The Rare Cozio

Carlo Cozio was an 18th century Italian player was the first to explore 3…Nge7 in the Ruy Lopez. It has never been as popular as the main Ruy Lopez lines as Black often faces multiple weaknesses.

Nevertheless, it still remains on the radar of things to know when studying the Ruy Lopez.

This can be due to many factors. Players may want to avoid the main lines (too much to study they say), or people make a finger (or mouse) slip (right knight, wrong square), or maybe a strong player once suggested this move in a book titled, “HOW TO BEAT THE RUY LOPEZ USING WITH THE CORIZO!”.

The question then, how to deal with it?

First of all, it is also nice to have a copy of ECO around when analyzing your game. Such as this line.

[ECO, C70]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nge7 5.Nc3 d6 6.d4 exd4 7.Nxd4 Bd7 8.Bb3 Nxd4 9.Qxd4 Nc6 10.Qe3 Be7 11.Bd2 O-O 12.O-O-O +/- (Nenarokov)

Just my suggestion!

Ok – Let’s get to the games!

Escalante (1744)-J.H. (1447)
Blitz Game
Anaheim, CA, Feb. 21 1988
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nge7 4.c3 a6 5.Ba4
[ECO gives 5.Bc4 (which changes the game from C70 to C60) 5…d5 6.exd5 Nxd5 7.O-O Nb6 8.Bb3 Bd6 9.d4 O-O 10.Bg5 Qd7 11.dxe5 Nxe5 =/+ 12.Nbd2 Nxf3+ 13.Nxf3 Qb5! 14.a4 Qa5 15.Bc2 Bg4! 16.Qd3 g6 =/+, quoting the game Psahis-Sydor, Naleczow, 1980.] 5…b5 6.Bb3 d6 7.O-O Bg4 8.Bxf7+! Kxf7 9.Ng5+ Kg8 10.Qxg4 h6 11.Qe6mate 1-0

Blitz Game, Sept. 2010
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nge7 4.d4 exd4 5.Nxd4 a6 6.Ba4 b5 7.Bb3 Bb7 8.O-O h6 9.Nc3 g5 10.Be3 Ng6 11.Nf5 Nge5 12.f4 gxf4 13.Bxf4 h5 14.Nd5! Ne7?? 15.Nf6mate 1-0

Blitz Game, Oct. 18 2020
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nge7 4.d4
[Both this and 4.O-O are good moves here. Luke McShane-James Cobb, British Ch., Wales 1995, continued with 4.O-O g6 5.d4 exd4 6.Nxd4 Bg7 7.Be3 O-O 8.Re1 d6 9.Nc3 f5? (Bjarke Kristensen, writing in the Jan. 1996 issue of Chess Life noted, “Mr. Cobb needs to develop a stronger sense of danger. The move 9…Ne5 would have been better than the text.”) 10.exf5 Bxd4 11.Bxd4 Nxd4 12.Qxd4 c6 13.fxg6 cxb5 14.gxh7+ Kf7 15.Rxe7+! Kxe7 16.Qg7+ Ke6 17.Re1+ Kf5 18.g4+ Kf4 19.Nd5+ Kf3 20.Re3#.] 4…exd4 5.Nxd4 a6 6.Ba4 b5 7.Bb3 Nxd4 8.Qxd4 Nc6 (Black can’t try 8…c5?!, hoping for 9.Qd1? c4!, with a variation on the Noah’s Ark trap. Instead, White can simply play 9.Qxc5, with an advantage.) 9.Qd5 Qe7 10.Nc3 Bb7 11.O-O O-O-O 12.Be3 (12.Bf4!?) 12…Qe6 (White doesn’t want to trade queens – his is better placed than Black’s.) 13.Qd3 Qd6 14.Qe2 Qg6 (14…Nd4!? 15.Bxd4 Qxd4 16.Rad1, with the idea of 17.Bxf7, leads to a complicated position, but White is obviously better.) 15.Rfd1 Bd6 16.f3 h5 17.a4 (I wanted to open the queenside, but 17.Nd5 is better.) 14…b4 18.Nd5 h4 19.Bc4 h3 20.g4 (White could probably get away with 20.Bxa6. The text move would normally be considered weakening. But Black’s pieces are not in a position to do anything about it.) 30…Rde8 21.Bxa6 f5 (Black gives up attacking on the kingside and strikes in the center. It’s a good move – White can’t play 22.gxf5 because it is illegal and 22.exf5 fatally opens the e-file for White. White, however, doesn’t need to respond to this threat – he has one himself!) 22.Bxb7+ Kxb7 23.Qb5+ (This position deserves a diagram.)

23…Kc8 [This move seems, at least on this surface, to be Black’s best move as his pieces and pawns offer protection. In fact, it is a blunder as his defenders keep him locked inside a box. Better is the counter-intuitive 23…Ka8! and White must work to find the win; 24.Nxc7+! (the key move) 24…Bxc7 25.Qa6+ Kb8 26.Rd5! fxg4 27.Rb5+ Bb6 (only move!) 28.Qxb6+ Kc8 29.Bg5!! +-.] 24.Qa6+ Kd8 25.Qa8+ 1-0

So, what brought up this interest in the Cozio?

The correspondence game, Escalante-N.N., Team Match,, 2020 just started. The opening moves were:

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nge7 5.c3 g6 6.d4 Bg7.

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