Tactics 1 - Definitions

Jun 13, 2008, 1:29 AM |

Chess is 99 percent tactics. - Teichmann

I'm not sure how true this statement is but regardless, tactics is unarguably one of the most important parts of Chess.  I believe a beginner would do well if he spends more time learning tactics rather than try to memorize openings.  If he was really dedicated, he would also learn the endgames but thats not the topic of this post.  In this series of blogs, I will share with you, lessons that I have come accross that have proved to be invaluable.  How well your retention is of these lessons will determine how much you will improve and be able to apply these concepts into your own games.  Enjoy.

Tactics are maeuvers that take advantage of short-term opportunities.  A Combination is a sacrifice combined with a forced sequence of moves, which exploits specific peculiarities of the position in the hope of attaining a certain goal.  Jeremy Silman's rules of recognition of situations where a tactic might exist are when one or more of the follwing are present:

1 - A weakened (or open) King.  When a King has poor pawn cover, has no defenders, or is otherwise weak.

2 - A stalemated King.  When a King has no legal moves, tactics that produce check also result in mate (as long as the piece delivering check cannot be caputred of course).

3 - Undefended pieces (not pawns).  Any unguarded piece is subject to destruction by a double attack or fork.

4 - Inadequately guarded pieces.  Such a piece appears to be safe, but a sudden double attack can place the piece in jeopardy by adding another attacker.

If you notice one or ore of these fators on the board, Silman contends that you should look for a combination.  If none of these factors is present, it is doubtful that a combination will materialize. 

I will begin with the most basic kinds then move forward.

The point system of how to roughly value your pieces are as follows:

pawn = 1 point

knight = 3 points

bishop = 3 points

rook = 5 points

queen = 9 points

there are all kinds of exceptions depending on specific positions but this is where it begins.  i will assume that everyone who reads these entries understand algebraic and descriptive notation.  they are easy to learn and absolutely neccessary to learn more.