I'm going to produce a series of blogs on the Ponziani (alongside blogs on the Budapest Gambit).
The Ponziani is played by White and arises after the following opening moves sequence...1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3
The President of my chess team tells me I am being boring when I play this but I like to use it against weaker opponents and also online in rapid games. Most people don't know the opening and although the mainline is short and produces "even" outcomes it rarely happens, as opponents do not know the mainline and it can be difficult to work out over the board.
I play the Scotch Game in normal play and many of the lines of the Ponziani mainline can transpose into the mainline of the Scotch Game, vice-versa, so it's worth knowing.
Now, white has attacking options with Bb5 and Qa4 and if black plays 3...Nf6 White plays 4.d4! and forces black to analyse the possibilities of taking d4 or e4 - either one White wins the pawn back with advantage, so it's best for Black not play 3...Nf6. We will go into possible lines in the following blogs.