Cool Chess Tactics

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People who play chess may have heard of "positional" chess and "tactical" chess.

I don't claim to know anything about the former; I am currently trying to figure out a practical way to learn.
I do know a LITTLE something of the latter, however, and am minded to showcase a few of the more intriguing tactics I've seen used online.

Related submissions and/or discussion welcome.

What threat is an imperiled Rook to a player willing to give up a Queen instead?

To appreciate this one, you need to understand that the little pieces can undergo a process called "Queening" once they advance far enough and become VERY dangerous indeed. It is sometimes worth sacrificing a valuable piece, or even the sole non-king piece remaining, just for the chance to thwart that from happening.

Moving the knight sitting on the square h3 to the square f4 wins the game for white.

In the following position, white is forced to take Black's knight if he gives check, forced to take it with the only pawn he can. Unfortunately, this will effectively create an impasse able wall for white's king, a wall of his own same-color pieces, so that if Black can line up a canon from, say, a TOWER ...

You might wonder, examining the following, "Why does he waste time attacking the King first? Why not take the piece he's going after directly?".

The answer is that he's going after TWO pieces, not just one, and can only get the second if he "pins" it by making it so the King would be hit if that 2nd piece tried to move out the way.

Move just before this series begins is the white Queen at d, NOT e1, moving to make the position seen in the first scan.

Wonder Man
Sacrifice a rook to make your knights win the game.



Queen Sacrifice enables to see the power of bishop pair and pawn cooperating.


White King is being attacked by Black knight.

Pawn cannot capture the black knight; this would expose the white King to attack by the black rook.

This illustrates both

1. the power of pins in chess (the pawn that would otherwise take the attacking black knight is effectively "pinned" to the spot it is sitting on by the rook that would be able to attack the white King if it weren't there)
2. the surprising amount of area bishop and knight working as a pair can actually cover.

Arguably this also illustrates the power a knight wields, i.e. that of unblock able checks; no amount of men can shield an opposing King from it.


Winner-takes-all chess race ...

Going by the rankings, the knight here was fleeter than many people thought!


Low point value makes pawns all but useless, right?

Woe to the man who dares think that ...


Position in chess can trump formally ranked power ...

This is actually pretty cool.

This is one of the few instances readers will see here from me of tactics that DON'T necessarily result in checkmate, but are nonetheless surprising and effective enough to garner attention:

Originally posted by Jmanghan
This is actually pretty cool.

Hey, thanks man!

Yeah, I strive for truth in advertising as a general rule ...

Send me a message some time; it won't be soon, but, in the future, when I have the time, we might play a few games together.


Pawn-checking sacrifice wins a rook:

Black to move and win if he promotes his pawn to a knight.

He likely loses otherwise.

Most of these feature somewhat cool plays; the following relates an instance of a very UNcool play where someone actually hacked, and ...

Well, maybe you'll be able to detect what happened in this next series of 20 (actually, 23) ...



Came across a new website.

Specializes largely in what is known as "blitz" chess.

Basically chess played with time limits of 10 minutes per side.

It's free and no registration required; you can play a game lasting as little as 2 and a half minutes if such is your choosing.

It's apparently called, but on a mobile phone can often be found by simply typing "play blitz chess".

At any rate, I played a game I thought PROBABLY conforms to the idea of positional chess. Unfortunately, being unregistered, I'd have no way of ever revisiting the game and eventual seeing if I'm right or even get input from other players online without relating it in a forum like this one.
So, with Danielle Reardon bookending ...

Summation of previous post:

Image of white sheet with gobbledygook features chess NOTATION, i.e. the moves of a game written in a kind of descriptive code. This version of notation used letters and numbers. The parentheses are largely meaningless to a standard player.

I'm playing as white here, using an opening called the King's Gambit.

Registered users can examine the image in this particular post and see exactly what that looks like. Those without privileges can Google "King's Gambit" or simply watch a short YouTube clip to find out what that is and/or looks like.

My idea is to sacrifice a PAWN to advance my overall movement as quickly as possible, sacrifice a PIECE to prevent my opponent from performing an effective defensive move known as castling, and gradually build a diagonal "ladder" of white pawns right up to his king. My opponent realizes this though, and uses his Queen to block the front of my line ...


Above, you can see my opponent, who was the first one to decide to take someone off the board, prove himself even more aggressive and get a pawn all the way down to what is 6th rank from Black's perspective.

He more or less forced trade offs with his knight and bishop; good players can create a LOT of chaos once they get a knight or two down to your end, and threatens, by the end of all this movement, to create what is called a "discovered" check (surprise advance that leaves the king attacked by a piece DIFFERENT than the one that advanced, and usually must be dealt with BEFORE dealing with the advancing piece).

This "discovered" check would be devastating, leaving my king under attack by the black queen, while simultaneously leaving my own queen helpless to defend herself from the pawn.

And the Amazon who is his pawn, via what is called "promotion" would then become ANOTHER queen for him.

A must stop situation:

Here, my opponent all but doubles the threat described in the previous post.
He reinforces his Queen's power by concentrating the attack with a bishop.

Chess pieces are generally accorded inherent value, expressed via a numeric point system.

Roughly the following:

Pawn = 1 point
Knight = 3 points
Bishop = 3 points
Rook = 5 points
Queen = 9 points
King (not applicable; game automatically won or lost if King is captured)

Here, simply counting material for each side, you'll find I'm behind in points.
In fact, after my opening kamikaze attack with my bishop, on like move three or move four of this game, I'm behind at every turn.

But I like chess precisely because it's not ultra-slavish to points alone.

In fact, by blocking his ready-to-queen pawn with my OWN queen, I'm able to thwart his pawn, bishop, AND his own queen.

Still, though, there's the reality that my opponent is ahead in material and points. I've GOT to get rid of at least one of those 3 before the rest of his army joins the fight. Fortunately, though forced to trade off one knight to stop his, I've still got another, and I manage to attack both queen and bishop. My last knight is gone after this, but it's worth it.

Following the trade offs, I'm in position enough to have one of my rooks chase his queen away. Now, though still down in points, my advantage in position starts paying off. By the point of the move shown in image 8, the game, though I'm STILL down in points, is won for me. The King's world is reduced to what that Rook chasing away the Queen left him with, less than half a board, and my Queen can safely lead him to capture by moving on any white square in range with the exception of the very top of the board. Not that she needs to -- if his King goes up there he'll be instantly checkmated, and my opponent knows it.


Chessbase, again, does not have good reproduction features. Without the app, the last few moves disappear if you so much as turn your phone to the side, making game data irretrievable. In the future, I might use another program to recreate the end for better illustration. For now the best I can do is pay an image of the notation and let readers role play.

The all-important feature was the opponents pawn move on move 11.
From that point to the end of the game it stayed, inadvertently protecting my King better than own troops could have.


Game which opened Sicilian, featured me kamikaze-ing my bishop to expose my opponent's king, sacrificing my other bishop and allowing him to get a SECOND Queen, and then using my positional advantage to reverse a 15 point deficit and win.

More shots from the above game.

In this particular post, the selections don't highlight anything extraordinary.
They are merely a way to get a complete transcript of the written notation so the game can be rewritten, replayed, and re-examined for study if I ever became more serious.

The "Play Blitz Chess" website apparently has a few more features than what I realized before; I might explore a bit today.

I'm curious, for instance, if, once a person actually registers, video replay becomes an option for what were previously only text notation transcripts.

But, that's a mystery for a future moment, not this one:

Fun match this one. Tilts in my favor despite early material loss and castles essentially blown up on both sides.
I think I'm getting better at kamikazes, interdefense of pieces, clearing of files to benefit from castled rooks, pawn marches, and taking advantage of my opponents' own unintended roadblocking abilities.

I'll probably re-obtain the chessdotcom phone app at some point to get more experienced feedback on whether the things I try for fun are in reality any semblance of sane gameplay.

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