I won the game easily because my opponent left a rook hanging in the end. I believe I missed opportunities to build a stronger attack, but I am not sure how I could have done so.

[FEN ""]
1.d4 e5 2.dxe5 Qe7 3.Nc3 Qxe5 4.e4 Nf6 5.Nf3 Qe7 6.Bd3 Qb4 7.O-O Be7 8.e5 Ng4 9.Nd5 Qc5 10.Nxe7 Qxe7 11.Re1 O-O 12.h3 Nh6 13.Nd4 Qh4 14.Re4 Qe7 15.Bxh6 gxh6 16.Qh5 d5 17.Re3 f5 18.Rg3+ Kh8 19.f4 Nc6 20.Nxc6 bxc6 21.Qxh6 Qe6 22.Qxf8+ Qg8 23.Qxg8#
  • 1
    Did you at least consider 12 Bxh7+? I'm not saying it's the best move, but if you want to improve your attacking play it's an idea that come to mind quickly in this kind of position.
    – Ian Bush
    Jan 24, 2017 at 11:02
  • Bxh7 looks good as Ng5 discovers an attack on the Ng4. Forcing Black to take pawn structure damage is good, but it's important to consider all options. Fritz rates h3 as best, as well. But that's actually because of Ng5 and not an immediate Bxh6.Because ...g6 Ne4 is just deadly.
    – aschultz
    Jan 25, 2017 at 1:23
  • On move 10, no need to trade your strongly posted knight for Black's inoffensive bishop. You could protect the knight with 10.c4 or 10.Bf5.
    – bof
    Jan 25, 2017 at 1:50
  • @aschultz It's not just the discovery, I would hope the similarity to the Greek Gift sacrifice would trigger a few neurons. Move the black knight on g4 somewhere else, picking c6 somewhat at random, and everything is in place: The pawn on h7 is only protected by the king, the knight can come safely to g5, the queen to g4 and h5 and there is back up (the rook and the black squared bishop)
    – Ian Bush
    Jan 25, 2017 at 8:14

6 Answers 6

  1. Nf5 would win the queen one way or another because of the threat Qg4+, Qg7++. For instance 16. Nf5 Qe6 17. Qg4+ Qg6 18. Ne7+

Other than that, when you are attacking and the opponent's pieces are undeveloped or discoordinated you really want to open files and not create a closed position. Therefore 17. exd6 e.p. or even better 18. exf6 e.p. seems natural. Then white will bring a rook to e7 and black should be lost soon.

  • I wonder if White knows the en passant rule?
    – bof
    Jan 25, 2017 at 1:32
  • @bof: Black might not know it either.... Jan 25, 2017 at 8:53

exd6/exf6 as mentioned above are good just because they open lines and the pawn isn't likely to anchor the knight.

I really like 17. Rh4 because it forces Qg5, then Qxh6 gets both h pawns and the game's pretty much over.

Black has a resource of ...Qg5 to try to trade queens, but White's so far ahead in development it isn't a real threat to dissipate his advantage.

19 Nxf5 seems fine too as Qf7 (or) Qxe5 Qxh6 and ...Qf5 allows Qg7 mate, so White is just a pawn up and has opened up Black's kingside a bit more.

Sometimes it's easy to overthink stuff and not go for the clear captures. And a move like f4 appears to build up your position, but the e-pawn doesn't need protection. Open lines are important.

20 Nxc6 seems to let Black off the hook too. You should avoid piece exchanges while you're ahead unless they lead to a clear endgame. Yeah, you mess up his queenside pawns a bit, but you need to think bigger. It's nice to win a pawn, but as opposed to the line above, which also wins a pawn, the game is a bit closed off.

A good way to continue the attack after ...Be6 instead of Qe6 looks to be Rg3-g5-h5 and Kh2 and Rg1 and g4. White will break through on the g-file. Black will have trouble exchanging queens since the queen has to guard the bishop, and if that moves, Qxc6 works. Meanwhile White brings his rook into the game, either with Ra1-e1-e3-g3 or Kh2, Rg1, g4.


You could have started with a tempo with:

  1. Nf3 Qe7
  2. Nd5

which threatens Nxc7+ and winning a rook. Continuing with Black's best response:

  1. ... Qd8
  2. Bf4 d6

Bf4 adds an attacker to the c7 pawn so d7 is forced. After this has happened, we are left with:

[FEN ""]
1. d4 e5 2.dxe5 Qe7 3. Nc3 Qxe5 4. Nf3 Qe7 5. Nd5 Qd8 6. Bf4 d6

Black wasted 6 moves basically to trade a pawn and advance the d pawn, which was forced. White however, has developed both Knights and a Bishop. White's development will continue with e4, posting the strong d5 Knight. If Black plays Nf6, then White further develops with Bc4.

[FEN ""]
1. d4 e5 2.dxe5 Qe7 3. Nc3 Qxe5 4. Nf3 Qe7 5. Nd5 Qd8 6. Bf4 d6 7. e4 Nf6 8. Bc4

Note that Black did not capture White's e4 pawn because though undefended, Black will lose the Knight to a pin with Qe2. If Black tries to defend with f5:

[FEN ""]
1. d4 e5 2.dxe5 Qe7 3. Nc3 Qxe5 4. Nf3 Qe7 5. Nd5 Qd8 6. Bf4 d6 7. e4 Nf6 8. Bc4 Nxe4 9. Qe2 f5 10. Bg5 Qd7 11. Nd2 Be7 12. Bxe7 c6 13. Nxe4 fxe4 14. Qh5+ g6 15. Nf6+ Kxe7 16. Qg5 Qd8 17. O-O-O Bf5 18. Nxe4+ Kd7 19. Rxd6+

and the Queen is lost as the King can no longer block the Rook from attacking the Queen.

In eight moves (board 2), White has created a tempo, developed all minor pieces, has strong command of the center, and caused Black to be severely underdeveloped. White also has the option to castle King's side and Queen's side if the Queen moves. If Black does blunder (board 3), White's superior position will easily win the game with the right attacks.

Though I agree that the midgame moves are improvements, I believe a strong position and attack in the beginning is much, much better.

  • 5.Nd5 is NOT gaining a tempo. The Qe7 is misplaced anyway, and the Nd5 may be forced to move by c7-c6 at some point; If it retreats, you haven't won a tempo but lost at least one tempo. 5.Bf4 (with the threat 6.Nd5), 5.Bg5 or 5.e4 are better moves. Also, 4...Qa5 is better than 4...Qe7 is this line (and in the main game as well, which Black played poorly)
    – Evargalo
    Sep 1, 2017 at 14:42

[fen ""]

[White "?"]
[Black "?"]
[Result "1-0"]

1. d4 e5 2. dxe5 Qe7 3. Nc3 Qxe5 4. e4 Nf6 5. Nf3 Qe7 6. Bd3 {Bc4 looks more
active, but the e pawn is under pressure.  e5 followed by Bc4 seems best.} 6...
Qb4 7. O-O Be7 8. e5 Ng4 9. Nd5 Qc5 10. Nxe7 {This exchanges too quickly.} (10.
c4) 10... Qxe7 11. Re1 {The pawn is protected by the pin on the e file.} (11. h3
Nh6 12. Bxh6 (12. Bg5)) 11... O-O 12. h3 (12. Bxh7+) (12. Bg5) 12... Nh6 13. Nd4
Qh4 14. Re4 {The knight's not under attack, but this or Bxh6 is the best move.}
14... Qe7 15. Bxh6 gxh6 16. Qh5 (16. Nf5) 16... d5 17. Re3 (17. exd6 Qxd6 18.
Nf5 Bxf5 19. Qxf5 {Threatening Rg4+ and Qxh7#}) 17... f5 18. Rg3+ Kh8 19. f4 Nc6
20. Nxc6 bxc6 21. Qxh6 Qe6 22. Qxf8+ Qg8 23. Qxg8# *

The game was well played. You need to open more lines, create more weaknesses, and practice more tactics.


You're fine, because your queen on h6 attacks the pawn on c6, as well as a number of points on the kingside, and Black can't defend them all. His best is probably 21... Be6 (shields the pawn). Then you play, 22. Ba6 Rb8 23. Rb3 RxR 24. axb3. The c pawn is still en prise, and you threaten to move the B, uncovering an attack by your a rook on the Black a pawn as well.


16) Qh5 should have been delayed and Nf5 is even more forcing. How to consider this fact?

Whenever you play your move you must make sure about the strongest reply from your opponent: d5 is the freeing move which black was willing to play ASAP, and Qh5 allowed that. True, the queen on kingside makes it look scary, but Nf5 attacks the queen and the h6-pawn. In the entire game, the knight on d4 could not move on to a better square because other pieces occupied those squares.

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