I was in a three%day turn bame, I played almost played a line that would have led me to this position. Black’s central pawns seem to be an advantage, although White being up the exchange scared me. Who has the advantage in this position, and why?

It is White’s turn. enter image description here

  • 3
    No extra rook here. This is known as "exchange up".
    – SmallChess
    Feb 16, 2018 at 12:26
  • 5
    In fact it is a rook for a bishop and two pawns, which is roughly equal as far as material is concerned. Feb 16, 2018 at 13:06
  • I know that it has balanced material. I did not express myself correctly. I will modify later.
    – Manuel
    Feb 16, 2018 at 15:01

3 Answers 3


This position is not easy to assess.

Indeed, white has a rook, but black has a bishop and two pawns for it, which is roughly equal material-wise.

Also there are no open files, so white's rook do not have a straightforward way to enter black's position. The best white could currently do is to try to create counterplay against the pawn on e6 and create a blockade on the dark squares, preventing black from advancing the pawns. Since black does not have a dark squared bishop that should be reasonably easy to achieve.

As a long term plan, white can transfer his king to the queenside (e.g. to b2) and open some lines with g4, which does seem somewhat dangerous for black.

Still I think black is doing perfectly fine so far as the position is still closed, there are potential threats against g2 and the pawns are ready to run.

Overall I'd say the position is roughly equal (but interesting!).


I´d say Black has at least a draw. In case the queens get exchanged Black can bring his king to support e6 and if need be approach the king side to prevent a possible g4 break. He/she can bring their bishop to an active diagonal.

On the other hand white must be super creative to activate their rooks.

In case queens remain, other than the above ideas Black can sacrifice a pawn to have the bishop eye the g2 pawn. This together with pressure from g file by rook must be enough to keep White on check.

The position is rich in possibilities. Don't trust an engine on this! In practice Black has a more straightforward game to follow than White.


While the computer says it is still roughly equal, I would MUCH rather play black here.

After whatever move white makes, black will play Qf6 and e5 in the next two moves, and then I like the central pawns after Re8 (assuming white tries to hold them up at all, he will have to attack e5) and then f4. Later, black will also have the potential for playing against the white king with Rg8, h4, and eventually pushing the center forward creating real threats against the white king. White has no active plan to counter this.

This brings up an often-overlooked point that Tal clearly understood, and that is that there are practical problems in chess that go beyond analysis at home (now with computers). In this position, black has not even sacrificed anything, and it may well be equal between two computers, but this position is very difficult in practice for white.

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