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Saturday, July 08, 2006

Pins In Online Chess

When you attack a piece that the opponent can't move without losing a piece of greater value, that is called a pin. When the piece of greater value is the king, this is called an absolute pin, otherwise it is called a relative pin. There are other forms of pin too, but they fall into one of these catagories, and i will explain these later. lets take a look at the first position:

It's easy to see that the knight on c6 is pinned by the white bishop, and it is white turn and will fall once white plays 1. d5. Now lets take another look at an absolute pin in action:

White has mate in 3, do you see it? White can play 1. Qh5+ because the g-pawn is pinned by the bishop on d3. 1. ... Kg8 2. Qxg6+ Kh8 3. Qh7#. The next position is from one of my own games on this site, Trajan vs

oaklandflash has just played 1. ... Rfe5. Do you see anything wrong with this last move? How about 2. Nxf6+ forking the king and rook, this is possible due to the pin on g7. wayne no1 vs

White just played 1. c3, and i'm sure you already see 1. ... Rxe5 pinning the queen to the king. notice that 2. Be4 loses to 2. ... Rxe4 and the pin is renewed because the rook is now defended by the knight on f6. ok, thats enough easy ones, lets get some harder problems. Van der Wiel-Seirawan. Graz 1980:

The white rook on d1 is undefended, is there anyway black can use this fact and a pin to his advantage? Ok, i'll give you the answer now :) . 1. ... Nxf4 2. Rxf4 Bxe5 (the bishop can't be captured because the pawn on d4 is pinned) 3. Re4 Bf6 4. Rf1 c5 (creating another pin on the a1-h8 diagonal) 5. Qd2 cxd4 white resigns. Now lets take a look at some of those other pins that I mentioned before.

This is whats called a terminal pin. If black moves the knight he will be the victim of a backrank checkmate. The following position is from Brunstrup vs Budrich-Berlin, 1954:

This is an example of a "Perfect Cross". It starts with a absolute pin: 1. Bc5, pinning the queen. The pinned player reacts by making another absolute pin: 1. ... Bb6, pinning the bishop. This will save the queen (for only one move though) via the absolute pin, but white then plays 2. Qf4+ and black resings due to the inevitable loss of the queen. Capablanca vs Lasker, World Championship Match, 11th game-1927:

This is an example of a "St. Andrew's Cross". The first pin is an absolute one (white resinged instead of playing 1. Qg2, stepping into the pin), followed by a relative one (1. ... Qh1#, pinning the g2 queen to the a8 one). This example is a mute point due to the relative pin giving checkmate as well, but you get the idea. Shumov vs Winawer- St. Petersburg, 1875:

This is an example of an "Oblique Cross". It involves a diagonal pin with a rank or file pin as well. Black just put his queen in a pin to get out of check. White then responds with 1. Rc1 (this is actually a skewer, but the idea is the same). Zek vs Travin:

The "Maltese Cross" exploits a pin on a rank and file. Here white interposed his rook to get out of check, however black had a little suprise in store by playing 1. ... Qd1 and white then resigned. The next example is an idea of how most pins hould be played. Alekhine vs Nimzovich-San Remo, 1930:

This is a classic example of pins in action and how they should be played. Usually if you pin one of your enemy's pieces, you will want to bring another piece to atttack it and hopefully win it. This is sometimes refered to as piling on the pinned piece. As you can see here, both players have vested their whole armies in the gigantic pile on the pinned knight. White goes even further in the pile by playing 1. Ba4 (threatening 2. b5). Black has no choice but to lose the pawn 1. ... b5 2. Bxb5 Ke8 (with the idea of bringing the king to d8, lending support to the c7 rook which will break the pin on the c-file. 3. Ba4 (again threatening to play b5) 3. ... Kd8. Now 4. b5 means nothing because the c7 rook is defended. Instead, white plays 4. h4!. Black is now in what is called a "zugzwang". Basically black has to move, but has nothing but pawn moves on the kingside that won't worsen his position, but these will run out, causing him to make a self destructive move.

Hopefully this article will help you in future games. Until my next article, GOOD LUCK!

Read other articles by Trajan:
Double Attacks in Online Chess
Online Chess Tactics


Blogger consul said...

Hi! I'm a chess beginner, and i tried to solve the quiz relative to the Game Zek vs Travin. I knew that position before this site, and i was perplex about white resigning that game after the tactic. In fact, once i tried to play (White) against Fritz (Black), and Fritz didn't find any path to victory: it seems White can exploit what is called a fortress. What leave me astonished is the fact that the first book which i found the quiz in is a book from Koblentz who, as well as you, says White had resigned without blaming him for that; so i first thought there was something wrong with the position and not with concepts. But then i searched for another source of information and found your...
Could you kindly explain where i'm wrong?
Thank you!

1/04/2007 1:13 AM  

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