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Chess Tactics Definitions and Examples

Apr 28, 2011, 12:00 AM | c 208 | Tactics
Tags allow us to label each puzzle in Tactics Trainer with one or more tactical motifs (types of tactics) commonly encountered in
chess. Understanding these motifs will help you recognize tactical patterns - both in Trainer, and in your actual games!

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Definitions and Examples

Attacking f7f2 Fork/Double Attack Sacrifice

Attacking Castled King Hanging Piece Simplification
Back Rank Interference Skewer
Basic Checkmates Mate in One Smothered Mate
Clearance Sacrifice Mate in Two Stalemate
Decoy/Deflection Mate in Three+ Support Mate
Defense Mating Net Trapped Piece
Desperado Overloading Underpromotion
Discovered Attack/CheckPawn Promotion Vulnerable King
Double Check Perpetual Check Windmill
En Passant Pin X-Ray Attack
Endgame Tactic Queen Sacrifice Zugzwang/Zwischenzug
Exchange Sacrifice Removal of the Defender

Attacking f7/f2

A tactic or threat that involves targeting of the opponent's "weakest square." Often f7 and f2 are referred to as the weakest squares on
a chessboard because they are protected only by the King at the start, so often these tactics would occur somewhere in the Opening to
early Middlegame stages. There are many possible attacking ideas and threats that take place surrounding those two critical points.

The famous idea of Legal's Mate would be one example of tactical motifs
surrounding the f7/f2 weak points. After: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 Nc6 4.Nc3 Bg4?!
5.h3 Bh5 6.Nxe5!! Bxd1
(6...Nxe5 7.Qxh5 Nxc4 8.Qb5+ c6 9.Qxc4 and white has used the shocking
6.Nxe5 discovery to win a pawn.)

7.Bxf7+ The key idea of this tactical motif: Exposing black's biggest weakness to
start a game! Tactics that occur on either black's f7-square/pawn or white's f2-
square/pawn would be tagged under this category. 7...Ke7 8.Nd5#

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Attacking Castled King

All tactics that involve attacking a castled King. These would be ideas such as sacrifices to the surrounding pawns of a castled
position, pawn storms, as well as many other possible tactical themes -- with the specific distinction that the pattern was used to
attack a castled King's position, either kingside or queenside.

Of course in such a position it is clear that white is better, but technique is still
important. 1.Qb2! Nc4 2.Nxg6+! The key idea of this tactical motif: White blows
open the castled black King by first sacrificing the Knight on g6. White then wins by
using a discovered check and cleaning up black's pawns after: 2...Qxg6
(2...hxg6 3.Rh3#)

3.Rxc4+ Qg7 4.Qxg7+ Kxg7 5.Rc7+ Kg6 6.Rxa7

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Back Rank

A back-rank mate is when either the Rook or Queen is attacking the enemy King, and this enemy King is trapped "on the back rank"
(which means either the 1st or 8th rank) by his own army.

1...Qxd1+ The key idea of this tactical motif: Black sacrifices the Queen to lead to a
forced checkmate along the 1st rank (which is considered white's "back rank"). A
checkmate along 8th rank would be considered black's "back rank". Either simple
checkmates that lead to a back rank mate, or tactics involving this type of theme
should be tagged under this category. 2.Rxd1 Rxd1#

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Basic Checkmates:

Any type of basic checkmating "pattern". This definition does not apply to any position that happens to be checkmate in one or two
moves, but rather, tactics that either use or climax in a basic checkmating pattern such as: King and Queen vs King; King and Rook vs
King; two Rooks vs King; and two Bishops vs King.
1.Ra8# The key idea of this tactical motif: White complete a "basic checkmating
pattern" by delivering checkmate in one.

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Clearance Sacrifice:

"Clearance Sacrifice" (or just "clearance") is a term used to describe a deliberate sacrifice of material with the goal of "clearing" of
either a square, diagonal, or file. The most common clearance sacrifices open a critical diagonal (see example). The sacrifice of a
pawn to open a square for a Knight (like a pawn moving to e5 from e4, sacrificing itself in order to free the e4-square for a Knight)
would also be considered a "positional" clearance sacrifice.

1.Rf8+ The key idea of this tactical motif: White "clears" the long a2-g8 diagonal by
sacrificing the Rook on f8. White now finishes the game off with a forced "Venus Fly
Trap" mating net after: 1...Rxf8
(1...Bxf8 2.Qg8#)
2.Qg8+ Rxg8 3.Nf7#

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Decoy / Deflection:

A decoy is a distraction. Often a player might use a decoy to force the opponent to think about something else, while the player is
actually focused on a different target entirely. Deflection is a tactic which distracts an opponent's piece from doing its job, such as
defending an important square, pinning a piece or blocking an open file or diagonal. Many decoy/deflection tactics involve a sacrifice
or a forcing move of some kind, thus forcing the opponent to cooperate with the decoy/deflection tactic. They are similar in their
goal, which is why we have classified them as one theme. Here is an example of each type of decoy/deflection:
1...Rf1+ 2.Rxf1 Qh2+ The key idea of this tactical motif: Black sacrifices the Queen,
"deflecting" the enemy King to the h2-square, thus allowing black to under-promote
to a Knight on f1. By doing so, black forks the King and Queen and wins the
endgame. Without this deflection or "decoy" of the white King, the endgame would
have likely ended a draw. 3.Kxh2 gxf1=N+ 4.Kg2 Nxd2 5.Kf2 Kxc7

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...would be more of a deflection, while a decoy might be something like this:

1.Qg1+! The key idea of this tactical motif: White sacrifices the Queen on g1 as a
"decoy" to lure the black Queen away from the a1-h8 diagonal, where she is currently
pinning white's pawn. After: 1...Qxg1 2.g8=Q+ Kf4 3.Qxg1 white wins back the
Queen. White used the "decoy sacrifice" to perfection in this game.

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To play defense, or to defend against an opponent's threat. One might "defend" a pawn with a piece, or you might "play defensive
moves on the kingside" in order to stop your opponent's threats of a mating attack. By moving your pieces into position toguard and
protecteither a piece, a square, or a coming threat from your opponent - you aredefending. We use this term for all tactics of a
"prophylactic" or defensive nature. Often puzzles where the goal is to draw, and a defensive combination must be found in order to
accomplish this, would be tagged under this category.
1.Kh1! The key idea of this tactical motif revealed: white plays the only move that
draws! Black is now stuck in terms of progress, as long as white's bishop remains
along the h1-a8 diagonal, white will be stalemated in the corner after:
(1.Bc6 f3+ 2.Bxf3 (2.Kh1 g2#) 2...h1=Q+ 3.Kxh1 Kxf3)
1...Kf2 2.Bg2 f3 3.Bxf3 Kxf3
(3...Be5 4.Be4 draw.)

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...with one other example of a "necessary defensive move" here:

1.Kh1! The key idea of this tactical motif: White removes the King from black's
oncoming discovered attack, and in doing so, saves the game.

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A desperado tactic can sometimes be considered a sacrifice, depending on the position. The move captures an enemy piece when
either one or more of your own pieces is already hanging (undefended). When material is going to be lost regardless, these situations
present a rare opportunity to be "reckless" and take out an enemy piece along the way. This tactic often happens when both white and
black have pieces under attack. A desperado can also be considered a type of Zwischenzug tactic (see "Zwischenzug" below).
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.c4 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nc3 Ng4!?
(8.Qxg4 is best.)
8...Nxe3 The key idea of this tactical motif: Both the g4-Knight and the c6-Knight
were under attack, but instead of playing the simple re-capture of the Knight on c6,
black chose to capture one of the white pieces. White then captures... 9.Nxd8 the
black Queen instead of capturing back on e3. Black must now... 9...Nxd1 capture on
d1. But instead of capturing back on d1, white can attempt another desperado tactic,
trying to come away with a pawn after... 10.Nxf7 however black gets the last laugh
with one final "desperado move" by capturing on c3 with... 10...Nxc3 and black
eventually ends up on top in this "wild west shoot out" of desperado tactics.

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Another great example of a "desperado" tactic with positional results:

1.Ba6! The key idea of this tactical motif: This "positional combination" is a
desperado move that changes the game. Instead of trading the Bishop on d3 for the
Knight on d6, white forces black to capture the Bishop and destroy the Queenside
pawn structure in the process. This type of desperado might be considered similar
to a "zwischenzug" tactic. 1...bxa6 2.cxd6 and black is positionally losing with the
weak c6-pawn and doubled isolated a pawns.

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Discovered Attack/Check:

An attack which happens when one piece moves out of the way, opening a line for another attacking piece to threaten something
(either checkmate or material). Adiscovered checkis the same thing, but the revealed piece is attacking the enemy King, so it is also
check. When the piece that moves to reveal the hidden attacker also attacks a piece, this may be referred to as a discovered "double"
1.Qg3! Rxg3 2.Rxe8# The key idea of this tactical motif: White captures the Bishop
on e8, placing a discovered check on the King from the Bishop on d4. In this case, it
is also a discovered "double" check because the King is in check by both the Bishop
and the Rook.

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...would be one type of "discovered double attack/check" while another would be as follows:

1.Nxc6! The key idea of this tactical motif: White captures the c6-pawn, placing a
discovered attack on the black Queen by white's Queen on e2. Because white is also
threatening to capture on a7 checkmate, this is considered a "discovered double
attack". 1...Qxe2
(1...Bxc6 2.Qxe7)

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Double Check:

Checking the enemy King with two different pieces on the same move is powerful play! Unable to block or capture both threats at
once, the King must always move to safety.

Is White about to lose the exchange because his Rook is pinned!? 1.Bd6+! No! Bd6!
creates a deadly double-check on the black King. Black would love to take EITHER the
Rook or the Bishop here, but can't take both. After the King moves, white will take the
Bishop, saving his Rook. (See also "Fork / Double Attack.")

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En Passant:

The en passant capture is a special pawn attack in which the attacker may take an adjacent enemy pawn that has just jumped forward
two squares.

En Passant captures often feature tactical themes, such as double or discovered attacks.

1...f5 Black attacks the white Queen. White could play exf5 (en passant) right away,
but has a better plan... 2.h5+ Kh6 3.Nxe6+ Uncovering the Bishop on c1 to check
the King from afar... 3...g5 Jumps out to block the Bishop. Note that the alternative
...Kh7 would lose to Qxg7# 4.hxg6# The en passant capture re-discovers the
Bishop's attack AND a new discovered attack from the h1 Rook! Because white's
attacking pawn now covers h7, this would be mate even if there were no Rook on h1.

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Endgame Tactic:

Any tactic that occurs in the endgame. The endgame is the last part of the game, and is generally believed to start when most of the
pieces have been traded, especially after the Queens are traded.

1.Rfe1! The key idea of this tactical motif: Any tactic that occurs with few pieces
remaining on the board, whether it be a "winning" or "drawing" tactic.
(1.Rff8 Rc1+! (1...a1=Q immediately would allow a draw by perpetual check.
2.Rd8+ Ke6 3.Rde8+ Kd7 4.Rd8+ Ke6 5.Rfe8+ Kf5) 2.Kb5 (2.Kd5 a1=Q 3.Rd8+
Kc7 4.Rc8+ Kb6 5.Rb8+ Ka5 6.Ra8+ Kb4 7.Rfb8+ Ka3 winning.)
2...a1=Q winning.)
(1...Rxe1 2.Rxe1 winning.)

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Exchange Sacrifice:
Exchange Sacrifice:

A small sacrifice of material (see "sacrifice") to achieve something greater. The term "exchange sacrifice" specifically refers to the
sacrifice of a Rook for a minor piece (either Knight or Bishop) and is usually only one necessary step along the way of a forcing
sequence of moves.

1.Rxf6! The key idea of this tactical motif: White sacrifices an exchange (temporarily)
to force black's King onto a bad square. After: 1...Kxf6 2.Ne4+ white applies a fork
and wins the game.

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Fork / Double Attack:

A double attack is an attack or threat on two things at once. The advantage of adouble attackis that it is hard to defend two things
with one move. We use the term fork to describe a double attack by a single unit, usually a Knight, Queen or pawn.

1.Rc7 The key idea of this tactical motif (double attack): White applies a double
attack of the Knight and Bishop. Any puzzle using or climax with a similar theme
would require this tag.

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...would be a simplified version of a double attack, while a fork would be seen here:
1.Ne7+ The key idea of this tactical motif (fork): White forks the King and Rook,
winning material.
(1.b4 would also be considered a fork, ie a double attack by the pawn.)

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Hanging Piece:

"Hanging" is another way of saying "undefended" or "loose" in chess. A tactic that involves simply taking or exposing undefended
pieces in some way would qualify. Under this theme, one might also consider a forcing combination that climaxes with a double
attack, with one or more of the targets being undefended.

1.b4! The key idea of this tactical motif: With both white's Knight on e1 and black's
Knight on c4 "hanging" white plays a two move combination that forces black's
bishop onto an unprotected square. White then follows with: 1...Bxb4 2.Nc2 and
both black's pieces are left "hanging". Black is unable to defend both in one move,
and will lose material

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...would be an example of "multiple" hanging pieces (similar to a double attack); here's another:
1.Bxd4 exd4 2.Qa5 Nc7 3.Qf5! The key idea of this tactical motif: Black must stop
the threat of checkmate on h7 by playing g6, and black's f6 Bishop "hangs' in the
end. 3...g6 4.Qxf6

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To move a piece between two other attacking pieces when at least one of those attacking pieces is an opponent's piece. Sometimes a
piece will interfere with two attacking pieces, thus creating confusion and often overloading (see "overloading") those pieces.

With white pieces both successfully guarding black's passed pawns, black finds a way
to "interfere" with the Rook and Bishop at the same time by playing 1...Bd6!!
(2.Bxd6 d1=Q+)
2...h2 3.Ra6+
(3.Rxd2 h1=Q)
3...Kb5 4.Rb6+ Kc5 and black will Queen one of the pawns...

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Mate in 1:

Any puzzle/position that ends with checkmate in one move.

1.Qxh7+ Kxh7 The key idea of this tactical motif: self-explanatory. 2.Rh5#

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Mate in 2:

Any puzzle/position that ends with checkmate in two moves.

1.Qxh7+ The key idea of this tactical motif: self-explanatory. 1...Kxh7 2.Rh5#

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Mate in 3+:

Any puzzle/position that ends with mate in three or more moves.

1.Re8+ The key idea of this tactical motif: self-explanatory. 1...Kxe8 2.Qc8+ Qd8

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Mating Net:

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quiet, non-checking moves -- but once the net is created, a forcing sequence of moves will lead to checkmate inevitably.

1...Bxh2+ The key idea of this tactical motif: This is a common mating net applied
by the Queen and Bishop. Note that the moves leading up to this common mating
net are not relevant. What is relevant is that black is checkmated by force, as the
"net" only gets smaller. 2.Kh1 Bg3+ 3.Kg1 Qh2+ 4.Kf1 Qxf2#

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...and another classic example of a mating net:
1.Bxh7+! Kxh7 2.Ng5+ Kg8
(2...Kg6 3.Qg4 is also winning for white.)
3.Qh5 The key idea of this tactical motif: is set in motion with this move. The Queen
and Knight are a powerful "mating net" duo, and thier follow up to the classic Bishop
sacrifice on h7 is decisive. Black cannot escape mate in this net! 3...Rd8 4.Qxf7+
Kh8 5.Qh5+ Kg8 6.Qh7+ Kf8 7.Qh8+ Ke7 8.Qxg7+ Ke8 9.Qf7#

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A piece that has too many things to do is "overloaded." For example, a bishop which has to both stop a passed pawn from Queening
and guard against a checkmate is overloaded. By carrying out one threat (for example, queening the pawn) the opponent could force
the overworked bishop to leave its post, allowing the checkmate threat to succeed.

1...Rxd4! 2.cxd4 Bb4! The key idea to this tactical motif: The Queen is "overworked"
or "overloaded" on d2, having to guard both the g2-pawn and the a5-Rook against
black's double attack. Black is winning. 3.Ra3 Qxa3 4.bxa3 Bxd2 and black wins.

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Pawn Promotion:

A tactic that involves promoting a pawn. Often this involves other tactics along the way, all of them being single parts of an overall
goal to promote the pawn. That pawn would usually deliver decisive results. (See also "underpromotion").
How can use your pawn and take advantage of black's undefended pieces? 1.Nd7!
(1...Qxd7 2.Rb8 wins.)

2.Qxa3!! The key idea of this tactical motif: Rarely is the Queen used for a decoy in
such a way, but white's passed a-pawn allows this move to be devastating. After:
(2...Qxd7 3.Rxb2 Rc1+ (3...Qd5 4.Rb8) 4.Kg2 Qd5+ 5.Qf3 wins.)

3.Nf6+ Kg7 4.Nxe8+ Rxe8 5.Rb8 white Queens the a-pawn, winning easily.

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1.Rxb2 The key idea of this tactical motif: White executes a forcing combination that
climaxes in the promotion of the d-pawn. 1...Qxb2 2.Qxc8+ Nxc8 3.d7 Na7
4.d8=Q+ Kg7 and white is ahead by a Rook.

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Perpetual Check:

A situation where one player can check the opponent's King forever, but cannot checkmate it. Perpetual check is a type of drawn
position. When perpetual check happens, the players usually either agree to a draw or the same position is repeated three times,
resulting in a draw by the rule of "Threefold Repetition".

1...Rxh2+! The key idea of this tactical motif: Black sacrifices a Rook, being down a
significant amount of material already, and ends the game by perpetual check:
2.Kxh2 Qh4+ 3.Kg1 Qg3+ 4.Kh1 Qh3+ 5.Kg1 Qg3+ draw.

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Whena piece cannot move because it is blocking/guarding a more valuable piece behind it from being captured, that piece is
"pinned". A pinning piece is a long-range piece (a Rook, Queen, or Bishop) which is aimed at one of the opponent's valuable pieces,
with a less valuable opponent's piece in the way or blocking the Rook, Queen or Bishop from attacking the more valuable piece. An
absolute pin is when a piece is pinned to the King, thus making it absolutely illegal to move the pinned piece.

1.Rxd6 Rxd6 2.e5! The key idea of this tactical motif: White's pin of the Rook to the
black King allows white to increase the number of attackers (often the key to winning
a pinned piece) and eventually win material. 2...Ke6 3.exd6!
(3.Bxd6?? f6 drawing.)

3...Kd7 4.Ke3 Ke6 5.Ke4 winning.

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Queen Sacrifice:

A sacrifice (see "sacrifice") of the Queen with the distinct purpose of achieving something more valuable. Most often, a Queen
Sacrifice is just one part (a single move among others) of an attempt to checkmate the enemy King or eventually win back material at
the end of the combination.

1.Qxd5! The key idea of this tactical motif: White sacrifices the Queen in order to
execute a combination that eventually earns white a material advantage after:
1...Bxd5 2.Nxe7+ Kh8 3.Ng6+ hxg6 4.Bxd8 Rfxd8 5.exd5 and white is ahead a

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Removal of the Defender:

A tactic that involves eliminating the critical defensive piece that otherwise stands in the way of achieving a much greater goal (most
often checkmate or the winning of large amounts of material). A player looks to remove the defender as a destructive means to
achieve their goal.
1.Rxe8+! The key idea of this tactical motif: White looks to "remove" the Knight on
e8 from its protection of the g7-pawn (and therefore the threat of checkmate)
1...Rxe8 2.Qxg7#

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The act of giving up material (either making a trade that loses points or simply losing a piece or pawn for nothing) with the goal of
getting something else in return. For example, a player may sacrifice the Queen in order to open up a square for a Knight where it can
then checkmate the opponent. A player may also make more strategic sacrifices, such as sacrificing a pawn to gain time to develop, or
sacrificing a piece to destroy the opponent's King's pawn cover.

1...Re1+ 2.Kh2 Rh1+! The key idea of this tactical motif: Black sacrifices the Rook in
order to force white's King to the "desired" square. After: 3.Kxh1
(3.Nxh1 Qxg2#)

3...Qh3+ 4.Kg1 Qxg2#

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A simplification tactic is a forcing sequence of moves that converts an advantage into a more easily winning position. A player tries to
simplify a winning position as an act of good technique, which is the skill of converting an advantage into a victory.
In such positions it is obvious that white is having difficulties converting because
black has so many pieces on the board. Despite white's material advantage it is
difficult to find a plan, and if given the opportunity black will use his doubled rooks
on the d-file and create counterplay on the queenside by Bg7 and eventually
Rb6. 1.Be2! The key idea of this tactical motif: White is forcing a trade of material by
threatening Bf3. There is nothing black can do to stop this, and as the variations
prove, white will soon have simplified the position into an endgame where the Queen
is the dominate piece. 1...Ba2+
(1...Bg7 2.Bf3 Ba2+ 3.Kxa2 Rxd1 4.Bxd1 Rxd1 5.Qg4 and white will transfer the
Queen to the Queenside and begin munching on the pawns.)

2.Kxa2 Rxd1 3.Bxd1 Rxd1 4.Qg4 and white is winning.

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1.Qd4+ Kg8 The key idea of this tactical motif: White simplifies into an ending, thus
taking away black's counterplay along the long diagonal and winning easily. 2.Qd5+
Qxd5 3.cxd5 Bxd5 4.b4

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A move which threatens a valuable piece (such as the King or Queen), forcing that piece to move away and allowing the attacking
piece to take a less valuable piece behind the valuable one. A skewer is the opposite of a pin in many ways, since in the skewer the
more valuable piece is in front. (See "pin").

1.Ra8! The key idea of this tactical motif: The Rook is untouchable due to a skewer
of the King and Queen after Bishop to f3. This position provides multiple skewer
examples, eventually climaxing and a white victory. After: 1...Qa2
(1...Qxa8 2.Bf3+ Kb6 3.Bxa8 wins.)

2.Rxa4 Qg8
(2...Qxa4 3.Be8+ wins.)
3.Ra8 Qh7 4.Bg6! wins. 4...Qxg6 5.Ra6+

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Smothered Mate:
Smothered Mate:

A checkmate by a Knight against an enemy King which has no way out because all of its escape squares are blocked by its own pieces.
The King's own pieces keep it from moving, while the enemy knight puts it in check. A Smothered Mate can only occur when a King is
immediately surrounded by its own pieces, with no enemy piece directly touching it by occupying a nearby square; this is why only the
Knight can give Smothered Mate.

1.Nf7+ Kg8 2.Nh6+ Kh8

(2...Kf8 3.Qf7#)

3.Qg8+ Rxg8 4.Nf7#

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When a player whose turn it is has no legal moves by any of his/her pieces, but is not in check. A stalemate is a draw. A stalemate
tactic would occur when the objective/goal of the puzzle was to force a stalemate from an otherwise lost or unfavorable position.

1.Ra7+ Kb3 2.Rc7!! The key idea of this tactical motif: White is sacrificing the Rook
to take advantage of the King's current "stalemated status". The game will either end
with a perpetual attack of the Rooks or stalemate. 2...Rxc7 stalemate.
(2...Re8 3.Re7 and white chases the Rook for eternity.)

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Support Mate:

A support mate is a basic checkmate that occurs simply when a Queen directly assaults a King to deliver checkmate, and finds itself
receiving support (protection) from one other piece. This "supporting" piece can be a pawn, Knight, Bishop or King.
1.Qg7# The key idea of this tactical motif: White delivers checkmate. The Queen is
"supported" by the Knight. The same would apply if the Queen were defended by a
Bishop, King or pawn.

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Trapped Piece:

A piece that finds itself with either no moves at all, or at least no moves that avoid the loss of material. Often, a piece might be
trapped at the end of a forced sequence of moves.

1.Bxb6! axb6 2.f4! The key idea of this tactical motif: White recognized with the first
move (1.Bxb6) that the e5-Knight was potentially trapped if the b6-Knight could be
eliminated from protecting the c4-square. This two move combination traps the e5-
Knight in the center of the board.

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Promoting (see "promotion") a pawn to a piece less than a Queen (in other words, promoting a pawn to a Knight, Rook, or Bishop).
Since the Queen is the strongest piece, players almost always choose to promote their pawns to Queens. An underpromotion tactic
occurs when there are special reasons that a player needs a weaker piece rather than a Queen (almost always a Knight, since it is the
only piece whose move is not already reflected by the Queen's abilities) - whether to stop an opponent's threat or achieve something
even better than what a Queen could offer.
1...h1=B! The key idea of this tactical motif: Black "under-promotes" to a Bishop for
a specific purpose, which is to prevent white's trick of stalemate.
(1...h1=Q?? 2.Ra8+ Qxa8 stalemate.)

2.Ra8+ Bxa8 and black wins.

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Vulnerable King:

A position/puzzle where tactics are arise from the exposed position of the enemy King. A "vulnerable" King's position may often lead
to that King being put in a "mating net" of some kind.

1.g4+! The key idea of this tactical motif: Tactics occur in abundance around the
vulnerable black King, eventually ending with a forced checkmate after: 1...fxg4
2.hxg4+ Kh4 3.Qxh6+ Qxh6
(3...Kg3 4.Qxe6 winning.)
4.Kh2 Ne3 5.Bxe3 Qf6 6.Bf2#

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A rare tactic in which a repeated discovered check (see "discovered attack/check") allows one piece to go on a rampage, capturing
multiple enemy pieces.
1.Bf6!! Qxh5 2.Rxg7+ The key idea of this tactical motif: White captures on g7, and
begins a series of checks - all forced and inescapable by black - that inevitably lead
to a huge loss in material. This game between Carlos Torre vs Emanuel Lasker is
perhaps the most famous "windmill tactic" in the history of chess. 2...Kh8 3.Rxf7+
Kg8 4.Rg7+ Kh8 5.Rxb7+ Kg8 6.Rg7+ Kh8 7.Rg5+!
(but not 7.Rxa7+? Kg8 8.Rg7+ Kh8 9.Rg5+ Kh7 10.Rxh5 Kg6 black regains some
of his material and the open a-file haunts white.)
7...Kh7 8.Rxh5 Kg6 9.Rh3 Kxf6 10.Rxh6+ and white went on to win.

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X-Ray Attack:

An x-ray tactic in chess occurs when one of your long-range pieces (a Rook, Bishop, or Queen) attacks "through" one of your
opponent's pieces to indirectly attack/threaten or defend beyond it. An x-ray tactic often occurs along with the theme of back rank

1.Ba7+! The key idea of this tactical motif: White is able to force the black King away
from b8, or win material because of the white Rook's "x-ray protection" of the a7-
square. After: 1...Rxa7 2.Rxa7 white is winning.

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A German word that literally translates to "move compulsion." This is a situation where every move a player could make causes him/her
to lose the game (or at least significantly worsen the position).
1.Rd8 The key idea of this tactical motif: White makes a "waiting move" with the
Rook, placing black in Zugzwang. Black's only move losses the game immediately...
1...Kh8 2.Rxf8#

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A German word meaning "in-between move". An often unexpected move inserted in between an otherwise forcing sequence of
moves. The zwischenzug generally changes the result of the sequence. A "desperado" is a powerful example of a zwischenzug tactic.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 O-O 8.Qd2
Nc6 9.O-O-O Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6 11.Kb1 Qa5?
(11...Qc7 is best.)
12.Nd5! Qxd2
(12...Qd8 13.Nxf6+ Bxf6 14.Bxf6 exf6 15.Qxd6 also wins.)

13.Nxe7+ The key idea of this tactical motif: White captures on e7 with check before
capturing back on d2. This check is an "intermezo" or "zwischenzug", as it is played "in
between" the obvious recapture. 13...Kh8 14.Rxd2 and white is winning.

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