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Is Qxe8 reasonable?
I always wanted to trade off a queen against two rooks and the engine likes this idea, but am I leaving my pawns unprotected in this situation?
It would be hard to protect those with rooks.

  • 3
    White's pawns are dropping whether you trade the Queen for 2 rooks or not. – Ywapom Jan 3 '18 at 22:46
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This is a losing position for White. Normally, trading for a queen against two rooks is reasonable but Black has an extra knight here...

The best objective move sequence would be:

1.Qxe8 Rxe8 2.Rxe8+ Kf7 3.Re2 Qb6+

White's position after 3...Qb6+ is absolutely hopeless - the rooks have no useful squares. White has no counterplay, no attacks, no chance for Black to make a mistake. Very easy win for Black.

If this were a GM game, the White player would have resigned. Here, your best swindle move is 1.Qd3. By keeping the queen on the board, you --might-- be able to generate a miracle comeback.

A possible line:

1...Nxf4?? 2.Rxe8! Nxd3 3.Rexf8# checkmate!

The above line is not impossible in a blitz game. But it wouldn't have happened if you played 1.Qxe8.

Don't follow the computer analysis. Computer lines are meaningless in a lost position. You will need to try a human move. Don't trade your queen for the rooks. You need it to give troubles for the Black players.

  • For blitz Qd3 is worth a swindle but in a regular game Qxe8 is objectively the best move and against less than GM I'd play on for 5-10 more moves. (I am an FM). – Sint Jan 3 '18 at 13:31
  • 3
    @Sint I disagree. Down a piece the white player needs to give the other player a chance to blunder. Qxe8 is not recommended for a human game. Otherwise it will be a slower but guaranteed loss. The white player needs to try something to turn the table. – SmallChess Jan 3 '18 at 13:42
  • White needs to give problems for black to solve. Qd3 is the best try. The position is lost but this is the last chance! – SmallChess Jan 3 '18 at 13:48
  • I respectfully disagree, Qd3 is a bad try in an OTB game, because after Rxe1 white can resign. Qd3 is not a problem for 2k+ elo. Qxe8 leads to a position that is lost but black still has to convert(win d5 pawn win a3/c2 pawns then advance on queenside). If black tries to force the issue (advance on the kingside for example it is not easy to win). Plenty of swindle chances left, especially for a draw. – Sint Jan 3 '18 at 13:58
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In this particular position Qxe8 is the best possible chance even though white is still in a bad shape.

White is down a piece and any other queen move(Qf3/d4/d3) would simply drop f4 pawn after Rxe1 and N(R)xf4 and leave no counterplay for white.

The general rule of thumb is that 2 rooks are worth a queen and a pawn in an endgame.

Queen can be worth more if rooks are disconnected, while two rooks can be worth more if queen's pawns are isolated. Two rooks can support a single advanced pawn rather well.

Once again, generally you'd be happy to give up a queen for two rooks provided you are not dropping anything else within the next few moves.

Vice versa if have a chance to win a queen for two rooks, you better make sure your queen can wreck some extra damage.

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In order to get a good asset of a position, you should consider as many factors as there are: material, tactical, positional, dynamical, permanent, structural, technical, king's safety, etc.

These factors have different weight. And in the given position, the clearly dominant feature is the material desequilibrium (as usual): black is a full Night ahead and such a big material advantage is decisive. Some other minor considerations have little weight.

But in general, two Rooks are better than a Queen, unless the rooks coordinate poorly.

So, in conclusion: White is lost because is a piece down, and probably the best move it has is Qxe8.

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