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Ariel Mengarini
A Mengarini 
Courtesy of 
Number of games in database: 145
Years covered: 1937 to 1995
Last FIDE rating: 2165
Overall record: +56 -65 =24 (46.9%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

Repertoire Explorer
Most played openings
B20 Sicilian (9 games)
E61 King's Indian (6 games)
D08 Queen's Gambit Declined, Albin Counter Gambit (4 games)
D45 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav (4 games)
C70 Ruy Lopez (3 games)
B53 Sicilian (3 games)
C50 Giuoco Piano (3 games)
B07 Pirc (3 games)
D02 Queen's Pawn Game (3 games)
C84 Ruy Lopez, Closed (3 games)

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FIDE player card for Ariel Mengarini

(born Oct-19-1919, died Jan-09-1998, 78 years old) Italy (federation/nationality United States of America)

[what is this?]

Dr. Ariel Mengarini was born in Rome, Italy. His family emigrated to the USA (New York City) in 1927. Mengarini learned the rules of chess at the age of 6. He started to study at Harvard University in 1937 after winning a competitive scholarship. Due to focusing his attention on chess, Mengarini lost his scholarship and had to return home to Washington D. C., where he attended George Washington University. He was a psychiatrist and author of the book "Predicament in 2 Dimensions: The Thinking of a Chessplayer" (Thinker's Press: Davenport, Iowa 1979). He was married to Aristea Mengarini.

In 1943 he won the US Amateur Championship with the score of 11-0.

Last updated: 2022-06-23 17:26:35

 page 1 of 6; games 1-25 of 145  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. H Daly vs A Mengarini  1-0161937Boston City chA03 Bird's Opening
2. S Wagman vs A Mengarini  1-0211939Washington District chC17 French, Winawer, Advance
3. R Durkin vs A Mengarini  ½-½421941Ventnor CityA53 Old Indian
4. A Mengarini vs M L Hanauer 1-0421941Ventnor CityD50 Queen's Gambit Declined
5. J Levin vs A Mengarini  ½-½401941Ventnor CityD45 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
6. A Mengarini vs Santasiere  0-1391941Ventnor CityD48 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, Meran
7. A Mengarini vs A Pinkus 1-0581941Ventnor CityE61 King's Indian
8. F Reinfeld vs A Mengarini  ½-½201941Ventnor CityD10 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
9. A Mengarini vs W Adams 0-1601941Ventnor CityD08 Queen's Gambit Declined, Albin Counter Gambit
10. S Bernstein vs A Mengarini  1-0291941Ventnor CityA15 English
11. A Mengarini vs J F Donovan 1-0241941Ventnor CityA01 Nimzovich-Larsen Attack
12. A Mengarini vs P Le Cornu  1-035194849th US OpenE24 Nimzo-Indian, Samisch
13. A Mengarini vs G Hartleb 1-036194849th US OpenC50 Giuoco Piano
14. M Stark vs A Mengarini  ½-½91194849th US OpenD35 Queen's Gambit Declined
15. O Shapiro vs A Mengarini  0-133194849th US OpenC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
16. A Mengarini vs Santasiere  1-037194849th US OpenE24 Nimzo-Indian, Samisch
17. R Kujoth vs A Mengarini  0-139194849th US OpenD00 Queen's Pawn Game
18. G Kramer vs A Mengarini  1-036194849th US OpenE41 Nimzo-Indian
19. A Mengarini vs A Pinkus  ½-½40194849th US OpenE25 Nimzo-Indian, Samisch
20. W Adams vs A Mengarini 1-036194849th US OpenC26 Vienna
21. A Mengarini vs W Shipman  1-053194849th US OpenC50 Giuoco Piano
22. A Mengarini vs A Bisguier 0-141194849th US OpenD28 Queen's Gambit Accepted, Classical
23. H Steiner vs A Mengarini  1-031194849th US OpenD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
24. H Berliner vs A Mengarini 1-0261949RochesterC36 King's Gambit Accepted, Abbazia Defense
25. A Mengarini vs G Miller  1-034195051st US OpenD47 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
 page 1 of 6; games 1-25 of 145  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Mengarini wins | Mengarini loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-13-06  Pobble: Mengarini is the author of 'Predicament in 2-Dimensions ', which is probably one of the best chess books ever written. Sadly, this gem of a book is unknown to most players. Even more sad is that it went out of print years ago.

His peak rating was 2355 in 1972, though he was probably much stronger decades earlier!

He was an M.D. by profession.

May-29-06  mack: Didn't he once survey 1.e4 e5 2.a3!?
Jul-02-06  MoonlitKnight: "There is a tendency to dash off a half-baked brilliancy, as soon as we see a couple of spectators gathered around our table; we don't stop to analyze it all out, for fear they might go away." - Mengarini

All too true. :-)

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheAlchemist: This must have been a big upset:

A Mengarini vs Reshevsky, 1951

Mar-14-08  whiteshark: "…winning is no trick at all if you can intimidate the opponent with dire menaces before the game. An even simpler way would be to shoot him and win by default. It is clear then that there is not much scope left for psychology, if our only weapons are to be moves."

-- Ariel Mengarini in <Predicament in 2 Dimensions>

Mar-14-08  whiteshark: Ariel Mengarini (* October 19, 1919 in Rome (Italy); † January 9, 1998) Citizen of United States of America


Mar-15-08  Strongest Force: I remember Dr. Mengarini. Like GM Fine, Mengarini was one of the world's foremost psychologists. I often played him in NYC tournaments. In one of these many tournaments, i recall J.Tisdall (who would soon become a GM and move to Norway) was more interested in my game than he was in his own game (he was playing right next to me). After both of the games were done, Tisdall approached me and said he liked the way i played (even though i lost to Mengarini). I remember taking a long walk down 5th ave. in NYC with Mengarini and now college professor Rob Sulman (who i will call today) and talking about everything "under the sun". What a nice guy Mengarini was! I didn't even know he was dead until a few minutes ago!
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: The Mengarini Attack against the Gruenfeld Defence is 1. d4 ♘f6 2. c4 g6 3. ♕c2

Source: "Unorthodox Openings", Eric Schiller and Joel Benjamin, Batsford, 1987

Oct-06-08  Karpova: A very interesting article about Dr. Mengarini written by John S. Hilbert: "Learning the Trade: Simuls, Skittles, and Rapid Transit from the Mengarini Papers". Link:

An excerpt:

<And Mengarini’s small folder of miscellaneous games reveals a fair amount concerning the variety of exposures to chess that used to be common enough for players of previous generations, but that in this age of Chess Informants, Internet chess tournaments, and mega-databases of games appears almost antiquated. Sadly so. For much of what has been lost involves the personal, human contact, the other side, so to speak, of the chess experience. Mengarini’s experience was not unique. What he made of it, of course, while also pursuing a career that found him for many years practicing as a psychiatrist, indeed was unique. What follows are just a few of those contacts.>

Oct-19-08  brankat: Has anybody read Dr.Mengarini's book: "Predicament in 2 Dimensions: The Thinking of a Chessplayer" (Thinker’s Press: Davenport, Iowa 1979).

If so, any comments? Thank You.

R.I.P. Dr,Nengarini.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Yet another route to a Fischer-2, and the only player against whom I tried the White side of a main line Closed Spanish from 1975 to the end of my playing career, the only time we ever met in 1992.
Sep-14-12  Strongest Force: Dr. AM was also a good kibitzer. Aggressive kitbitzers could throw you off your game. If you tried to walk around you got unsolicited advice. AM was keen on watching but he would let you be free to walk around. Joel Benjamin was another story...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Quote of the Day

" There is a tendency to dash off a half-baked brilliancy, as soon as we see a couple of spectators gathered around our table; we don't stop to analyze it all out, for fear they might go away. "


Jan-27-16  TheFocus: This is from the Mechanics Institute newsletter for 1/22/16: 4) A letter from John Hilbert about Walter Browne

The following material comes from the noted chess historian John Hilbert, the world’s greatest expert on American chess from 1850 to 1950. He writes:

<Knowing your interest in Walter Browne, I attach a game played in the 1972 (6th) New York City championship, held at the McAlpin Hotel in NYC, against Ariel Mengarini. In looking over some other materials from Ariel Mengarini’s scores, I happened on it and thought you might like to see it. I didn’t see the game listed in the index to the 1972 Chess Life & Review, although the tournament itself was advertised in the April 1972 issue, at page 261. I also didn’t find the game in Browne’s game collection.

Mengarini finished 0–3 against Browne in 1972, including his loss in round 7 in that August’s US Open, held in Atlantic City, NJ. Mengarini was hardly a weak player, though. He had, in the same tournament, just the round before, drawn with Arnold Denker. And in round five he had beaten some fellow named Bent Larsen (Browne also beat Larsen that year, winning the US Open with 10½–1½. Browne also wrote that “Larsen was about 25 minutes late for every game and used only about one hour in each, which partly explains his poor performance.” CL&R, 1972, p.623. See full tournament crosstable, CL&R, 1972, p.674). The 1972 US Open games are in ChessBase, but this NYC championship game is not.>

Ruy Lopez
Walter Browne–Ariel Mengarini
New York City Championship (4) 1972

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 Bg4 9.d3 O-O 10.Nbd2 d5 11.h3 Bh5 12.Qe2 dxe4 13.dxe4 Qd7 14.Nf1 Rad8 15.Ng3 Bg6 16.Rd1 Qc8 17.Nh4 Na5 18.Nhf5 Rfe8 19.Nxe7+ Rxe7 20.Rxd8+ Qxd8 21.Bc2 Ne8 22.a4 c6 23.axb5 axb5 24.b3 f6 25.Be3 Bf7 26.Nf5 Rd7 27.Ra3 Nd6 28.Nh6+ gxh6 29.Rxa5 f5 30.Ra6 Qc8 31.Ra1 Nxe4 32. Bxe4 fxe4 33. g4+ Kh8 34.Bxh6 Bxb3 35.Bg7+ Kg8 36.Bxe5+ Kf8 37.Bd6+ Kf7 38.Qf5+ Kg8 39.Ra7 1-0.

May-17-20  wordfunph: from Chess Life 1998 May..

<What I remember about Ariel is his delightful sense of humor and quick wit. During one of the many weekend campaigns, Ariel was in contention for first place (not a rare occurrence) and the TD made the mistake of wishing everyone good luck before starting the clocks.

"That's a mathematical impossibility,"
said Ariel.

"Well, then, good luck to half of you."

"Which half?" That was Ariel.>

rest in peace, master Ariel Mengarini..

Premium Chessgames Member
  louispaulsen88888888: I met him once at a tournament. I remember only one thing he said, which was that the opening named after him is 1.P-K4 P-K4 2.Kt-QB3 Kt-KB3
And not 2.P-QR3, which is sometimes mistakenly called Mengarini’s Opening. He pointed out one possibility is 3...P-Q4 4.PxP KtxP 5.Q-R5, where the QRP covers the QKt4 square, preventing the knight from going there, as often happens in the line with colors reversed.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gottschalk: Possible NOTABLE ganes of this italo-american player: S Rubin vs A Mengarini, 1971 A Mengarini vs Reshevsky, 1951

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