In the position below: enter image description here

I was Black and I was not sure how to proceed. Finally, I decided to play aggressively with g5. I know it was too risky and weakening, but I did not see what else to do. After checking the computer suggestions, it looks like Black should only shuffle its pieces around Re8 Qf8...

Is that all Black can do? What are your thoughts on this position?

Thanks in advance.

2 Answers 2


Can black play for a win? Heck yes! This is totally won for black.

I did not even realize you were up a pawn at first, and I was thinking there is a clear plan here.

First, here is the analysis of the position.

  1. You are up a pawn.
  2. You have the better minor piece.
  3. White is weakened on the queen-side since black can put a piece on c4, and b3 is just horrible then leaving c3 super weak, so that cannot be played.
  4. f4 has also weakened white's king-side.
  5. Black has a clear, and simple plan.

Here is the plan for black:

  1. Black's play is on the queen-side. He will gradually push the pawns, carrying out a "minority attack". That is when a smaller number of pawns push and trade down against a larger number, leaving the larger number with one remaining, but weak, pawn.
  2. Play Rc4 right now so there is no time for Nd4 hanging f4 to Bxf4.
  3. Bring the other rook to c8, and then the Q goes to f8 and over to the queen side too.
  4. The Bd6 might even redeploy to g7 to provide additional defense against any white all-out attack on your king, while still hitting the queen-side.
  5. Then play a6 (or maybe a5 in one go), b5, a5 and then b4. After trades, white will be left with either a b-pawn or c-pawn, which can be attacked by the black major pieces, and possibly the black bishop. It is possible that the black major pieces will have to be redeployed to help execute b4, for example a Rb8, or the queen helping. It is also possible that one might go to a8 to take control of that file after some trades.
  6. Win the extra pawn, and then push your central pawns and win.

This plan is very common, and even if black were not up a pawn here, this would still be much more pleasant for him.


Do’h! Of course black can play for a win. This would be more slow positional play then by tactics, but with the extra pawn it should be a matter of technique as they say.

I would look at doubling rooks bringing the queen to the queenside and attacking with the pawns.

  • 5
    That is what PM said but not as good as he said it.
    – user20520
    Dec 9, 2019 at 22:13
  • 1
    I guess goodness depends on whether you care about the key essential part or prefer lots of extra details distracting from the main idea.
    – yobamamama
    Dec 9, 2019 at 22:20

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