The Pin is Mightier Than the ...
I will leave it up to you to come up with a suitable ending for the title this month. There are some obvious ones but I won't impose them on you - be creative!
The title should give you a clue though about the puzzles this month. I had originally intended to give you a set involving sacrifices don't worry, they will appear in the future) but I changed my mind. Instead, I have compiled a set based on one of the most common tactics you will come across, the pin.
Can I assume that you all know what a pin is? I'd love to hear a resounding "Yes!" but just in case, I will give you a little explanation. Of course, our more advanced members can skip this bit and go straight to the puzzles.
A pin is where a piece is attacked, and if were to move, opens an attack on to another piece behind it. For example, one of the most common pins we see is where a black queen is on d8, a black knight on f6 and a white bishop on g5. The bishop attacks the knight and if the knight moves, it unmasks an attack from the bishop on to the black queen. In this situation the knight is free to move but that would almost always be a bad move as the queen would then be lost.
This is an example of a relative pin, where the pinned piece can move but exposes another piece behind it to capture.
There is also what is called an absolute pin. In this case the pinned piece is masking an attack on the king. The pinned piece can't move this time as you would be moving into check. So if instead we have a black king on e8, a black knight on c6 and a white bishop on b5, we now have an absolute pin. The black knight can't move as then the black king would be in check. A particular danger of an absolute pin is that a piece "protected" by the pinned piece is actually unprotected, since the pinned piece can't move.
After that brief reminder, time for you to expend a little mental energy. Let's see how you go with some examples. You may disagree with me but I have tried to keep the puzzles relatively easy this month. I want you to get them, not to struggle with them and miss out on seeing the pins and how to take advantage of them. One final note - these puzzles are aimed at our less experienced members so the more accomplished among you will find them easy. So I would expect you to find the winning moves very quickly!