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Bobby Fischer’s Chess Tactics!

The position below is from the game:
Fischer, Robert J (2690) vs Shocron, Ruben (2280), 1959, Mar del Plata ARG

Black just played 39… Qc8. It seems Fischer fell into a trap since his rook on e6 is now pinned. What should white do?

It appears that black will simply capture the white rook on the next move. However, Fischer anticipated this move and had a brilliant response ready! Can you find it?

Scroll down to see the solution.




Bobby Fischer Tactics – The Solution


Bobby Fischer’s chess tactic demonstrates a number of important tactical ideas at once.

  • Threat / winning a tempo
  • Interference
  • Indirectly defended square
  • Hanging piece
  • Discovered check

I’ll explain them all below:

Threat / winning a tempo

40.Bd7 threatens to capture the black queen. This means black’s options are limited to moves that sufficiently deal with this threat. However, the threat alone is not enough. This move must be supported with other tactical ideas else black can simply capture the bishop, Qxd7.


40.Bd7 interferes with the pin black had on the white rook. The white bishop occupies the d7-square and therefore the rook on e6 is technically not pinned anymore.

Indirectly defended square

At a first glance it appears that the white bishop is undefended on d7. However, the d7-square is indirectly defended. If black plays 40… Qxd7, then white can reveal a discovered attack, 41.Rxg6+, followed by 42.Qxd7.

Discovered Attack

The diagram shows that if black plays 40…Qxd7, then white can play 41.Rxg6+, followed by 42.Qxd7.

Hanging Piece

In the initial position (before white played 40.Bd7) the black queen is defended by the black rook on b8. This means white’s discovered attack, Rxg6+, does not work yet. However, if after 40.Bd7 black plays 40… Qxd7, then the black queen would be hanging (undefended) on d7. This is an important detail because then the discovered attack, 41.Rxg6+, followed by 42.Qxd7, works.

If you want to learn more about tactical motifs such as the ones illustrated in this puzzle, then check out my course on chess tactics:


Please leave a comment if you have any questions or want to share your thoughts on this tactic by Bobby Fischer. Thanks for reading!

8 thoughts on “Bobby Fischer’s Chess Tactics!”

  1. Hey Louis! there its a very famous tactic of Bobby Fisher, which is covered in other sources!! but I like that you have decided to give this one as it does show we as chess players should be on the look out of subtle changes in position!?…

  2. Hi Louis, it’s all just words really, but I tend to think of luring a piece away from a particular square as more of a deflection.Decoy, attraction? It’s the idea that counts.

  3. That’s really amazing knot of tactical ideas…

    But what if Black now plays 41… Qf8?

    It seems, white has no obvious attacking continuation after that?

    P.S. Anyway, it would be nice to know next several moves in this game.

    • If Qf8 then white can simply move his rook to a safe square, Ie. Rxe5.

      The point is that white is a piece ahead but his rook was pinned. But a move like Qf8 allows white to move the rook to safety. For this reason black actually resigned after white played Bd7.

  4. Hi Louis,
    I would call the main idea a decoy. The black queen is decoyed to the undefended square d7, setting it up for the discovery.

    • Hi Allan, yeah if black plays Qxd7 then that could be seen as a decoy. That is possibly another tactical idea I should add to the post. The way I see it though – I tend think of “decoy” as luring a piece away from a particular square. And I think of “attraction” as luring a piece towards a square.

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