In this chess tactic training lesson I will focus on how to use the art of distraction on the chessboard. Because distraction is a powerful chess tactic training yourself to see opportunities to distract will significantly improve your game.
The purpose of distraction is to cause your opponent to move a piece away from a key square. This chess tactic training lesson will show you several ways to do it. As you become aware of the power of distraction, you will begin to notice distraction opportunities as they arise. At least, you will start to look out for them during a game.
Very often, the art of distraction is employed against a piece that is guarding a crucial square. The guard may be distracted by the offer of a sacrifice of by the threat of capture. Once the guard has been distracted, the square you wish to occupy will now be unguarded and you can safely move in.
Distraction is often used during the late middle game or the endgame. Here is an example from an endgame in which Black employs the tactic of distraction against White’s knight on a4:
Chess Tactic Training – Distraction Problem 1
It is Black’s move.
What would you do in this situation if you were Black?
(Note: Black wants to advance his pawns UP the board towards row 1!)
This is a good example of how to use distraction in the endgame to achieve a decisive advantage.
If we analyse the imbalances we can see that White is one pawn ahead and holds a material advantage. However, Black holds a positional advantage with his occupation of the centre. The pawn on g7 is also guarding against White achieving an easy promotion of the h pawns. It is Black’s turn to move and sieze the initiative.
I will post the solution in the comments tomorrow!
Bishops in chess can be tricky pieces to place correctly on the board in the opening game. Here is an example of a Queen Pawn opening blunder that involves the loss of White’s black-squared bishop. My opponent was the White player. 🙂
My opponent opened with d4 and I replied with Nf6. The first three moves suggested to me that White was playing a delayed Queen’s Gambit.
However, what followed was an ill-conceived string of bad Bishop moves that led White to disaster: 4. Bb5+ c6 (easily dealing with the checking Bishop, and completing Black’s pawn set-up)
5. Ba4 Bd6 (Black continues to develop.)
6. 0-0 Qc7 (eyeing Black’s h2 square and keeping the knight on f3 busy.)
7. Bd2 Nbd7
8. Bc3?? This is where things unravelled for White. Can you see WHY moving his bishop to c3 is a bad move here? Can you guess what Black did in response? What would you do if you were black?
Magnus Carlsen (white) played the Trompowsky Attack in the opening game of the World Chess Championship 2016.
Although World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen has used the Trompowsky Attack before, it came as quite a surprise as it is not the most common way to continue after the moves 1. d4 Nf6.
The Trompowsky opening has less theory attached to it compared to other Queen’s Pawn openings, which may be one reason why Magnus Carlsen chose it for the first game of the championship.
Another reason, as he partially admitted in the post-match press conference, may have been that the name sounds like “Trump-owsky” and was a cheeky way to refer to Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election earlier in the week. Magnus Carlsen’s family certainly thought so. When asked if that had anything to do with his choice of opening he replied, with a grin,
I had achieved a decisive advantage against my regular opponent in a recent “over the board” game of chess, but he was hanging in there and not resigning, even though I was about to promote my pawn (see diagram, left).
There were just a few minutes left on the clock, so perhaps he was hoping to survive until the flag dropped, but at best it was a forlorn hope.
The game could be easily finished off in a couple of moves by Black promoting the e2 pawn to a queen and then moving the rook to f2, so this game is not really a perfect illustration of the title of this blog post, but what happened in this game did make me think about those occasions when it can actually be better to promote the pawn to a knight instead of a queen.
In this game, which I played on Gameknot against a player rated at the time in the lower 1600s (and with an all-time-high ranking of 1691), my opponent, playing Black, castled into danger on the kingside.
In the illustration, the critical moment has arrived. Black’s kingside pawn structure has been disrupted by an exchange of minor pieces, leaving an undefended Black pawn on g6. Now would not be a good time for Black to castle on the kingside, but that is exactly what Black did!