(A Rom – Nap; A Ven h; F Nap – Ion.)
The Lesspanto is the poor cousin of the Lepanto opening, where instead of moving to Apulia the army in Rome moves to Naples. The Classic variety, as with the Lepanto, is distinguished by (A Ven h) and accounts for 7.4% of games. This makes it the fourth-most popular Italian opening and the 23rd overall.
The idea behind the opening is the same as that behind the Classic Lepanto, but the moves themselves are clearly worse: Naples offers nothing that Apulia doesn’t but fails to defend Venice against Austrian aggression.
While it’s not a hopeless opening and in most cases it will transpose into the Lepanto, it’s not as good as main line.
Of the reviewed writings only Richard Sharp mentions the Lesspanto:
Effectively identical to the variation in which A(Rom) goes to Naples. As the intention is a convoy to Tunis, the only difference between the two occurs when Austria attacks Italy, as now A(Nap) cannot support Venice.
It’s been known for fifty years that this opening is objectively worse than the main Lepanto line.
Modern theory ignores this opening as clearly weaker than the Classic Lepanto. Though many of the same considerations can be applied to it, the move to Naples is clearly and certainly weaker than the move to Apulia.
There aren’t many original continuations of this opening, other than moving Naples to Apulia (as it should have done in the first place). The remainder (and best) transpose back to the Lepanto line:
- The Classic Lepanto Convoy Transposition (A Nap – Tun; A Ven h; F Ion c Nap – Tun.)
- The Delayed Key Lepanto Transposition (A Nap – Tun; A Ven – Tri; F Ion c Nap – Tun.)
- The Delayed Innsbruck Lepanto Transposition (A Nap – Tun; A Ven – Tyl; F Ion c Nap – Tun.)
- The Delayed Milanese Lepanto Transposition (A Nap – Tun; A Ven – Pie; F Ion c Nap – Tun.)
- The Weak Lepanto Defence (A Nap – Apu; A Ven h; F Ion – Tun.)
- The Albanian Double-Cross Transposition (A Nap – Alb; A Ven – Tri; F Ion C Nap – Alb.)
- The Aegean Attack Transposition (A Nap – Apu; A Ven – Tri; F Ion – Aeg.)
- The Lepanto Grecian Revenge Attack Transposition (A Nap – Apu; A Ven h; F Ion – Gre.)
- The Maltese Falcon Transposition (A Nap – Apu; A Ven h; F Ion – Eas.)