Position in Forsyth-Edwards Notation(FEN)

r1bqkbnr/pppp1ppp/2n5/4p3/4P3/2P2N2/PP1P1PPP/RNBQKB1R

Ponziani Opening[edit]

3. c3[edit]

The Ponziani is one of the oldest openings. Its plan is to support a later d4, but it doesn't pose much of a problem for the defence. An opening that has never been popular. Black can counter with the immediate d5. This is what many say who do not know the latest theory of this opening. Actually it is a good opening and it is difficult for Black to equalize. I have won from many experts and masters with this opening because they underestimate what a skilled Ponziani player can do. There is a fairly new book that brings the theory of this opening up to date. It is Play the Ponziani by Keith Hayward and David Taylor. The moves and evaluations given here in the theory table are quite incorrect. [I am David Taylor]

Here are some better evaluations:

The defense 3. ...Nf6 often leads to a game where White has a small space advantage plus a small time advantage. Not really a bad deal at all.

The defense 3. ... d5 leads to a good fight for both sides but really the person who knows current theory best will probably get a very good game.

The defense 3. ... f5 fairly often leads to a White advantage but again theory must be known.

The defense 3. ... d6 will usually lead to a positions often reached via the Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Variation [usually just fine for White]

There are "refutations" to the Ponziani in two books The Kaufman Repertoire for Black and White and The open Games for Black. While these are two excellent books I have found follow ups for White where the refutations fail and White keeps the normal opening advantage.


Theory table[edit]

For explanation of theory tables see theory table and for notation see algebraic notation.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. c3

4

5

6

7
...
d5
Qa4
f6
Bb5
Nge7
exd5
Qxd5
O-O
Bd7
=
...
...
Bb5
dxe4
Nxe5
Qg5
Qa4
Qxg2
Bxc6
bxc6
=+
...
Nf6
d4
d5
Bb5
exd4
e5
Ne4
Nxd4
Bc5
=
...
f5
d4
fxe4
Nxe5
Qf6
Ng4
Qg6
Bf4
d6
+=

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References[edit]

  • Batsford Chess Openings 2 (1989, 1994). Garry Kasparov, Raymond Keene. ISBN 0-8050-3409-9.
  • Nunn's Chess Openings. 1999. John Nunn (Editor), Graham Burgess, John Emms, Joe Gallagher. ISBN 1-8574-4221-0.

((Play the Ponziani)) Taylor/Hayward