Several chess openings can be called the Three Knights Game that have three early knight moves. Consider the Four Knights Game minus one with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 when Black plays something like 3...Bc5 or 3...Bb4. The Petroff Defence with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nc3 Bb4 (not 3...Nc6) is a Three Knights Game.
The line 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Nc6 is a called Vienna Game. What about 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6? That is the Two Knights Defence variation of the Italian Game. This is not to be confused with 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 Nc6 which is a Two Knights Tango, even though White almost always follows with a third knight move by 3.Nf3 or 3.Nc3. And of course 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 is a Ruy Lopez.
The Petroff Defence Three Knights Game with the standard 3...Bb4 leads to equal chances in theory. I transposed into one and held my own for about 20 moves in a blitz game. Then I let my pieces get tangled and got crushed. The chess engine Over-Rated has played tens of thousands of blitz games on the Internet Chess Club using a strong computer. Currently it uses a Stockfish 5 version.
Sawyer (2408) - Over-Rated (3547), ICC 2 12 u Internet Chess Club, 06.08.2004 begins 1.Nc3 Nf6 2.e4 e5 3.Nf3 Bb4 4.Nxe5 0-0 5.Be2 Re8 6.Nd3 Bxc3 7.dxc3 Nxe4 8.0-0 d5 9.Nf4 c6 10.c4 d4 11.Bf3 [11.Re1!+/= Komodo] 11...Ng5 12.Bg4 Na6 13.Nd3 Ne4 14.Bxc8 Qxc8 15.f3 Nd6 16.b3 Nf5 17.Re1 Ne3 18.Bxe3 dxe3 19.a4 [19.Re2=] 19...Qe6 20.Nf4 [20.Re2=] 20...Qf6 21.Ne2? [Things are beginning to slip away. 21.g3 Nb4-/+] 21...Rad8 22.Qc1 Nb4 23.Rb1 [Or 23.Ng3 Re6-+] 23...Rd2 24.Kf1? Rxc2 25.Qd1 Rd2 26.Qc1 Qh4 White resigns 0-1
You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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