Why is the Ponziani trash but the Alapin sicilian relatively "good"?

SmyslovFan wrote:

Ponz, your experience is a reification of my earlier statement. You have spent decades learning the intricacies of the opening. Your success with it is not really dependent on the objective merit of the opening so much as your knowledge of it.

Partially agree and partially disagree. 

Certainly my success was partially due to my knowledge of that opening.

But also, the Opening itself is a lot more trickier than most people expect.

As for knowledge of the opening, it can be acquired in about a year both by using the book I coauthored [Play the Ponziani] and by studying theory since the book was published.

 For those who want a sample of the Ponziani, i have written these Forums on chess.com:

Ponziani Opening

Are You Strong Enough To Play The Ponziani

 How To exploit a very slight space advantage

Can You Play The Ponziani? Puzzles

Finally, if anyone already plays the Ponziani and is serious about learning more--that person can contact me in person and there is a good chance he/she will be invited to my Ponziani Analysis Group. [I am Super Administrator]

Admit, i am a little biased [ha haSmile] but i studied the Ponziani all of these years because i know it is a much better opening than most people think.

ThrillerFan wrote:

That's a matter of opinion that the Alapin is good.  You ask me, it's junk!  2...Nf6!


Actually, against the O'Kelly, 3.c4 followed by 4.d4 is what I've already heard was best, and what I played back in the day when I played 1.e4 and the Open Sicilian.


That said, I couldn't give you the level of analysis that I could give you in my openings of strength (French and King's Indian Defense), but I can tell you that I don't play 1.e4, and the main reason I don't play the Sicilian any more is 2.Nf3 and 3.d4.  The Open Sicilian is an advantage for White, the Anti-Sicilians are equal at best!  The Alapin is equal.  The Closed is equal.  The Rossolimo is equal.  The Morra Gambit?  Wing Gambit?  They are total garbage and better for Black!

The rossolimo might be theoretically equal but that doesn't explain why 2. ... Nc6 has basically disappeared at top level. 2. ... e6 is played more and more because players try to avoid the rossolimo. Anand and Carlsen and many other GMs have played this anti-sicilian with a lot of success. 

It's my favorite line, too because it avoids a ton of theory and the positions have a more strategic nature than the open sicilians where you won't survive if you're not a good calculator, tactician.

catdogorb wrote:   ponz in red
ponz111 wrote:
catdogorb wrote:   
ponz111 wrote:

Agree with the above postings by SmyslovFan mostly.

Do not agree that tournament players will probably be prepared to face the Ponziani. In my experience they are not prepared. Even when they have time to prepare [such as in Vote Chess] they get taken out in the opening.

If Caruana was not prepared and losing out of the opening--do you think the average player [or above average player or the master player] will be prepared!?

After 3...Nf6 I'm confident I'm going to get a normal looking position... i.e. some structure I've already studied and have experience in as a 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 player.

It seems to me preparation is only a factor when black goes for 3...d5 lines, and white tries to be a little tricky (most players will at least know some more of the main like I think).

After that, sure, it's just a game of chess, and anyone might win... or at least, it wont be because of the opening.

What  most players expect and what can happen if you play someone who knows the Ponziani are often two different things. That is why in Vote Chess the Ponziani resulted in a win for White in the opening, game after game. Depite how simple the lines with 3. c3  Nf6 look at first, they are full of venom. 

I believe you were the poster in post #9 and i have already shown a couple of your ideas of how to play against the Ponziani were incorrect.

Am not trying to disparage you, just saying the is a whole lot more to the Ponziani than one can expect. 

I've never played vote chess on chess.com, but I know the idea of it.

Isn't it like... 50 players rated 1000 arguing with the 1 or 2 who know how to play chess? And then they all vote?  a lot of vote chess groups are similiadr to this. i am not in Ponziani Power Vote Chess anymore. The Vote Chess Team i am on insists on only playing the very strongest vote chess teams--so some real chess is going on. LOTS OF discussions each move, analysis with diagrams, no early voting, discussions go on until there is agreement. etc etc.

Success in that arena, especially if your ponz group is mostly decent players, isn't very telling I think  i am not on that team but for sure that group had huge advantages. and when i was on that team and we always got to play White, the other teams were overmatched. 


But like I said, I think it will lead to a normal-ish game (especially after 3...Nf6) and the winner wont be the person who knows more theory (like some kind of sharp Najdorf or Slav).  You can say that if you wish but it has not been my experience and from your postings,  you also, would not find playing against the Ponziani easy at all.

catdogorb wrote:

I'm not saying it's a bad opening, or that I expect myself to win, only that I'll be comfortable.

And I'm aware of your history, and I give you that respect, that you know this opening better than me.

But for example, if I play 3...Nf6 and what's your move?

ok, fair enough. It is just that if you followed some of your earlier postings you could run into trouble. After 3. ... Nf6 then most all Ponziani players would reply 4. d4

The Ponziani, like all other normal openings, leads to a draw with best play by both sides.

It is all relative. Once i opened 1. e4 and my opponent replied e6!. It turned out he was expert in the French Defense and he got a draw. Undecided

The next time i played him was in the US Correspondence Chess Championships--and i opened 1. c4! Smile

He more or less refuted my Ponziani by playing the French Defense!