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chess blunders

Hi I am trying to learn chess, and when I review my moves, I just don't understand how Nd4 is a good move and how nh4 is a blunder.

Thanks.

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14.Nxd4 takes a pawn on d4, and it attacks the bishop on h5. So if black takes back with 14...cxd4, then white has 15.Bxh5, leaving white a pawn up (knights and bishops have roughly the same value). And if black wants to avoid this with 14...Bxe2, white can take back with the knight on d4 (15.Nxe2) so that it is safe too; again, white wins a pawn. And if black retreats the bishop, white retreats the knight, and is again up a pawn.

14.Nh4 does not win a pawn, so that already makes it a bad move when winning a pawn is available. But that is not all: black can first exchange bishops (14...Bxe2, forcing 15.Qxe2) and then fork the bishop on f4 and knight on h4 with 15...g5, winning a piece and opening lines against the white king.

That makes 14...Nh4 a blunder.

More importantly, I am not a chess.com user, but can't you press on those magnifier icons to see the line the engine has in mind after each move?

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  • Ah! I see now! Thank you. And no, this is after the game analysis. I am playing online against another player. So I don't think that option is available. Thank you very much
    – Sam
    Feb 1 at 15:47
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    @Sam It is available. You just click on the move. Feb 1 at 16:20
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    You surely meant "white can take back with the knight on d4".
    – user58697
    Feb 2 at 1:30
  • As a chess.com user, I can say on the web you get a lot more options for move analysis than you do on the app, but if you hit the little mag glass it should bring up the options.
    – corsiKa
    Feb 2 at 4:53
  • @user58697: I did, yes. Thanks Feb 2 at 8:03
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  1. Nh4 is a blunder since after 14..., Bxe2 to save the bishop (the bishop could also retreat to f7 or e8 to save itself), 15. Qxe2, the pawn fork 15..., g5 will win a piece for Black (this fork could also be made after the bishop retreated, again winning a piece), whereas 14. Nxd4 (discovering an attack on the bishop) will win a pawn for White after 14..., Bxe2 (to save the bishop) 15. Nxe2. The bishop could also retreat in this last line to save itself, but the Black "d" pawn would still be lost to the knight, which could then immediately retreat to save itself. Incidentally, these actions (duscovered attacks, forks, along with several others such as pins) are known as tactics, skill at which is considered one of the most importanct elements for chess success. It can be developed by working on tactics problems, which are readily available online.

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