Chess tournaments Chess strategy Computer chess Chess players FIDE Chess variants Chess rules and history

Semi-Italian Opening

Semi-Italian Opening
a b c d e f g h
8
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Moves 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 d6
ECO C50
Named after • Italian Opening (Giuoco Piano)
• Rodzinski vs. Alekhine, Paris 1913
Parent Italian Game
Synonym(s) Lesser Giuoco Piano
Half Giuoco Piano
Paris Defence

The Semi-Italian Opening (also called Lesser Giuoco Piano, Half Giuoco Piano, and Paris Defence) is one of Black's responses to the Italian Game. It begins with the moves:

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bc4 d6

Black's intent is to play a Hungarian Defense with an early ...Bg4, fighting for control of the d4-square. The line was tried by Alexander Alekhine early in his career. The first recorded use in international competition was in 1846. Horowitz called the defence "solid", also writing: "It does not seem quite sufficient for equality."

The Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings code for the Semi-Italian is C50.

Lines

Main line: 4.c3

4.d4

4... Bg4 (after 4...exd4 5.Nxd4 Nf6 6.Nc3 White has the freer game according to Keres; instead of 5...Nf6, Evans has suggested 5...g6!?) and now:

4.h3

White prevents Black's thematic Bg4. The reply 4.h3 leads to lines similar to the Hungarian Defense, for example 4... Be7 5. d4 and now:

4.Nc3

This transposes to the game Maslov-Lutikov, USSR 1963, which continued 4...Bg4 5.h3 Bxf3 6.Qxf3 Nf6 7.Ne2 (or 7.d3) and White stands slightly better (Keres, Filip).

Notable games

a b c d e f g h
8
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Position after 11.f3

Rodzinski versus Alekhine, Paris 1913:

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 d6 4. c3 Bg4 5. Qb3!?

5.d4, the Main line, is better.

5... Qd7 6. Ng5?!

6.Bxf7+ Qxf7 7.Qxb7 Kd7 8.Qxa8 Bxf3 9.gxf3 Qxf3 10.Rg1 Qxe4+ 11.Kd1 Qf3+ 12.Ke1 Qe4+ with perpetual check (Alekhine); or 12...e4 13.Na3 Ne5 14.Qxa7 Nd3+ 15.Kf1 with an even game according to Sozin, but Black has a forced mate with 15...Qd1+ 16.Kg2 Nf4+ 17.Kg3 Qf3+ 18.Kh4 Qh3+ 19.Kg5 Ne6#.

6... Nh6 7. Nxf7 Nxf7 8. Bxf7+ Qxf7 9. Qxb7 Kd7 10. Qxa8 Qc4 11. f3 (see diagram) Bxf3! 12. gxf3 Nd4 13. d3?

13.cxd4 Qxc1+ with clear advantage for Black.

13... Qxd3 14. cxd4 Be7 15. Qxh8 Bh4# 0-1

Read more:

COMMENTS
Tabletop games: Rules and Strategy