Ponziani - Jaenisch Counterattack 1

May 20, 2008, 2:57 AM |

The Ponziani starts: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3 with the main line continuation of 3... d5 4.Qa4 Qd6 5.Bb5.  This is much less common than the Jaenisch Counterattack, so we will look at the mainline after the Jaenisch.

The first lesson of the Ponziani Opening we are going to look at is the Jaenisch Counterattack variation (more to be added later), where Black opts to play a counterattack with 3...Nf6 (see picture below).

The idea of this move is to try and stop the d4 move which would allow Whie to gain control of the centre, by attacking White's e4 pawn. However, it does not work and White can play d4 immediately.

Below is a variation of the possible play 3...Nf6 4.d4 exd4. We will discuss this variation in more detail another time.


This looks like solid play for Black who is looking to exchange his e pawn for White's c pawn and then push with the d pawn. However White chooses to initially ignore the exchange and push his e pawn. 5.e5 great attacking play forcing Black to move his Knight to either e4 or d5*

5...Ne4 6.Qe2

The Knight is stuck and needs defending as (6... Nc5 7.dxc5 Na6 leaves both of his Knights out of the game and the centre lost).


(6...d5 7.exd6 f5 8.Nbd2 Bxd6 9.Nxe4 and white wins a piece).

7.exf6 d5 8.Nbd2 Bf5

All forced and best moves.

9.f7+ checking the King and forcing him to move.

9...Kxf7 10.Nxe4 dxe4 11.Ng5+

And a winning position for White, winning back his pawn with Nxe4 and in excellent position (see picture below).

More variates to be added soon. Let me know what you thought.


*typical continuation 5...d5 6.Qb3 Nb6 7.cxd4 d5 8.Bb5 Bd7 9.0-0 leaving White with a strong centre, castled King-side and Black's two Knights on the wrong side of the board. Though White still has to develop his Queen-side.