Introduction to Tactics

Introduction to Tactics

Get ready for a tactical workout!

Are you ready to take your game to the next level? Then this course is for you! This module introduces you to the tactical tools of chess you need to reach the next level. This tactical workout will whip your game into shape!

Here is what you will learn:

  • Practice forks!
  • Work on pins!
  • Spot discovered attacks!
  • Checkmate your opponent!

Win a Piece and Draw
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Foot Race
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An Aggressive King
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Another Aggressive King
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Vulnerable Pieces
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King Power
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Royal Invasion
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Overextended Pieces Get in Trouble
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Salad Time
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Front and Center
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Knightmare
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Rookey Lookey
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Middlegame pawn fork
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Black Walks the Plank
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Dagger Thrust
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First Strike
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No Mercy
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Looks are Deceiving
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In a Line, Pay a Fine
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Shishkabob
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Beginner's Delight
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Dream Come True
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Bare Bones
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Nice Knight
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Square Patterns
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Goodnight
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In the Saddle
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Radiance
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Triple Threat
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Rank and File
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Elbow Room
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In the Line of Fire
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Strung out Bishops
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Royal Separation
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Double Trouble
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Divide and Conquer
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Omnipotent Queen
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Diagonals are Straight Lines Too
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Dessert Fork? Or Salad Fork?
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A Common Theme
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A Common Opening Theme
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Royal Fork: The Knight's two handed punch

Royal Fork: The Knight's two handed punch

This problem shows us what a fork is. A fork is a case where two pieces are attacked at the same time by one opposing piece. This device is very handy and leads to the win of lots of games. Knights in particular are known for their annoying ability to fork much stronger pieces.
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Family Fork

Family Fork

When a lone knight attacks a king, queen, and rook at the same time, we get what is known as a family fork.
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Bishop Fork

Bishop Fork

A certain symmetry between two Black pieces exists on the board which makes a fork possible. It is wise to get used to such patterns, so that you can make use of them against your opponents and avoid falling victim to them yourself.
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Rook Fork

Rook Fork

Knights fork on their strange "L" shaped patterns, bishops fork on diagonals, and rooks, of course, can fork on either ranks or files.
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Pawn Fork

Pawn Fork

It's one of the curiosities of chess that the weakest of pieces can pose a threat to the strongest. Even harmless little pawns can attack two pieces at once.
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Queen Fork

Queen Fork

The queen has the ability to move like a rook and bishop combined. Due to this versatility, the lady's forking powers are considerable.
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King Fork

King Fork

It may surprise you, but even a king can fork pieces! In the present example we see the White king take matters into its own hands and fork the rook and knight.
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Winning Knight
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Horse Jumping
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Smiling Pawn
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Today the Center
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The Line Up
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Stuck in the Mud
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Adding Pressure
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A Tight Rein
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All Pinned Up
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Fatal Attraction
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Bishop Center Counter Trap
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Ladies First?
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Too Close for Comfort
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The Advance Scout Takes an Arrow
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Excellent Teamwork
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Caught in a Trap
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Weak Rank
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Walking the High Wire
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To the Rescue
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Pinned Pawns

Pinned Pawns

Every piece on the board is subject to a pin, with the sole exception of the king. A king cannot be pinned to something of greater value because there is nothing of greater value! Pawns, of course, are not exempt to being pinned.
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Rook pins

Rook pins

The two best pinners are rooks and bishops. Queens also make excellent pinners, since they mimic the movements of these two pieces. In this problem the White rook can initiate a very effective pin.
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Dark Squares
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A Handy Tactic
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Feint and Strike
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Distraction
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Democracy Triumphs Over Monarchy
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Promoting a Pawn
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Black Dagger
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I'm Looking Through You
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Fatal Line up
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He Who Laughs Last, Laughs Best
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Back Stabber
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The Skewer

The Skewer

A skewer is like a backwards pin in that you threaten a piece, force it to move, and capture a less valuable piece behind it. In a pin you attack a piece that has a more valuable piece behind it.
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Rook Skewer

Rook Skewer

Skewers are most commonly made by bishops and rooks. In this case a rook wins the game by itself.
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The Spider and the Fly
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Too Adventurous Rook
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Wandering Queen
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Corner Shot
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A Common Trick
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No Room to Roam
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Trapper John
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Monarchy
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Tickle a Horse
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Houdini
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Hanging Pieces
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Perpetual Check: Two Rooks on the Seventh Rank

Perpetual Check: Two Rooks on the Seventh Rank

Two rooks doubled on the seventh is a glorious thing to have! They are able to eat just about every pawn that resides there, and they pose a constant threat to the opposing king. Many mates can be conjured up when you have these two rooks. Even when everything else is looking grim, these two rooks can often save the game with a perpetual check.
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Opening Ambush
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Trap Door
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Peek-A-Boo
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Look What I Found
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A Bolt from the Blue
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Double Duty
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Methodical Gains
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The discovered check

The discovered check

Black has just played the rook to b2 and called check to the White king. Was this a good idea? What should White do?
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Protect Your Brother
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Wriggling off the Tine
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Blow for Blow
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Does the Pin Win?
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Breaking a pin

Breaking a pin

Some pins win decisive amounts of material, while other pins are just of temporary nature and can be defused with careful play. Here we want to find a way to end the pin against Black's c6-knight.
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Basic Mate: King and Queen vs. King

Basic Mate: King and Queen vs. King

This is one of the most important mates you will ever learn, because it is something you simply HAVE to know! It will come up often in your games, and if you can't do it, your only reward for your earlier good play will be frustration. Mating with a king and queen vs. the lone king should be a simple matter. Such simplicity, however, only comes with practice. Go over this problem several times until the ideas expressed here become second nature to you. Only then will it be time to move on to the next one. Editor's note: This is a long challenge. It is intended to illustrate one method of accomplishing the checkmate. You may already have a checkmating method that you have been using; there are many. The important thing is to have a method that you are comfortable with and that you will be able to remember when the situation arises.
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Basic Mate: King and Rook vs. King

Basic Mate: King and Rook vs. King

A king and rook can mate a lone king in fairly easy fashion, though it must be admitted that the process is longer and more tedious than a king and queen mate. Editor's note: This is a long challenge. It is intended to illustrate one method of accomplishing the checkmate. You may already have a checkmating method that you have been using; there are many. The important thing is to have a method that you are comfortable with and that you will be able to remember when the situation arises.
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Basic Opposition: King vs. King

Basic Opposition: King vs. King

An invisible force exists between the kings that allows one king to outperform the other. This force is known as the opposition.
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Square of a passed pawn

Square of a passed pawn

At times the opponent is pushing his pawn, and your king is far from the action. How can you tell if you can stop his pawn? Here we learn a shortcut that makes the whole process easy!
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Pawn Structure

Pawn Structure

In general, you are supposed to pick a plan of action based on the state of your pawn structure. The pawn structure delineates whether a position is closed (the center is blocked by pawns) or open (few center pawns give open lines for the pieces). The pawn structure also determines whether one's pieces have good posts available to them or not. Most of all, pawn structure is thought of (among amateurs) in terms of passed pawns, doubled pawns, isolated pawns and backward pawns. This problem gives a quick illustration of each of these pawn types.
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