After the exclusive reply 6… Qxf6 comes a first big branching for the players of White.
The idea of the Hastings Variation (7. Qb3) is to protect the c4-pawn and control the b4-square, while preparing 8. e4 where Black would not be able to play Bb4+ after 8… dxe4 9. Nxe4. Black has several good replies: 7… Nd7, 7… dxc4, and 7… a5, all of them leading to positions with roughly even chances.
The main move is 7. e3 where 7… g6 is a decent alternative to the more common 7… Nd7. Line 273 deals with positions arising after 7… Nd7 8. Bd3, while other possibilities for White on the 8th move, such as 8. Qc2, 8. Rc1 and 8. a3, are covered here.
[Diagram: White to Move] White has already sacrificed the Rook, but he still needs to find that finishing blow against the Black King. Any thoughts?
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