# Total Chess: Dynamic Tactics

12.25.2012
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Category: Total Chess

Dynamic tactics occur when an attack involves more than one of the opponent’s pieces. They are the most common tactics in chess. They happen all the time, if you know what to look for.

1) Fork

A fork tactic happens when one piece attacks two pieces at the same time. While the opponent is busy moving or saving one piece, you can capture the other piece. He cannot save both. When one of the forked pieces is the king, there is no choice about which piece to save. The king must get out of check. To find a fork tactic, look for one piece that can attack two pieces at the same time. Every piece can do a fork, even the king, but it happens most often with a queen, a knight or a pawn.

2) Pin

A pin tactic happens when a piece cannot move because it would expose a piece behind it to attack. The piece is pinned down, blocking or shielding the piece behind it from attack. If the pinned piece moves, then the piece behind it is captured. There are two types of pins: hard pins and soft pins. The difference depends on the type of piece behind the pinned piece. A hard pin happens when the piece behind is the king. Then the pinned piece cannot move, because it would expose the king to check. A soft pin happens when the piece behind is not the king. Then the pinned piece can move, but it probably will not move, because the piece behind it would be captured. To find a pin tactic, look for two pieces on the same rank, file or diagonal. Then see if one piece cannot move because it would expose the other piece to attack. Then find a way to move your queen, rook or bishop to do the pin. Sometimes when you pin a piece, you can capture it on your next move. Other times, the opponent protects the piece, so even though it is pinned you cannot capture it. Then you need to pile on more attackers before you can capture it. When you have a piece pinned, attack it again. Once you have the opponent outnumbered, then you can capture the piece. Pin to win!

3) Skewer

A skewer tactic happens when a piece must move, exposing a piece behind it to attack. It is the opposite of a pin tactic. With a pin tactic, a piece cannot move, because it would expose a piece behind it to attack or to check. With a skewer tactic, a piece must move, and when it moves, the piece behind it is captured. The attack goes through the piece in front to get at the piece behind it. A skewer tactic is also called spearing. Like a pin tactic, there are two types of skewers, hard skewers and soft skewers. A hard skewer happens when the piece in front is the king. The king must move to get out of check, then the piece behind it can be captured. A soft skewer happens when the piece in front is not the king. The piece does not have to move, but it probably will move, then the piece behind it can be captured. To find a skewer tactic, look for two pieces on the same rank, file, or diagonal. Then see if one piece must move out of the way and expose the other piece to attack. Then find a way to move your queen, rook or bishop to do the skewer. A skewer tactic is especially powerful against a king or a queen. The opponent must move their king out of check, and they will almost always move their queen, then you can capture the piece behind it.

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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.