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In amateur games, however, tactics often come to full fruition — unforeseen by the opponent and resulting in material gain and a corresponding, perhaps decisive, advantage.

The Major Tactics of Chess

Material gain can be achieved by several different types of tactics. A discovered attack is a move which allows an attack by another piece.

Chess Trick 2. Back-rank Checkmate

A piece is moved away so as to allow the attack of a friendly bishop, rook or queen on an enemy piece. If the attacked piece is the king, the situation is referred to as a discovered check. Discovered attacks are powerful since the moved piece may be able to pose a second threat. A special case of a discovered check is a double check , where both the piece being unmasked and the piece being moved attack the enemy king. A double check always forces the opponent to move the king, since it is impossible to defend attacks from two directions in any other way.

A fork is a move that uses one piece to attack two or more of the opponent's pieces simultaneously, with the aim to achieve material advantage, since the opponent can counter only one of the threats. A common situation is a knight played to c2 or c7, threatening both the enemy rook and king.

How is your Tactical Awareness? - Beginner to Chess Master #27

Such forks checking a king are particularly effective, because the opponent is forced by the rules of chess to immediately remove the check to his king. The opponent cannot choose to defend the other piece, or use a zwischenzug to complicate the situation. Pawns can also be effective in forking.

By moving a pawn forward, it can attack two pieces—one diagonally to the left, and another diagonally to the right. The queen is also an excellent forking piece, since she can move in eight different directions. However, a queen fork is only useful if both pieces are undefended, or if one is undefended and the other is enemy king. The queen is the most valuable attacking piece, so it is usually not profitable for her to capture a defended piece. Fork attacks can be either relative meaning the attacked pieces comprise pawn[s], knight[s], bishop[s], rook[s], or queen[s] , or absolute one of the attacked pieces is the enemy king, in check.

The targets of a fork do not have to be pieces, although this is known as a double attack. One or more of the targets can be a mate threat for example, forking a loose knight and setting up a battery of queen and bishop that creates a mate threat as well or implied threat for example, a knight move that forks a loose bishop and also threatens to fork enemy queen and rook.

A pin is a move that inhibits an opponent piece from moving, because doing so would expose a more valuable or vulnerable piece behind it. Only bishops, rooks, and queens can perform a pin, since they can move more than one square in a straight line. If the pinned piece cannot move because doing so would produce check, the pin is called absolute. If moving the pinned piece would expose a non-king piece, the pin is called relative. A skewer is a move which attacks two pieces in a line, similar to a pin, except that the enemy piece of greater value is in front of the piece of lesser value.

After the more valuable piece moves away, the lesser piece can be captured. Like pins, only queens, rooks, and bishops can perform the skewer, and skewer attacks can be either absolute the more valuable piece in front is the king, in check or relative the piece in front is a non-king piece. Pawns are the least valuable chess piece, so are often used to capture defended pieces.

A single pawn typically forces a more powerful piece, such as a rook or a knight, to retreat. The ability to fork two enemy pieces by advancing a pawn is often a threat. Or a simple pawn move can reveal a discovered attack.

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When pawns are arranged on a diagonal, with each pawn guarded by the pawn behind it, they form a wall or pawn chain protecting any friendly pieces behind them. A weak pawn structure, with unprotected or isolated pawns ahead of more valuable pieces, can be a decisive weakness. A pawn that has advanced all the way to the opposite side of the board is promoted to any other piece except a king. A sacrifice of some material is often necessary to throw the opponent's position out of balance, potentially gaining positional advantage.

The sacrificed material is sometimes later offset with a consequent material gain. Pawn sacrifices in the opening are known as gambits ; they are usually not intended for material gain, but rather to achieve a more active position. Direct attacks against the enemy king are often started by sacrifices.

A common example is sacrificing a bishop on h2 or h7, checking the king, who usually must take the bishop. This allows the queen and knight to develop a fulminant attack.

Zugzwang German for the "compulsion to move" occurs when a player is forced to make an undesirable move. The player is put at a disadvantage because he would prefer to pass and make no move, but a move has to be made, all of which weaken his position. Situations involving zugzwang occur uncommonly, but when they do occur, it is almost always in the endgame , where there are fewer choices of available moves. Zwischenzug German for "intermediate move" is a common tactic in which a player under threat, instead of directly countering, introduces an even more devastating threat.

The tactic often involves a new attack against the opponent's queen or king. The opponent then may be forced to address the new threat, abandoning the earlier attack. Start positions, rating ranges, opponent names can all be saved in the favourite. Hide ratings mode - In your preferences you can turn on hide ratings mode which avoids display rating information in the game view while you are playing. More diverse bot opening book. The bots now play a much wider range of openings due to using a much more diverse opening book compared to the original bots used when the site first launched.

Improved handling of aborts when user does not play first move.

Option to persistently turn on move confirmations in correspondence games. Chess Tempo is pleased to announce that the Play Chess Online feature has entered full public beta testing.


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All users can now play each other on Chess Tempo, with support for both correspondence and traditional online chess playing. During beta testing, all features will be available to all users. Playing will remain free after beta testing is complete, but some advanced features will be available only to premium members. The purpose of the public beta testing is to iron out any bugs not found during the closed beta testing, and to ask for feedback and improvement suggestions from a wider audience.

Please provide any bug reports or improvement suggestions in the forum. The Play Online section of the user guide has instructions on how to use the new feature. An initial mobile version of the tactics solving is now available at Chesstempo mobile. This is an early test version, so please report any problems on the forum. It should work reasonably well in the latest IPhone and Android devices. If you have an older Android device, you can try installing a standalone Chrome or Firefox browser app, which should help work around bugs in the older Android browser.

A new "Mixed" rating type has been added, it uses a new rating adjustment method which acts like the completely untimed standard mode if you solve under 5 minutes, and after that reverts to a blitz-like mode where time is part of the rating adjustment. The new mode also includes new non-winning problem types where the best move may leave you in an even position, and other moves would lead to a losing or lost position.

Premium members can also create custom sets that explicitly include or exclude these non-winning type problems. As already announced on the forum, new Endgame custom sets have been created for Premium members. Premium members have always been able to create their own endgame type specific sets, but now they have access to pre-created sets for each endgame type in the problem set selector. A new 'Guess The Move' feature has been released.

This allows you to play through selected master games from one side, trying to play the best moves possible. Each move is scored based on how closely your moves match either the master move, or the best engine move where you play a different move to the master. Similar to the tactics , both moves and players are rated, allowing more reward or less punishment on difficult moves, and harsher penalties for missing easy moves.

The Guess The Move user guide has a full set of instructions on how to use the feature. This new feature includes a modified tagging and commenting system, where tags and comments can be assigned to either the full game by moving to the start of the game , or any move in the game by moving to the board position after the move is played. The tags include a long list of new 'positional' tags, which will help categorise the types of positions and moves found throughout the games.

I am hoping some of the stronger players on CT can help make this new feature even more useful, by providing some commentary at important points in the game ,but comments from all level of players are of course welcome.

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The major tactics of chess

You can optionally skip the opening of any GTM game by clicking on the skip opening button under the board, but this must be done before you play any moves. This is mostly a Gold member feature, Silver members have a small selection of games available, and free members have a very limited selection, but enough to allow them to sample the feature. Games accessible to Gold members will continue to be added over time, the rate of the addition will be partly dictated by how quickly the ratings of the existing games stabilise it will likely take several weeks for the initial games to begin to approach stable move ratings.

For those who qualify, please see the Free Membership section of the FAQ for details on how to receive your free Gold membership.


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A new version of the tactics solving page has entered into beta testing, you can access the beta interface via the Training menu, or directly at Tactics Beta Link. The new interface has the following improvements: After each problem is completed you can see a history of all your previous attempts on the problem Gold members only. Engine variations shown to premium members can be expanded, collapsed or completely hidden. The opponent pre-move is now shown in the move list, and the move list is updated as each move is played while solving problems.

Board setting changes are now handled by clicking the settings icon in the top left of the board.