Tactics in Chess

A huge number of books have been written on tactics in chess that teaches different tactical motifs like pins, double attacks etc.. There is not my concern here but I would like to through some lights on the causes of chess tactics.

My observation:

1.Undefended pieces :

This is perhaps the major cause for producing opportunities for tactics. The complexity can be changed with the level of players. Here is the fine example from the games of Pillsbury against my one of the favourites, Emanuel Lasker:

2.Missing relevant captures :

My concerns can be easily explained with the following example.


Here the first thing we can see is Rxc3 and the outcome is draw but if you trained your mind to check for every possible captures than Qxc3 is winning. This example has been taken from the chess tactics for champions.

3.Checkmating patterns/ attacking patterns:

I have discovered this is a major drawback in my own chess. Checkmating patterns help you a lot while launching kingside attack and also provide you with bases for imagination. For example Blackburn’s mate (a mate with 2 bishop and knight – see the following diagram).


Now try to solve the following diagram with the help of given pattern. White to move.


You can feel that it was quite difficult if you were not aware about Blackburn’s checkmate pattern, but once you are aware of it, you can see thing quite naturally. This example was taken from ’Build up your chess’ by Artur Yusupov.

4.Checks and intermediate checks:

This is a very powerful weapon to turn the table. You have designed a splendid combination but missed and check or an intermediate check that is available to your opponents than outcome can be negative. Here is an example.

Though you can include intermediate moves as well these are more often seen in high level games. My focus is to give some base for beginners, so therefore they are not included.

So I have set some rules for my students with some good results, which are as follows:

1.Look for checks/ intermediate checks.
2.Try to see all relevant captures.
3. Watch you undefended piece and opponents.
4.Try to imagine which position you want (this has proven to be very helpful in formulating plans).

In the beginning this is quite difficult to remember but with time it will become your second nature. And then it can help you create beautiful combinations and saves.

Ashvin Chauhan