A Tactic That You All Should Know...But Many Don't

A Tactic That You All Should Know...But Many Don't

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Today, we delve into a fascinating chess tactic that might not be on everyone's radar but can be a game-changer when executed correctly. It's especially fitting, that on the 4th of July (USA Independence Day) we explore a game that took place in Hastings—a symbolic clash of nations on the chessboard.

The Tactic

Imagine a scenario where you are playing with the Black pieces and your pawn reaches the 2nd rank, threatening promotion. Your opponent has a knight on the 1st rank, that this pawn is attacking. The key here is that the pawn, once it reaches the 2nd rank, has two squares to promote on: the square occupied by the opponent's knight and the square directly in front of it.

This tactic is incredibly challenging for your opponent to counter because it creates a double threat. Just like a classic double attack, it forces your opponent to respond to two imminent threats with only one move.

Let’s consider an illustrative position:

Can you unleash this tactic like Alekhine did in this very famous game?

Full Game with Annotations by Alekhine, Kasparov and a few of my own*

*My annotations are denoted by CC*

Summoning Your Inner Alekhine

A few days ago, during the last Titled Tuesday, I had the chance to channel my inner Alekhine! Let's see if you can do the same: 

Here's a youtube short of the end of my game (above). Don't be afraid to like and subscribe to stay up to date on all of my new chess improvement videos


The beauty of chess lies in these subtle yet powerful tactics that can turn the tide in your favor. The back rank pawn attack is a tactic that, while rare, is exceptionally potent and worth mastering. As you celebrate this 4th of July, take a moment to appreciate the depth and complexity of our favorite game, and maybe, in your next match, you’ll get the chance to summon your inner Alekhine and unleash this fantastic tactic.

Happy Independence Day, and happy chess playing!

NM Craig C.

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