Would you take white or black in this position?

Youarereallyquitebad

This is a well known sac in the French defense. Black's compensation is the super mobile pawn centre.

I have been studying this position and the move g3 has been played twice as white by Masters once in 1993 and again in 2013. Both times successful.

Stockfish favours black slightly but it is not so simple. If white can destroy blacks pawns then the extra piece will win him the game. My question is, after looking at the position and the games posted would you take black here or white and why?

Thank you.

stiggling

Even before looking at the game I decided I liked white.

Without an f pawn, black's king feels loose to me, and of course the central pawns are double edged as c5 and e6 can become targets. Black's pawns are also cramping him e.g. notice the bishops are stuck staring at friendly pawns.

But mostly because white will always have the option of sacrificing his extra piece for a few pawns, and at any moment when white does so, I imagine he'll have the better structure and more active pieces.

So I feel like it's at least much easier to play the white side of this. Black feels a little uncoordinated and without a clear idea to play for.

stiggling

Maybe I should add that 11.g3 looks wrong. At least the engine agrees with me on that much.

Oh, and in black's favor is white's b pawn. Put it back on b2 or b3 and white is looking really good.

Youarereallyquitebad
stiggling wrote:

Maybe I should add that 11.g3 looks wrong. At least the engine agrees with me on that much.

Oh, and in black's favor is white's b pawn. Put it back on b2 or b3 and white is looking really good.

 

g3 solves the light square bishop problem though. Be2 looks wrong and Bd3 just gets blacks pawns rolling. I play the advance as white. The pawns look threatening but it does look quite hard to play as black. Maybe I should have posted a game after the sac where black won.

stiggling

Other than blocking the king the LSB is doing very good on f1. b5 and the queenside is white's main problem and the bishop is in contact with that.

AlisonHart

This patzer likes black: Look at all that space and all the central pawns!! The b5 pawn is puffer fish - one poke and it pops. All I need to do is suffer for the next 15 moves, reach the endgame, and I'll be three queens up!

bmunchausen

In both the games white's dark square bishop causes black grief. Why not 11...Qb6 and 12...Bd6 to neutralize it?

stiggling
bmunchausen wrote:

In both the games white's dark square bishop causes black grief. Why not 11...Qb6 and 12...Bd6 to neutralize it?

The engine likes it, but it seems like an unnatural way to play. The f4 bishop is hitting a lot of air, and you're never going to win control of e5, so what's the point? It just weakens the dark squares. I guess you can say afterwards it's possible to post your pieces on those dark squares, like d6... but I would probably put it on e7.

Also, of course, this is a rather shallow look at it, and that plan may be very good, but I don't think it's a plan I would have thought of.

Optimissed

In the first game 15. ... Nh5 looks much better than h6, superficially at least. Black has to untangle his position and the way the player chose was not the way to do it because black's position lost its dynamism.

I think I prefer black but only just.

poucin

Black is better in this variation according theory, engines, and analysts.

The first game where this piece gambit appeared was this one :

Black's play was not good in these 2 games and could be improved "easily".

For example, 13...Bxb5 in the 2nd game, and white will have issues with his king in centre.

In the 1st, black chose a wrong plan with Qe8-h6, while 13...c4 like Luther's game was the move. Stockfish even gives 11...e5...

AlisonHart

I just want to note that - in poucin's game - Buchal sacrificed the b pawn immediately (to free the bishop), and Luther got an extra queen to play with.

 

Sometimes this patzer isn't wrong!

d0su

I would take black in these types of positions. You'll have to be careful to stop white's counterplay, but the plan is simple and strong: trade pieces, and steamroll through the center with that lovely mass of pawns.

Monie49
Black.
Clavius

Black has the edge.  There are major improvements for Black's play in both the example games that Black lost.

 

Youarereallyquitebad

I guess that's why a3 is only played once black plays Qb6. Still an interesting position. Thanks for all your input.