Chess Terms


Sometimes it is hard to win a game when your opponent’s pieces are all working well together. But what if you could disrupt their defenses to win the game? That is what the interference tactic is for, and this is what you need to know about it:

What Is An Interference In Chess?

An interference (sometimes also called an "obstruction") in chess occurs when a player interposes a piece between an enemy piece or critical square and its defender. As a result, the other player can no longer guard the attacked piece or square and usually faces a significant material loss or is checkmated.

An interference.
GM Dmitry Jakovenko vs. GM Ian Nepomniachtchi, Russian Team Championship of 2011. Jakovenko's 1.Be6 threatens checkmate with 2.Qg8# and, at the same time, interferes with the protection of the black bishop on e7.

Why Are Interferences Important?

The opportunity for a well-applied interference is not very common and, therefore, often overlooked. Precisely for this reason, this tactic can have a devastating effect on its victim. It often leads to severe material loss or even to an inescapable checkmate.

In the game below, an interference leads to a material advantage for GM Miguel Najdorf, who found a devastating move that led to a win against IM Ludwig Rellstab. Najdorf blocked the connection between Rellstab's rook and queen. In addition to creating a tactical interference for Black, 21... Bd4 also attacked a white bishop and threatened to fork White's king and rook.

The next game features another example of a shattering obstruction. Former world champion Alexander Alekhine, playing as Black, won the game by forcing Adolf Fink to a position where he would have to give up his queen to avoid checkmate.

In another game, Indian legend GM Viswanathan Anand secured the victory against GM Evgeny Bareev by using a rook to interfere with the black king's defense. Notice that even if Black captured the rook and then sacrificed the queen, Anand would still be able to deliver a mate.

Test Your Skills

Now that you understand the concept of interference, it is time for you to practice your skills! Solve each of the puzzles below to improve your awareness of this tactic.

Puzzle 1: In this game played between GM Hikaru Nakamura and GM Alexander Beliavsky, Black saw a crushing interference to win material. Can you play like a grandmaster and find the winning move in this position?

Puzzle 2: In this match with GM Milan Vidmar, GM Geza Maroczy found a tactic that allowed him to win at least a knight. Can you play the move that made Vidmar resign?

Puzzle 3: In this last puzzle, you have to find the move played by Joseph Blackburne against Henry Bird. Blackburne found a way of forcing his opponent to either lose material or be checkmated. Can you see it, too?


You now have a deeper understanding of the interference tactic and the role it plays in a game of chess. Try out our premium membership for free and start solving interference-specific puzzles to sharpen your tactical skills!

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