How To Improve As A Beginner#8 - The Pin

How To Improve As A Beginner#8 - The Pin


Good day to you all!

In this article, and in some following ones to come, I will be referring to an old classic chess book called 'Improve Your Chess Fast' by GM Alberic O`Kelly de Galway.

To become a better chess player, you not only have to have a suitable study plan (the topic of my next article), not only do you have to understand how to prioritise the elements in a position (see Evaluating a Position#5), but you have to understand how all the different patterns in chess are related (this will naturally develop over time) and the pattern today that I am focusing on is 'the pin'. Let`s see what Alberic had to say about this concept:

'A weapon which very frequently restricts the mobility of your pieces is the pin. The pieces usually used for this motive are the bishop and the rook. The pin brings with it a temporary passivity of the pinning piece, and for this reason, the queen whose role is more active than that of a mere pinning piece is rarely used for this purpose...'

1. Below is a very simple example of an exchange French position, where 5. Bg5 pins down black`s knight. Because this pin can be a bit annoying, often black plays an early h6, before developing his king`s knight, to stop a bishop coming to the g5 square:

 2. Here is a couple of puzzles that are based on the motif of 'pins', I have stolen them from tactics trainer, a great tool, that you should use every week to improve (you can alter the mode to certain patterns, e.g. pins):

3. Here is one that I invented myself, a very common idea that many people miss, it might even have a name...the Korchnoi something (trophy for the first one to tell me in the comments):


4. The following game shows just how powerful the pin can be, but first there is a puzzle extracted from the game at the critical moment:

'False Pins'
5. Some pins are just a fantasy of the mind. The chess player believes that they have a powerful pin, and the moves they play reflect this belief, when in actual fact, the pin can be unveiled, and proven to be a 'false pin'.
Alberic: "Not all pins have the same value. The validity of the pin depends upon the pinning piece, and also on the piece at which the pin is directed, however, you may have a pinned piece which in reality is not pinned and its mobility is only fictious. "
Without further ado, I will show you a couple examples of these sorts of pins, that you should avoid playing yourself, or punish your opponent if they play it against you:


Thanks for reading this article on 'pins', I hope it has given you an insight into the nature of them, and when they can be a powerful weapon. I hope you don`t fall for any false pins, to avoid this, you should always consider (when you/ your opponent sets up a pin) are there any opputunites for my opponent to sacrifice and generate a big attack. Then try to calculate it as deeply as possible. My next article will be released next Saturday, until next time!


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