Tactical combinations: The Discovered Pin

It’s a great feeling when you find a way to combine two or more tactical motifs in order to produce a creative tactical combination.

One such creative idea is what I would call a discovered pin. Even though this tactic is fairly simple, you can easily miss it in your own games if you have not seen it before. (Which is why I will demonstrate it below).

Here’s the example: (try to solve it yourself first!)

White to play. What would you do?

Black just played Rh7 to help defend the vulnerable bishop on c7. Black now has three defenders to help defend it. However, there is still something white can do to take advantage of the pinned bishop on the c-file.

Scroll down to see the solution.





Rxc7+ This move captures the black bishop but also forks the black king and queen. Black is practically forced to play Qxc7.


Now if white plays Qxc7+, black would simply recapture with the rook on h7. However, white now demonstrates the idea of a “discovered pin”.

Qb1! By moving the queen off the c-file, white reveals that the black queen in now pinned by the rook on c1.

Note that white’s last move (Qb1) was the only safe square from where the white queen could still defend the rook on c1 (else black could simply play Qxc1+). Also note that if black now plays Rd1+, then white can simply play Rxd1 and then they still won material in the process.

I hope you enjoyed this creative tactical idea and that you will some day get the opportunity to use it in your own games!

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