Chess Terms
Discovered Attack

Discovered Attack

A discovered attack is a dangerous tactic that you can use to surprise your opponent and win the game. Learn the basics of this mighty weapon and be ready for your next chess battle!

What Is A Discovered Attack In Chess?

A discovered attack happens when a player moves one piece out of the way to reveal a previously blocked attack by another piece.

The discovered attack.

When the discovered attack results in a check, this is known as a discovered check. This move is even more effective than a regular discovered attack because it is more forcing.

The discovered check.

How To Take Advantage Of A Discovered Attack

The discovered attack is often a deadly tactic because it can catch your opponent by surprise.

There are many ways that you can employ a discovered attack to conquer a better position. One of the most common options is to use it as a way to create a double attack that cannot be defended by the other player.

The discovered attack creates two simultaneous threats.
The bishop moves and attacks the rook on d8. At the same time, the now unblocked white rook attacks the queen on e6.

Another way you can use this tactic is to capture a seemingly protected piece. Since you can uncover a crushing threat against your opponent, you can use the extra tempo you gain to bring your piece back to safety while the other player defends against the more serious threat.

The discovered attack allows the capture.
Even though the bishop on d5 is protected, Black has no time to recapture the white knight because their queen is threatened by the white rook.

As mentioned, you can also use this tactic with a check to trick your opponent. The following example shows a trap in the well-known French Defense. The pawn on d4 seems to be hanging, but Black cannot capture it without losing a knight or even their queen!

A trap using the discovered check.
The bishop checks the black king, allowing White to capture Black's queen next.

Finally, in this game played by GM Hikaru Nakamura against GM Alexander Shabalov, we can see another creative way of using discovered attacks. In it, Nakamura moves his knight out of his bishop's way to trap Shabalov's queen.

Test Your Skills

Now that you have learned what a discovered attack is, let's test your skills! Solve the puzzles below to get even better at identifying opportunities for devastating discovered attacks.

Puzzle 1: It seems like White is losing this game since they are behind in material. Is there any way for White to change the course of this game?

Puzzle 2: In this position, it looks like all of Black's pieces are protected. Can you think of any way to win material?

Puzzle 3: Black just captured your pawn on d4 with a knight. Is that knight really protected by the queen, or can you win material in this position?


You now understand the basic concept behind a discovered attack. You can identify it, use it against your opponent, and even create traps with it! To get even better at exploiting this tactic, try our premium membership and practice solving discovered attack puzzles.

Explore More Chess Terms