[fen "r4rk1/pp1q1p1p/2p1b1p1/3pPp2/1P1Q1P2/P7/2PB1P1P/2KR2R1 w - - 3 14"]

Hey all, I've used SE for other things and I just played a Chess game and I figured this might be a good place to turn for answers.

I am fairly novice at chess and I was playing a timed game and this is the state of the board at the end of the online game. Obviously White wants to force the game on dark squares and black is pushing for light squares, but given the board state I cannot see what either player can hope to accomplish without sacrificing many pieces to break down the pawn structure.

What should white's objective be to try and win this game? Can he even win if Black doesn't make any horrendous mistakes?

1 Answer 1


White needs to put his bishop on f6 in order to create winning chances, so a good way to start is by playing f3, planning Be1-h4-f6, followed by Qf2, with two ideas: either Qh4, Rg5-h5 (possibly with Rdg1 first if necessary), or Rg3-h3, then Rxh7, with mate in either case.

The first question is whether black can defend against this by moving his king to the queenside, and playing h5 at the right moment. But a more important question (as the former is a best case scenario in which white cannot lose) is whether black's counterattack on the queenside with b6 and a5 or c5 may end with white getting mated (as white's plan is slow, whereas black's counterattack is quick, though mate is not obvious).

But in any case, with the white pieces, you must realise that lines will be opened on the queenside, so black can also play for a win. The only reason why white may claim an advantage in this position is because his bishop may potentially have a future over black's, but this isn't necessarily true if black can find a good square for his bishop if and when he plays c5 and d4.

So f3 and manoeuvring the bishop to f6 is white's only way to win; black has the option of defending or counterattacking. Conversely, white can attempt to establish a grip on the dark squares by playing Be3 and c3, and try to hold the position to a draw, but this seems unlikely as black will be able to crash through.

Long story short: white's plan as described is practically forced, but whether he will win or not is a different story.

  • 1
    My feeling is that this plan is too slow. 4 moves to get the bishop to f6, at that point the bishop may already be needed to keep the queenside together. Probably white is just in trouble and the thing to take away from this game is not to play b4 in front of your king. Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 8:30
  • What would you play if you had this position as white?
    – Ken Wei
    Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 17:17
  • I'm afraid that white is near lost because soon black starts winning attack, punishing b4. I'd try to swap the queens (1.Qc5 - 2.Qd6 Qxd6 3.exd6), sacrifice the pawn d6 and put the bishop on the a1-h8 diagonal, with very good draw chances. -- elo 2100.
    – olpa
    Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 20:35
  • "I'd try to swap the queens (1.Qc5 - 2.Qd6 Qxd6 3.exd6)": 1.Qc5 b6 2.Qd6 Qb7 with threat 3...Rd8.
    – Ken Wei
    Commented Aug 19, 2015 at 2:00
  • I would probably play Rg3 with the idea of bringing the rook to c3 or b3. That brings another piece into the defence and makes it quite likely that a pair of rooks will be exchanges when black opens the queenside. Commented Aug 19, 2015 at 15:45

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