Saturday 6 June 2009

The Ponziani

For some reason the Ponziani Opening is making a bit of a comeback in the Canberra club scene. It has been played against me by 2 or 3 different players this year, although each seem to have their own treatment of the opening. A couple play it as a kind of delayed Italian (with c3 and d3), but at least one opponent is happy to head down the main lines.
My working knowledge of the replies for Black extend as far as the advice Bill Hartston gave in an old opening book. "Black can play 3. ... d5 as after 4.exd Qxd5 the pawn on c3 prevents Nc3". However this simplistic approach doesn't always work as White has other alternatives to the capture on d5. One common line (after 3. ... d5) is 4.Bb5 pinning the knight. But never fear, Black can have some real fun in this line. According to John Emms' "Play the Open Games as Black" Black can sac some wood ( then get it back) and end up with an advantage. Here is his suggestion (which Fritz 9 quite likes as well).

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3 d5 4.Bb5 dxe4 5.Nxe5 Qg5 6.Qa4 Qxg2 7.Bxc6+ bxc6 8.Qxc6+ Kd8 9.Rf1 Bh3 10.Qxa8+ Ke7 11.Kd1 Qxf1+ 12.Kc2 Bf5! -+

and the threat of e3+ leaves the advantage in Blacks hands.

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