I was playing a game with the Black pieces the other day against 1. h4. The reason why I wanna discuss this game with you is that during the game I always felt that my position is not stable, and at some point I was up by a pawn, but white had a lot of files to attack me and I needed to defend and it was uncomfortable. The engine gives an evaluation of -2.7 at the end but to me it was so unclear. I would really appreciate your feedback about the game in general in order for me to understand the position better so that next time I can evaluate the position better during the game and not be worried that I might be worse (although the engine says that I'm much better by -2.7). Moreover, I read somewhere that if your opponent plays 1.h4, then it's good to respond with 1...d5 opening the light-square bishop, and if your opponent plays 1.a4, then it's good to respond with 1...e5 opening the dark-square bishop. What do you think about this general tip? Also when your opponent plays 2. h5, do you prefer to play 2...h6, or do you continue occupying the center and fast development?

[FEN ""]
 1. h4 d5 2. h5 h6 3. Nf3 c5 4. d3 Nf6 5. Nbd2 Nc6 6. e4 Bg4 7. Be2 e6 8. Nh2 Bxe2 9. Qxe2 
 Bd6 10. Nhf3 Be7 11. e5 Nd7 12. Nf1 O-O 13. g4 Qa5+ 14. Bd2 Qc7 15. O-O-O Ndxe5 16. Nxe5 
 Qxe5 17. Qxe5 Nxe5 18. Nh2 Nc6 19. f4 e5 20. fxe5 Nxe5 21. Rde1 Bd6 22. Reg1 Rae8 23. g5 
 hxg5 24. Rxg5

2 Answers 2


When playing through this game, at no time did I think that Black was losing.

I don't like 2...h6 myself. What are you doing? Preventing 3.h6? Why would you want to prevent that?

The other move I don't like is 12...O-O. The center is closed and it doesn't seem like your king is particularly unsafe in the middle or queenside. Your opponent has already spent two moves advancing the h-pawn; it's rather obvious that if you castle over there, they're going to play O-O-O and advance the g-pawn. Your h6 pawn makes a nice target. And it seems like it's difficult for your knights to get over to defend right away because of the e5 pawn. I wouldn't say it's a bad move, but it's very foreseeable that it would lead to you being on the defensive.

  • Thanks for the feedback. 1) Can you elaborate on what would you do if I don't play 2...h6, and then white plays 3.h6 then how you would continue? 2) After 6.e4 from White, would you still play 6...Bg4? or would you choose a different plan? 3) On move 10 for Black, would you develop your queen and then castle queenside? I felt that it's not that great because I already pushed c5.
    – Guess601
    Dec 31, 2020 at 21:15
  • 1) I'd likely play e5 or c5. Nc6 works too. 2) I don't see much wrong with Nxh6. Sure, your knight's on the rim and their rook has a half-open file, but White's just spent three moves and a pawn to get that. 6...Bg4 looks fine to me. 3) I'd develop the queen and then either castle queenside, or not castle at all (or wait to see where White castles.) The c-pawn isn't actually a huge issue if you do castle queenside, and you can always play Kb1.
    – D M
    Jan 1, 2021 at 3:16

Just answering the comment from the D M answer.

  1. Following general principles, control the center. e5 and d5 are both good moves. In response to h6, you could capture and make white waste time trying to regain the material, or just play g6 and show that it's more of a weakness than a strength.

  2. I would play Bg4 with the intent of capturing on h5. There's also nothing wrong with e5 and a plan similar to any KID.

  3. On move 10, Be7 is correct due to the fork threat. The queen is good on c7 and b6. You can castle on either side safely, but white has to tend to his h5 weakness, so queenside is better for both. The space gained by c5 actually protects you king well.


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