Next Tournament

Practical choice in a game

This is an experiment that I want to try by asking various chess players as to what strategy they will use in a position as this in a critical tournament requiring you not to lose the game. Black to move, has only two choices (I think so)
  1. Play the variation ...Bxe3 Nxc7 ...Bxh6 Nxe8 ...Bd2 and play down the exchange but may be with some compensation of having two connected passed pawns on d and c file (since ...Bxc3 cannot be avoided by White I think)
  2. Or, play ...Qb6 in the position and play with either pawn down or even material as in the variation bxc5 ...Qxb5 black will eventually also win back the pawn on c5. But the dark squares are very weak around the black king.
It will be good to know your responses independent of others and the reasons for the same. Your answers can give the readers an idea of the choices different players of different strengths and playing style make.


  1. I would choose BxQ NxQ BxB NxR Bd2 the possibilities in this endgame offer more chances for black to resist/defend successfully than the middle game opportunities, perhaps my decision is due in part to "seeing" a clear strategical plan for whites success in the middle game!? Consider Qb6 bxc5 QxNb5 Rb1 Qxc5 NxQ Rb5 with a nagging endgame advantage white can lean on "black" without risking anything black defensive task would be considerable!? Barry D.

  2. 1. ... Bxe3 2.Nxc7 Bxh6 3.Nxe8 Bd2 gives the possibility of an attack and it is more appealing, and I would probably go that way. It is better to be active and fight then passive and simply wait to be squashed. Marijan

  3. My motto is that "the more active move tends to be best". Thus, ...Bxe3. I would be very reluctant to play this middle game without the dark-squared bishop. The queens must go!!

    Ed Mark

  4. Dear Harish,
    Congratulations on fatherhood! and best to your wife! How is the baby doing?

    *Not* using a computer here, my at-the-board impression is that after 1...Bxe3 2.Nxc7 Bxh6 3.Nxe8 Bd2 4.Ra1! White's Ra8 and b-pawn are coming too fast. Whereas on 1...Qb6 2.bxc5 Qxb5 I don't see a way for White to dislodge the N on d7, and White cannot save the c-pawn.

  5. Dear Harish,
    Congratulations on becoming a father! and felicitations also to your wife! How is the baby doing?

    Without switching on a computer, here are my at-the-board thoughts. After 1...Bxe3 2.Nxc7 Bxh6 3.Nxe8 Bd2 4.Ra1!, I think White's Ra8 and b-pawn are coming too fast. Whereas after 1...Qb6 2.bxc5 Qxb5 Black strikes me as OK---the Knight on d7 is not easy to dislodge, and White cannot preserve the c-pawn.