Chess Tactics | The Power Of Coercion

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Chess is not only a sport and a science, it is also a form of art. In the words of Dr. Siegbert Tarrasch:

“Chess, like music, like love, can make people happy.”

Beautiful combinations have the power to awe us and one of the most pleasing aspects of the game is a creative tactical combination. I found a great example to illustrate the point.

The position is from the game A Bannik – D Bronstein, played in Riga 1958:

Black to move. What would you do?

chess tactics coercion

Black combines 4 tactical ideas in this creative combination:

First tactical idea: A skewer

chess tactics coercion 2

The move Rh1+ is a skewer since moving the king out of check will expose white’s queen. Therefore white does not have a choice but to capture the Rh1 with his king.

Second tactical idea: Coercion

Kxh1 forces the king to h1 (coercion), else white would lose the Qh5.
Kxh1 forces the king to h1 (coercion), else white would lose the Qh5.

Coercion involves forcing your opponent to move a piece to a square where it will be vulnerable to another tactical motif. In this case, being forced to h1, the white king becomes vulnerable to to a fork as well as a pin.

Third tactical idea: A Pin

White’s rook becomes immobile due to the absolute pin by black’s queen. This means the rook absolutely cannot move and allows black to exploit a 4th tactical idea – a fork.

chess tactics coercion 4

Fourth tactical idea: A Fork (double attack)

A fork (or double attack) involves making more than one threat at the same time. Since it is usually hard (or impossible) to defend against multiple threats, forks are a very effective tactical motif. The above diagram show how black attacks two targets with one move. Nxg3+ attacks both the white king and queen. White loses the queen since the king must get out of check.

I hope you find this tactic as pleasing as I did when I first noticed it. Learn more about training chess tactics here.