Jan 2, 2014, 9:26 AM |



 The Ponziani Opening is  1. e4  e5  2. Nf3  Nc6  3. c3.  Players are often surprised when someone plays the Ponziani Opening against them. Most players do not

have a good idea of how to respond.  Thus it is not unusual to win quickly with this opening.

 Keith Hayward and I co authored "Play the Ponziani."  This is a comprehensive review of all the White side and Black side play in that opening.

 It can be bought at Amazon and/or other chess book websites.


 Is the opening any good?  For some reason there has been a whole lot of negative commentary about the Ponziani Opening.  People will say things such things 

 as the move 3. c3 takes takes away the natural place for the queen knight. But so does the Ruy Lopez!  They also say the response 3. c3  d5 refutes the Ponziani.

 But it does not refute the Ponziani at all!  White plays  3. c3  d5 4. Qa4! and we have an exciting game with chances for both sides!

  I sometimes play 15 minute per side chess.  When I play the Ponziani and the moves 3. c3  d5 come up I continue with 4. Qa4! and often my opponent 

 does not know what to do.


My opponents quite often fall into a variation where they lose a pawn for not enough compensation.  Even experts and masters do this.

  While the current World Champion has played and won with the Ponziani, it is probably not going to be played much by super grandmasters in the future. 


Some say it does not give Black enough problems at the super grandmaster level.The Ruy Lopez is said to give more problems to Black.  However in recent 


super grandmaster play the Berlin Wall Defense has been a good drawing weapon against the Ruy Lopez.


 So, why play the Ponziani? Because it gives very good practical chances!  [Very good practical chances for any rating group up to Senior Master]

  There is a vote chess team on chess.com called "Ponziani Power". I used to be a member of that team. When I left they had a 12 game winning streak 

 and were winning a 13th game.  

 Now they have defeated two more very strong teams, The Pirate Crew, and Rompiendo Fronteras. So now a 15 game winning streak and very soon, [maybe in the next move] the vote chess team,

 Indian Marauders will resign. So a 16 game winning streak without a loss or draw.  I am not sure if any vote chess team can match or surpass that winning streak!


 Why do I point this out?  Because of all the naysayers who insist the Ponziani is a stupid opening.


 Do, I think the Ponziani is the "best opening"?  No, I dont. Here are three very good openings which have slightly better results:

 The English Opening  1. c4!   The Benko Opening 1. Nf3!  and The Queens Gambit  1. d4  d5  2. c4.  Also the Ruy Lopez is said to be slightly better.

 However all these openings while they are great in practical play--lead to a draw if Black defends well.  Same with the Ponziani 

 [or any other reasonable Opening] With perfect play on both sides it will be a draw.  Why? because as almost any grandmaster will tell you:

 Chess, when played well and with out errors is a draw!


 One thing nice about the Ponziani is that it is filled with many "traps" your opponent might fall into. Here is a 15 minute per side game I played about a year ago:


  ponz111   vs a fairly good player