Defending

Now that you know how to move the pieces and to capture the free pieces your opponent is offering it is time to spend some time on a lesson about how to deal with an attacked piece.

If one of your pieces is attacked you have to know how the piece can be defended. There are at least 4 possible ways to escape capture:

  1. Capture (the attacking piece)
  2. Evade (Move away the attacked piece)
  3. Defend (If your opponent captures the piece you can recapture his piece)
  4. Block (Place another piece or pawn between the two pieces)


Capture
In both of the diagrams below the black Bishop on d6 is attacking the white Bishop on b4 and in both cases white is able to capture the black Bishop, but in the second diagram black is able to recapture white’s Bishop with his Rook. In fact this second diagram is a rather complex situation in which white has a lot of possibilities to escape capture.

 








White to move
Position after move 0
0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture







White to move
Position after move 0
0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

 

Evade
It is also possible to evade the pieces which is probably the best thing to do in the next two diagrams.

 








Black to move
Position after move 1
0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture







White to move
Position after move 0
0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

 

Defend
The following diagrams are used to illustrate the possibility to defend a piece. In the first diagram the attacked black Bishop can be defended by moving the Rook to a7. In the second diagram the white Bishop can be defended by moving the Knight to f1. It is important to know the value of the pieces when you defend or exchange pieces.

 








Black to move
Position after move 1
0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture







White to move
Position after move 0
0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

 

Block
The fourth possibility to defend a piece is by placing another piece or pawn between the attacker and the attacked piece. In the first diagram the black Queen is attacked and it is not allowed to move the Queen on another file, because the King will be in check. It is possible to defend the Queen by moving the King to b7, but this will result in an exchange of the Queen for a Rook. The best move is placing the Bishop from e8 to b5.
In the second diagram the Queen is attacked by the Bishop on g5. In this diagram more blocking opportunities exist, but the most often played move is Be7.

 








Black to move
Position after move 1
0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture







Black to move
Position after move 4
Castling possibilities: KQkq
3 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

 

More ways to defend
There are more ways to defend a piece against being captured, but these will be part of future lessons. To give you one clue: by looking at the second diagram in the capture section, you may notice that moving the Rook to d1 is probably a better move.

 

After this lesson on defending we are going to attack twice as hard with the lesson on the twofold attack.

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