This presentation addresses an analysis of the physical effects required for the correct description of the ionic π → π* ionic excited states in the frame of ab initio quantum chemistry. The importance of the dynamic sigma polarization (absent in methods where the sigma skeleton is treated at a mean-field level) has been recognized by many authors in the past. A new physical effect is described, i. e. the spatial contraction of the π and π* molecular orbitals (or of the local p atomic orbitals) originated from the reduction of the ionicity due to the dynamic sigma polarization. Such an effect is a second order effect (it appears only as a consequence of the dynamic sigma polarization) but it cannot be ignored. Many of the difficulties found in the past in the calculation of the vertical excitation energy of this state are attributed to an incomplete description of this contraction, while the few successes have been obtained when it has been fortuitously introduced by ad hoc procedures or when it is described in a brute force approach. Various strategies are proposed to allow for the spatial contraction of the p atomic orbitals
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