Chess Terms
Discovered Check

Discovered Check

Checks are potent threats in chess. Can you imagine what would happen if you could combine their power with a surprise attack on another piece? Enter the discovered check, a tactic that can end a game in an instant.

Here is what you need to know about the discovered check:

What Is The Discovered Check In Chess?

A discovered check happens when a piece moves out of the way to uncover a check given by another piece.

The discovered check.
The white knight gets out of the rook's way, putting the king in check.

The discovered check is a kind of discovered attack. It is usually more powerful than a regular discovered attack because it is a forcing move that requires the other player to react.

Why Is The Discovered Check Important?

The discovered check can be a crushing tactic because it can catch your opponent off guard. In addition, it forces the other player to respond to the check, giving you enough time to do severe damage.

In this game, the great GM Viktor Korchnoi demonstrated just how devastating a discovered check can be. Playing with the white pieces, Korchnoi faced this position on the board:

How can White win with a discovered check?
Can you see a way for White to use the discovered check to win material?

Korchnoi played a demolishing queen sacrifice, only possible because of his dangerous passed pawn and discovered check. After White promoted his pawn, Black soon resigned since he was about to lose his queen after getting out of check.

A discovered check wins material for White.
Korchnoi sacrifices a queen to be able to deliver a discovered check and finish the combination a queen up.

As you can see, a well-applied discovered check can give a player a decisive edge. Knowing how to apply it and protect yourself from it is crucial for every chess player who wants to improve their game.

Test Your Skills

Now that you have learned everything about the discovered check, it is time to put your skills to the test. Try to solve the puzzles below by using the power of the discovered check.

Puzzle 1: In this game, GM Hikaru Nakamura used the discovered check tactic to win material against IM Justin Sarkar. Can you see Nakamura's idea?

Puzzle 2: In this odds game played by the genius Paul Morphy against Aureliano Medina in 1862, Medina resigned after the game reached this position. Can you show why Black gave up?

Puzzle 3: In this game, Adolf Anderssen sacrificed a queen playing against Berthold Suhle to get to this position. Can you see how Anderssen used the discovered check to win the game?


You now know what a discovered check is and how you can use it to gain an advantage in your games. Head over to our Lessons page and learn about other tactics that you can use to crush your opponents!

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