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bittersweet_ballad 58 ( +1 | -1 )
what would you play in this position? (white to play)

Hey all!

The above position is from a game I recently played (board #5474338)

In this position, I took on h6 with my B, hoping for a good attack. Things didn't work the way I wanted them to, however, and I settled for a draw.

Looking at the position in retrospect, I'm a bit confused - was Bxh6 a good idea? If yes, how should white have continued?

Would appreciate any input!

ganstaman 136 ( +1 | -1 )
Hmmm, interesting game. It definitely looks like you have an advantage in the above position given the placement of your pieces. But how to turn that advantage into something solid...?

Perhaps the issue was on your 20th move.

Here, you played 20. Ng5, which unfortunately doesn't really threaten to mate since there is that knight on f6. But this position is just begging for a rook lift from you. Unfortunately, your knight is in the way of the lifted rook coming to action, so I do want to move that knight. But look at what your opponent did next -- Rxc3 and Re8, both preventing the rook lift :(

So, maybe 20. Qg5+ Kh8 21. Ne5. The queen check is to get his king on the h-file so it can't later escape towards the center. Also, it repositions the queen to better handle ...Ng4, which would otherwise attack your queen. As soon as you can, get in Re3 or Rd3. You don't want to trade queens, so if he ever moves his knight you can move your queen to check his king (not losing time at least). And why is Ne5 better than Ng5? It blocks the e-file so he can't play ...Re8 to stop the rook lift.

I hope this all makes sense. I can try to work out some more concrete lines later to make sure this idea wins (or loses if it does).
ionadowman 62 ( +1 | -1 )
The damned Nf6... the kingpin of Black's defence. Your 17.Bxh6 seems sound in that it doesn't lose (at least I haven't found any improvement for Black, so far). But I would have looked to ways of getting rid of the Nf6 first. 17.Ne4 seems possible. Better even, might be 17.Ne5 hoping for 17...Bxe5 18.dxe5, dislodging the N. I don't think these options are worse that the move played, but I can't prove they are better, either.
Your position at move 17 seems poised for some kind of decisive action, yet my impression of Black's layout is that he has fine defensive resources available within his flexible position.
kewms 26 ( +1 | -1 )
I haven't looked at concrete lines, but how about getting rid of that Nf6 by way of Nc3-d5-f6? Probably best to prepare first, since you've already sac'ed the bishop. Still, it looks like Black's position will fall apart without the Nf6, so you can invest quite a bit to get rid of it.

ganstaman 26 ( +1 | -1 )
I initially thought of removing the f6 knight by 17. Ne4, but after 17...Nxe4 18. Bxe4 Bc6, white's plan of attacks seem to fail. :(

If 17. Ne5, what if black just doesn't capture the knight? Is the knight better off on e5? (if not, then we're just playing for a trap, which isn't so good).
ionadowman 111 ( +1 | -1 )
I agree... ...Black need not take the Knight, but a closer investigation is starting to indicate it might be Black's best course. For instance, 17...Ned5 looks like a reasonable response:
17.Ne5 Ned5
18.Bxh6 gxh6 (18...Bxe5 looks more circumspect, though WT has the edge after,say 19.dxe5 Ng4 20.Nxd5 exd5 21.Bf4, threatening 22.h3 whence the Knight has only the horrible square h6 to retreat to.)
19.Qxh6 Be7 (I reckon the Ne5's presence is already being felt!)
20.Ng6!!...(Not an easy move to find, though. It threatens an immediate mate, and clears space around the BK King)
20........fxg6 (the only other defensive move seems to be 20...Nh7, whereat 21.Nxe7+ is curtains)
21.Qxg6+ Kh8
22.Qh6+ Kg8
23.Re5..........With a very strong, probably winning, attack
Black has other responses at Move 17, of course: 17...Nc6, maybe, or even the counterintuitive 17...Nfd5. After 17...Nfd5 18.Bxh6!? f6 White can bail out with 19.Nxd7 Qxd7 20.Be3, the Bishop's raid netting a pawn.

In response to 17.Ne5 Nc6, 18.Bxh6 still looks good. E.g.18...Bxe5 19.dxe5 Nd5 20.Nxd5 exd5 21.Qf4 gxh6? (21...Qe7!?) 22.Qxh6 f5 23.exf6e.p. Rf7 24.Re3 with a tremendous attack.
17.Ne5 sure looks good to me!
bittersweet_ballad 23 ( +1 | -1 )
Thanks, all of you, for your input!

The analysis above was very interesting and useful. I think that 17.Ne5 would have been a very strong move. ionadowman, the move 20.Ng6 was an amazing find!

Best wishes,