[FEN "r1bq1rk1/p2p2pp/1pn1p3/5p2/1PP1n1P1/P4N2/1BQ1PP1P/R3KB1R b - - 0 1"]

Here, 1... fxg4 gives White an advantage. But 1...Nxf2 2.Kxf2 fxg4 is equal. Why is that?

  • Different moves resulting in different outcomes is something normal at chess
    – David
    Jun 11, 2020 at 9:14

1 Answer 1


The main point is that 1...Nxf2 draws White's king out to the vulnerable f2-square; this allows Black to hold the balance. After 2.Kxf2 fxg4 3.Rg1, Black can give a perpetual with 3...Qh4+! 4.Ke3 (4.Rg3 can be met with 4...exf3, as Rxg7+ is impossible) 4...Qh6+ 5.Kf2 Qh4+.

Meanwhile, 1...fxg4? 2.Qxe4 gxf3 3.Rg1 (hitting the g7-pawn) 3...Rf7 4.0-0-0 gives White a serious initiative. His king is safe enough on the queenside, and his pieces are pointed at Black's king. Also, note that Qxc6 is threatened, winning a piece, since on ...dxc6 White has Rxd8+.

  • Is g6 possible instead of Rf7?
    – bretlee
    Jun 10, 2020 at 19:53
  • 1
    3 ... g6 4 b5 Ne7 (or Na5) 5 Qe5 and black can't stop mate Jun 10, 2020 at 19:57
  • 2
    @ Alexander Woo Even better: 4.Rxg6+ Kf7 (4...hxg6 5.Qxg6+ Kh8 6.Qh7#) 5.Rg7+ Ke8 6.Qxh7. Jun 10, 2020 at 20:14

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