Typical opening mistakes

It’s human nature to make mistakes. In Chess, an early mistake can lose you the game instantly, or at the least, lead to a long-term disadvantage. Avoiding mistakes in the opening and even learning from mistakes is a valuable tool to improve your chess.

Chess is a complex game. You will not find an answer for each possible move, but Ruslan Ponomariov, former FIDE World Champion, demonstrates basic patterns that will help you navigate through the game more easily. Focusing on the most important things - the themes are universal - thus helpful for a beginner, amateur, chess coach or professional. All examples are taken from Ponomariov’s long career. Don’t put it off - learn from the best and move forward to chess improvement! Themes include: Weak opening preparation, Overpreparation, What to do with opening surprises, Development, Safety of the king, Importance of the centre, Pseudo-activity, Good and bad openings, Importance of pawn structure, Playing against the opponent.

• Video running time: 7 hours 21 minutes

• With interactive training including video feedback


This is what is delivered:

  • Fritztrainer App for Windows and Mac
  • Available as download or on DVD
  • Video course with a running time of approx. 4-8 hrs.
  • Repertoire database: save and integrate Fritztrainer games into your own repertoire (in WebApp Opening or in ChessBase)
  • Interactive exercises with video feedback: the authors present exercises and key positions, the user has to enter the solution. With video feedback (also on mistakes) and further explanations.
  • Sample games as a ChessBase database.
  • New: many Fritztrainer now also available as stream in the ChessBase video portal!

That's what the FritzTrainer App can do for you:

  • Videos can run in the Fritztrainer app or in the ChessBase program with board graphics, notation and a large function bar
  • Analysis engine can be switched on at any time
  • Video pause for manual navigation and analysis in game notation
  • Input of your own variations, engine analysis, with storage in the game
  • Learn variations: view specific lines in the ChessBase WebApp Opening with autoplay, memorize variations and practise transformation (initial position - final position).
  • Active opening training: selected opening positions are transferred to the ChessBase WebApp Fritz-online. In a match against Fritz you test your new knowledge and actively play the new opening.

Even more possibilities: Start FritzTrainer in the ChessBase program!

  • The database with all games and analyses can be opened directly.
  • Games can be easily added to the opening reference.
  • Direct evaluation with game reference, games can be replayed on the analysis board
  • Your own variations are saved and can be added to the own repertoire
  • Replay training
  • LiveBook active
  • All engines installed in ChessBase can be started for the analysis
  • Assisted Analysis
  • Print notation and diagrams (for worksheets)

Sample video


  • Introduction
  • Weak opening preparation
  • Macieja vs Ponomariov: Development and King in the centre
  • Ponomariov vs Aronian: Same variation, different line
  • Ponomariov vs Almasi: Centre and development
  • Ponomariov vs Sadvakasov: Only trust your own analysis
  • Ponomariov vs Ivanisevic: Not checking if your oppenent knows the line you play
  • Ponomariov vs Carlsen: A young Magnus Carlsen
  • Ponomariov vs Pavasovic: Too dangerous
  • Ponomariov vs Ivanchuk: Forgetting a well-known mistake
  • Overpreparation
  • Ponomariov vs Anand: Bad memory
  • Ponomariov vs Esipenko; Ponomariov vs Jobava: Overpreparation side-effects
  • Ponomariov vs Volokitin: Messing with the move order
  • Ponomariov vs Anand: Playing without a plan
  • Opening surprises
  • Tomashevsky vs Ponomariov: Novelty
  • Mamedyarov vs Pomnomariov; Vlassov vs Ponomariov; Akobian vs Ponomariov: Keep calm
  • Ponomariov vs Beerdsen: Counterproductive surprise
  • Basic Principles - Development
  • Anand vs Ponomariov: Development is more important than material
  • Aronian vs Ponomariov: Lack of development
  • Meier vs Ponomariov: King in the centre
  • Korobov vs Ponomariov: King in the centre
  • Ponomariov vs Vysochin: Exposed queen
  • Ponomariov vs Raceanu: King in the centre
  • Basic Principles - King Safety
  • Ponomariov vs Areshchenko: Open up files
  • Frolov vs Ponomariov: King in the centre
  • Ponomariov vs Mikhailovic: Risky opening
  • Ponomariov vs Azarov: Which side to castle to?
  • Basic Principles - Importance of the centre
  • Ponomariov vs Ermekov, Morozevich vs Ponomariov: Fighting for the centre
  • Aronian vs Ponomariov: Fighting for the centre
  • Ponomariov vs Granda Zuniga: Compensation for the centre
  • Volkov vs Ponomariov; Marin vs Ponomariov: Development
  • Ponomariov vs Jobava; Ponomariov vs Michalik: Development & Central pawns
  • Basic Principles - Pseudo activity
  • Ponomariov vs Draskovic: Unprepared activity
  • Ponomariov vs Hou Yifan: Unprepared activity
  • Ponomariov vs Degraeve: Unprepared activity
  • Ponomariov vs Bogdanovic: Moving the Queen out too early
  • Ponomariov vs Shariayzdanov: Unprepared activity
  • Ponomariov vs Morozevich: Unprepared activity
  • Good and bad openings
  • Grischuk vs Ponomariov: Alekhine Defence
  • Ponomariov vs Fressinet: Scandinavian Defence with 3...Qd6
  • Ponomariov vs Movsesian: Alapin Defence
  • Ponomariov vs Azarov; Ponomariov vs Tjomsland; Ponomariov vs Spraggett: Miscellaneous
  • Importance of pawn structures
  • Nakamura vs Ponomariov: Karlsbad structure
  • Zhang vs Ponomariov: Space advantage
  • Ponomariov vs Harikrishna: Changing the pawn structure
  • Vamos vs Ponomariov; Svidler vs Ponomariov: Preparation
  • Passive play
  • Shengelia vs Ponomariov; Neverov vs Ponomariov: Development
  • Ponomariov vs Rubio: Centre and space advantage
  • Playing versus the opponent
  • Ter Sahakyan vs Ponomariov; Beradze vs Ponomariov: Playing for a win
  • Ponomariov vs Leko; Ponomariov vs Nakamura: Psychology
  • Ponomariov vs Van Wely: Playing for a draw
  • Kuzmin vs Ponomariov; Gulko vs Ponomariov: Tricky move order
  • Ponomariov vs Kamsky: Tricky move order
  • Extra thoughts
  • Eljanov vs Ponomariov; Korchnoi vs Ponomariov
  • Ponomariov vs Tukmakov: Classics
  • Gukesh vs Maghsoodloo; Maghsoodloo vs Erdos; Ponomariov vs Lenaerts: Original play
  • Exercises
  • Exercise 1
  • Exercise 2
  • Exercise 3
  • Exercise 4
  • Exercise 5
  • Exercise 6
  • Exercise 7
  • Exercise 8
  • Exercise 9
  • Exercise 10
  • Exercise 11
  • Exercise 12
  • Exercise 13
  • Exercise 14
  • Exercise 15
  • Exercise 16
  • Exercise 17
  • Exercise 18
  • Exercise 19
  • Exercise 20
  • Exercise 21
  • Exercise 22
  • Exercise 23
  • Exercise 24
  • Exercise 25
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