By Dan Heisman. Pins, forks, and removal of the guard tactics usually occur several times during a game. Counting takes place whenever exchanges are possible — almost every move after the early opening. Tactics can be considered the science of piece safety , with the goal of winning material or mating. Thus, at the start of a game, defense is just as important as offense.

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By Dan Heisman. Pins, forks, and removal of the guard tactics usually occur several times during a game. Counting takes place whenever exchanges are possible — almost every move after the early opening. Tactics can be considered the science of piece safety , with the goal of winning material or mating.

Thus, at the start of a game, defense is just as important as offense. One can approximately divide all tactics, in increasing order of average complexity, into five levels:. Counting — determining whether any series of captures might lead to losing material.

Single Motif — pins, double attacks, back-rank mates, removal of the guard, etc. En prise is the easiest to understand. Here is a simple example, after 1. The white e-pawn has been placed en prise and Black can — and should — capture it safely with Counting : The process of determining whether each piece, for both sides, is safe on each move using only the nonglobal on its square definition.

Yet, players rated under below the average adult tournament player are very susceptible to making counting errors that cost them games. These errors may occur because they misunderstand the value of the pieces, but often they just miscalculate. Hence, we begin with this important chapter on safety and counting!

Much more on this below! They can be used to solve most of the play and win problems in this book, because if you find the correct sequence, then you should finish the problem ahead in material and any reasonable set of values is acceptable. Reinfeld values are very easy to teach beginners, but if you are going to be a good player you are going to have to graduate from them or at least not adhere to them slavishly.

That would be like saying every human being is exactly an integer multiple of one foot tall, and has to be exactly 5 or 6 feet in height. In , Larry Kaufman wrote an award-winning article in Chess Life on piece value, based on a scientific computer study of about 80,, positions! Additionally, while the king has infinite value, the fighting value of a king — usually seen in the endgame — is about 4 pawns.

These are important ideas to remember and use! That is a big difference in percentage! Another way to evaluate material in terms of a rook is that the exchange is worth about one-third of a rook; a piece is worth about two-thirds of a rook; a queen is worth about two rooks; and, of course, a rook is worth one rook.

These average values are great starting points for players above beginner level and can be extremely helpful in many normal situations. The actual value of a piece is determined by how powerful it is in a given position and is a much more complex subject! A threat is a move that can do something positive, if not countered, on your next move, such as win material or checkmate. An attack on a king, of course, is called a check.

The list of forcing moves is a mantra I give to my students: look for checks, captures, and threats! It is important to note that not all attacks are threats. For example, in the diagram below, the black queen attacks the knight on a4, but it is not a threat since Black would then lose his queen to Qxa4.

Some players think that counting is simply knowing the value of the pieces and understanding, for example, not to trade a rook for a bishop because a rook is worth more.

Safe : A piece is safe if no possible sequence of exchanges on the square it occupies will lose material, assuming best play by both sides moves. The definition at right will clarify when a piece is safe with regards to exchanges on its square. Here piece includes pawns, but not kings, which are special with regard to safety issues.

This definition will subsequently allow me to present one for counting. We need to assume best moves in our definition because you can always lose material on any capture just by playing poorly and refusing to recapture! In that case every attacked piece would be unsafe, which is clearly not true. It is very important to note that if we expand our definition to the entire board, and not just a square, then the global definition of safe would involve all tactics, and not just exchanges on a particular square.

With White to move in the following diagram, the black bishop on b4 is not attacked, so from just a counting standpoint the bishop is safe but, of course, White can play the double-attack 1. If it were Black to move in the same diagram, then the knight on c3 is not safe even just by counting since it is defended once, but Black could capture twice and win a pawn. Safe global : A piece is safe if no tactic by the opponent involving the capture of that piece can forcibly win material including counting!

Counting: The process of determining whether eachpiece, for bothsides, is safe on eachmove using only the non-global on its square definition.

However, identifying all the ramifications of this global definition of safe is a very complex topic — and well beyond the scope of this book! So back to counting. To determine safety, you do not have to count on each square on each move!

This is an important practical consideration! Most advanced players have a subconscious important squares database that consists of whether or not all attacked squares are adequately guarded.

They update this database on each move: only the squares affected by the move are recalculated. If everything was safe on the previous move, then one need only look at the affected squares of the next move to determine if something has become unsafe. This process becomes routine with adequate practice. Note that if one uses the global definition that includes all tactics, then a more detailed analysis is needed to ensure all your pieces are safe.

There is a fine line between the tactical motif removal of the guard see Section 2. Removal of the guard involves captures on multiple squares so that a defender is captured or has to move and the defended piece is no longer safe. However, the distinction between the two concepts is somewhat tricky because safety has to be determined on all squares each move, so multiple squares are often involved even on purely counting issues. The difference is that, with removal of the guard, the safety on one square is directly dependent on the removal of the defender from another square, while in regular counting the safety of each of the multiple squares is determined independently.

In the diagram below, the rook on e6 is not safe because White can play 1. Bxe6 and win the exchange rook for bishop provided Black recaptures.

White does not have to continue with 2. Contrast this diagram to a removal of the guard example in the next diagram. Through simple counting, both knights appear to be safe: 1. Rxc6 dxc6 would seem to lose the exchange for White. However, when we combine these two exchanges, we can easily see that the d7-pawn is overworked. Overworked pieces that guard attacked pieces leads to a removal of the guard tactic. White should play 1. If Black does not recapture, White remains ahead a knight.

But if Black plays Rxc6 since the knight on c6 is no longer guarded and White still wins a knight. Thus the safety of each black knight is interrelated, making this a removal of the guard problem, and not just a simple counting issue. Note that the opposite move order, starting with 1.

Rxc6, while still winning material, is not as good. After Bxe6 White has won only two pieces for a rook, which is not nearly as favorable as winning a piece. I calculated that result by counting the traded material, but this is not a counting problem — see the difference? See Chapter 2. However, if in doing so you also lose the bishop-pair, you lose a total of about 1 pawn, which is approximately what it takes for one master to beat.

Upload Sign In Join. Home Books Entertainment. Create a List. Download to App. Length: pages 3 hours. This book is an introduction to the various kinds of basic chess tactics. With instructional material, examples, and problems of all types, the subject of chess tactics is covered comprehensively. There are approximately examples ranging from too easy to very difficult!

Tactics are usually why most people find chess fun! This book will greatly enhance your enjoyment learning about — and benefiting from — the recurring patterns of tactics. It is well established that the study of basic tactics is probably the single most important thing any beginner can do to improve at chess. This book will help you do that!

Related Categories. Chapter 1 Safety and Counting A Counting Primer Pins, forks, and removal of the guard tactics usually occur several times during a game. One can approximately divide all tactics, in increasing order of average complexity, into five levels: 1. En Prise — an unguarded piece that can be captured. Non-sacrificial Combinations — combines motifs including counting. Sacrificial Combinations — Same as 4, but it involves a sacrifice.

Safety and Counting Definitions Some players think that counting is simply knowing the value of the pieces and understanding, for example, not to trade a rook for a bishop because a rook is worth more. So, considering the entire board, we must expand our definition of safe, as shown below. Bxe6 If Black does not recapture, White remains ahead a knight. Start your free 30 days. Page 1 of 1.

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## Back to Basics: Tactics

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## Book Review: Back To Basics: Tactics

I've been a fan of Dan Heisman 's Novice Nook column for quite some time now, so it should be no surprise that I wanted to check out his books. It includes all the usual friends of the chess player, such as pins, skewers, forks, and so on. It also speaks to some things that aren't often covered in tactics books, namely removal of the guard, defensive tactics and seeds of tactical destruction. Removal-of-the-guard goes buy various names in the chess universe, such as "deflection" and "overworked pieces," and I've never before seen a decent coverage of this important tactic. Removal of the guard is one of Heisman's favorite axes to grind and he works it over at length and in depth in Back to Basics: Tactics.