Ponziani Opening


At first I was stomped when some suggested that Carlsen won despite his opening.  A agreed with this but added that Carlsen did not play the best moves and got criticized again.

I believe  super grandmaster Carsen has a average minus from the way he played this opening and later close to a loss game but as he is a genius, he came back and won.

Here I will give one line where I think  super grandmaster Carlsen might have done better and by that I mean he might have got an average plus out of the opening rather than an average minus [and when you think of it--that is a big difference]



White might be better there than he got in the game, but with only heavy pieces left does it really give him better winning chances?


It  would give him better chances than an average minus.

Supergrandmasters know how to exploit all positions including ones with only heavy pieces left but say a better pawn structure. 

However, he is a genius, and hard to tell if the principles of chess apply to him...[this is a compliment]


Wow, that looks better indeed.

Only would I not play 12. Bc5: but 12. Qe2 instead.

Black might continu with 12. ... Be3: 13. Qe3: or 12. ... 0-0 13. Nd2 Nd2: 14. Qd2: Be3: 15. Qe3: and you have a better pawn structure or 12. ... Qe7 13. Bd4 and black is invited to help you improving your pawn structure.


Ponzi , at what move # in the game do you think Magnus was close to lost/losing ? 


Of course the principles of chess apply to Carlsen. This discussion is all a bit Hans Berliner. [that's not a compliment].


move 23.  but my definition of close to being lost is that with perfect play by both sides a result would happen. 

If I say a game is theoretically lost--I mean with perfect play on both sides-the one side would lose.

Hans Berliner, I believe, thought White should win from from the opening position. He is the only grandmaster who thought such a thing [as far as I know]


I put that position on a couple of my beasts and they give black less than half a pawn advantage .  Are you getting something different from your engine(s) ?  As  a player I would much prefer white in that position as the white position is much easier to play and black has to suffer a lot . I think white has enough compensation for the 2 pawns .  I played the Ponziani for a spell back in the 80s and did ok with it but did better with the Spanish so switched back . 


I get about 1/2 pawn advantage for moves about from 9 to 23 but then delving more into the 23rd move and some more moves after 23  I get more. But you may be right that the White position is easier to play.  Black has to gradually expand on the queenside. 

I am only saying that for most humans/chess players this variation can be made easier to play with an average plus.

If somehow he managed to get into the position down 2 pawns with reasonable compensation then more power to him and what can you say about a 2865 player [approx] who has obtained the highest rating in the history of mankind on this planet?


There is a whole lot of new theory on the Ponziani which makes it more playable than back in the 80s and 90s. Of course the Spanish is a great opening.


Warning! This puzzle is from a Ponziani

 vote chess game.  I do not give the name of our worthy opponent as the purpose is not to put down anyone or any team.

This is a very hard puzzle and I do not expect anyone to get it on the first try!


Right now I am playing Black in a Ponziani correspondence game (engines on). I will post on it later, but up to now I can't complain- I think I have the advantage.

I played my new pet line: 1.e4 e5! 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3 Nf6 4.d4 ed4! 5.e5 Nd5 6.Bc4 Nb6 7.Bb3 d5!? (nothing wrong with the book recommendation 7...d6 8.0-0 Be7, but I wanted more than equality!) 8.cd4 Bg4 9.Be3 Bb4+ 10.Nc3 f6!

Played by GM Maiorov, a strict 1...e5 player, in a very nice game he won. I think Black is already at least equal, because white has to compromise his kingside to get rid of the pressure towards d4.

I will post the whole game when it's over.


Fortunately for Ponziani lovers were have abandoned 6. Bc4 but I certainly will look at your game so far [with my trusty computer].

Did you try the very hard puzzle?  [ I think even  a super grandmaster might not get the whole sequence on the first try]

Play the Ponziani gives 9. Nc3 in your line but I have not looked at either

9. Nc3  or  9. Be3  Bb4+  10.  Nc3  f6 [!]


I didn't get the 1st, 4th and 7th move on the first try (1st move was so hard, did you count that whole combination already there?), very tricky indeed.


No we did not have the whole continuation there at move 1.  In fact that particular mate is not forced from move 1.  However, as we looked at lines there always seemed to be a tactical knockout after that first move.  Their kingside was under manned with black's knight on the other side of the board, and no easy way for his rooks to help.  

So, yes we "smelled" victory after our first move, but the devil was in the details.  Tons of analysis.


And a very nice ending as per my avitar!  The whole line was from a ton of analysis from the whole team.

I think this puzzle is so hard that I better just give the line rather than make a puzzle out of it...


For once!  I got the puzzle!  (Looked awfully familiar, glad I'm on the team)




Hou Yifan just played 3. c3 against Carlsen

ajmeroski wrote:



Hou Yifan just played 3. c3 against Carlsen

Ouch, inaccuracy on move 3 against Carlsen, that will be punished Cool


But you have to admit it's quite bold from the little girl, especially considering Carlsen winning with it just a few days ago.