Here is the lichess study for the game which is often presented as study.

I am curious here, as to why White is given a strong advantage, even though the material is equal and Black has a lot more active pieces. The Black squared bishop (of Black) is far better poised than White's. The White Squared bishop (of Black) is actively involved in the attack, and the sole knight can swing in easily on c4 square, should a chance arise.

Comparatively, White's minor pieces are underdeveloped. The only advantage I can see White is having is its d-file rook X-raying the Black queen (and potentially an open file)

[FEN "r4rk1/pp2bppp/1np1p3/3q4/3Pb3/1QP3P1/P3PPBP/R1BRN1K1 w - - 0 1"]
  • 7
    Black is about to lose a piece, see if you can work out how. If you can't turn on the engine in Lichess
    – Ian Bush
    Commented Sep 12, 2021 at 14:02
  • Nop, not able to figure it out :(
    – Soham
    Commented Sep 12, 2021 at 15:29

1 Answer 1


The material balance is only temporary. After White goes c4, Black will lose a piece. If Qf5, White has f3 trapping the bishop. All alternatives to Qf5 leave a piece unprotected (for instance c4 Nxc4 Bxe4 Qxe4 Qxc4 +-)

[Event "Chess Calculation: Chapter 1"]
[Site "https://lichess.org/study/VFtoodiL/uG0A42Q9"]
[Date "2021.09.12"]
[Round ""]
[White ""]
[Black ""]
[Result "*"]
[UTCDate "2021.09.12"]
[UTCTime "13:24:02"]
[Variant "From Position"]
[Opening "?"]
[Annotator "https://lichess.org/@/sohamdas"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "r4rk1/pp2bppp/1np1p3/3q4/3Pb3/1QP3P1/P3PPBP/R1BRN1K1 w - - 0 1"]

1.c4 Qf5 
    ( 1...Nxc4 2.Bxe4 Qxe4 3.Qxc4 )
2.f3 *
  • Yup, I miscalculated.
    – Soham
    Commented Sep 12, 2021 at 17:29
  • 4
    Well if this is the right answer I suggest you mark it as correct so others don't start worrying about it.
    – Ian Bush
    Commented Sep 13, 2021 at 7:56
  • While I totally agree with this answer, is this really a +4.7 advantage? The material (bishop vs pawn) gives an advantage of +2. So is the positional advantage an additional +2.7?
    – frangge
    Commented Sep 14, 2021 at 17:03
  • 3
    @frangge Most engines will give an evaluation that corresponds to a higher number than the "material difference". Humans see that White is a bishop up and don't overthink it, but machines keep calculating at great depth and they're probably seeing ways in which the extra piece is used to get even further advantages.
    – David
    Commented Sep 14, 2021 at 20:50
  • The position is winning, so a perfect computer would probably say “mate in 100” (or whatever). A computer able to look, say, 20 moves ahead might realize that the position and perhaps also the material balance then looks even worse for Black than it does now.
    – Keba
    Commented Sep 15, 2021 at 13:20

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