A Foundation for Beginners Ninety Six

We’ll wrap up our examination of the discovered and double discovered attack this week. Out of all the tactics discussed thus far, this one has helped me the most. We’ll look at another example this week. This example is a double discovered check, which is devastating for its victim, if you set it up correctly. Set up the following position on a chessboard:

Place the Black King on g7, the Black Queen on d4, and Black Pawns on a2, e5, and f5. Place the White King on f1, a White Rook on g1, and a White Bishop on g3. It will be White to move in this example. Before making any moves, I want to talk about the position.

It’s clear that Black has a material advantage. However, that’s not White’s biggest problem. The Black pawn on a2 is one square away from promotion, and Black’s Queen guards the promotion square. If Black can promote the a2 pawn, there will be no way that White wins or draws. I mention this because, no matter what tactic you use, you should always analyze the position beyond the immediate result of a tactic, the gaining of a material advantage. While White could move the King, which would allow the Rook on g1 to cover the a1 square, White would lose that Rook when the Black pawn promotes after 1. K g2…a1=Q, 2. Rxa1…Qxa1.

The double discovered attack or check often appears accidently in the games of beginners. A beginner might see that their White Rook (in this example) would be attacking/checking their opponent’s King if White’s Bishop wasn’t blocking the file both Rook and enemy King sit on. They then realize that if they move their Bishop, the Rook can then attack the Black King. They move the bishop, but don’t carefully consider where that Bishop should go. Beginners tend to look for attacks that gain the greatest amount of material and might consider moving the White Bishop to f2, going after Black’s Queen. This doesn’t work because the Queen will simply move, resulting in a material loss for White. However, if the beginner knows about the double discovered attack/check, they’ll know that because the Black King is checked by two pieces (Rook and Bishop, after the Bishop is correctly moved), it is forced to move, leaving the Black Queen to be freely captured. Of course, winning the Black Queen depends on making the correct Bishop move.

Let’s look at the position you set up on your chessboard. A beginner playing White would look for a move that attacks material belonging to their opponent. They’d see the Black pawn on e5 and the Black Queen on d4. The Queen is worth far more than the pawn, so they might play 1. Bf2, attacking the more valuable piece. This would be a mistake because Black might still end up promoting a pawn. Yes, you want to go after material of higher value when given the choice of material to attack. However, to win material while maintaining your own material, in this case the Queen (while keeping your Bishop and Rook, you need to make a move that that’s end result is the Black King moving. The correct move is 1. Bxe5+!

This attack against the Black Queen works because it’s a double discovered check. The rules of chess state that, apart from castling, you can only move one piece at a time. Double attacks work because you can only save one piece. In a double check, the King must move. When the Black King moves, 1…Kf7, White plays 2. Bxd4, winning the Black Queen.

Next week, we’re going to look at some techniques for building up your overall tactical skills. While it’s relatively easy to solve tactical puzzles, it becomes a lot more difficult to create tactics from scratch. The secret to finding tactical opportunities and then setting them up comes down to pattern recognition, which is next week’s topic. See you then!

Hugh Patterson

Please follow and like us:
follow subscribe
Hugh Patterson

Author: Hugh Patterson

Prior to teaching chess, Hugh Patterson was a professional guitarist for nearly three decades, playing in a number of well known San Francisco bands including KGB, The Offs, No Alternative, The Swinging Possums and The Watchmen. After recording a number of albums and CDs he retired from music to teach chess. He currently teaches ten chess classes a week through Academic Chess. He also created and runs a chess program for at-risk teenagers incarcerated in juvenile correctional facilities. In addition to writing a weekly column for The Chess Improver, Hugh also writes a weekly blog for the United States Chess League team, The Seattle Sluggers. He teaches chess privately as well, giving instruction to many well known musicians who are only now discovering the joys of chess. Hugh is an Correspondence Chess player with the ICCF (International Correspondence Chess Federation). He studied chemistry in college but has worked in fields ranging from Investment Banking and commodities trading to Plastics design and fabrication. However, Hugh prefers chess to all else (except Mrs. Patterson and his beloved dog and cat). View all posts by Hugh Patterson

You May Also Like