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I had a computer analysis done on this game:
I castled on move 7. The computer analysis said I should have moved nxe5: (-0.84) INACCURACY - With that last move you went from roughly equal to having a worse position. Your best continuation was 7. Nxe5.
I was hoping to capture the knight. What would the purpose be to capture a pawn just to lose a knight? Thanks.
I think the idea is 7. Nxe5 Nxe5 8. Qd4 or maybe 8. Qd5.... simultaneously attacking both Knights: which fortunately are both on the e-file, so a capture with check is likely, in the event of tricky stuff by Black.
The long and short of it, is that you turned your nose up at a free pawn, when you castled.
After 7 Nxe5 Nxe5 8 Qd4 you'll recapture one of the Knights and be left with an extra pawn.
Yes, what these guys said.
Congrats on taking action by getting your game analyzed and then asking for the explanation.
Two guys with online rankings over 1900 supplied the answers.
It would be hard to "see" Qd4 if you hadn't either played it or encountered it in a game, read it in a book, seen it on a video or some other method of study or experience.
But you asked here in the forum and within ten minutes had strong players explain it. The fact that both of them responded with basically the same answer also gives you confirmation.
So that shows you are doing the right things to improve. Keep doing what you're doing and next time it comes up in a game, you'll take the pawn with your knight, then if it's recaptured, you'll know to reply with Qd4.
Thanks everyone. I hope I remember it at the appropriate time!