, , ,


White has been attacking Black’s advanced and isolated c4 pawn. A battle was shaping up for how Black would add a third defender. However, White has temporarily decreased the direct pressure by attacking a defender – the knight on d6. White is likely thinking about re-positioning his bishop at c3 via d2 once he secures what will be his exposed f pawn. That will add an attacker to the black pawn on e5 and allow the rook on e1 (currently defending the bishop) to double on the c file. There may be threats to trap the Black rook as well. There are no obvious defenders for the d6 knight so it can retreat to e8 or c8. Stockfish favors a retreat/threat to advance of moving to b7 and from there either moving to or supporting the other knight moving to the key c5 square. An alternative is to move the d7 knight so the rook on d8 supports the e6 knight. But this is rapid: Fabiano does not have the luxury to calculate a lot of moves here.  He does NOT choose Nb7