How and When to Deflect (Distraction)?

How and When to Deflect (Distraction)?

FM Gertsog

Dear Chess Friends!

You know tactics and calculation are 2 main aspects of a chess game. You may point out that positional understanding is another good skill and it’s difficult to imagine a strong player who doesn’t understand the position! And I agree with you!

But for amateurs and intermediate club players tactical skills are more important! I recommend learning them by motifs – one by one. And in this video, I would like to demonstrate such a tactical motif as distraction!

In other words, I’ll teach you how to deflect your opponent! And, of course, illustrate everything by simple examples and beautiful masters’ games. If you are beginner or an intermediate club player and would like to learn about Distraction watch this video about How and When to Deflect Your Opponent!

In chess, there is a great tactical maneuver – Distraction. Its essence is to deflect the opponent's enemy pieces, that play an important role, from their positions. In this case, the opponent either suffers huge material losses, or gets a checkmate. But how do you know when to use this technique?

  1. If a forced checkmate is planned

A striking example of a distraction with a forced mate is this simple position:

The knight on f6 protects the H7 and e8 squares – dangerous and weak squares. Here you need to give your opponent what they want so much – sacrifice a piece. After the sacrifice of the rook Re8!, black can give up. They got what they wanted – they took the rook, and stopped protecting the h7 square. After this move black is sure to get checkmate by white's move Qh7#

Moreover, it works even with a different move order! We can sacrifice the Queen on h7 first and then play Re8+, Knight has to block on f8, but Rook takes Knight - checkmate!

2. If the opponent has a weak position that allows you to gain a material advantage.

In this position, you can make 2 tempting moves, "feed the opponent with a small piece" so that he believes that he won it. In this case, the piece is the white rook, which is the key to victory:

1) 1. Re8+ Rxe8 2. Qxd6 ... (the Queen is won)

2) 1. Re8+ Kg7 2. Rxd8 ... (And now if black takes the Queen, Qxd1+ , then the black Queen is lost and you are left with an extra rook)

There is another kind of distraction – the distraction of checking piece – tactical chess technique in which the piece is distracted checking on less favorable position, but continues to declare check, it gets itself in a bad position, tighten the noose, and you're its only help. That's the point of distraction.

Another example of the simplest distraction of a missing piece:

The rook checks the white king on f2, and tries to go back to catch the pawn on g7. But black has a great distraction-sacrifice-Nf4!! Now the Knight is "poisoned". If Black is greedy and takes the knight, white king moves to g3 and the rook can’t cover the queening square, allowing white to promote a Queen. But if rook retreats, for example on g5, the knight will be used as a powerful weapon against the opponent's move Nxе6+! With the capture of a pawn and the subsequent capture of a rook. Thus, the opponent himself tied a deadly knot, and you only helped him.

Now let's see how the distraction technique is used by chess masters:

1) Adolf Andersen - Lionel Kiesericki (1-0)

2) Eddwin Ziegler Adams – Carlos Torre Repeto (1-0)

You can find the analysis of this game in My Chess Blog.

To sum up:

1) You have learned about the tactical maneuver – distraction, and in what cases it is used.

2) You have viewed this technique in various chess positions.

3) We saw how chess masters use this technique.

I hope this article was useful for you. Visit my Chess Blog!

With best wishes,

FM Victor Neustroev