Chess is, of course, a game of tactics and strategy, and the tactics described in the Chess/Tactics entry are important to any chess player. The right tactics can allow you to make quick gains of material, can protect you from quick losses of material, and can, ultimately, help you to win chess games.
Tactics Practice Edit
Good chess players, then, must practice tactics. Consider the chess boards below. In each board white can win material by force, if he chooses his moves wisely and utilizes the tactics described in the Chess/Tactics entry.
Play white first in each board (unless, of course, it is otherwise stated), and force material gains for white with the right tactics. The solutions are at the bottom of this page.
- 1. d5 Ne7 (White threatens knight with pawn, black moves knight, knight no longer guards b4.)
- 2. Qa4+... (Fork tactic; queen checks king, and threatens bishop. Black must concede bishop.)
- 1.Rxd7+ Kc8 ( if ...Nxd7??, 2. Qe8#)
- 2. Rd5+ (if Re7+, Kb7 and White risks losing an exchange) Kb7
- 2. Qc6 is also acceptable. It is followed by ...Ra7, Be6 and eventual moves that clear black pawns on the right.
- 3. Rxe5 Bd6
- 4. Rh5, and white wins a pawn while still being able to keep pressure on black.
- 1.Rf8+ Rxf8 (...Ka7? 2.Bxe3+ b6 3.Rxh8) (White's rook forks check and black's rook, and discovers threat on black's knight from white's bishop.)
- 2.Rxf8+ Ka7 (Rook checks king. King moves diagonally.)
- 3.Bxe3+ (Bishop takes knight with check, gaining a piece and avoiding a checkmate on Rg1.)
The expected solution:
- 1. Qf4; black's pinned knight is now en prise (thrice attacked, twice defended).
- 1. ...Ned7 defends for black (1. ...Ng6 is fruitless, as white needs simply relocate his queen, Qf5, and black is out of tricks)
- 2. e5! and we see that white's first move was critical, preparing his e pawn to assume the now vacant e5 square, forking black's knight and rook.
This one is a tricky alternative:
- 1. Rf5 Ned7 (2. ... Re8? 3. Raf1 Ned7 4. Qf2!) (White adds pressure to the knight forcing a withdraw.)
- 2. Qf2 Rg8 (2. e5? Rb6 3. exf6 Qxe2) (White adds pressure to the other knight, preventing black from moving any of its defenders, and also protects the bishop. There are other responses for black, but this generates some offensive threats and is probably the best option.)
- 3. e5! Rxg5 (3. ... Nxe5? 4. Bxf6 Rxf6 5. Rxf6) (White's pawn move offers the most immediate reward in the impending exchange. White still has potential with 3. Bh4, but the gains, if any, will take many more turns to come to fruition. For example, 3. Bh4? Rg6 4. Rf1 Qe8! yields a situation far less favorable for white.)
- 4. exd6 Rxf5
- 5. dxe7 Rxf2
- 6. Kxf2 (White does not necessarily have to allow the exchange happen to completion, but since white has a material advantage such simplification of the board is only to his or her benefit.)
This results in white having a bishop, a rook, and a pawn on the seventh rank versus two knights. From there, white can win a further few more pawns somewhat easily, giving a hefty material advantage. One might try the more immediate 1. c5 with the hope of 1. ... Rd5 2. Bxf6 but to do so is forgetting that 1. ... Rc6 is another response. Also, one might try 1. Bxf6 Rxf6 2. Qg7, with the idea that black cannot save both of the rooks at once, but this also does not work because of 2. ... Rxf1+. White must now play something like 3. Rxf1, which gives black the opportunity to save the rook on h8.
- 1.Qb3+ Kh7 (...Rf7 2.Qxf7+ Kh7) (White checks king with queen. King moves away.)
- 2.Rh1+ Qh5 (White checks king with rook. Black blocks with queen.)
- 3.Rxh5+ gxh5 (White exchanges rook for queen!)
Note the importance of white's knight in this exchange. It guarded f7, preventing a simple defense of the initial check with Rf7.
Alternatively, if 1. ... Kh8,
- 2. Nf7+
if 2. ...Kg8, 3. Nh6+ (or Nd6+) wins the queen for a knight. If 2. ...Kh7,
- 3. Rh1+
if 3. ...Qh5, 4. Rxh5 (back to main variation)
if 3. ...Kg8, 4. Nh6+ (or Nd6+) wins the queen for a knight
- 1.Nf6+ Kf8 (...gxf6? 2.Bxf6 Nxa1 3.Rh8#) (Nf6 checks, and threatens two rooks. A naive defence of gxf6 would result in checkmate.)
- 2. Nxd7+ Kg8 (Any other move allows 3. Rh8#)
- 3. Nf6+ leaving Black in the same bind, eventually winning Black's other rook as well.
- 1.Rh3+ Kg8
- 2.e7+ d5
- 3.exd8=Q Rxd8
- 4.Qxc5 Bxh3
- 1.Rh8+ Kxh8
- 2.Qxf8+ Kh7
- 3.Qxg7# -
Also 1.Qe6+ Rf7 2.Rf1 (Black's rook is pinned) Black cannot stop 3.Qxf7#
- 1.Rh7+ Kg8
- 2.Rcg7+ Kf8
- 3.Bd6+ (Computer give the better 3.Bh6 ...
- 4.Rh8# is better and logical!) ...Re7 4.Bxe7+ (With mate following, this was what I saw and played. Bh6 is better but it might be to hard for all to find, both lead to mate)
- 1.Rxf8+ Kxf8
- 2.Qf3+ Kg8 (...Bf4 3.Bxf4 exf4 4.Qxf4+)
- 1.Nf6 Qe7 (...Bxf6? 2.Qxf6 Kg8 3.Bh6...) ... 1. ...Qc8 gives white mate in at most 8 moves)
- 2.Nxe8 to win an exchange
- 2.Nxh7+ Kg7 3. Bxe7 to win an exchange (when black recaptures on h6 or e7 just move the other piece away)
- 1.Ne7+ Kh8
- 2.Nf7+ Qxf7
- 2.Nexc8 (Threatening back rank mate with Rf8#)
if 2. ... Bxe3+ then 3. Qxe3
Other black moves that avoids mate should allow 3. Nxa7
- 1. ...Bh4
- 2.Qxh4 Nf3+
- 3.gxf3 Qxe3+
- 4.Kd1 Bb1+
- 5.Qxd8+ Rxd8#
- 1. ...Bxg3
- 2.fxg3 Rxg3+
- 3.hxg3 Qxg3
- 4.Kh1 (4.Kf1 Qf3+ 5.Kg1 Rg8+ 6.Kh2 Qg2#) Qh3+
- 5.Kg1 Rg8+
- 6.Kf2 Rg2+
- 7.Kf1 Qh1#
- 1. ...Bxb3
- 2.cxb3 Qxd1
- 1.Qe6+ Kf8 (1. ...Kh8? 2.Rxh7+ Kxh7 3.Qxg6+ Kh8 4.Rh1# or 4.Qh7#)
- 2.Rxh7 Bg7
- 3.Rdh1 or 3.Bxg6 with mate following. There are different moves Black can play, White is likely to play both Rdh1 threating rook sacrifice on h8 followed by mate and Bxg6 which is threatening Qf7#.
1.Qxd4 is also winning for White. 1. ...Ng7 2.Rxh7 Kxh7 3.Qh4+ Kg8 (3. ...Nh5? Qxh5, g pawn is pinned) 4.Bxg6 Kg8 With mate following.
- 1.Nd2+ Kc2
- 2.Nf3 (There is no way for White to avoid giving up an exchange.)
- 1.Qh5+ Kg8
- 2.Qxh7+ Kf7
- 3.Qxf5+ Kg8
- 4.Qh7+ Kf7
- 5.Rf3# (1.Qxh7? Re5 2.Rf3 Ke8 and game continues)
- 1.Nf5+ Kg8 (1. ...Kf8? 2.Rh8#)
- 2.Qg4+ Kf8
A Highly Tactical Position Edit
What follows is a complex board.
The board arose after the opening moves
3.Bc4 h6 (Ask yourself, was h6 a bad move?)
4.Nc3 Na5 (Ask yourself, was Na5 a bad move?)
Even an experienced player might struggle to calculate all the possible moves and their consequences. One way to improve one's tactical vision is to set-up this board, or indeed any board, choose an opening move, and then continuing, picking the best moves possible, and noting the success of the initial move.
Consider the h6 and the Na5 moves, and note their weakness. Indeed, the Na5 move's tempo renders black's only developed piece useless, and the h6 move weakens the King's side and scuppers a future defensive g6 move. Black may have anticipated a Fried Liver Attack, and made a pre-emptive defense, though such an attack should threaten black.
Now consider how the game might develop. Black is in check. He can take the bishop (Kxf7), but this might not be tactical. If Black moves Kxf7, there is an inevitable knight check (Nxe5). White might then play Qh5 which may be played with check.
Studying the many variations, and the patterns of movement, will be beneficial for any chess player, especially once white's queen is active. There are many mate threats that can be created, and many guarded squares that black cannot move his king to.
Here are possible scenarios. First, Ke7, where black moves his king forward, and out of check, which is discussed in some detail. Second, Kxf7, where black captures white's bishop, which is left as an exercise for the keen reader.
- 1...Ke7 Declining the Bishop capture 2. Nd5+ now the King is forced to capture the Bishop (or play Kd6 with no lose of material for white), 2...Kxf7. It was bad for black to decline the sacrifice because white was able to muscle black into accepting it, and now white has an additional knight bearing down on the black king. 3. Nxe5+ Ke6 (3...Ke8 Would lead to mate with 4. Qh5 g6 5.Qxg6#) 4. Qh5 (White now threatens 5. Qf5+ Kd6 and 6. Nf7+ winning the Black queen the following move) 4...Qg5 (it is plausible that Black will play this in attempt to trade queens and greatly reduce White's attack) 5. Qf7+ Kd6 (The e5 Knight is immune from capture from the King, for two reasons. 5...Kxe5 is met with a.) 6. f4+ forking the Queen, so long as f4 is defended by a white piece, and b.) 6. d5+, this is good because it facilitates the development of the dark square bishop, but white is likely to lose the bishop so long as the queen is protected by the h pawn. There are two ways but only 1 black queen you might say, regardless it is still good to have two ways. What this means is if white can utilize his knight and queen for different things since they aren't tied down to the defense of the f4 square, and the d5 knight will remain immune. That means white is more flexible and can respond to blacks defenses in more ways) 6. Qxf8+ (vacates the f7 square with tempo) Ne7 7 Nf7+ (forking the King and Queen) Black's position is hopeless.
- 1...Kxf7 See if you can work out what can happen here.