chess.com says this move is a blunder, so it must be really bad, not simply bad. I don't understand why, and I'm out of my one free daily analysis. Could you please explain why?

I chose this move because, a) winning a pawn on a square that isn't attacked by anything seems better than losing my pawn on f4, and b) because doubled pawns on the king's file looks like good protection until I castle (if at all).

[FEN ""]
[Startply "5"]

1. e4 e5 2. f4 Bc5 3. fxe5?? {[%draw full,f4,yellow][%draw arrow,f4,e5,red]}
  • Shouldn’t it be black to move? Aug 21, 2022 at 9:52
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    Please tell me how this configuration can ever be achieved with white to move? I can only see 1. e4 e5 2. f4… Aug 21, 2022 at 9:57
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    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… Aug 21, 2022 at 11:31
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    protip: lichess has unlimited analysis with stockfish.
    – qwr
    Aug 21, 2022 at 23:38
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    @Will has already pointed out why this immediately fails tactically to Qh4+, so this is just regarding the sentence "winning a pawn on a square that isn't attacked by anything seems better than losing my pawn on f4" from your question: If you're playing the King's Gambit, then you're philosophically already quite happy about black playing exf4, as inducing this and then exploiting the newly vacated centre space is exactly what you were hoping for. Aug 22, 2022 at 11:58

2 Answers 2


Taking the e5 pawn allows black a devastating check on h4 with the queen, which (after blocking with pawn to g3) inevitably allows black to capture the e4 pawn with check again, winning your h1 rook.

Keeping your pawn at f4 prevents all that, given that now Qh4+ can be successfully blocked with g3. The f pawn blocks the queen's path to e4.

Furthermore, if you immediately play the knight to f3 instead of capturing e5, you eliminate the queen check threat altogether - provided you keep your knight on f3 for a while of course.

  • Wow, yes, you're right, this is what I get when I try to reason about chess without looking at the board. Thanks for clarifying! Aug 21, 2022 at 10:32
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    Note too that after 1 e4 e5 2 f4 Bc5 3 f4?? Qxh4+ if White tries to prevent the loss of the Rh1 by playing 4 Ke2(?) instead (to keep the e4-h1 diagonal blocked) then 4 . . . Qxe4 is checkmate! Aug 21, 2022 at 21:20
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    (oops -- I meant 3 fxe5??, not the illegal 3 f4.) Aug 21, 2022 at 23:06
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    Tip for the Purple Pachyderm: Always check all checks and capture all captures. Qh4+ then is the first move that comes to your mind, and you then only must see that Ke2 is mate and g3 hangs the Rh1 after Qxe4+. Aug 22, 2022 at 13:12

In general it is not good to open up the kingside wide open without developing pieces, especially since f2 and that diagonal is weak (think Fool's mate). Queen pawn moves are inherently safer since the queen is ready to back up the pawn if needed, making an aggressive Black queen pawn capture like Qxd4 impossible compared to Qxe4+.

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