Post Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:50 pm

Chess Tactics

Without a doubt, tactics play an essential part in any game of chess. You may have heard of or
read about discussions on strategy, but it is little known that tactics represent the core
ingredients of all strategies. Often people confuse tactics and strategy however they are entities
in their own right. Tactics represent a series of moves or a single move used to obtain a short
term advantage. Strategy on the other hand is a series of contrived tactics used to achieve a
goal. Therefore, tactics are used as stepping stones to progress an overall strategy. Tactics are
used extensively in both the opening and middle game.

Before we start, it is worth noting that each chess piece has an intrinsic "relative value". This
value is used by players to determine whether capturing one piece at the expense of another is
a worthwhile activity. See this article for further detail on relative value. The remainder of this
article lists some of the more common tactics that may be used by beginner chess players to
help improve their game.

Discovered Attack

This chess tactic purposed to expose a potential threat by moving one piece out of the way of another piece. At the same time, the discovered attack can threaten the opponent and by that gain a tempo, i.e. arrive at the desirable result one move earlier than expected. In case of a discovered attack with capture, in which the moving piece captures an opponent's piece that was protected by another, the player (who can bring back the moving piece to a harmless place) can also gain material, i.e. notable pieces or pawns.

When a player tries to gain material by attacking two (or more) of the opponent's pieces using one piece, commonly a knight, due to its vast mobility or in rarer cases the queen, which on one hand can move any direction but on the other hand too valuable to risk, or a pawn, which in a single move forward can attack two of the opponent's pieces (on its diagonal right and left).

click here for Discover attack puzzle


Again, an attack performed by one of the players pieces (the queen, rook or bishop) on the opponent's two pieces, lined up so the more valuable piece is placed in front of the less valuable piece. Following this double threat tactic, the opponent's valuable piece is forced to move, exposing the less valuable piece to the player's capture.

click here for example on skewer


Similar to skewer, this chess tactic involves a threat of one player's piece (bishop, rook or queen, meaning only pieces that can move any number of squares) on the opponent's line of pieces, except that in here the player's valuable piece, commonly the king, is threatened. The less valuable piece is incapable of moving to avoid exposure of the more valuable piece, thus called the pinned piece. Since it requires more maneuvering than other chess tactics, pinning often referred to as a chess strategy.

Undermining or Removal of Guards

A chess tactic in which a player captures the opponent's guarding piece, and as a result exposing the guarded piece. The opponent, then, is forced to choose between saving the guarded piece and capturing back the guard, or he/she might sacrifice that no longer guarded piece and dry to capture the player's capturing piece. Eventually, undermining often leads exchange of both players' pieces.