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The first step in your thinking process should always be to ask yourself – what is my opponent threatening? Because if your opponent has a serious threat then, logically, you shouldn’t waste too much time thinking about moves that won’t solve the problem. However, in this position you can quickly see that black’s pieces are really passive and they are tied to defending the pinned knight. Black doesn’t have any checks or other serious threats and so, you’re free to move on to the next phase in your thinking process which is to apply your calculation skills and see if you can find any tactics that are favorable to you.
The key to finding the solution is this position, is to investigate if it is possible to take advantage of the fact that black’s knight is pinned. You are already attacking this knight with your queen and your bishop, but you can’t capture it yet, because black also has two pieces defending it. So what this tells you, is that you should investigate whether it is possible to involve your knight, and you can do it by playing your pawn to d5 – which clears the d4 square for your knight. At the same time this pawn move is also threatening to capture the knight and so black is essentially forced to capture the pawn, but now white can play the knight to d4 and since black’s knight is pinned, white will simply capture it on the next move.
I hope you enjoyed this exercise and that you will also enjoy all the other exercises in this series, cheers.