It's Black's move in the diagram.

In a recent correspondence game I managed to win an exchange at a cost of weakening my kingside a little bit. In the diagrammed position the g-pawn is missing and the White queen is lurking around. You also see the dark-squared bishop as a potentially aggressive resource for white. Seeing all of this coming my question was:

1. What are the right squares for the king?

2. Should I push my h-pawn to h6? (I will probably have to play e6 to protect f5, so, Bg5-f6 is a threat.

3. Do I put my rook on g-file? In the actual game I did, but that ended up smothering my king in the corner and for a long time to come gave tactical traps to my opponent.

Is there a general guide for how to defend such weakened structures? Like how to cover up for a missing h-pawn, or g-pawn, or f-pawn?

Thanks for your time.

[fen "5rk1/2q1ppbp/p1p5/2N1Pp2/8/2PP2Q1/P1P3PP/1rB2RK1 b - - 0 1"]

1...Qxe5 2. Qxe5 Bxe5 3. Nd7 Bxc3 4. Nxf8 Bd4+ 5. Kh1 Be3

FYI: I can't take on e5 due to the exchange followed by knight fork :(

3 Answers 3


Most answers are addressing the tactics in the specific position so lets say White's pawn is already on d4; Now you don't have tactical defensive resources around Qxe5 and we can answer your general questions:

  • Yes, the king should go to h8. You don't want to sit in the pin and you have to deal with Bh6 threat. white doesn't have enough forces to target the h7 pawn and his knight is going to take a while to assist any kingside activity.
  • Yes, Rg8. Your rook becomes much more active on the g-file! and can possibly deploy to g6 or g4 etc.
  • No, you don't need a pawn on h6 and yes you need to defend f5 with e6 at some point. Bg5-f6 is nothing if your king is on h8 and rook on g8.
  • Thank you, that was the answer I wanted. Actually computer does the similar maneuver. In the game I did the above but unfortunately included h6 which cost me the game. I was stupid, it gave white a target, I moved INTO attack voluntarily. White queen came to h5 and forced me to return the exchange by taking on c1. You may find the game here: chess.com/daily/game/197498164
    – user13438
    Jul 6, 2018 at 2:59

You forgot to say who has the move in the given position. This is always important.

For example, here if White has the move, he can attack with 1.Bh6, and he will be up a piece.

So we can assume that Black has the move.

In that case he had better play 1...Kh8 to avoid White's attack with 2.Bh6. This move also frees Black's bishop, so White should probably defend the pawn with 2.d4 and Black will probably need to play 2...Rg8. This already answers a couple of your questions (the king needs to go to h8, and the rook will go to g8).

But I leave the other points to better players...

  • 1
    It may also be worth noting that pushing h6 doesn't prevent Bxh6.
    – D M
    Jul 1, 2018 at 13:41
  • How do you defend f5 then? And what about that mention of Rg8 suffocating the king in the corner?
    – user13438
    Jul 1, 2018 at 19:06
  • @BehnamEsmayli After 2...Rg8, the f5 pawn is not under attack yet, because the white Rook is busy protecting the Bishop. White probably wants to remove the Queen from the g-file, to avoid discovered attack from the black Rook. He might move the Queen to a square where it attacks f5, for example 3.Qd3, and in that case Black will probably need to defend with 3...e6. I think Black is doing fine here.
    – LeibnizGW
    Jul 1, 2018 at 19:42
  • 1
    When you say that your king is suffocating, are you worried about pressure on h7? White needs many moves before he can attack h7 with two pieces, and the two pieces are probably Queen and Rook. In this case, ...Bf8 and ...Rg7 should hold.
    – LeibnizGW
    Jul 1, 2018 at 19:42
  • It is not about "holding" or being fine. I need an advantage for Black.
    – user13438
    Jul 2, 2018 at 0:59

[fen "5rk1/2q1ppbp/p1p5/2N1Pp2/8/2PP2Q1/P1P3PP/1rB2RK1 b - - 0 1"]

1...Qxe5 2. Qxe5 Bxe5 3. Nd7 Bxc3 4. Nxf8 Bd4+ 5. Kh1 Be3

Due to the pin on the 1st rank, black wins a piece with a won game. Although the end game is difficult, it's better than passively hiding.

  1. Since we're close to an end game, the right place for the king is in the center.
  2. If more pieces were on the board, I would go with a plan of Kh8; e6; h6; Kh7. This would limit the white dark square bishop.
  3. The rook on the g-file doesn't accomplish anything. No other piece can assist in any attack. The only active place would be on b1 via b8, after you protect against a knight fork on a6.

A general rule-of-thumb is that when under attack to return material to weaken the attacking force. One that I use is to return material to simplify into a won end game. That is, if I have a queen and pawn versus a rook, I exchange the queen for the rook to get a won pawn end game.

Most books are written for the fun part of chess--the attack. However, by assessing the needs of the position, you can find defensive moves. Here the most important element is to stop Bh6 and mate next. Kh8 must be played; f6 looks too artificial and just kills your pawn structure. The next step would be to both protect f5 and fix the weakness on e5 (the weakness is not the pawn but that it blocks the bishop), but white's first move is most likely d4 to protect e5, which makes a new threat on a6--it was protected earlier by a queen fork. (BTW, we'd like to keep the pin on e5 until we can fix it with e6, so protecting the a-pawn would be done by a5, even though Qa5 seems to win an pawn. Finally, h6 and Kh7, if you can manage these move, would restrict white's bishop further.

This seems like a long post, but I barely scratched the surface.

  • 2
    Actually, I am not sure about the line you propose. After 1... Qxe5 2. Qxe5 Bxe5 3. Nd7 Bxc3 4. Nxf8 Bd4+ 5. Kh1 Be3, Black is not up a piece, as you say. 6.Nd7, material is even, and where is Black's advantage? I think in this way the advantage evaporates.
    – LeibnizGW
    Jul 1, 2018 at 20:17
  • I should have said wins the piece back. Black has an extra pawn and a bishop vs. knight end game. This end game is won for black, although it is difficult. Jul 2, 2018 at 6:02
  • 2
    Still not clear. After 6.Nd7, do you self-pin with 6...Bxc1, give back the extra pawn with 6...Rxc1 7.Rxc1 Bxc1 8.Nb8, or postpone the capture on c1 ? In no case is it clear to me that Black would be better, even less than "This end game is won for black".
    – Evargalo
    Jul 2, 2018 at 7:41

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.