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8 a8 rd b8 c8 bd d8 qd e8 kd f8 bd g8 nd h8 rd 8
7 a7 pd b7 pd c7 pd d7 pd e7 f7 pd g7 pd h7 pd 7
6 a6   b6   c6 nd d6   e6   f6 g6   h6   6
5 a5   b5   c5   d5   e5 pd f5   g5   h5   5
4 a4   b4   c4 bl d4 e4 pl f4   g4   h4   4
3 a3   b3   c3   d3   e3   f3 nl g3   h3   3
2 a2 pl b2 pl c2 pl d2 pl e2 f2 pl g2 pl h2 pl 2
1 a1 rl b1 nl c1 bl d1 ql e1 kl f1 g1 h1 rl 1
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Italian Game

The Italian Game is a well-analysed chess opening arising from the Main Line of the King's Knight Opening. It is characterised by the moves:

  1. e4 e5
  2. Nf3 Nc6
  3. Bc4

It comprises ECO codes C50-C59.

Two Knight's Defense[]

Also quite popular is 3... Nf6. Despite the name, it is very aggressive. The two main options are 3. Ng4 (ECO C57-59), 3. d4 (ECO C56), and 3. d3 (ECO C55, along with irregular responses).

Giuoco Piano[]

The most popular response is for black to respond symetrically with 3... Bc5. The main line is 4. c3 (ECO C53-54), but also popular is the Evans Gambit with 4. b4 (ECO C51-52) and the Giuoco Pianissimo with 4. d3 (ECO C50). C50 also contains irregular responses to the Giuoco Piano.

Irregular Responses[]

All of black's other third moves are classified under ECO code C50, along with the Giuoco Pianissimo. This includes:

Hungarian Defense[]

3... Be7. A solid but drawish defense, it avoids the complexities of the Giuoco Piano whilst being quieter than the Two Knight's Defense. White should respond by taking the centre with 4. d4; black can either take with exd4, with 5. Nxd4 transposing to the scotch game, or defend with d6, and 5. Nc3 gives white better development.

Semi-Italian Opening[]

3... d6. Also known as Paris Defense, it is likewise quite drawish. The main line is 4. c3, but 4. h3 is also possible. 4. d4 Be7 transposes to the Hungarian.

Blackburne Shilling Gambit[]

3... Nd4. Also Kostić Gambit. The idea is to trap white by seemingly blundering the e-pawn. Black's ideal line is:

4. Nxe5 Qg5
5. Nxf7 Qxg2
6. Rf1 Qxe4+
7. Be2 Nf3#

However, white can instead play 5. Bxf7+, and after Kd8, 6. O-O Qxe5 the game is roughly equal, as white has two pawns and an attacking position in return for a knight.

But best for white is to either decline the gambit with Nxd4, or ignore it completely with O-O. Both options leave white with a superior setup. Grahan Burgess jokingly writes that the gambit only works if black shows visible remorse immediately after 3... Nd4, as though only just realising they "blundered" the pawn.

Sources[]

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