What is meant by Chess Tactics?
Chess Tactics means a sequence of mostly forced moves, where one side takes over some kind of an advantage over the other. This advantage can be materialistic, a pawn(s) or a piece(s), or just a positional improvement.
There are several tactical motifs in chess such as the double attack, discovered attack, pin, fork, batterie, overloading, undermining, x-ray and so on.
How are Tactics and Strategy related?
When we talk about tactics, we also have to talk about strategy because tactics is strongly related to strategy. Before you choose to play some tactical motif against your opponent, you have to outplay the opponent in a strategical view and then deliver it with some element of tactics.
I like to drag the parallel with the boxing. In boxing, the boxer, first with a series of shots (combination), prepares the opponent for the last punch and then knock outs him.
The tactic can be simple (for instance in 2 or 3 moves) or more complex, where the player has to calculate more than 5 or even 10 moves in advance. Let me show you the few most common tactical motifs in chess:
Fork is where one piece attacks two or even more opponent’s pieces and gets the material advantage. Here you can often see the combination of attack on the king, queen, and the rooks.
With the last move Nd5 – c7, White “forks“ the king, queen and rook and, after Black’s king moves somewhere, White’s knight will take Black’s queen and get winning material advantage.
Suggested Tactics help you think ahead to recognize patterns and calculate to see how these patterns can work in your games. Learn more from the article “Pattern recognition in chess – fork”.
This is the tactic that doesn’t allow an opponent’s piece of higher value to move and, with this tactic, one side also gets winning material advantage in most of the situations. The piece that makes the most natural moves and “pins“ the opponent’s pieces is the bishop.
With the last move, Be4 – c6, White “pins“ the queen and the king. Black can’t move the queen and, after any Black’s move, White will take the opponent’s queen with his bishop, and get winning material advantage.
This is the tactic motif where one piece allows the other to take also an opponent’s piece of a higher value. Here in most situations, the rooks take the queens.
With the last move, Bd2-f4, White removes his bishop, and now, makes the discovered check against the opponent’s king. After the king moves somewhere, White’s rook will take the black queen and get winning material advantage.
To be able to use tactics and also to manage to defend yourself from it, you have to understand and know the tactical motifs. Here we speak about the most common ones like the pin, the fork, and the discovered check. The tactic is “always around the corner“ and, after every single move, try to find it or spot it, if your opponent has some potential to use it against you.
Be aware that tactics comes often after a nice strategical plan. So, if you get the better position, look for the tactical shot and “knock out“ the opponent. Remember the calm before the storm!