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Introduction to Chess Tactics: Removing the guard

If you attack a piece and your opponent protects it, look out for the possibility of winning the piece by removing the guard. By capturing or driving away the protecting piece, you can render your target unguarded and ripe for capture. Likewise, if one of your pieces is doing an important job guarding another piece, make sure you don't let the opponent undermine it, or your whole defence could come crashing down.

Capturing the guard

This is the most straightforward way to remove the guard - by simply capturing it.

Deflection

It isn't always necessary to capture the defending piece. Sometimes chasing it away is just as good. Forcing an enemy piece to leave its post is known as deflection.

Interference

Another means of removing the guard is by blocking the line along which it protects a piece or square. This is known as interference.

The overworked piece

A related concept is the idea of an overworked piece. A piece is overworked if it is performing too many tasks at once and cannot carry them all out. Most often, this means a piece that is protecting two other pieces. If one is captured, and the defender recaptures, it relinquishes protection over the other piece. Here is an example of how to exploit an overworked piece.

An overworked piece may also be guarding against other threats, such as checkmate. A piece that is tied to defence like this is much like a piece that is pinned - it may appear to be defending other pieces, but those pieces can in fact be captured at no cost.

Your turn

Here are some puzzles to test your knowledge of removing the guard and overworked pieces.

Incorrect Move Sorry, that's the wrong answer. Click 'continue' to try again.
Nice Try Your move was good, but there is a better one.
Solved! Well done, that's the correct answer!
White to move
Incorrect Move Sorry, that's the wrong answer. Click 'continue' to try again.
Nice Try Your move was good, but there is a better one.
Solved! Well done, that's the correct answer!
Black to move
Incorrect Move Sorry, that's the wrong answer. Click 'continue' to try again.
Nice Try Your move was good, but there is a better one.
Solved! Well done, that's the correct answer!
White to move
Incorrect Move Sorry, that's the wrong answer. Click 'continue' to try again.
Nice Try Your move was good, but there is a better one.
Solved! Well done, that's the correct answer!
Black to move
Incorrect Move Sorry, that's the wrong answer. Click 'continue' to try again.
Nice Try Your move was good, but there is a better one.
Solved! Well done, that's the correct answer!
Black to move
Incorrect Move Sorry, that's the wrong answer. Click 'continue' to try again.
Nice Try Your move was good, but there is a better one.
Solved! Well done, that's the correct answer!
Black to move

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