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Openings for Tactical Players: Ponziani Opening

  • GM Gserper
  • | Oct 18, 2009
  • | 9048 views
  • | 21 comments

The Ponziani Opening is one of the oldest openings in chess (it was mentioned for the first time in 1497!). Yet it was never really popular. Top chess players avoid it because Black has many reliable ways to equalize. For the club players the opening is not very appealing because it is not the most exciting of all the openings, and besides it is permanently out of chess fashion. Even if the Ponziani Opening is played, in most of the cases it is just a surprise weapon, rather than part of the main opening repertoire of a chess player.  Nevertheless, the opening has its own traps and Black has to be careful. Look at the next game for example:

 

Of course, in the above mentioned game Black could have equalized if he wasn't that greedy (7...Nxf2??). But what if Black wants to get something more exciting than just a boring equal position?  In this case he can borrow the ideas from the Latvian gambit (which we discussed last week) and play 3...f5!  Here it definitely makes more sense, since compared to the Latvian gambit White has a not particularly useful move c3, while Nc6 is a perfect addition to any opening! Let's see what can happen in this case:
The next game was played by two very strong Grandmasters and was very important since the winner would qualify for the World Championship.  Hikaru Nakamura, who is well known for his off-beat openings, decided to surprise his opponent with the Ponziani Opening, but Julio Beccera was up to the challenge.
So, if you are playing Black and your opponent tries to surprise you with the Ponziani opening, surprise him back with the very sharp 3... f5! move. Even if you don't create a masterpiece like the last two games we analyzed, I guarantee you a very sharp and exciting game.
Good luck!

Comments


  • 3 years ago

    ponz111

    In the Nakamura game: 3. c3 f5 4. exf5 is our suggested move. However as that game went: 3. c3 f5 4. d4 fxe4 5. Nxe5 Nf6 and now 6. Bg5 is suggested bythe authors of Play the Ponziani. [myself, [Dave Taylor] and co author Keith Hayward]

    For some reason Nakamura was playing an old side line not recommended.

    If White knows Ponziani theory he is happy to see: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. c3 f5. However if White does not know theory--he is not so happy to see 3. ... f5

  • 3 years ago

    ponz111

    In the Estrin game after 5. Nxe5 Qf6 then 6. Nxc6 is a good move for White. Also 6. Ng4! is good for White. But even before you get to that point the authors of Play the Ponziani believe: 1. e4 e5 2. NF3 Nc6 3. c3 f5 4. exf5! is a very good line for White.

  • 4 years ago

    theresalion

    nakamura game why noit just 31 qh2+ and take queen i know it isnt mate but its a biggg advantage

  • 4 years ago

    slvnfernando

    Ponziani is very effective against expert and below players as it has variations which have not been studied thoroughly by players who are not class players.

  • 5 years ago

    Quidvis

    what about 31....Qh2+ 32.Kf3 Qf2+ 33.Kg4 Rxd2 ?

  • 5 years ago

    schleichnaldo

    can anybody who knows what to do against a f5 move against the ponzianni please sent me a privatemessage and tell me what i should do if it happens.

  • 5 years ago

    pjm1982

    Nakamura didnt take the bishop because he didnt want the draw (yet)... see the variation in the side pannel... Anyways Nakamura must have thought he was better (he was up a pawn and stopped the black attack)... and that he will be fine once he catches up in development... he underestimated the miserable condition of his king... Anyways thats what I think...

  • 5 years ago

    love_romance13

  • 5 years ago

    Bobobobo1234567890

    why not not move 32 on the third puzzle do Qh2+ and win the queen???

  • 5 years ago

    Feller

    Why didn't Nakamura take the bishop on move 19.? 

  • 5 years ago

    baconisdelicious

    thedarkavenger - after 31 ... Qh2+ 32 Kf3 Qxc7 33 Kxe2, white has a rook, knight, and pawn for the queen, an even imbalance.  Black might still be winning, but Becerra's choice is better.

  • 5 years ago

    thedarkavenger

    what about on move 31. Qh2 check wining the queen

  • 5 years ago

    Ninshikou

    If 19.Qxg4 Qxe3+ leading to a potential draw by repetition (Qh6+, Qf4+ or Qe3+) (If 20.Kh1 Rh1+ and same thing with Qh6+ and Qf4+) which he refused. Nice article.

  • 5 years ago

    DecentGuy999

    sorry..but why doesnt nakamura take the free bishop on move 19? can sum one tell me please?

  • 5 years ago

    RazaAdeel

    next article from julio becerra will have a game of gm serper.....lol.

  • 5 years ago

    ashman11

    nice article. Love the puzzleLaughing

  • 5 years ago

    shadster

    I'd like to know more about some variations of the "main-line"...

  • 5 years ago

    rowett

    Thanks for the article! V interesting

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