Typical Patterns Everyone Should Know : Pin, unpin...

Typical Patterns Everyone Should Know : Pin, unpin...

| 47 | Tactics

Before we discuss today's typical pattern, I would like to thank my readers again for their comments and feedback.  One of you suggested to me to use the feature "Board Coordinates" so you can see the notation better. Today I'll try it for the first time and hope you'll like it.  Also I noticed that in the comments to my last article (Typical Patterns Everyone Should Know : That vulnerable f7 pawn...) some of you argued that the Philidor defense is not popular these days and no-one plays it anymore.  I don't know where to start here.  Ironically, this ancient opening is very popular on the highest level these days.  The latest games that I saw were played just last month in the super tournament in Poykovsky (Gashimov-Bologan, Efimenko-Bologan) and in both games after 6 moves they reached exactly the same position as the one we analysed in the game Taylor-Koltanowsky. The FIDE ratings of these players are 2730, 2690 and 2682 respectively. But that's not the point actually. I can only borrow a comment from the user gerigeriusHe wrote : "to me seems ... this article was NOT about how to play the PHILIDOR . This article was about TYPICAL ATTACK PATTERNS to the F7 square "  Thank you gerigerius, I couldn't say it better myself.  When I present a pattern for you to learn, I am usually trying to find the most instructive games where the idea was realized to its full extent.  I don't care much about any particular opening since opening fashion comes and goes, but the ideas are eternal. So, try to learn the idea and you'll see that in many cases you can use it in different openings!

Today's pattern is very simple and yet very powerful. In many openings we pin the opponent's Knight with a Bishop expecting to benefit from the immobility of the opponent's Knight. And it is true when we play Bb5 or Bb4 (for Black) since the Nc6 or Nc3 cannot move as it would expose the King!  But when we talk about Bg5 and Bg4 pins, the situation is different. In most of the cases it would be foolish for a Knight to move leaving the Queen exposed, but sometimes we have sparkling exceptions!

The first example is one of the most well-known traps and I hope the majority of you knows it.

White has just grabbed the central d5 pawn using the pin of the Nf6.  Was it a smart idea?


The next trap is also very simple but not that well-known.  I saw a bunch of FIDE 2300+ players fell for it!

The next text-book combination happened in hundreds of games played by different openings, and yet every time I see it again, I enjoy its beauty!

So far we've analyzed very simple situations. In the real GM/IM games it is usually more complicated.  Here is a nice example:

As you could see, despite the simplicity of the 'pin-unpin' combo, it is still a very dangerous weapon claiming new victims.  If this pattern is so simple and well-known, why do chess players miss it?  I think the explanation is a matter of human psychology. When we just learn to play chess, we quickly realize how powerful a Queen is. I noticed that for many beginners it is easier to get checkmated than part with a lady.  Therefore, when we pin a Knight, the false sense of security (no-one is that stupid to give up his Queen, right?) makes us temporarily blind.
My advice is simple. Next time you are going to pin your opponent's Knight, or your opponent pins your Knight, look for the next ideas:
1) Legal's mate (see example #3, as well as my previous article "She is a maniac, maniac..")
2) Bxf7+ or Bxf2+ which lures your opponent's King to a square where he will be checked by unpinned N (see example #2)
3) Look for some sort of an attack against your opponent's King (as happened in games # 1 and 4). If your opponents has to give up a lot of material as happened in the above mentioned games, then your Queen is not such a big price for that! :)
Good luck !
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