I have come this far and am not sure what to do further in the game. I have been doing some maneuvering here but it seemed quite disoriented. What is a good plan that will help white win?

[FEN "2r2kr1/8/2b1p1q1/p2p1pP1/3P4/2N3R1/3QP3/2K2BR1 w - - 0 1"]
  • 1
    Black is really weak on the dark squares as his central pawns are fixed on the light squares and he has no dark-square bishop. I would first improve the placement of my strongest piece by playing 1. Qf4 with an eye towards penetrating along the dark squares -- e5 and d6 are both really nice squares for the queen. If Black defends passively, I would also play Kd2, e3 to free my bishop as well. May 29, 2012 at 16:46

3 Answers 3


White should be winning in this position quite comfortably with the extra piece.

One relatively simple plan is to play 1.Rh3 in order to move the rook to h6 to push the passed g pawn. If black moves the queen, then g6 is very strong.

For example:

1.Rh3 Bd7 (to defend the loose rook on c8) 
2.e3 (Rh6 is not possible immediately because of Qxh6! winning both rooks for the queen) Qf7
3.Ba6 Rc7
4.Qb2 (Δ Qb8+) Bc8
5.Bxc8 Rxc8
6.Qa3+ (and next move white will take the Pa5)

Another plan is to play e3 in order to free the bishop (so that white can make use of the extra piece), but this is less ambitious than playing Rh3 immediately.

  • Thanks a lot! I was able to get a hang of the situation and a perspective on how to analyze the board while playing
    – MozenRath
    Jun 4, 2012 at 13:42
  • If your plan is to play 1.Rh3 to move the rook to h6 and then say Rh6 is not immediately possible because Qxh6!, then clearly your plan is not a plan or not good idea to start with. So much so, that move Rh6 was never made in the line you suggest. Your other plan with e3 is even worse because it cuts the c3 knight from the rook on g3 which is protecting the knight from a very uncomfortable pin the moment black moves hist bishop from c6.
    – Only You
    Mar 31, 2014 at 0:55
  • @OnlyYou the point of Rh3 is not just to threaten Rh6 immediately but also to improve the rooks (eventually Rgh1 will follow). e3 on the other hand is a good move almost any time. Chess is a concrete game - the pin is only as annoying as the knight is weak. The white queen is enough to defend the knight and the light square bishop needs scope - e3 is the only way to develop the bishop so sooner or later it must be played.
    – Andrew
    Mar 31, 2014 at 8:48

Even though white is a piece up, one major factor that sticks out on the position is the vulnerability or potential exposure of the white king, standing right on the open c file and right on the line of the black rook on c8. Unlike the black king which at the moment is not facing any immediate danger or threats so it's safer than white's king, plus the three black pawns on the center make it difficult for the white pieces to penetrate at the moment.

So, taking that KING SAFETY factor into account makes it "really easy" to follow that the best plan for white from that position is to first bring his king to safety as soon as possible and, only then make the extra piece count.

If you don't need more elaboration on that, skip this paragraph. Queen side does not look very safe either, where the b file is also open and when black's rooks could "easily" come into play if black plays whichever is more convenient of Ke7 or Kf7 or Kg7. So it follows that placing the white king on the center files behind his e pawn is a better bet than the queen side.

Now that we know what is going on in the position, it becomes obvious white's first move should be:


Followed by 2.Ke1 (if opponent permits).

See how after 1.Kd1 the white knight could no longer be subjected to a pin along the c file; and it would be free to jump if convenient or necessary (squares a4, b5 become immediately protected by the knight and would stop any attempt of the black bishop into white's camp).

Secondly, after white plays Ke1 the king is on a black square which makes it very very hard for the black pieces to reach or attack.

After [white] king safety no longer being a major/sensitive factor in the position, white will start looking for moves to make his extra piece count which, at the moment it's that white bishop sitting on his original square f1 and blocked by his own pawn on e2 which, at the moment plays a more important role of protecting white's king, so it may take a little while to bring that extra piece into play.

After white has finished the king safety part of his plan, I see 3 possible ways for white to press black king by penetrating into black's camp, depending on circumstances and what black permits:

Penetrating with the white queen via Qf4-Qd6 or via Qb2-Qa3-Qd6 hitting c6, e6 or penetrating with the rook Rg1-Rh1-Rh6 (if black does not play Rh8 to stop Rh1) hitting e6 and f6. That incursion turns the king safety factor against black king and would create difficult to stop threats against black position. If the black e6 pawn falls the black position crumbles if white hits the f5 pawn with Rg1-Rf1 and/or Rg3-Rf3. If black manages to hold e6 and f5 then when it is tied down defending/holding, white could start thinking getting his bishop into play via Bf1-Bh3 and target a possible return of the extra material by pointing both his rooks to f5 and then sacrificing Bxf5 with devastating effects for black's king.

If not forced to move them away, white will keep his knight on c3, his pawn on e2, and his rook on the third rank, as long as possible until black's position starts going down hill.

  • I did not use computer analysis to see/verify possible lines. I prefer to think it up by my self before even checking lines with the computer, besides not having a chess engine handy.
    – Only You
    Mar 31, 2014 at 2:34

White is clearly winning with a piece up and strong passed g5 Pawn... You should aim for a winning endgame and also attack Black's King if Black avoids trades. Combine these two plans and act accordingly. I'd say Qf4 with idea Qe5 / Qd6. Black's only threat is Pawn to a4, a3, etc. but once the Queen is on d6 you are more than ok, with maybe Rh1 - h6 idea to follow soon, crushing Black position once and for all. (g3 Rook is defending c3 Knight, so I'll leave it where it is).

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