I played Nf3 for attacking on king side which is about to castle having some plans to make a battery in future after castling but I feel Ne2 is making a block for Re1 at some point. Any suggestions?

[fen "rnbqk2r/pp3ppp/2p3n1/3pP3/3P4/2PB4/P4PPP/R1BQK1NR w KQkq - 0 1"]
  • Where's the knight on f3 going to go? Is it going to capture its own pawn on e5? May 29 '20 at 15:11
  • @JossieCalderon e.g., Ng5...
    – Kortchnoi
    May 29 '20 at 21:56
  • @Kortchnoi Who was f6? Are you even looking at the board? May 29 '20 at 23:32
  • @JossieCalderon Yes I did:) Please look at the variations I give in my answer.
    – Kortchnoi
    May 30 '20 at 8:19

While the knight wouldn't be badly placed on f3, playing Ne2 keeps your f2-pawn unblocked, allowing you to push it up the board. If the pawn reaches f5 then you will have an overwhelming position. Also, on e2 the knight could go to g3, helping to control the f5-square while eyeing the h5-square.


After Ne2 you are set up for 0-0 and f4-f5, which looks like a dangerous plan.

After Nf3 Bg4 is possible. Notice how the bishop doesn't have nice squares after Ne2.


Both the other answer have a valid point.

Either way the rook is blocked on the e-file, so logic dictates the the f-pawn should be pushed, and the knight on f3 would block the rook there.

On e2, the knight protects c3. Although this isn't an issue now, an unexpected Qa5 could disrupt your plans.

Another factor to consider is the future of the knight. From f3, the knight's only future is g5, which is a good, protected square. From e2, the knight's future is f4, to exchange a defender, or g3->h5. Both these paths are good, but the f3-g5 path is better.

BTW, without any calculation, Ba3, which keeps the king in the center, should be the best move.


Nf3 and Ne2 are both very good moves, which consolidate White's advantage. I don't see why Ne2 should be preferred over Nf3 on general considerations.

  1. After Nf3! White can follow with Ng5, and/or h4. Nf3 is a very concrete and direct move.

    • Bg4 does not solve Black problems. After h3, White gains the pair of bishops in a very open position.
    • 0-0 runs into problems for Black after Ng5 (1.Nf3 0-0 2.Ng5 f6 3.Nxh7! is crushing!!)
  2. After Ne2, white can continue with Ng3 or f4, but it's much slower (by the way White can also play f4 before any knight move!).

Here are some illustrative examples of these two different approaches.


[fen "rnbqk2r/pp3ppp/2p3n1/3pP3/3P4/2PB1N2/P4PPP/R1BQK2R b KQkq - 1 1"]

1... Bg4 (1... O-O 2. Ng5 Qe7 (2...f6 3.Nxh7!+-)  3.Qh5 h6 4.O-O! hxg5 5.Bxg5+-) {with a crushing attack}  {does not solve Black problems} 2.h3 Bxf3 3.Qxf3 O-O (3... c5 4.O-O Nc6 5.Ba3! cxd4 6.Rfe1! Qa5 7.Bxg6 hxg6 8.e6+-) 4.h4! f6 5.Bxg6 hxg6 6.Ba3 Re8 7.h5! {with a decisive attack}


[fen "rnbqk2r/pp3ppp/2p3n1/3pP3/3P4/2PB4/P3NPPP/R1BQK2R b KQkq - 1 1"]

1... c5 2.O-O O-O 3.f4 f5 (3...cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Ba3+-) 4.dxc5 Nc6 5.Be3+-

There are 3 main advantages of Ne2 over Nf3. Other commentators have mentioned the first 2

  1. Denying the Bishop on c1 from getting active, if white can maintain this restriction on the black light-squared bishop then black will effectively be playing down a piece

  2. f4 -> f5 (which is a powerful idea in this position) is much snappier if there is not a knight restricting the pawn's movement.

  3. a Ne2 -> Ng3 -> (Nh5 or Nf5) is more dangerous than a Nf3 -> Ng4 plan because it targets the dark squares around the future black king position, that are much weaker. Black would struggle a lot with defending the g7 if white builds up pressure there and if black plays g6 his position is toast since all of white's pieces would be able to find homes on threatening squares next to black's king

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