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  1. Forum
  2. General Chess Discussion
  3. Opinions on the Cozio Ruy Lopez?

It seems to be a very underrated response to the Ruy Lopez but is interesting and quite easy to play. GM Dreev believes it to completely equalise for black. Opinions? Here is a game:
lichess.org/ExIESSEp

EDIT: posted better game

They seem to be following a "main line" up to move 12, where Stockfish prefers 12... d6. It seems pretty equal from then on, but the way Black castles isn't very comfortable for many, I suppose.

Bumping this. Anyone else have any insights? I'm thinking of making this my main weapon against the Ruy Lopez

You can pretty much play anything if you are below CM level.
That said, this is probably slightly better for White, but you'll see GMs play it from time to time, so playable.

Here is a better game between 2 stronger players

lichess.org/ge8JiiHX#6

@tpr so are you suggesting that Svidler is stronger than Sebag :)
I picked the other game because it illustrated the critical line with black playing a6 (and of course because black won too!). In fact 4.Nc3 is not even the mainline, but I just picked a game with it as some people claim it is a refutation, which it is not. Also 4...d6 avoids the mess reaching an improved Steinitz Defense (really a Modern Steinitz).

The Cozio was formerly considered ?! but the move a6 at key points is supposed to have renovated it - in fact I didn't know this until recently which is why I hadn't played it before

It's one of those openings which solves so many opening puzzles at once, isn't it. You fully so avoid the exchange variation completely and you also take the ensuing game into basic uncharted territory.


Both of your examples do contain 4.Nc3 ...but expect 0-0 or else c3 here, which are better. Then you need to still play a6/b5 and hunt the b5 bishop. The game can then quickly resemble a King's Indian tactical battle of attack and counter-attack and tactical thrusts galore.

As long as you are happy to both avoid mainline theory and to still engage very fully in cut-and-thrust tactical Chess, then why not play the Cozio as your main weapon against the Spanish? As good as any other attempt, better than most and if you do fully understand it's broader implications, it could serve you very well.

I prefer either the Zaitsev or else the Open Spanish for Black myself, but for sure the Cozio is lesser-seen, less well-known but it holds-up pretty damn good - both strategically and tactically too. No direct refutation, you can confuse and win or else get into some serious tactical exchanges. Not a bad way to build a good repertoire.

Thanks, really useful information @cp560

I would add that I often do actively deviate myself from accepted Chess theory. Like 3.Ne2 versus the French, which is little known or else to just play the 4-knights game with White, if the opponent is set to play a typical Spanish game. This does allow the Bc5 counter-play, which can get a bit tricky OTB although it avoids loads of memorizing theory. The position is nothing special, by very playable.

Sometimes these approaches can help, sometimes it confuses some opponents. Very often they will just ignore it though and will play sane moves and compete well. At a good solid mid-range level, I've found that it does help to have a good and consistent repertoire, designed for yourself. Do you play these positions fairly well, fairly often? Then just do it.

Some might only see the knight to e7 and not see past it to then see the g6/Bg7 idea lurking behind it. Any chance to gain any advantage is always worth looking at, even with maybe playing some awkward looking moves. It won't work against all opponents though. Some are too clever.