I came across this puzzle and even after I learned the answer I couldn't quite understand what's going on. I understand that we amaterial advantage by capturing the knight with a pawn, but I can't understand why the queen has to go to d8. Can someone please explain the answer?

[FEN "r1b2rk1/1pqpbppp/p3pn2/6B1/3NP3/2N2Q2/PPP2PPP/R3R1K1 w - - 0 1"]

1. e5! Qd8 2. exf6
  • 1
    The reason for 1...Qd8 is to give more protection to f6. Otherwise it's even worse for Black, e.g., 1. e5 d6? 2.exf6 Bxf6 3.Bxf6 gxf6 4. Qxf6.
    – bof
    Jul 26, 2021 at 23:31

1 Answer 1


The knight is pinned to the bishop so when white plays e5 the knight can't move without losing the bishop. It looks like maybe the knight could move to d5 protecting the bishop. The problem is that white can take the knight with the knight on c3 and black doesn't have time to play BxB because the white knight on d5 is threatening the queen on c7 and so black must first take that d5 knight.

[fen "r1b2rk1/1pqpbppp/p3pn2/6B1/3NP3/2N2Q2/PPP2PPP/R3R1K1 w - - 0 1"]

1. e5 Nd5 2. Nxd5 exd5 3. Bxe7 Re8 4. Bd6
  • 1
    1...Nd5 is one try. A more complete answer would explain how White wins after e.g. 1...Bc5.
    – bof
    Jul 27, 2021 at 4:15
  • 1
    Right. Qd8 looks like a typical computer move and could as well be replaced by "immediate resign". If anyone wants to extend an answer: 1...Bc5 (the only attempt to save the piece, apart of 1...Nd5, which doesn't work) 2.Bxf6. a)2...gxf6 3.Qxf6 Bxd4 4.Re4, b)2...Bxd4 3.Qg3 g6 4.Qg5, and now Black can resign without regrets. Jul 27, 2021 at 7:32

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