Lesson 9 - Introduction to Chess Tactics

If you are not familiar in reading/writing a chess game, I recommend that you go through the algebraic notation lesson prior to continuing this tutorial.

Here is the plan I propose for this lesson:

Here is a scenario: you are playing a game against a player of your level. You play the opening as you were taught: you developed your pieces and even succeeded in gaining space in your opponent's territory... all seems well and you are working on your plan for the next couple of moves when suddenly... BANG! Your opponent plays a move that forces the loss of one of your piece! How did it happen? How come did you not see this? Are there chess tricks or trpas allowing for such winning manoeuvers?

Here comes the answer to all these questions: your opponent used a tactic in order to gain a winning advantage. Usually, the course of the game is radically changed when a tactic move is played.

But what is a tactic?

A lot of people think that tactics and strategies are the same. This is not true: strategy is rather oriented toward the development of a long term plan. Tactics, on the other side, are manoeuvers that take advantage of short term opportunities to gain an immediate advantage. It means that tactics can be included in the development of a strategic plan, but the opposite is not true. For example, a player plans to launch an attack on the enemy king that castled kingside (this is a strategy). By observing the position, he finds that he can use a pin (tactic) on a piece defending the king's position and because of that, his attacking chances are improved since this piece is immobilized. The pin tactic helps supporting the execution of the kingside attack (the strategy).

Tactics in chess is quite a large subject. For this reason, I will need three lessons to teach you all on tactics: the current lesson and the next two ones (lessons 10 and 11). I could have made a single big lesson containing everything, but it would have been against the pedagogical approach I choosen for this tutorial. So, you will be initiated to basic tactics in the current lesson and then we will explore other tactics in lesson 10 and finish with combinations and a summary with lesson 11.

During this lesson on basic tactics, you will learn to recognize the most common tactics employed in chess games. Studying and mastering these tactics will help you in adding some easy wins against opponents having the same level than you but it will also allow you to offer a fairer opposition against better opponents. It is known that studying tactics is the most rapid way for a beginner to improve his game... so are you ready? Yes? Then let's jump into this really interresting stuff!

Let's start learning these tactics with the next page on the discovered attackonline chess tutorial.