Test Your Positional Skills #1

Test your positional skills! Find White's best move.
Tactical puzzles are plenty, but one should not make the mistake of thinking that all positions can be solved via tactics.


  • 4 years ago

    FM MichiganEagle

    I'm glad everyone seemed to enjoy this one. :D


    @Shin_Uesugi thanks for your valuable contribution!

    @hicetnunc I'm glad you brought up 1...Bd7, as that is what I played.


  • 4 years ago


    interesting one.

  • 4 years ago


    Thank you for this problem. However, 1...Bd7 is harder to assess for me.

  • 4 years ago

    FM Shin_Uesugi

    Here's my thinking process for solving this:

    Black has 2 bishops, as opposed to White's knights. If Black can play something like Be6 -> f5 and use doubled f-pawns for his advantage, it'd be easier for Black to play this position.

    So what can white do? Knights do exceptional job when they are at the outpost. Due to doubled f-pawns, f5 square seems to be a best outpost for White's knights (as g7-g6 is no longer possible to cover that square)

    Given that, 18. Nh4! seems like an adequate move as N on f3 doesn't stand so well because many squares accessible from f3 is covered by Black's pieces or pawns. Also, Nh4 opens up a diagonal for white's B on g2 and immediately heads toward the potential outpost on f5. 

    Next move 19. g4!! is harder to see in my opinion. Black's idea is to play f5 to kick the N on e4 and play e5-e4 to himself, shutting down White's B on g2. After that, N on h4 looks pretty bad because it is not doing much on h4 (it kinda attacks f5 pawn but it can be protected easily and g3-g4 break is impossible because N hangs on h4). 

    So White has to do something about Black's idea above. Our idea is to bring our knight into the outpost on f5, which can attack weak P on h6, create potential mate threats for the king, etc. 19.g4!! allows us to bring N on e4 back to g3 so it can head to f5 square. Also, pawn on g4 is indirectly protected by the Q on a4 (which can be easy to miss). Plus, 19.f5 for Black is no longer possible because it is covered by White's P and N.

    Lets look at the final position after Black plays 19.Bxg4. In this position, White's N is ready to jump to f5 as well something like Be4 (after evacuating K to h1) to completely dominate the white squares because Black no longer has white-squared B. In opposite colored bishop positions, the position favors a player with more opportunity to attack because for example in this position, Black's dark-colored B is useless for defending against white-square attacks that white has. Here, white has more opportunity to attack because Black's minor pieces (especially B) are stuck on queenside and it takes time for them to regroup to the kingside. Also, white's pawns are nicely placed on dark-squares which limits the potential of Black's dark-colored B. Taking these things in consideration, we can see that white is better at the final position.

    One last point: 19.g4 is a positional move supported by tactics (Bxg4 does not win a pawn). These 2 ideas are not mutually exclusive, and you can use tactics to execute positional ideas. IMO, this is a really good example and props to MichiganEagle for posting this.

    Hope that helps :)

  • 4 years ago


    Why would Black even consider taking on g4? Such a pointless move.

  • 4 years ago


    Give us more, my positional skills need improving. And NimzoRoy is right, the annotation box should be made bigggger! 

  • 4 years ago


    ?? I'm blank. How to proseed making "much better" count? If that involves 10 more accurate moves like these,there's a reason for me not getting better Tongue Out

  • 4 years ago


    Didn't get it, but I like it anyway.

    Do you think chess.com will ever make the annotation box any bigger? 

  • 4 years ago


    got the first two moves right, but attempted 3. Ng3 instead of Nxf6

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