Here is the opening in question:
[FEN ""] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 Nxe4? 4. Qe2! Qe7 5. Qxe4 d6
White has the advantage no matter which pawn is moved next,
6. d4 or
6. f4 (there is no way to keep the knight, but after the exchange white is up a pawn). However, in the interest of knowledge, which pawn is better to push?
If white plays
6. f4, the line continues
6... dxe5 7. fxe5and now white has two powerful central pawns while black has none. This also allows white to play the strong
8. e4potentially creating a pawn duo in the center, although black can prevent this with
However, this also ditches the f-pawn, severely weakening the kingside position and violating the "rule of thumb" to avoid pushing the f-pawn (and losing it to boot). This makes castling kingside a lot less attractive and could allow black to mount an effective attack if white does so. (It also provides black with a weakness to take advantage of before the king has castled, the e1-h4 diagonal and the king's lack of protection in general, if white decides to castle queenside.)
If white plays
6. d4, castling kingside becomes more feasible again. Black has to move the queen out of the way before castling (or black can just fianchetto, but this still wastes a turn moving the g-pawn), losing a tempo (black will probably want to castle soon to avoid having the king attacked down the nice and open d file).
This move has its disadvantages too, though. The pawn on e5 is, for all practical purposes, an isolated pawn (moving the f-pawn would negate any possible advantage of playing
6. d4instead of
6. f4). This makes it very vulnerable to attack (ex.
7... Nc5practically forces
8. Bf4). And just as
6. f4violates the common "rule of thumb" to avoid pushing the f-pawn,
6. d4violates the guideline to capture towards the center with pawns.
I ended up playing
6. f4. Black subsequently blundered away the queen and resigned soon after... but I'm still curious about this position.
Am I missing anything in my analysis? Which move is better overall for white? Could white have played better in any previous moves?