Ponziani Opening

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Ponziani Opening
abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
c6 black knight
e5 black pawn
e4 white pawn
c3 white pawn
f3 white knight
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
h1 white rook
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Moves1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3
ECOC44
Originc. 1490
Named afterDomenico Lorenzo Ponziani
ParentKing's Knight Opening
 
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Ponziani Opening
abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
c6 black knight
e5 black pawn
e4 white pawn
c3 white pawn
f3 white knight
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
h1 white rook
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Moves1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3
ECOC44
Originc. 1490
Named afterDomenico Lorenzo Ponziani
ParentKing's Knight Opening

The Ponziani Opening is a chess opening that begins with the moves:

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. c3

It is one of the oldest chess openings, having been discussed in the literature by 1497. It was advocated by Howard Staunton, generally considered the world's strongest player from 1843 to 1851, in his 1847 book The Chess-Player's Handbook. For some decades, it was often called "Staunton's Opening" or the "English Knight's Game" as a result. Today, it is usually known by the name of Domenico Lorenzo Ponziani, whose main contribution to the opening was his introduction, in 1769, of the countergambit 3...f5!?

The opening is now considered inferior to 3.Bb5, the Ruy Lopez, and 3.Bc4, the Italian Game, and is accordingly rarely seen today at any level of play. Black's main responses are 3...Nf6, leading to quiet play, and 3...d5, leading to sharp play. Ponziani's countergambit 3...f5!? was successfully played in the grandmaster game Hikaru Nakamura vs Julio Becerra Rivero, US Championship 2007.[1]


History[edit]

The opening 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3 is one of the oldest known openings, having been discussed in chess literature by no later than 1497. It was mentioned in both of the earliest chess treatises: the Repetición de Amores y Arte de Ajedrez con ci Iuegos de Partido by Lucena[2] and the Göttingen manuscript.[3] Today the opening bears the surname of Domenico Lorenzo Ponziani. Although Ponziani did analyze the opening in 1769, his principal contribution was the introduction of the countergambit 3...f5!?[4] Later the opening was favored by Howard Staunton, who in The Chess-Player's Handbook (1847) called it "so full of interest and variety, that its omission in many of the leading works on the game is truly unaccountable. ... it deserves, and, if we mistake not, will yet attain a higher place in the category of legitimate openings than has hitherto been assigned to it".[4]

Nomenclature[edit]

Staunton cumbersomely referred to the opening as "The Queen's Bishop's Pawn Game in the King's Knight's Opening",[4] as did George H. D. Gossip in The Chess Player's Manual (1888, American edition 1902).[5] Napoleon Marache, one of the leading American players, similarly called it the "Queen's Bishop's Pawn Game" in his 1866 manual.[6] In their treatise Chess Openings Ancient and Modern (1889, 1896), E. Freeborough and the Reverend C.E. Ranken called it "Staunton's Opening".[7][8] In an appendix to later editions of Staunton's work, R.F. Green, editor of the British Chess Magazine, also called it "Staunton's Opening", directing those seeking a definition of "Ponziani's Game" to the former name.[9] Green referred to 3...f5 as "Ponziani's Counter Gambit".[10] Chess historian H.J.R. Murray in his celebrated 1913 work A History of Chess called the opening simply the "Staunton",[11] explaining that he was using "the ordinary names of the Openings as used by English players of the present day".[12] James Mason in his treatise The Art of Chess (Fourth Edition c. 1910?) referred to the opening as the "Ponziani–Staunton Attack".[13] The famous German Handbuch des Schachspiels, which went through eight editions between 1843 and 1916, called it the "Englisches Springerspiel" (English Knight's Game).[14] The Reverend E.E. Cunnington in The Modern Chess Primer (Thirteenth Edition 1933) referred to it as the "Ponziani Opening (sometimes called Staunton's)".[15]

Wilhelm Steinitz, the first World Champion, in his 1895 treatise The Modern Chess Instructor (Part II), inaccurately called the opening the "Ponziani Opening",[16] as did his successor, Emanuel Lasker, in Lasker's Manual of Chess.[17] Similarly, Frank Marshall in Chess Openings,[18] the authors of Modern Chess Openings (Second Edition 1913),[19] and Siegbert Tarrasch in The Game of Chess (1931, English translation 1938)[20] called it "Ponziani's Opening". William Cook in The Chess Players' Compendium (Fifth Edition 1910) called it "Ponziani's Game",[21] while Francis Joseph Lee and Gossip in The Complete Chess – Guide (1903) called it "Ponziani's Knight's Game".[22] Contemporary authors likewise call it the "Ponziani Opening",[23][24] "Ponziani's Opening",[25] or simply the "Ponziani".[26]

Introduction and overview[edit]

Ponziani
abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
c6 black knight
e5 black pawn
e4 white pawn
c3 white pawn
f3 white knight
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
h1 white rook
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3

The Ponziani is rarely played today except as a surprise weapon, because Black has the pleasant choice between equalizing easily and attempting to obtain an advantage with sharper play.[citation needed] White's third move prepares to build a powerful pawn center with 4.d4, a logical objective also seen in the more popular Ruy Lopez and Giuoco Piano. However, 3.c3 is somewhat premature because the move: (1) takes away the most natural square for White's queen knight,[27] (2) temporarily creates a hole on d3, and (3) develops a pawn rather than a piece leaving White behind in development[28] and not well placed to meet a counterattack in the center. Moreover, unlike in the Giuoco Piano, where White's d4 advance attacks Black's king's bishop on c5, in the Ponziani d4 will not gain a tempo. On the positive side, the move 3.c3 creates a second diagonal for the white queen.[28]

As early as 1904, Marshall wrote that, "There is no point in White's third move unless Black plays badly. ... White practically surrenders the privilege of the first move."[29] More recently, Graham Burgess called the Ponziani "a relic from a bygone age, popular neither at top level nor at club level".[30] Bruce Pandolfini has said,

Curiously, every great teacher of openings who investigated the Ponziani has concluded that it leads to interesting play and deserves to be played more often. Yet it has never captured the fancy of chessplayers in general, and it remains to be seen whether the Ponziani is an opening of the past or of the future.[31]

In Chess Master Vs. Chess Amateur, Max Euwe and Walter Meiden wrote,

What should one do with this opening? It is no opening for beginners, because tactics predominate in the play. There are no simple strategic principles to govern the general lines in this opening.[28]

Variations[edit]

Jaenisch Variation
abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
c6 black knight
d5 white pawn
e5 black pawn
e4 black knight
c3 white pawn
f3 white knight
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
h1 white rook
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
3...Nf6 4.d4 Nxe4 5.d5
Leonhardt Variation
abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
c6 black knight
f6 black knight
d5 black pawn
e5 white knight
a4 white queen
e4 white pawn
c3 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
h1 white rook
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
3...d5 4.Qa4 Nf6 5.Nxe5
Steinitz Variation
abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
c6 black knight
f6 black pawn
b5 white bishop
d5 black pawn
e5 black pawn
a4 white queen
e4 white pawn
c3 white pawn
f3 white knight
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
e1 white king
h1 white rook
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
3...d5 4.Qa4 f6 5.Bb5
Ponziani Countergambit
abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
c6 black knight
e5 white knight
d4 white pawn
e4 black pawn
c3 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
h1 white rook
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
3...f5 4.d4 fxe4 5.Nxe5

After 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3 the main continuations are:

Illustrative games[edit]

Here is a quiet draw typical of the 3...Nf6 line:

V. Medvedev (2365) versus Charles Milgram (2375), ICCF 1991[39]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. c3 Nf6 4. d4 Nxe4 5. d5 Ne7 6. Nxe5 Ng6 7. Qd4 Qf6 8. Qxe4 Qxe5 9. Qxe5+ Nxe5 10. Nd2 d6 11. Nc4 Nxc4 12. Bxc4 Be7 13. 0-0 0-0 14. Re1 Bf6 15. Be3 Bd7 ½–½

While this game was agreed drawn there are good winning chances for White in this type of endgame.[40]

The variation 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3 Nge7 has also been attributed to Reti due to his braving it against Tartakower, although he was soundly defeated in the game. Recent analysis gives White the edge, i.e. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3 Nge7 4.Bc4 (putting immediate pressure on Black's f2-square) d5 5.exd5 Nxd5 and now either 6.0-0 or 6.Qb3 lead to a White advantage.[41] Also playable for White is 4. Bb5 which leads to the Ruy Lopez Cozio Defense by Black.[42]

Chigorin vs. Gossip, 1889
abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
f8 black bishop
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
d7 black bishop
e7 black king
f7 white bishop
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
c6 black knight
g6 black knight
a5 black queen
f5 black pawn
d4 white pawn
e4 black pawn
b3 white queen
c3 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
d2 white knight
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
f1 white rook
g1 white king
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Position after 12...Ke7?

Here are two games illustrating the wild tactical play that often develops in the 3...d5 4.Qa4 f6 5.Bb5 Ne7 line:

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ 7.Qf3. In M Schäfer vs S. Van Gisbergen Münster 1993 the game continued 7...Qe7 8.Nxg6 hxg6 9.Be3 Rh5!? (a creative move adding pressure to the d5-pawn) 10. Bd3 Nf6 11. c4 Qe5 12. Qe2 Bb4+ 13.Nd2 d6 14.0-0-0 Bxd2+ 15.Qxd2 Kf8 16.Rde1 (White's pressure on the e-file makes his advantage obvious.) Ng4 17.f4 Qf6 18.Bg1 g5 19.Rf1 gxf4 20.Rxf4 Qh6 21.Be2 Ne5 22.Bxh5 Qxf4 (a cute reduction combination, but unfortunately for Black, he is still left with a difficult endgame) 23. Qxf4 Nd3+ 24.Kd2 Nxf4 25.Bf3 Bf5 26.Bd4 f6 27.Rf1 Bg6 28.h4 b6 29.g3 Nd3 30.h5 Bh7 31.h6! Ne5 32.Be2 Re8 33.a4 c5 34.dxc6 Nxc6 35.Bxf6+ Kg8 38.Bc3 (better is 35. c5!) and White won in 52 moves.[34]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hikaru Nakamura vs. Julio J Becerra-Rivero, US Championship 2007ChessGames.com
  2. ^ a b c Lane, Gary. "Beauty and the Beast" (PDF). ChessGames.com. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  3. ^ Brace, Edward R. (1977). An Illustrated Dictionary of Chess. Hamlyn Publishing Group. p. 225. ISBN 1-55521-394-4. 
  4. ^ a b c Howard Staunton, The Chess-Player's Handbook, Henry G. Bohn, 1847, p. 182.
  5. ^ G. H. D. Gossip and S. Lipschütz, The Chess Player's Manual, David McKay, 1902, p. 237.
  6. ^ N. Marache, Marache's Manual of Chess, Dick & Fitzgerald, 1866, p. 78.
  7. ^ E. Freeborough and C.E. Ranken, Chess Openings Ancient and Modern, First Edition, Trübner and Co., 1889, p. 43.
  8. ^ E. Freeborough and C.E. Ranken, Chess Openings Ancient and Modern, Third Edition, Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner and Co., 1896, p. 45.
  9. ^ Howard Staunton, The Chess-Player's Handbook, George Bell & Sons, 1890, pp. 534, 537. In his own treatise Chess, Green only used the term "Staunton's Opening". R.F. Green, Chess, George Bell & Sons, 1908 (reprint of 1889 1st ed.), p. 56.
  10. ^ Staunton 1890, p. 534.
  11. ^ H.J.R. Murray, A History of Chess, Oxford University Press, 1913, p. 784. ISBN 0-19-827403-3.
  12. ^ Murray, p. 784 n. 10.
  13. ^ James Mason, The Art of Chess, Fourth Edition, David McKay, c. 1910?, p. 359.
  14. ^ Paul Rudolf von Bilguer, Tassilo von Heydebrand und der Lasa, and Carl Schlechter, Handbuch des Schachspiels, Walter de Gruyter & Co., 1916, p. 581.
  15. ^ Rev. E.E. Cunnington, The Modern Chess Primer, David McKay, 13th ed. 1933, p. 181.
  16. ^ Wilhelm Steinitz, The Modern Chess Instructor, Edition Olms AG, Zürich, 1990 (reprint), Part II (originally published in 1895), p. 1. ISBN 3-283-00111-1. Steinitz wrote that it "is also called the English Knight's Game, or Staunton's Opening". Id.
  17. ^ Dr. Emanuel Lasker, Lasker's Manual of Chess, Dover Publications, 1960, p. 53.
  18. ^ F. J. Marshall, Chess Openings, British Chess Magazine, 1904, p. 47.
  19. ^ R.C. Griffith and J.H. White, Modern Chess Openings, Second Edition, Longmans, Green and Co., 1913, p. 81.
  20. ^ Siegbert Tarrasch, The Game of Chess, David McKay, 1938, p. 299.
  21. ^ William Cook, The Chess Players' Compendium, David McKay, 1910, p. 87.
  22. ^ F. J. Lee and G. H. D. Gossip, The Complete Chess – Guide, John Grant, Edinburgh, 1903, p. 55.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g John Nunn; Graham Burgess; John Emms; Joe Gallagher (1999). Nunn's Chess Openings. London: Everyman Publishers. p. 306. ISBN 1857442210. 
  24. ^ Larry Kaufman, The Chess Advantage in Black and White, David McKay, 2004, p. 342. ISBN 0-8129-3571-3.
  25. ^ Nick de Firmian, Modern Chess Openings, 15th Edition (commonly referred to as MCO-15), McKay Chess Library, 2008, p. 135. ISBN 978-0-8129-3682-7.
  26. ^ a b c Gary Kasparov; Raymond Keene (1989). Batsford Chess Openings 2. London: B.T. Batsford Ltd. p. 367. ISBN 0713460997. 
  27. ^ Tarrasch, p. 299.
  28. ^ a b c d e f g Max Euwe, Walter Meiden (1963). Chess Master Vs. Chess Amateur (1994 ed.). Courier Dover Publications. pp. 41–43. ISBN 0486279472. 
  29. ^ Marshall, p. 47. At the time, this was a minority view. Lasker's Chess Magazine responded, "In trying to set aside all teachings of former masters, Mr. Marshall has attempted the impossible." Andy Soltis, Frank Marshall, United States Chess Champion: A Biography with 220 Games, McFarland & Company, 1994, p. 70. ISBN 0-89950-887-1.
  30. ^ Graham Burgess, The Mammoth Book of Chess, Carroll & Graf, 1997, p. 133. ISBN 0-7867-0725-9.
  31. ^ Bruce Pandolfini, Chess Openings: Traps and Zaps, Fireside, 1989, p. 90. ISBN 0-671-65690-2.
  32. ^ a b c d Tim Harding (September 2010). "Ponziani Opening: Other Critical Lines". The Kibitzer. ChessCafe.com. Retrieved 2012-10-04. 
  33. ^ Taylor 2010, p. 12.
  34. ^ Taylor 2010, p. 15.
  35. ^ MCO-15, p. 136.
  36. ^ a b Tim Harding (August 2010). "Can the Ponzi Fly Again?". The Kibitzer. ChessCafe.com. Retrieved 2012-10-04. 
  37. ^ "Yakov Estrin vs Boris Spassky, Riga 1951 · Ponziani Opening: Ponziani Countergambit (C44)". ChessGames.com. Retrieved 2012-10-05. 
  38. ^ Reuben Fine, Practical Chess Openings, David McKay, 1948, p. 141.
  39. ^ "Valery Vladimirovich Medvedev vs Charles Milgram, 1991 · Ponziani Opening: Jaenisch Counterattack (C44)". ChessGames.com. Retrieved 20012-10-04.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  40. ^ Taylor 2010, p. 13.
  41. ^ Taylor 2010, p. [page needed].
  42. ^ Taylor 2010, p. [page needed].
  43. ^ "Mikhail Chigorin vs George Hatfeild Gossip, New York 1889 · Ponziani Opening: Steinitz Variation (C44)". ChessGames.com. Retrieved 2012-10-04. 
  44. ^ Kaufman, p. 343.
  45. ^ de Firmian, p. 136.
  46. ^ a b c d Efim Bogolyubov, Mikhail Chigorin: Selected Games, Caissa Books (Publishing) Ltd, 1987, p. 39. ISBN 0-7134-5719-8.
  47. ^ Irving Chernev, 1000 Best Short Games of Chess, Fireside; Rei Sub edition, 1955, p. 139. ISBN 978-0-671-53801-9.

Further reading[edit]