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Expert: Tactics

IM Bryan Smith & IM Danny Rensch Avg Rating: 1360 Expert

In this course we will move beyond the basics to more complicated tactics - which will help you to outwit even stronger players!

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  • Decoy Sacrifice

    A fundamental concept in tactics is "deflection", or "decoy". With this method, you draw a piece away from a key square, or to a key square - often using a sacrifice.
  • Clearance Sacrifice

    There are times in chess when - paradoxically - you wish your own piece were not there. These situations call for a "clearance sacrifice".
  • Defensive Clearance Sacrifice

    Clearance sacrifices can be made for offensive purposes (as in the last lesson) or defensive purposes. Ultimately it comes to the same thing: getting rid of one's own piece for some higher goal.
  • Series of Captures

    Sometimes a position arises where multiple pieces on each side can be captured. When this happens, you need to consider ALL the possible captures, even ones which seem counter-intuitive.
  • Desperado

    A "desperado" supposedly means a person without hope. But an alternate explanation is that it refers to a traveler on the Camino Real road in 17th century Mexico who leaves the road to avoid paying the toll. Thus it could mean "one without hope" or "one who doesn't stop". Either way, it has become a chess term that refers to a piece which is going to be taken anyway and wants to take something out with him. And of course, that piece refuses to "stop".
  • Interference

    "Interference" means sacrificing a piece in such a way that it interferes with crucial movements of your opponent's pieces.
  • Sacrifice for Promotion

    When you promote a pawn you gain a whole new queen. Thus, it can be worth it to sacrifice a large amount of material in tactics which ensure a pawn's promotion.
  • Sacrifice for Stalemate

    If you have a game where you stand worse (i.e. a game where you should be happy with a draw) then sometimes a situation arises where you can sacrifice pieces to reach a stalemate. Typically this involves giving away your own pieces when your king has no moves.
  • Sacrifice for Threefold Repetition

    If you want to make a draw (usually because you otherwise have a bad position) sometimes it is possible to make a sacrifice which results in perpetual check. If your opponent's king cannot get out of check, a threefold repetition will end the game in a draw. Usually this sacrifice takes the form of removing the pawns that are covering the opponent's king; sometimes it can be a diversion, interference, or removal of a piece which is guarding a key checking square.
  • The Windmill

    In this lesson we will see a relatively unusual - but still significant - tactic known as the "windmill". In this tactic repeated discovered checks allow a piece to go haywire, capturing pieces all over the board with impunity.

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