The Ponziani Suprise

The Ponziani Suprise‎

27 | Opening Theory

    Hi today I would like to share with you one of my favorite openings.  This opening is called Ponziani’s opening.  I have played this opening both tournament play as well as in casual play. In both areas I have had high success rate. The Ponziani opening is 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3 this opening is one of my favorites because of the fact that when Black plays naturally he gets into trouble. This is my style of play because I enjoy throwing traps at my opponent

     But on with the Ponziani…1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3 from here you probably will see 2 moves.  You will see the Knight come to f6 or the “d” pawn to d5.  I will be delving into the two main moves 3…Nf6(Jänisch Counter Attack) and 3…d5(Caro Variation). I will be covering 3...f5, a far less common move, in a later article

    All right then 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3 Nf6 4.d4 and here Black has several moves to decide between, Nxe4 and exd4.  Here you can anticipate what you will see by the setting that you are playing in.  In tournaments you won’t see people capture with the knight often especially at the 1500+ level.  The reason being players are especially on the lookout for traps in the opening, and this looks like one.  It looks like you are giving him a pawn for a trap.  If you are playing a blitz/bullet game you will see them take the pawn because in blitz if you see a material gain you will generally take it rather than calculate because of the short time limit.  I’ll start with exd4 because it’s easier.

The next line that comes up a lot in the Janisch Counter Attack(3...Nf6) is 4...Nxe4. This is a line that is very popular and the game that I will be showing you is between Gata Kamsky and Nigel Short two 2600+ Gm's.
I have now given you a taste of the Janisch Counter Attack and now I would like to move on to the Caro Variation with 3...d5.  This is the second most common response to the Ponziani, and the move 3...d5 is met by 4.Qa4.  Black has three variations that I have a game for each. Because I am trying to keep this article as short as possible I will do the comments for the games and that is it.

Leonhardt Variation

Steinitz Variation

Caro Gambit

     Hey that's all folks, at least for now.  I will, as I said, address the move 3...f5 in a later article.  I have a thick skin so give me any and all feed back that you have ON the article.  If you have questions or ideas I will try to answer them to the best of my ability, and if I can't then I'll ask someone who can get me the answers.  Thanks for the read hope that you enjoyed another of my favorite openings.  Good luck to all


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