|The Vienna Game is a chess opening characterised by the moves (in algebraic notation) 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3, giving the position shown to the right.|
White´s second move is in contrast to the more usual 2.Nf3, which can lead to the Ruy Lopez, Giuoco Piano, Scotch Game and other openings. The original idea behind 2.Nc3 was to play a kind of delayed King´s Gambit with an eventual f4, but in modern play White often takes much quieter paths.
After 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3, Black can continue with 2...Nc6, but 2...Nf6 is more common, after which White has three major options: 3.f4, 3.Bc4 and 3.g3.
3.f4 is usually met by 3...d5, striking back in the centre, since 3...exf4 4.e5 leaves Black with problems. 4.fxe5 Nxe4 and then either 5.Nf3 or 5.d3 usually follows.
3.Bc4 leads to a position which can also be reached from the Bishop´s Opening (1.e4 e5 2.Bc4). Black has several choices here; 3...Bc5 can transpose to the King´s Gambit Declined after 4.d3 d6 5.f4 Nc6 6.Nf3; 3...Nc6 4.d3 and then 4...Na5, 4...Bc5 or 4...d6 are all playable; while 3...Nxe4 is also possible since 4.Nxe4 d5, forking bishop and knight, is quite good for Black. White normally continues instead 4.Qh5 (threatening Qxf7#) 4...Nd6 5.Bb3 when Black can either go for the relatively quiet waters of 5...Be7 or the complexities of 5...Nc6 6.Nb5 g6 7.Qf3 f5 8.Qd5 Qe7 9.Nxc7+ Kd8 10.Nxa8, the Frankenstein-Dracula Variation.
3.g3 is a quiet continuation in which White fianchettos his king´s bishop, a line played by Vasily Smyslov on a few occasions, most notably in a win over Lev Polugaevsky in the 1961 USSR Championship. That game continued 3...d5 4.exd5 Nxd5 5.Bg2 Be6 7.Nf3 Nc6 8.O-O Be7 9.Ne4 O-O 10.d3 Be7 11.a3 Nb6 12.b4, resulting in a position which the Encyclopedia of Chess Openings assesses as slightly better for White. The main line today, however, is considered to be 5...Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bd6 7.Nf3 O-O 8.O-O. A major alternative for Black is 3...Bc5 (3...Nc6 normally transposes into one of the other lines).