I saw the following position and was wondering how white should continue:

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  1. Should white exchange bishops?
  2. Should white play a4 to protect the bishop?
  3. Should white play c4 to protect the bishop and undefended pawn on d5?
  4. Should white do something else

Which of the options above, would be the best way to continue and what should be the thought process behind each suggestion.

  • 4. Resign - White is a pawn down and has a worse pawn structure as well. Black is winning, no matter what White does.
    – Glorfindel
    Jun 20, 2016 at 16:48
  • I think Be2 is the best choice. White should try to make something happen on the long diagonal a1-h8and also try to prove the bishop on d7 has no useful squares. Jun 20, 2016 at 17:33
  • 4
    @Glorfindel - Well, I was looking for something besides resign.
    – xaisoft
    Jun 20, 2016 at 18:03
  • 1
    Komodo 8 likes Bc4
    – chackerian
    Jun 20, 2016 at 18:55
  • 2
    I don't quite agree with @Glorfindel regarding resignation. it depends upon the level of the players. In USCF terms, if the players are D or E players, a pawn doesn't matter a lot. If they are B players, it's uncomfortable. An A player might play on for a while, but know that doom is likely. Higher level players might resign unless prize money was involved.
    – Tony Ennis
    Jun 20, 2016 at 23:02

4 Answers 4


As white is a pawn down without compensation, piece exchanges should be avoided. White's only practical chance is a king side attack. Maybe Bc4, with the plan of Bc4-a2, c2-c4, Ba2-b1. Along with Qh5 and/or Qc2 plus g2-g4. Its slow and black can defend, but what else can white try?


I am a pawn down with bad pawn structure on my Queen side, so rather than exchange or play a4, I would like to keep the thin advantage of having the pair of bishops, so my bishop is to save.

Where to move it now ? I don't really like Be2, it doesn't give me anything and it dims my bishop's radiance, instead I would probably play Bc4, then Ba2, maybe pushing my pawn on c4 and playing Bb1 (and Bc2 after that), best position I think and the good (b1-h7) diagonale.

Then with the Queen and Nf3 I could have some possibilities


See how black's bishop on d7 doesn't have good squares where it does something useful, so avoid the trade. Because the bishop could be a useful attacking piece, avoid 1. Bd3 Nxd3 since White doesn't want to trade it off. The only available squares are c4 and e2. 1. Bc4 seems a bit more active and flexible, so I would go with Bc4 and similar plans to CWallach's answer above.

  1. Protect (a4) so the black queen will stay in bad position and Nc5 won't attack. Nf3 to g5 and it will open up some options and clear a path for queen and bishop plays assuming the black queen still stays at the same position.

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