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is chess in the Olympics

  There is currently no chess in the Olympiad. The Chess Olympiad is a chess competition officially organized by FIDE since 1927 and takes place in even-numbered years. Before World War II the event was occasionally held every year. There was also an unofficial Chess Olympiad series that ended in 1976. Although chess is covered in the sports sections of many newspapers around the world, it is not one of the recognized sports in the Olympic Games. However, FIDE is now a member of the International Olympic Committee and follows its rules. This means that chess could one day become an Olympic event, although most knowledgeable observers say this is unlikely. The World Chess Championship is a competition held annually by the international chess organization FIDE to determine the World Champion of chess. Both men and women are eligible to participate in this championship. The World Champion does not have to be the player with the highest Elo rating: the 2006-2007 World Champion, Vladimir Kr

How to Win with Subtle Tactics (Part Two)

Photo by Sebastian Voortman from Pexels

So this is the continuation of the subtle tactics and here we look at some more of them that might be useful when you want to catch your opponent unawares or just surprise them with a silent deadly attack.

Square Clearance

As the name suggests, this tactic involves vacating a square occupied by a piece to allow another piece to make use of it in order to launch an attack. According to the sources that I have looked, this is quite a rare occurrence. Possibly because not a lot of players have the keen tactical sense to play bold and daring moves that lead to a position for a square clearance to be possible.

Tal – Benko, Candidates, 1959

After a fairly normal game, Tal finds himself in another exciting game. We will look at the game from move 23 where we see the tactic in action. Tal sacrifices his bishop in order to make space for the queen on h6. The stage has been set with four pieces coordinating together to capture the king.

When the queen moves, it was just a matter of bringing the knight and rook into play. Of course, having a pawn on e6 helped a lot to restrict the king’s movements. But it was really the battery of the queen and rook on the h-file that made this combination possible which all started with the square clearance by the bishop.

All attacks usually begin by destroying the defenses of the king and we see how Tal did that here. The tactics aren’t really too obvious and you need to widen your imagination to be able to see it since most of the flashy moves are further down the road. But all you need is to know your goal and to come up with ways to work toward it and achieve it.

In this case, Tal wanted to bring his queen into the action since he felt that his pieces on the kingside were active and ready to launch an attack. So he did what was necessary in order to fulfill that goal.

Line Clearance

This next one is a somewhat similar motif to the first since it involves making room for a piece however, instead of just a square, this involves clearing the file, rank, or diagonal for your pieces to attack. Think of it as a reverse deflection. Instead of removing your opponent’s piece that’s blocking the line of attack for your pieces, you are removing your own piece to make way for the attack.

Bacrot – Ivanchuk, Cap d’Agde, 1998

In the diagram, we see that the queen is hitting the f2 square and the rooks are also lined up on the f-file and if only they could get through, then Black could have a strong attack. That’s when we have the move Ng3 which makes way for the rooks at the same time, not allowing White to defend the f2 square further since the knight controls the f1 square so the rook can’t move there.

White isn’t completely hopeless in terms of material count however, if only his king position weren’t as shaky, he would have been able to hold the position. But the following moves would soon bring White to his knees.


This tactic is a bit more complex than the previous ones we’ve seen so far. Basically you sacrifice a piece on a square that is currently being defended so as to make way for another piece to establish itself on that square. It has a similar motif to a decoy but the goal is clearer with the substitution or a deflection but instead of simply luring the piece away, you intend to exchange it with a sacrifice thereby enabling you to establish your own piece where the enemy piece had control.

Tal – Holm, Kapfenberg, 1970

We have another Tal game as an example. Starting after move 25, we see that Black has a weak back rank and White would want to deliver checkmate with his queen or rook but it’s currently defended by the rook. So using his Tal magic, he sacrifices his queen to make way for the rook. After 27… Bd7 28. Rd8, Black resigned since there is no way to prevent checkmate.

Line Grabbing

The last of the subtle tactics that we will take a look at is line grabbing. Similar to the substitution tactic, we sacrifice a piece on a square in order for another square to establish itself and take control of a line or diagonal. Instead of taking control over just one square, the goal is to grab the line.

Spielmann – Honlinger, Vienna, 1929

In this match, White wants to deliver checkmate on g7 but currently Black’s knight is defending the square. So White plays Nf5 which threatens the queen but if you play out the different captures, Black is going to be at a disadvantage. The purpose of the move is to take control of the diagonal for the light-square bishop.

Since the knight cannot be taken, the Black queen must move and the only place it has is c5 but this is where Spielmann reveals the whole tactical combination. The knight move had several layers of tactical foresight that went into it. The ultimate intention of the knight was to go to e7, at which point, mate is inevitable.

Right balance

In all these games, what we see is the need for the right balance in strategic and tactical play. Tactics are only tools that you use to achieve your strategic goal. They are often forceful, they can sometimes be inconspicuous, hiding their true intentions and appearing seemingly innocuous until they come at you by surprise.

Most of these tactics require good foresight and a goal that you want to work toward, so that you are not simply trying to bewilder your opponent or impress your spectators. It’s all about the follow through and what your end goal is. Just keep this in mind and continue to hone your critical thinking skills and keep asking yourself when you’re in a game, “What is my plan based on the position? How can I bring it to fruition?” If those thoughts are clear in your mind, it will be a lot easier to find the right moves.


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