Champion Tactics with GM Wolff - Pins and Skewers

Champion Tactics with GM Wolff - Pins and Skewers

Are your ready for a tactical workout?

Grandmaster and two-time US Champion, Patrick Wolff, has hand-picked a series of pin and skewer puzzles. Pins and skewers are two ways that the "long-range" pieces (the bishop, the rook, and the queen) can attack two or more pieces simultaneously along the same rank, file, or diagonal. This is another basic tactical tool that is easy to understand and critical to master. Start using pins and skewers like a champion today!

Here is what you will learn:

  • How to set up pins and skewers!
  • How to avoid pins and skewers!
  • How to win material with devastating pins and skewers!
Lesson 1

Lesson 1

Black has an extra pawn, but white can force the win of black's queen in just two moves using a pin. Do you see how?
2 Challenges
Lesson 2

Lesson 2

It looks like Black has everything protected, doesn't it? But actually, White can win material immediately using the various pins in the position. Do you see how?
3 Challenges
Lesson 3

Lesson 3

The material is equal here but Black can create a nice tactic due to the White pieces being in vulnerable positions. Can you find the winning path?
3 Challenges
Lesson 4

Lesson 4

White has an extra pawn, but Black can quickly gain a decisive material advantage by exploiting all the pins in the position. How?
2 Challenges
Lesson 5

Lesson 5

White's position certainly does look desperate, doesn't it? Although White has a material advantage, Black threatens mate in one move on f2, and it's hard to see a defense. But actually, White can set up a winning pin! Do you see how?
3 Challenges
Lesson 6

Lesson 6

Black has just played his Bishop to b5, attacking the Rook on f1. Black expects White to move the Rook out of the attack. Does White have a better move?
4 Challenges
Lesson 7

Lesson 7

Black has an extra pawn, but White has a potentially powerful pin against Black's Knight. How can White turn this pin into a win?
3 Challenges
Lesson 8

Lesson 8

Does this position remind you of Exercise 7? It looks similar, but it uses an entirely different theme. One thing is true, though: White still needs to exploit a pin.
3 Challenges
Lesson 9

Lesson 9

Nobody is in a pin yet, but if Black could set one up, maybe he could find a way to take advantage of it...
3 Challenges
Lesson 10

Lesson 10

Black just moved the Rook to f8, hoping to exchange Rooks and reach an even position. But in fact this was a blunder. How can White use a pin to win material?
3 Challenges
Lesson 11

Lesson 11

It looks like the only one suffering from a pin is White. But it turns out that White can turn the tables by using the power of the Rooks on the c-file. A key part of the solution uses the theme of DEFLECTION.
4 Challenges
Lesson 12

Lesson 12

Here's a tricky one! Although Black is up a pawn, it looks like Black must lose material because the Queen and Rook are forked. But it's not so simple...
3 Challenges
Lesson 13

Lesson 13

This looks a lot like Exercise 11. How can White win material using a pin here? And if you already solved Exercise 11, are there any important differences here to take account of?
3 Challenges
Lesson 14

Lesson 14

It seems that Black has an extra pawn here but the piece placement makes all the difference. Do you see how White takes advantage of the bad piece placement of Black?
3 Challenges
Lesson 15

Lesson 15

This looks like a pretty innocuous position, right? But White's King is a little hemmed in a little which allows for a nice tactic.
3 Challenges
Lesson 16

Lesson 16

Here's a tricky exercise that uses three themes to win material: PIN, FORK, and SKEWER.
3 Challenges
Lesson 17

Lesson 17

Black has two minor pieces for White's Rook and pawn, a roughly even position. But White can win material by setting up a skewer or a fork (depending on how Black responds). Do you see how?
3 Challenges
Lesson 18

Lesson 18

Normally it's good to have two Bishops in an open position (one where the diagonals are not blocked by pawns). But here the Bishops and Queen are lined up on one file, making them vulnerable to a skewer. Just be sure to do it precisely!
3 Challenges
Lesson 19

Lesson 19

Pins and skewers can be combined with attacking the King, too. The pin of the Queen against the King may not look very productive for White, but in fact by combining it with a checkmate idea he can win in just two moves! Do you see how?
2 Challenges
Lesson 20

Lesson 20

Black's situation looks desperate, but in fact black has an amazing move that turns the tables! And yes, it uses both the pin and the skewer...
2 Challenges
Lesson 21

Lesson 21

We can imagine black licking his chops here: Once white moves the Queen, Black will cement the Knight into the strong d3 square by pushing the pawn to c4, then get the Queen out of the pin, and then... But White has another idea.
3 Challenges
Lesson 22

Lesson 22

White can win a piece with a deadly pin in conjunction with a devilish fork. Do you see how?
2 Challenges
Lesson 23

Lesson 23

In this innocent position white has a tricky move that wins material by setting up a pin. Do you see it?
3 Challenges
Lesson 24

Lesson 24

Black would like to exploit the pin of the Knight on d2 by the Bishop on b4, but the Knight looks solidly defended. Plus Black is in his own pin. How can Black overcome both these hurdles to win material?
4 Challenges
Lesson 25

Lesson 25

White can force the opponent to surrender major material on the very next turn. How?
2 Challenges
Lesson 26

Lesson 26

Here White wins material not exactly by a pin but by the THREAT of a pin.
3 Challenges
Lesson 27

Lesson 27

White's Rook attacks Black's Queen, which cannot move lest white play Qxb4 . However, Black can use the tactical power of a pin to institute a winning counterattack.
4 Challenges
Lesson 28

Lesson 28

Black has a way to checkmate the White King in 4 moves! Can you find it?
4 Challenges
Lesson 29

Lesson 29

This exercise will test your alertness to counterattacking possibilities. White just played Nxe6, forking your Queen and Rook. He's counting on you playing ...fxe6 when he will continue Bxe6 forking and winning the g4 Knight. What to do?
3 Challenges
Lesson 30

Lesson 30

It looks like black actually has the material advantage but White has some very strong pins in store to take total control.
3 Challenges
Lesson 31

Lesson 31

Black is up an exchange here but White can take advantage of the Black King position. Do you see how to proceed?
4 Challenges
Lesson 32

Lesson 32

White threatens checkmate by Qd7 followed by Qd8 but it's Black's turn to move. Make the most of it!
2 Challenges
Lesson 33

Lesson 33

White just captured a pawn, Bc2xa4. Was that a good idea?
2 Challenges
Lesson 34

Lesson 34

Believe it or not, but the Black knight at e7 will fall victim to a pinning attack very shortly. Show how.
4 Challenges
Lesson 35

Lesson 35

Does black take a2? Or defend the passed h-pawn (Rh2)? Or is there something else?
2 Challenges
Lesson 36

Lesson 36

White has just played Qxh6, threatening mate, relying of course on the fact that Black's g-pawn is pinned. Must Black accept that he has lost a pawn?
2 Challenges
Lesson 37

Lesson 37

White has sacrificed a piece and stands to lose even more in view of the forking Knight. However, there is a way that White can exploit the weak dark squares around Black's King that renders the material count irrelevant.
2 Challenges
Lesson 38

Lesson 38

Think carefully. There are a couple factors here: Fork and Skewer. How can Black win White's Queen?
3 Challenges
Lesson 39

Lesson 39

Black played ...Ra2+, then white retreated Rc7-c2. What happens next?
2 Challenges
Lesson 40

Lesson 40

Surprisingly perhaps, the decisive factor here is that White's Queen is undefended. Can you see why?
4 Challenges
Lesson 41

Lesson 41

Material is even but Black has a way to set up a winning skewer. Do you see it?
4 Challenges
Lesson 42

Lesson 42

Show how the undefended Queen is a decisive flaw in Black's position.
4 Challenges
Lesson 43

Lesson 43

For this exercise the problem is not so much what to play as what NOT to play.
3 Challenges
Lesson 44

Lesson 44

White's major pieces on the 7th rank look very menacing but in fact White has left the rear exposed. How can Black exploit this?
2 Challenges
Lesson 45

Lesson 45

A piece that is pinned against its King literally has no legal move if moving exposes the King to check. A piece that is pinned in some other way, say against its Queen, may not be really, absolutely pinned. For example...
3 Challenges
Lesson 46

Lesson 46

If a piece is pinned in two directions at once we speak of a "cross-pin." Cross-pins imply great tactical pressure, and often they gives rise to surprising and beautiful moves. How can Black create a decisive cross-pin from this position?
3 Challenges
Lesson 47

Lesson 47

In this difficult and rather involved exercise white wins by a combination that culminates in a brutal "cross-pin" (a Black piece is pinned in two directions at once).
4 Challenges
Lesson 48

Lesson 48

Black can make a short term investment to gain material.
2 Challenges
Lesson 49

Lesson 49

Is e4 strong or weak? Find a move that proves your answer.
3 Challenges
Lesson 50

Lesson 50

The pressure on b7 combined with the awkward task that faces Black in trying to maneuver in tight quarters on the queenside is enough for White to bring about an immediate gain.
4 Challenges
Lesson 51

Lesson 51

Black has won a piece but the Black King is exposed and it would seem White might somehow drum up counterplay. Find a simplifying combination that assures Black a chance for safe exploitation of the material advantage.
3 Challenges
Lesson 52

Lesson 52

White has two Rooks for the queen but Bd5 menaces very strongly. Can the position be saved?
3 Challenges

Champion Tactics with GM Wolff - Pins and Skewers

Tactics
52 Lessons
No Videos
154 Challenges
Released March 13, 2008
66,299 Students