# Total Chess: Direct Tactics

12.17.2012
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Category: Total Chess

Direct tactics occur when an attack involves only one of the opponent’s pieces.

They are the easiest tactics to learn and use.

1) Single Threat

A single threat happens when one piece attacks one of the opponent’s pieces, or gives check, or makes a threat. It may be a checkmate threat or a threat to use another tactic. It is usually easy to defend against a single threat, but not always. The opponent may not see it, but you cannot count on that. A single threat is best when the opponent has no good way to defend.

To find a single threat, look for one piece that can attack one of the opponent’s pieces, or put the opponent in check, or make a threat, like a checkmate threat or another tactical threat.

2) Tie Down & Pile On

A tie down & pile on tactic happens when you stop a piece from moving, then you attack it with as many pieces as you can. A piece is tied down when it cannot move. It may be pinned, or trapped, or it may be blocking or stopping a tactic or a checkmate. You should always try to tie down a piece before you pile on it. When you pile on, if you and the opponent both have the same number of attackers and defenders, then the balance of power is even. When you have more attackers or defenders than the opponent, then the balance of power is in your favor. You have him outnumbered. If you are the attacker then the piece can be captured. If you are the defender then your piece is safe. Of course, you must also consider the value of the pieces. To find a tie down & pile on tactic, look for ways to stop a piece from moving, then attack it with as many pieces as you can. It may take several pieces and several moves to tie down & pile on.

3) X-Ray

An x-ray tactic happens when a piece attacks or defends by looking through another piece. The other piece may be your own piece or the opponent’s piece. The two pieces are aligned on the same rank, file or diagonal, so that the power of one piece extends through the other piece. The only pieces that can do an x-ray tactic are the bishops, rooks and queen. They are the only pieces that can attack and defend by looking through each other along the same rank, file or diagonal. When two rooks are aligned on the same rank or file, they use the x-ray tactic to look through each other and are called doubled rooks. To find an x-ray tactic, look for a piece that can attack or defend by looking through another piece. The other piece may be your own piece or the opponent’s piece.

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From the book, “TOTAL CHESS: Learn, Teach and Play the Easy 1-2-3 Way,” by John Herron

TOTAL CHESS is your complete guide to chess. It covers everything: rules, strategies, tactics and checkmates.

Everything in chess comes in threes. Three simple strategies are presented for the opening, midgame, endgame, etc. Each lesson is brief and covers one concept in simple language that everyone can read and understand.