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The following position is from the Ponziani opening.

Starting 5.. Nce7, the computer gives over +3 advantage for white, but throughout the line I couldn't see why this is such a clear positional advantage, until a piece was taken.

[fen ""]
[Startply "10"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. c3 d5 4. Qa4 Qd7 5. exd5 Nce7 6. Bb5 c6 7. dxc6 bxc6 8. Be2 Ng6 9. d4 exd4 10. Nxd4 Bc5 11. Qc6 Qc6 12. Nxc6 Nf6 13. Nd4 O-O 14. O-O Rb8 15. Nb3 Bb6 16. Na3 Re8 17. Bb5 Re4 18. Nd4 Bxd4 19. cxd4 Rxd4 20. Be3 Rd5 21. Rfd1 Rxd1+ 22. Rxd1 Be6 23. b3 Nd5 24. Bd2 Nge7 25. Bc4 Nc6 26. Nc2 Nde7 27. Bf4 Rb7 28. Ne3 Bxc4 29. Nxc4 f6 30.Kf1 Rb5 31. Rd7 Rd5 32. Rc7 Rd1+ 33. Ke2 Ra1 34. a4 Nd4+ 35. Kd3 Nxb3 36. Rxe7

What am I missing? Since which move is the advantage actually clear to a human?

image of the position from which the computer thinks white wins (and how my game actually went). I want to understand what I was missing so as to not make the same mistake again.

enter image description here

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  • 1
    By move 12 White is up two full pawns!
    – David
    Aug 19, 2023 at 19:54
  • @David I actually missed that! Thanks
    – Gulzar
    Aug 20, 2023 at 18:33
  • @David This explains everything. 8. Be2 is just saying "I am winning c6 very soon anyway".
    – Gulzar
    Aug 20, 2023 at 18:46

2 Answers 2

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Apart from Peter's Answer, I also found some troubling points of Black's position.

The main problem is the lack of development. After 6. Bb5 c6 7. dxc6 bxc6 8. Be2 (Bc4 is also acceptable), White can already short castle, while Black still has to move the dark square Bishop and the Knight on G8 to get out. Long Castle is ridiculous because lines B and C are already opened up, not to mention the white queen is on A4.

This can lead to many disadvantages, for example, white can pressure the pawns on F7 (Play Ng5 and Bc4 )and E5 (Play D4 or Re1) or even get the rook out to attack the king. There is little that Black can do to stop it.

Moreover, this is in the opening, so White enjoys a lot of potential for further development in the position, thus increasing the evaluation bar ( at depth 16, it is only +2.26).

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Per Stockfish

After 4... Qd7 White is already up by about 0.68. 5. ed5 is a mistake, going back to equality, better was Bb5, pinning. But then, after 5...Ne7, White is up by about 2 pawns. Then after 6. Bb5 c6 7. dxc6 bxc6 8. Bc4, White is up an actual pawn (7 to 6) and Black has 2 isolated pawns, is 3 moves from castling, has both bishops blocked and probably some other issues that I am not aware of.

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