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An unusual and instructive discovered attack

Black to move...
Black to move…

Teichmann said chess is 99% tactics.

I wouldn’t quite agree.

But I do agree with the point he obviously tried to make – that tactics is a very important part of the game.

For this reason tactics training should also have high priority in your training program.

Recently I came across a slightly unusual but highly instructive tactic and I recommend you study this one closely.

Here it is:

Black to move. What would you do?
Black to move. What would you do?

If you follow a good calculation process, you already know you should always consider all the forcing moves (checks, captures and threats) first. In this case black is in check so he has only 3 legal options:

  1. Qxg6
  2. Kh8 or
  3. Kg8

1… Qxg6 clearly doesn’t work since black will play fxg6+ (or hxg6+) followed by Rxb3 and black will be behind in material. The correct move here is Kh8. 1… Kh8 is also bad since after 2. Rxb3 Qxb3 3. Qxe8+ also loses material for black.

unusual discovered attack 2

If you haven’t solved this one yet, another reason why Kh8 is much better than Kg8 will soon become clear). After the moves Kh8, Rxb3 we now reached this position:

unusual discovered attack 3
Black to move – what should you do?

Again, you should always consider all checks, captures and threats first. Black has no checks here. He has two captures though:

  1. Qxg6 (to which white will simply respond fxg6 or hxg6 and black will be behind in material.
  2. Qxb3 (to which white will respond Qxe8+, Qg8 and material will be equal).

But, you should also consider all threats. Black has two moves here that create strong threats via a discovered attack:

  1. Qf8 (a discovered attack against Qg6) and
  2. Qg8! (a discovered attack against the Qg6 which also keeps the threat Qxb3!)
unusual discovered attack 4
Qg8! creates a discovered attack (Bxg6) and also keeps alive the threat of Qxb3.

Now the reason why Kh8 was better than Kg8 becomes clear. Kh8 kept the g8-square open for black’s queen.

Following the correct thinking process will go a long way in helping you finding tactics such as this one in your own game.

If you didn’t solve this puzzle by using a good calculation technique I recommend you review it. The pattern is quite unusual. Regular tactics training is very important but also keep in mind to follow a good calculation technique.