I just finished off a game and decided to do some analysis because I had a position that I was thinking about for a little bit.

I ran the game through Stockfish and the move I was thinking about was one Stockfish disagreed with.

[FEN "r1b1k1r1/pppq1pB1/2nb1N1p/8/8/5N2/PPP1BPPP/R2QK2R b KQq - 2 12"]

1. Nxd7+ Ke7

I played Nxd7, however, Sockfish suggested that I should play Nxg8+.

The only thing I can think of is looking at relative value. The suggested move would result in a rook (5) and Pawn (1) for no material lost, while Nxd7 move would result in a queen (9) and pawn (1) for a knight (3). Doing the math, the Nxd7 move still results in a better move. That or it doesn't like me opening up Black's white bishop

I let the engines play it out from this position and in both instances the Nxd7 results in a mate faster than the Nxg8+ move.

Because I can't see any reason the the Nxh8+ move is better than the Nxd7 move, is anyone able to assist or is Stockfish drunk?

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    Also definitely not smarter than than stock fish but i just cant seem to see why its the correct move. – David Bateman Aug 20 at 14:00
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    Real noob here, but doesn't taking the rook and pawn really open up the right side of the board for white? Along with forcing black to waste a move getting out of check and leaving your knight protected by your bishop on black's side of the board... – Jason Goemaat Aug 20 at 23:51
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    It's worth keeping in mind that the best move for Stockfish might not be the best move for you. Stockfish is a better player that you or I. I would take the Queen here as I can be confident in going on to win from there. If I take the rook there is still a chance I'll blunder later and fail to convert this winning position to a win. – WW. Aug 21 at 2:15
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    "I let the engines play it out from this position and in both instances the NxD7 results in a mate faster than the NxG8+ move." This is why. The computer loves to checkmate faster. Humans would prefer to take material and quash any hope of a comeback. The only humans who don't play NxQ here are GMs with a long time to think, and even then most probably would. – MattPutnam Aug 21 at 2:51
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    The FEN does not agree with the picture (black bishop is missing). I don't have rep for a short edit. – Martin Argerami Aug 21 at 5:09

Both moves lead to crushingly won positions for White, so all things considered it doesn't matter which one you choose. For me, Stockfish shows +14 for Nxg8+ and +9 for Nxd7. The difference between +9 and +14 is a lot less significant than the difference between, say, +0.5 and +2.5.

About the material calculation you gave: Nxd7 costs two minor pieces for the queen rather than just one, since if Black responds to Nxd7 with ...Rxg7 then the knight on d7 is also lost. So to the extent that this matters, on balance it probably favours Nxg8+ (which gains a whole rook).

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    Thanks James very much appreciated. I am relatively new to the whole analysis stuff (as in less than 24 hours) , got a lot to learn at this stage. Decided to actually learn chess than just goof around which i've been doing for a few months now. The follow up move was KxD7 but yeah the explanation you provided makes sense now. Thanks again! – David Bateman Aug 20 at 14:39
  • The pawn on g2 seems to be in jeopardy as well as the two minor pieces - given Nxd7 – Stian Yttervik Aug 21 at 8:09
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    Exactly. Anything above +7 leaves you in a very dominant position, I wouldn't worry about the difference. Positionally taking the rook is simply the better choice here, even if it looks counter-intuitive at first. Analysing the next 3-5 moves shows why it's such a good move. – Mast Aug 21 at 8:21

In my opinion, you have to consider what can happen next too. With Nxg7+, his King is forced to move. Ke8 is a loss for them. Ke6 can cause damage if your pieces come (with Bc4 for exemple), so the best move after Nxg7 is Kd8 with the result that a Black rook that won't come for a long time in the game.

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    I take it you mean K rather than R? I think a better response to Ke6 is Nd4+. This activates the light-colored bishop for white, and continues putting pressure on the king. – Acccumulation Aug 20 at 22:51

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