Ponziani Update #1

by David Taylor


My purpose in writing this column is to give several updates and innovations on the Ponziani Opening.
The Ponziani 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. c3 to be sure is a rarely played opening. But I have played and studied the "Ponz" for 20 years and find that most theory is incorrect and out of date on this particular opening.
The "Ponz" has a "bad reputation" but only because it has been played incorrectly in the past. Yes, I have written a book "Ponziani Power" but these updates are for everyone whether they have my book or not...

As stated by my friend, Rick Melton: The white player who passes up this opening overlooks the potential of new dynamics for his arsenal. The black player who is not familar with how best to handle its nuances may find himself up to his eyeballs in alligators in a heartbeat!

So here is my first "update". This has to do with a line where black sacrifices a piece in the opening: (as per chapter 12 in my book).

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. c3 Nf6 4. d4 Nxe4 5. d5 Bc5



6. dxc6 Bxf2+ 7. Ke2 bxc6 8. Qa4! f5 9. Nbd2 0-0 10. Nxe4 fxe4 11. Qxe4! and now in the excellent book: "Play the Open Games" by John Emms there is a suggestion of:

11. ...Bb6 (Sax) the follow up would be 12. Kd1 d5! 13. Qxe5 Bf5
Idea: Qd7, Rae8 with an attack:

After 13. Qxe5 Bf5 I have two continuations for White:

14. Bg5 Qd7 15. Qe7 Qc8 (if Black trades queens his attack is about over) 16. Ne5 h6 17. Bh4 Qb7 18. Qa3 a5 19. Be2 White Advantage.

The other line is: 13. Qxe5 Bf5 14. Nd4 Qd7 15. Nxf5 Rxf5 16. Qg3 d4 17. Kc2.
This second line is much more complicated for each side but White always seems to come out on top.