Deflection

Deflection

Deflection? What does that have to do with chess? There are many different types of chess tactics, but what is a deflection in chess? Let's find out!

Here is what you need to know about deflection:


What Is A Deflection In Chess?

A deflection is a tactic that forces a piece away from a specific duty or square that is important. After the deflection is performed and the piece is forced away from the important square, another operation can be carried out that wasn't possible before.

In the following position, the black king on e8 is the only piece defending the queen on d8.

deflection
Only the king defends the queen on d8.

White would like to capture the queen on d8 but without exchanging their own queen. But how? The answer is to deflect the black king away from the defense of the black queen with a check from the bishop

deflection
Bxf7+ is a powerful deflection that forces the king away from e8!

Bxf7+ forces Black to recapture the bishop on f7 to get out of check (all other moves are illegal). After the king captures the bishop, the queen is no longer protected!

deflection
The deflection leads to another operation: winning the queen!

This deflection was performed to force the black king away from e8 to win the queen! Now that you know what a deflection is, let's find out why it is important.

Why Are Deflections Important?

Deflections are important tactical resources because they can help you win material or achieve another goal (like promoting a pawn or delivering checkmate).

In the endgame, pawns are commonly used as a deflection. In the following position, White is up a pawn, and the black king is overloaded (it has to do too many tasks simultaneously). The black king has to stop the passed pawn on h5 and protect their own pawn on e6.

deflection
White can use the h-pawn to deflect the black king away from the defense of the e6 pawn.

White can use the passed pawn as a deflection, and force the black king over towards it. When this happens, White can use their king to attack and win the now unprotected black pawn and promote their e5-pawn!

deflection
White deflects the black king for promotion!

Deflections can also be used for the aim of delivering checkmate. In the following position, White wants to capture the pawn on h4 and then deliver checkmate on h7. The only problem is the queen on d8 that is protecting the h4-pawn.

deflection
How can White deflect Black's queen from the defense of the h4-pawn?

White can deflect the black queen from the defense of the h4-pawn by moving their rook to b8!

deflection
Rb8 deflects the black queen from the defense of the h4-pawn!

After Black's queen captures the rook, White captures the h4-pawn and delivers checkmate.

deflection
Deflection for checkmate!

Test

Now that you know what a deflection is and understand why it is important, let's test your skills! In the following position, Black's queen on e7 is defending against the mate threats on f8 and h7. How can White deflect the black queen?

deflection
How can White deflect the Black queen from e7? 
Yes! Rf8+ deflects the black queen from e7 by forcing Black to capture the rook with their queen! 
deflection
Rf8+ is an excellent deflection!

After Black captures the rook on f8, checkmate is delivered on h7.

deflection
Checkmate!

OK! Let's try one more test! In the following position, White's aim is to win the black queen on d6, but it is defended by the black rook on d8.

deflection
How can White win the queen on d6?

How can we win the black queen? With a deflection, of course!

deflection
Deflection!

After Re8+, Black must capture the rook (or move their queen to f8 to block the check, and then we win the queen anyway). After Black captures White's e8-rook with their d8-rook, White wins the queen!

deflection
White wins the queen because of the deflection!

Conclusion

You now know what a deflection is, why deflections are important and how to use them to great effect! Enjoy this new knowledge in your own games, and may you find many winning deflections!