Typical double attack scenarios in chess

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Vasily Smyslov, a Russian Grandmaster and former World Chess Champion (from 1957 to 1958) used to say that in chess, we have four strong weapons. These are:


  • The check,
  • The double attack,
  • The pin,
  • The unprotected pieces.


I hope that the first weapon (the check) is a pretty straightforward idea. You should attack the King in order to checkmate him.


In many cases, the King or other pieces can run away from a threat. For example, we attack a Bishop and he moves away. We attack him once again and he escapes the threat one more time! Therefore, we need a stronger attack. This stronger technique is the double attack.


Double attack and its scenarios


When we attack two of our opponent’s pieces with one our piece, we call it a double attack. We have three possible scenarios.

Scenario 1
double attack chessIn the above diagram, we can see that White’s Queen is attacking both the Black’s Knights. Black can save only one of the Knights, but not both at the same time. The Black’s pieces are unprotected.


Suggestion: you may also like to learn about the tactical motif “Knight Fork”. 🙂


Scenario 2

double attack chessIn the above diagram, Black’s Queen from the b6-square is threatening the White’s King on g1 and the White’s Bishop on b2. Please note that this scenario is a little different from the previous one because we are threatening the King. The attack on the King is a very powerful and forcing method.


In scenario 1, Black can choose which of the two Knights he would like to keep on the board. Probably he will choose to save the Knight that is closer to his King. In scenario 2, White should protect his King and, after that, Black can capture the Bishop.


Scenario 3

double attack chessScenario 3 is a combination of the first and second scenario. Here, we can see the idea. White’s Queen is threatening to checkmate on h7 and the unprotected Rook on a8. Black is forced to protect the h7 square, so he will lose the Rook on a8.


Note: usually it’s the Queen that performs the attack in this third scenario.


These are the three main scenarios of the double attack. If we are lucky, these may appear in our games and we can find them easily. 🙂 In most cases, however, the chess game is little more complicated. Perhaps 1-2 forcing moves will happen and then we should see the double attack. Or a double attack will be combined with another tactical motif.


Practical example 1

double attack chess

White to play


In the first practical example, we can spot the unprotected Rook on e7. If we attack this Rook with the move Knight to f5, then it will escape, for he can move somewhere else. As the great American player used to say, “Chess is time”. By this, he meant that we may have a plan but the opponent has his own plan, too.


Here is a practical tip for you. If you would like to win some time, then you should attack the King! So here White plays the best move – Queen to f6. This is a double attack on the King and the e7-Rook. Black moves his Queen to g7, what else does he have?


So we can see the updated position in the diagram below. It is White’s turn. Will White capture the rook as he had planned to one move ago?
double attack chessOf course not! Do you remember the anti-blunder technique? Before making a move, we should ask ourselves: “What is my opponent’s threat?” With his last move, Black is threatening checkmate on g2. This happens accidentally. Black hasn’t planned it ahead, as he was forced to cover his King.


Suggestion: Get the FREE course “Quick success in chess”, optimize your chess training and speed up your progress! 


When we play a chess game, and especially a blitz game, we have this passion – to make quick moves – and if we find a good idea, we feel great and are impatient to perform it as soon as possible.


Now we are in a relaxed mood because our clock is not ticking, so let’s think about this position once again. White would like to capture the rook on e7 but cannot do so right now. White should win time. How can we win time? Of course, this can happen by giving a check.


Therefore, White plays the best move, Queen to h4. Black is forced, once again, to cover his King, and then White captures the Rook on e7.




P.S. Was this article useful for you? If you have some chess friends who are beginners, you may share this information with them – it can be very helpful for them. 🙂

Quick success in chess

Comments: 2

Comments 1

  1. A very informative article and educational and above all this really enjoyable … I ask God that does not deprive us from you..

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