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Tactical Combination That Removes 3 Defenders!

In the position below it is white’s turn to move. The title already gives you a clue as to what you should be looking for. Can you find the tactic that wins material?

White to move. What would you do?

Scroll down to see the solution.




The black bishop on e7 seems to be pretty well defended.

Three black pieces defend the bishop!

One would think that such a well defended piece will not be vulnerable to tactics? Wrong, this bishop is not safe! White can use a short combination of moves to remove all the defenders and then capture the bishop.

Bxd5 captures the first of three defenders.

But not only does this move capture a defender, it also lures the black queen away from defending the bishop on e7.

Black pretty much has to play Qxd5, else he just lost a piece in any case.

After black plays Qxd5, there is only one defender still supporting the bishop on e7. That is the knight on c6.

The bishop has only one defender remaining. But white can deal with this too.

Nxc6 removes the last defender of the bishop on e7.

Nxc6 also creates the discovered attack threat – Qxd5. At the same time white is threatening the “in-between move” Nxe7+!

There is no way for black to deal with both threats: Qxd5 & Nxe7+. The best black can do is to play Qxc6 to prevent losing even more material.

The black queen moves to safety whilst removing the threat of Nxe7+

Note that if black played Qxd1 (instead of Qxc6), then white would play Nxe7+, followed by Rxd1. In this case white would have kept his knight AND won the bishop, instead of just the bishop.

Rxe7. The point of the previous moves – white captures the now undefended black bishop.

Want to further improve your tactical skill?

Check out the 100 Study Tactics.