Theory claims equality for Black in the below diagram.
My engine claims White is better and demolishes the line with convincing moves.
Since I have old laptop, with 2GHz dual core CPU, I was wondering if someone with stronger engine can analyze the below position for me (hopefully they will be able to prove my engine wrong).

[StartFlipped "0"]
[Title "Black to move"]
[fen "rn2kb1r/pp3ppp/2p1pnb1/q3N3/2BP2PP/2N5/PPP2P2/R1BQK2R b KQkq - 0 9"]
  • 3
    Who is "theory"? What continuation does it suggest?
    – David
    Jul 23, 2020 at 19:06
  • 1
    @David: There are several books/videos/TWIC + NIC articles/... by Scandinavian experts, claiming equality for Black. Jul 23, 2020 at 20:31
  • 1
    Stockfish 11 gives White an advantage (+0.6 at depth 35), but in practice the score is 39-22-39 (in %) after ...Nbd7 and some lines are indeed promising for Black (for example ...Nbd7, Nxd7 Nxd7, h5 Be4, 0-0 Be4, SF11 still likes White but GM games show the position is unclear). However there are not many recent games, this line has most of its games from late 90's and is resurfacing right now.
    – B.Swan
    Jul 24, 2020 at 0:53
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    What is this so called theoretical evaluation? And why do you think it is 100.00000% perfect? If your engine can demolish black convincingly why do you think another engine would have a different result? Why not commpare that position with those in opening databases and see what winning % results in real life? Then realize that advantages are very much dependent on who is playing and what moves they actually make. Jul 30, 2020 at 19:32
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    @edwinaoliver: What is this so called theoretical evaluation? Several books/videos/TWIC + NIC articles/... by Scandinavian experts claim equality for Black. If your engine can demolish black convincingly why do you think another engine would have a different result? Because I have ancient dual CPU laptop :) Why not compare that position with those in opening databases and see what winning % results in real life? Did that, computer offered new moves that seemed to put Black under heavy pressure. And why do you think it is 100.00000% perfect? Moves are forced up to a certain point... Jul 31, 2020 at 14:31

2 Answers 2


A very uncomfortable position

[fen "r3k2r/pp1n1ppp/3bp3/q2p3P/3P2P1/3B4/PPP2P2/R1BQ1RK1 w kq - 0 6"]

I have analysed this resulting position several times with some great Lc0 and 80+CPU stockfishes. My verdict from that is that white objectively has some advantage, but for humans it is so difficult to understand that they will mess it up.

Also the verdict drops down gradually. Which is a sign that it might actually not be that impressive for white. I really do not know when h6 works or something else. The black pieces are easier to play, and especially at 2000- level that's what counts.

In combination with my student we have decided not to include the variation with 6.Ne5 in our repertoire. There is more to get in the other lines imho.

Hope this helps, I would recommend you to study the above position quite well if you plan on playing this with Black.

  • Finally some real "firepower" :) OK, this is exactly what I have feared. It might very weell be that Black can equalize in the long run, but lack of tangible counterplay coupled with Whites space advantage and f5 push is really hard to play against. Would like to see the lines from the engines, but I fear you did not save them somewhere :( I have upvoted anyway... Thank you. Jul 31, 2020 at 14:25
  • The reason I did not save them is because they are not very interesting and too difficult to memorize. Black scores above 50% in OTB games, which has a reason. Jul 31, 2020 at 17:09

For a Computer, White is Better. For a Human, it's unclear.

White has quite a few advantages here - notably more space and superior development. Black has one major advantage, though. White's king is exposed and shall remain so for quite some time.

Computers excel at positions in which perfect defensive play is required - that is, positions such as White has here. A computer will almost certainly see and defuse the various tactical threats to the White king, and eventually the computer should be able to convert the many advantages White has into something concrete. But a human playing White is quite likely to err and allow Black the chance to make an effective attack. Some humans will prefer to take on the Black pieces, on the premise that if they play aggressively White will eventually slip. Other humans will prefer White. Thus, we say that the position is "unclear".

  • Since I wanted to play Scandi vs 2500+ opposition I had to prepare... Looking at the position, I came to the same conclusion and wanted to check with engine. My laptop is old so I hoped that stronger engine can improve for Black... +1 thank you Jul 31, 2020 at 14:22

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