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Evaluating the Position (A Dvoretsky Exercise)

CraiggoryC
Jan 5, 2015, 8:43 PM 7
The great optimist, Bent Larsen, was a fantastic player, at the heights of his powers in 1971. He even joked that his optimism would lead to 2 victories and 1 loss for a total of 2/3. While a "realist" would get 3 draws, in the same span, for a total of 1.5/3. 
Unfortunately, he came up against a sadist: Bobby Fischer. Fischer would cold-heartedly take whatever the position gave him; no optimism, no pessimism, just objective chess play. That match was 6 wins 0 draws 0 losses in favor of Fischer. 
Now optimism is markedly better than pessimism in chess, but it is important to not let optimism cloud your judgement. Here is a puzzle designed to test your ability to evaluate the position and given that evaluation, decide on the correct course of action for Black. Give yourself 5-10 minutes to try to solve this problem. Good luck!

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