[FEN ""]
[Startply "19"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3

In this position, most top players will continue with 9...Na5, 9...Nb8 or 9...Bb7, and extremely rarely (about 1 percent of the time) do we see the move 9... Be6. However, an engine seems to suggest 9... Be6 in this position. Should I trust the engine's judgment on this move? Or should I trust the traditional opening theory?

  • What engine/ply are you using? I get Re8, Bb7, Nb8 as top three engine suggestions. HIARCS/32 Dec 29, 2023 at 12:50
  • @MichaelWest, I am using SF 16 · 7MBNNUE at lichess.org. Is this one not strong enough?
    – Zuriel
    Dec 29, 2023 at 14:14
  • 1
    chess.stackexchange.com/questions/32402/stockfish-evaluations Very related, possible duplicate. 9...Be6 is not a bad move, but neither is any of the other main moves, which all evaluate to roughly the same.
    – Allure
    Dec 29, 2023 at 14:53

1 Answer 1


The first thing to note is that 9...Na5 and 9...Be6 can transpose if white replies to each with 10. Bc2. Before playing 9...Be6 you should decide how happy/comfortable you would be if white chooses to exchange with 10. BxB. If you prefer to keep pieces on the board or dislike the change in pawn structure then choose one of the other moves, maybe go with 9...Na5.

The moves 9...Na5, 9...Nb8 , 9...Bb7 and 9...Be6 are all played with different ideas in mind. Although they are all evaluated similarly by engines they can lead to very different positions. Which one you choose should be decided by how comfortable you feel in the types of position which result, how familiar you are with those positions and to a lesser extent how familiar/comfortable you believe your opponent is.

Is 9... Be6 a good move in this position?

It is perfectly sound. The decision which move to make in this position is one of style/familiarity and preference.

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