my question is about the position below.

This is, if I copied it correctly, from a book called "How Good Is Your Chess" by Evans. I'm an amateur so pretty much every single problem is difficult and not the book I had thought it would be but as I was returning this book, I tried another problem in the first few pages, where white is said to have three options: 1.Rac1 2. Rfc1 and 3. Bxf6

We are then told the answer is 3. I had chosen number 1. In explaining the answer I had chosen and why it's wrong, he says that if you choose that, then it leads to loss of initiative and endgame:

1 Rac1 Nc5 2 dxc5 Qxc5+ 3. Kh1 Qxg5 4. Qa4 Qa5 5. Qxa5 bxa5

Eventually now we get to my question. Why do I have to take the black knight on my second move anyways? What if I just moved my queen to a square defending my knight? Can I get out of this with a winnable endgame?

2r2rk1/p1qn1ppp/bp1ppn2/6B1/2PP4/PQ1B1P2/1P2N1PP/R4RK1 w - - 0 1 

1 Answer 1


If white does not take the knight on c5 after 1. Rac1, Nc5, the c4 pawn will be lost after 2.Q-somewhere, Nxd3 3.Qxd3, Bxc4. And that is just horrible for white.

  • I see, so at least two pawns, and after that it doesn't look good for white?
    – JSavant
    Dec 26, 2016 at 21:29
  • @JSavant Exactly. Material is very often one of the most important factors in evaluating a position, so if you're down material - even a single pawn - you're very often clearly worse.
    – Scounged
    Dec 26, 2016 at 23:37
  • I don't see that White would be down 2 pawns in that variation, nor do I see it as horrible for White. Gloomy, yes, with 1 pawn down and with Black having more initiative on the Q-side.
    – rolando2
    Jan 2, 2017 at 22:25
  • Hmm, yes it's only one pawn, should've noted that in the comments. But that just means that white went from dead lost to clearly worse. One pawn down with no compensation at all is very close to losing in high-level play. And that is quite horrible, according to me.
    – Scounged
    Jan 3, 2017 at 2:15

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