As a total newbie, I've been solving some medium-level problems on chesstempo. This one caught my eye. We play as Black after White's first move.

[FEN "6k1/5p1p/5bp1/p7/P1r3PP/2n2N2/4NP2/1R4K1 w - - 0 1"]

1. Rb8+ Kg7 2. g5

What I can't understand is why White plays g5.

It is a quite poor attack on the bishop as Black then plays Ne2, capturing the White knight and checking the king. Therefore White loses the knight and does not get to capture the bishop. Instead, White could have at least exchanged the knights:

[FEN "1K/2PN/2N2n/PP3r1P/7p/1pb/pkp/6R w - - 0 1"]

1. Nf6 Rf6

I this reckon to be a fine attack on h4 pawn as the White knight (which is protecting it) should be moved not to be captured by the rook. Yet, from White's viewpoint, I believe having the knights exchanged and the pawn captured is better than having the knight captured and leaving Black with all the pieces.

What is the point of such a move? What am I not seeing? Why are the moves I made (Nf6, Rf6) not right?

  • 1
    probably some error in puzzle as black could as minimum take N on e2 with check; by the way - you have wrongly set-up board - I was confused initially while reading about moves Nf6 and Rf6 because no N or R can move to f6 in a position - then I looked at board and it was clear that you have set-up it wrong - those moves you offer are Nc3 and Rc3
    – Drako
    Nov 4, 2020 at 8:08
  • @Drako the author of the puzzle accounted for the possible check as the Ne2 is the final step to the solution. The question is as to why the White let such a thing happen in the first place; yes, I am quite clumsy with the board, sorry. I will try to tweak it. Is it possible to add the columns and the rows onto the viewer? Nov 4, 2020 at 8:14
  • 1
    1.g5 isn't such a poor move. Black can reply ...Nxe2+, but white plays Kf1 attacking the knight, so he gets one piece back. And 1.Nxc3 would lose a pawn to 1...Rxg4+ 2.Ksomewhere Bxc3. Nov 4, 2020 at 8:51
  • @RemcoGerlich I would say after 1...Nxe2 Kf1 2. Ng3 fxg3 3.Bc3 whites drawing chances are still miserable as bishop will be stronger on 2 flanks, Rxa4 is coming, but probably still better than playing Nxc3 where Rxg4 destroys everything immediately - that's why I don't see much point in such puzzle as answer still loses, just slower
    – Drako
    Nov 4, 2020 at 9:47

1 Answer 1


Black doesn't actually win a piece.

After 1.Rb8 Kg7 2.g5!? Nxe2, White will parry the check by playing 3.Kf1, when both the Bf6 and the Ne2 are under attack. You cannot save both pieces with 3...Nd4 attacking f3 and hoping for 4.Nxd4? Bxd4 because 4.gf6 is check.

As a consequence, Black wins a pawn and retains a winning position, but they don't pocket a piece. Alternatives on the second move to 2.g5 are hardly better for White because their Pg4 is hanging with check, e.g. 2.Nxc3 Rxg4! (and not 2...Rxc3) 3.Kf1 Bxc3 with, once again, an extra pawn and a winning position.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.