[FEN "r1bq1rk1/2p1ppbp/p5p1/1p1n4/3PNB2/1P2PN2/n4PPP/2RQKB1R w K - 0 1"]

I'm not sure what move makes the most sense in this scenario. I would love to learn from others.

  • 4
    This position is close to lost, something went wrong before. White is material down without any compensation.
    – B.Swan
    Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 16:11

2 Answers 2


The elements which I notice are The strong knight on d5, the attacks on c1 and f4, the backward pawn on c7, and that white is down a pawn.

Since I can't do anything about the Nxf4 threat, which would ruin the pawn structure and create a weakness on d4, but also eliminates the powerful knight, my first candidate move would be Ra1 to try and regain the pawn due to the pin. I'd have to consider the reply Nac3 followed by b4, which would sheild the c7 weakness, save the pawn, and the knight may prove to be strong on d3.

The second candidate is Rc5, Rc6 is bad due to Bb7, just to keep pressure on c7. After Nxf4 and rerouting the other knight to d5, black just has a better game.

The third option is to sacrifice the rook and save the bishop by Bg3. Being down 3 pawns worth of material and black protecting all of his weaknesses, white has no compensation.

With all considerations, I would choose Ra1 and, if black entrenches on c3, to go for an all out attack on the kingside while black's pieces are distracted on the queenside. Due to white's lack of development and black's solid kingside, there is little chance of saving the game, but I believe that this is the best attempt.

  • Thanks Mike Jones. I tried the London opening this game but didn’t fare too well. Guess I have to be aggressive and take as soon as I can.
    – Uncle Sam
    Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 22:10

White is essentially lost -- If GMs or even IMs were playing.

For amateurs, Ra1 is the best chance for white but he will still be in a poor position. No matter what white will be at least a pawn down with a poor position.

But with amateurs things can always change later.

How I would play it as white is not get into that mess in the first place.

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