To utilize the Giuoco Pianissimo successfully, a club player needs only to master the general ideas of this setup, without overloading their brain with hundreds of variations. At the same time, they find themselves in the pleasant company of the world’s elite, and may even pick up recommendations to improve their opening from top grandmasters. Of course, such interactions will bring an amateur some concrete benefits in the opening, but more importantly it will increase their understanding of the game as a whole, because they will start to learn from the games of high-level players, with a vested interest!
The Giuoco Pianissimo has already been examined in an excellent book by K. Müller and G. Souleidis, Winning with the Slow Italian (2016), aimed at the club player. However, in our opinion, the book contains too much concrete information in the form of variations and subvariations, which somewhat erodes the whole idea of the opening in question.
Therefore, in this book we will first reveal the main strategic ideas and typical plans of the modern Giuoco Pianissimo, and only then will the reader be offered a review of the modern theory of the Italian Game, centered around practical examples from grandmaster games.
In the Giuoco Pianissimo, a wide variety of move orders is employed, which often transpose into the same positions, making it difficult to clearly clarify any set theory
from the very start. In this regard, the classification of theoretical material has been done on the basis of key opening/middlegame positions, rather than on the individual moves taken to get there. Such a presentation of theoretical lines should also help the reader to develop a better understanding of the opening.
All non-contact opening systems with a flexible pawn structure, such as the English Opening, the King’s Indian Defense, and the Spanish Game, have an amazing ability to convey their ideas to other openings, even with reversed colors, due to the fact that, very often, similar pawn structures can arise. The Giuoco Pianissimo, or the Italian/Spanish Game, is no exception. In order to make the readers’ opening weapon more universal, we have even included a chapter on the use of Italian/Spanish ideas in other open games in the book.