Basic Chess Tactics 101

Nov 30, 2011, 7:23 PM |

BasicChess Tactics

With chess being a strategy game, it should come as no surprise that newbie chess players should familiarize themselves with the different tactics that are vital for success in the game. These tactics form the backbone of a player's strategy as they are the moves that constitute a player's the overall plan of action for the whole chess match.

Tactics are generally short series of moves that are meant to improve one's position and/or gain some material advantage over the enemy. Most tactics in chess are two-move sequences; moves that brought about double threats that render the opponent unable counter satisfactorily thereby netting the player some material gain. Some of the basic tactics that allow a player to score material advantages are as follows:

The Discovered Check. This is done by moving a way a piece that reveals the attack of another friendly piece upon an enemy piece. Such a maneuver is very effective in dealing double threats particularly when the revealed attack is directed on an enemy king thereby resulting in a discovered check. This is also effective when the moved piece is able to attack another enemy piece thereby resulting in a classic double-threat.

The Fork. The fork is done by using one piece to attack two pieces simultaneously. This is done to bring possible material advantage since the opponent can only respond to a single threat. Knights are commonly used for forks for their range and their unique ability to jump over other pieces. Common forks using the knight involve simultaneous attacks on the king and another valuable piece, usually a queen or a rook. Because the other player has to respond to a check since the king is threatened by the knight, the knight is then free to capture the other valuable piece.

The Pin. The pin is a tactic done by attacking an enemy piece that is on the front of another more valuable enemy piece. As moving the enemy piece would lead to the capture of the more valuable piece, the opponent is then forced not to move their piece. In some instances, the more valuable piece behind is the king thereby rendering the pinned piece in front of it unable to move at all.

The Skewer. The skewer is very much like the pin, the only difference being that the more valuable piece is the one on the front of the less valuable one. This forces the opponent to move the more valuable piece away letting the lesser piece behind for capture.

It is important to note that the two preceding tactics discussed can only be done by the bishop, the rook, and the queen, as they are the only ones that move and capture in a straight line, an important prerequisite for a pin or a skewer.

As said earlier, these basic chess tactics are useful for gaining material advantage which in turn enables to one to move closer and closer to a checkmate. This makes it worthwhile to master these tactics first and foremost so that one can bank on them early on, starting one's chess career on the right path.