Most times the attacking or threatening piece is not what we have to really worry about - it is the piece that supports or backs up that piece. Almost all attacks involve combinations of pieces .

When we are facing a combination we should look at all the pieces involved (of course that is the hard part - figuring out what pieces are involved (& how important or unimportant) in the combination.

If you look at examples 1 and 2 you will see the queen looks very threatening, however if you imagine her supporting piece not there then there is nothing to worry about.

There a quite a few things we can do when we see pieces starting to form a combination
  • add more protection to the attacked piece or square
  • move away (if we have time)
  • capture the piece
  • block the threat which may be done to any of the pieces involved
  • Counter-attack

    Example 1
    Black to move

    Where is the real attack ?

    We could protect the f-pawn by Rf8 but then we lose the d-pawn(and then the c-pawn OR the Bishop (probably the b-pawn as well), if we move the King away then Qxf7 and threatens Re8 check

    The Queen needs the support of the Bishop if it wants to take the f-Pawn and pushing the c-Pawn is enough to break the link.

    There is, however one move that white can make that wins quickly, can you see it ? answer

    Example 2
    Black to move

    Where is the real attack ?

    Although we are of course worried about what the queen can do, the reason why it is so strong is because it is backed up by the Rook - capturing that relieves the pressure.

    Example 3
    White to move

    Then white gets an idea of what to do

    After you've thought for a while and come up with your own answer you can see how white carries out the idea

    2 moves that would have saved black - once she figured out what white wanted to do :

    Example 4
    White to move
    The following is more an example of a cramped position but it is true that black's defender's have wandered a little too far too soon and allowed white some counterplay, however black had his eye too much on the attacking possibilities and missed the change of events.

    The figures in brackets following the moves are the number of seconds taken to make that move.
    Rated standard match, Internet Club
    Date played :1999.04.18
    purdyesque(1552) Vs slon(1490)

    1. e4 {0:05} e5 {0:02} 2. Nf3 {0:19} Nc6 {0:03} 3. Bc4 {0:06} Nf6 {0:28} 4. O-O {0:07} Bc5 {1:09} 5. Re1 {0:05} Ng4 {0:57} 6. d4 {0:32} exd4 {0:31} 7. Nxd4 {0:59} Nxd4 {1:10}

    For a hint you can (after you think about what you as white would do next) hover your mouse over the board position.

    You might want to play on and see if white's response is good enough, the rest of the game will be posted in week 2.
    try 8.Qxg4 and if NxC2 then Qxg7

    Example 5
    Fried Liver attack
    Notice that black's response to white's early Ng5 with both Bishop and Knight eyeing f7 (remember that f7 is the most vulnerable in most games - in fact the whole of white's attack is based on that square.

    Example 6
    White to move
    After 31...Rxf2 check ??

    Here I wasted a winning position, I got too interested in the discovered check my opponent would face from the Bishop after I moved the Rook, however ( - can you see it ?) the Rook is being protected by the Bishop and ...

    You can see the full gamescore elsewhere - game is Sandy Crosby Vs Keith Farrell