Figure[White to move]

This position has two foci. The e5 pawn is heavily contested, being attacked twice and guarded three times. White also has the makings of a threat against Black’s king: his rook is nearby, and his bishop can take the pawn on c6 with check. This doesn’t get anywhere because Black replies QxB—but then you remember that Black’s queen also is one of the pieces guarding the e5 pawn, and so you wonder whether the queen is overworked. Start playing with one of the two offensive ideas and see if it loosens up the other one. A natural way to begin is by liquidating the pressure on the e5 pawn: 1. Bxe5, RxB; 2. QxR, QxQ. This loses White’s queen, but again you’re just experimenting; it also moves Black’s queen out of position to guard c6. So now comes the follow-up in that direction: 3. Bxc6+, Kb8 (forced); 4. Rb7+ (the next check you can give), Ka8 (forced); 5. Rxb6# (the coup de grace—discovered checkmate).

Thus the idea is clear: the e5 pawn is more vulnerable than it looks, because if Black defends it he ends up mated. His queen is overworked. But you can’t assume Black will play into your hands so cooperatively; you need to consider what else he might try if you start with 1. Bxe5. His queen would be threatened by the move, so he has to do something to save it—either by capturing the bishop or by moving the queen. We have seen that capturing the bishop doesn’t work out for him, so if Black is astute he will avoid 1. …RxB and instead just move his queen over to g6. This is good for White; it wins an important center pawn, takes the b8 square away from Black’s king, and also threatens Black’s bishop on g7. Now White can play Qf3 to beef up his mate threat, unpin the e5 bishop, and add pressure against f7. It's all fine.

The point of thinking all this through is to make sure Black is not left with any bad threats, and he isn’t. After 1. …Qg6 he could play 2. …Qb1+, but then White interposes with Bf1 or Rd1 (where the rook has protection because White’s queen would have moved to f3), and soon has Qxf7 and the probable win of roughly a piece. E.g, 1. Bxe5, Qg6; 2. Qf3, Qb1+; 3. Bf1, Be4; 4. Qxf7, Bg6 (protecting his rook); 5. QxBg7, and now White has evened things up (with an advantage in pawns) after starting the position behind by a piece. Another way it could go: 1. …Qe6; 2. Rc7, Ne7; 3. Bxg7.

The result: Bxe5 works for White.