enter image description here

I'm black. I took the rook and ended up winning the game. Did I make the right choice? Instead of winning a bishop, and after queens are exchanged, i would have got tripled pawns.

The Lichess engine says to take the bishop, then Qxc6 Bxf1, but I'm not convinced by that line. I mean, everyone would save the rook, as mentioned above. I think if I were to take the bishop, queens would be exchanged and white would save the rook.

And says if I took the bishop I'd have 3.6 points advantage, whereas taking the rook is 0.4 only. Again I'm not totally convinced by engines so I'm asking humans. I don't like having tripled pawns. Maybe the computer approach is best, but I don't think humans would play what Lichess suggested.

4 Answers 4


I agree that tripled pawns are not the greatest, but you're getting a piece for those pawns. If you lost them all, you'd more-or-less be even, depending on the position. What a deal!

Here's the position where the queen trade is avoided. Black ends up with a Rook for three pawns. White's doomed, but as long as he can keep the Queens on the board he has hopes for a swindle. He needs to get those K-side pawns rolling! Stockfish rates this at -4.68. Extremely unpleasant indeed.

[FEN "2r4r/1k3p1p/p1p2p2/1q2pQ2/5B2/bP6/P1P2PPP/1KR4R b - - 0 1"]

1... exf4 2.Qxf6 Bxc1 3.Rxc1 Qc5 4.Qxf4 Rhe8 5.Qxf7+ Re7 (-4.68)

Here's a varation where the Queens come off. White's counter-play simply evaporates. If the first variation is desperate, this one is hopeless. What's the plan for White? I can't see one. Try this - every time Black moves a Rook, think "nu uh" in your head. White has nothing. Stockfish says Black's up by 5.5

[FEN "2r4r/1k3p1p/p1p2p2/1q2pQ2/5B2/bP6/P1P2PPP/1KR4R b - - 0 1"]

1... exf4 2. Qxb5 cxb5 3.Rce1 Rhe8 4.c4 bxc4 5.Kc2 Bc5 6.bxc4 Bxf2 7.Rxe8 Rxe8 (-5.5)

It is a typical beginner's mistake to overvalue the importance of having a good pawn structure. A friend of mine once gave a whole piece away to avoid getting doubled pawns, and you argue similarly in this position. That is very understandable if you have just learned about hanging, isolated and doubled pawns and want to adhere to this newfound wisdom.

BUT: It is very, very rare that an advantage in pawn structure is worth a full piece. The disadvantage from having doubled or even tripled pawns usually varies between zero and one pawn.

General advice: Don't worry too much about structure or pawns in general, having active pieces is much more important. Also: Having more material is more important, if only because a piece that your opponent doesn't have, cannot become active.


After 1... Bxf1 2. Bxf1 it seems that White can draw the game because of superiority on white squares (White has white-square bishop and Black has a lot of weaknesses on white squares, king is also exposed) and Black's cramped queenside.

But I would go for 1... Bxf1 too in a blitz game, because these lines are too complex for humans, at least for non-masters.

[Event "Analysis with Stockfish 6 after Bxf1, depth 30"]
[Site ""]
[Date ""]
[Round ""]
[White ""]
[Black ""]
[Result ""]
[FEN "r4r2/p1p3k1/2p2p1p/2Qp2q1/8/6P1/PPP2P1P/R4BK1 b - - 0 2"]
[Setup "1"]

2... Qe5 ( 2... h5 3. Qxc6 Qe5 4. Rd1 Rad8 5. Qc5 h4 6. Qxa7 hxg3 7. hxg3 Rh8 8.
Qc5 Qh5 9. Qxc7+ Kg6 10. Bd3+ f5 11. Qb6+ Kf7 12. Qc7+ Kf6 13. Qc6+ Kf7 14.
Qc7+ { 0.00}  ) ( 2... Rad8 3. Qxc6 ( 3. Qe7+ Kh8 4. Qxc7 Qe5 5. Qxc6 Rc8 6.
Qa4 Qxb2 7. Re1 Qxc2 8. Qxa7 Qf5 9. a4 Rfe8 10. Rxe8+ Rxe8 11. a5 Re1 12. Qf7
Qe6 13. Qf8+ Kh7 14. Kg2 Qe4+ 15. Kh3 Rxf1 16. Qf7+ Kh8 17. Qf8+ Kh7 { 0.00}  )
3... Qe5 4. Qc5 Rf7 5. Rb1 h5 6. Qxa7 h4 7. Bg2 hxg3 8. hxg3 Re7 9. a4 d4 10.
b4 Qf5 11. Rc1 Qg5 12. Rb1 Qf5 { 0.00}  ) ( 2... Rab8 3. Qxc6 Qe5 4. Rd1 Rb6 5.
Qd7+ Rf7 6. Qg4+ Kf8 7. Qc8+ Kg7 8. Qg4+ { 0.00}  ) 3. Qxc6 d4 4. Bd3 Rab8 5.
b3 Rbd8 6. f4 Qe7 7. Qb7 Rd7 8. Qxa7 Qe3+ 9. Kg2 Qd2+ 10. Kg1 Qe3+ { 0.00}   

I would take the piece. As a rule of thumb, it is easier to fight up a piece instead of fighting between two pieces. That is with a Bishop on d3 versus a Rook on e8, you can see it is harder to penetrate than if White had no pieces to defend the entry points.

The triple pawns do look horrible but are helpful. Rb8 to try and eliminate one of the pawns is a bad idea as it gives White a half-open files to attack your pawns. A rook will go to d8 then to d6/5. The pawns will be undoubled(untripled) or you will get total control over the open file. The king and a rook on d7 will prevent any play on the e file.

The Bishop is restricting the King, even if it's only for a couple of moves.

[fen "r4r2/p1p3k1/2p2p2/6p1/2p5/6Pb/PPP2P1P/R4RK1 b - - 0 1"]

1...Rad8 2. Rad1 Rd6 

I skipped a White move just to illustrate the point.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.