In the following position:

2kr3r/ppp1bppp/2nq4/1N2pb2/8/3PBN2/PPP2PPP/R2Q1RK1 b - - 4 11

The engine (Stockfish 14) suggests 11...Qg6 as the best move for black. It evaluates 11...Qg6 -3.4 compared to 11...Qd5 -2.1 which is second. That's some difference, but the most puzzling thing for me is that 11...Qg6 was chosen in ~70% of the (few) games in the Lichess.org database for players over 1800.

In g6 the queen is in front of the king, but it will have to move after Nxe5 and at this point there is not realistic to thing of an attack against the king of something like ...Bh3. So, what is so obvious about 11...Qg6 here?

1 Answer 1


The queen is well placed on g6 facing the White king and hitting the weakest point of the castle, g2.

You were afraid of 12.Nxe5? but this pawn is protected by the Nc6, so no, the Black queen doesn't have to run away. Also 12.Nh4? is no problem: 12...Bxh4.

You mentionned 12.Nxa7? in a comment but this should not bother Black, who is winning after 12...Nxa7 13.Bxa7 and now either:

  • 13...b6 trapping and soon winning the bishop.

  • 13...Bh3 threatening mate, e.g. 14.g3 Bxf1 or 14.Ne1 b6 (14...c5 is also good) followed by 15...Kb7-+

  • 13...e4 that you mentionned, when 14.Ne5 hits the queen but 14...Qf6 counterattacks on the knight and White is too uncoordinated to save all their pieces.

  • The e5 pawn won't be protected after 12.Nxa7+ Nxa7 13.Bxa7 e4 14.Ne5 and the queen has to move from g6
    – antonro
    Commented Sep 13, 2023 at 6:55
  • @antonro : see edit
    – Evargalo
    Commented Sep 13, 2023 at 7:36

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