In the below position, White is winning because Black cannot do anything. Black's b-pawn is the last fence barring White from checkmating the king rather easily.

k1r4r/1p1nppbp/2b3p1/N7/4PP2/3PB2P/P3B1P1/1RR3K1 w - - 0 1

There are no immediate tactics available for white, but it is clear that white's rook should double up as that is the only thing left to do.

Should the game be played on winning the b-pawn, or is there an easier way to win that I am missing? It is currently White to play. The engine Stockfish 6 doesn't show any captures on b7 happening within the next ten moves, but all play does seem to occur on the queenside.

What are some good plans for White?

  • Passivity alone isn't enough to make a position losing. But here black's position around the king is too shaky for black to just hunker down and defend against white's attacks, while at the same time being very passive. So this position is indeed winning for white.
    – Scounged
    Commented Oct 28, 2017 at 11:36
  • Stockfish tells me Black is dead meat with a +4 advantage. Of course, I think you're really asking how to find the path to the solution. That might be evident once we see some moves. I'll post later.
    – Tony Ennis
    Commented Oct 29, 2017 at 1:30
  • 1
    Maybe that's the elephant in the room, but why doesn't anybody points out White's extra pawn which explains a lot of his advantage ?
    – Evargalo
    Commented Oct 30, 2017 at 9:59

3 Answers 3


Seems there is a simple endgame win here: Take on c6 giving White a passed a-pawn; then d4, e5, Bf3 game over.


I don't think that White should expect to increase his (already large) advantage very quickly. You say there are no immediate tactics, and I don't see any either. But simple moves here are very strong.

1. Nxc6 gets the two Bishops in a position where they will dominate. 1..Rxc6 is forced because if ..1..bxc6 then Rc4. 2. Rxc6 bxc6 and now 3.e5 leaves Black just a pawn down with an awful position. Progress has definitely been made. All of Black's pieces are stuck doing even less than they were.

Over the next twenty or thirty moves you will keep Black tied down, bring your King to the queenside, and promote that rook pawn, so be happy.


First, here's how Stockfish played the game out at 5 minutes per move. From the very start, Stockfish scored the position as decisive for White. After the game, we'll go over it to try to figure out how to play it.

    [FEN "k1r4r/1p1nppbp/2b3p1/N7/4PP2/3PB2P/P3B1P1/1RR3K1 w - - 0 1"]

    1.Rc4 {Stockfish was looking at moving the 'b' Rook up until the last second of the allocated time, then switched to this.} e5 {This one is hard to understand, but it looks like Black wishes to prevent White from closing the center with 'e5'. Black's white-squared Bishop isn't long for this world and White's white-squared bishop will inherit the long diagonal... and this points right at the Black King.} 2.Rcb4 (2. Nxc6 Rxc6 (2... bxc6?? Ra4#) 3. Rxc6 bxc6 {This might tempt me, to get pieces off the board, but while it does produce a passed pawn, it does not win the b pawn. Maybe we can get more...}) Nb8 (2... exf4 3.Bxf4 Bf8 4.Nxc6 Rxc6 (4... Bxb4 Nxb4 {Stockfish is happy to trade the rook for two bishops.}) 5.Rxb7 Bc5+ 6.Kf1 Nb6 7.Rxf7 Rf8 8.Rxf8+ Bxf8 9.e5 ) 3.fxe5 Rc7 4.Bf3 Re8 5.d4 Bf8 {The diagonal is closed, time to find a new one.} 6.R4b2 Ba4 7.Nxb7 {I think at this point Black can consider resigning.} Rc3 8.Kf2 {White seems to be in a won position with 2 passers and no weaknesses.} Rc2+ {This is an indication of how poor Black's position is. Trading pieces is the last thing he should want, but he has to get the pressure off his King.} 9.Rxc2 Bxc2 10.Rb2 Ba3 11.Rxc2 Kxb7 12.Rc3 Bf8 {All of Black's pieces are on the first rank.} 13.Rb3+ Kc8 14.Bg4+ {Now Stockfish notes the Knight is only defended by the King and the King can be deflected. He goes for the Knight.} Nd7 15.Bd2 h5 16.Be2 Kd8 {With a rook and the bishops very active, White has mating chances. Black is relocating his King to a safer square.} 17.Rb7 {Nope. After 18. Bb5 White will win material} Kc8 18.Ra7 Re7 {prevents the pin that would have been inevitable} 19.Ra8+ {White is still exploiting the poor defense of the Knight} Kb7 20.Rd8 {Who is defending the Bishop on f8??} f6 21.e6 {...and the Knight falls.} Rxe6 22.Rxd7+ Kc8 23.Rf7 Ba3 24.Kf3 g5 25.Ke3 g4 26.hxg4 Re8 {avoiding the instantly fatal pin, but creating the pawn that is his doom} 27.gxh5 f5 28.Rxf5 Rg8 29.g4 Be7 30.h6 Kd7 31.Bb5+ Kc7 32.Ba5+ {This is the same dual-bishop tag-team that we would have seen had Black tried to save the Knight earlier} Kb8 33.h7 Rh8 34.Rf7 Bg5+ 35.Kd3 Bd8 36.Bxd8 Rxd8 37.Rg7 Rh8 38.Rg8+ Ka7 39.Rxh8 Kb7 40.Ra8 Kxa8 41.h8=Q+ Ka7 42.Qh7+ Kb8 43.Ba6 Ka8 44.Qb7#

The first thing is that White is up a pawn, a passed d pawn. If White can kill Black's b-pawn, this will look very promising as having two passers is powerful.

So the first thing is to pile up on the b pawn. We'll see in the game how Black ties himself up try to save it.

The second thing centers around the poor position of the Black Knight and how the Bishop and Rook are poorly placed to defend it. The King tries but with Bishops raging across an open board, it isn't going to happen.

I added comments to the game, scroll through.

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