In my previous post, I played a live blitz game with the Black pieces against my opponent’s King’s Gambit. In the analysis part of the video, I mentioned a common tactic that comes up in such middle games. Although this tactic wasn’t played in my game, it is worth knowing for Black (and of course White should be aware to defend against it).
As I was clicking through the links on Chess.com to explore the opening, someone had posted a game with this exact tactic in it, so I figured I’d post it here so that you can see it in action. Several criteria have to be in place for the tactic to work, but that happens more frequently than you might think.
In the first video below, I’ll show the tactic so that you can see it. In the second video, I’ll show a game with the tactic that arises even later in the game. First, though, if you want to try to find the tactic before watching the video, check out the puzzle below.
Video 1: Showing the Tactic
Video 2: Example of the Tactic in a Middle Game
Criteria for the tactic to work for Black:
- No White piece defending the d4 pawn (only the c3 pawn defends it). This usually means that the f3 Knight must have moved and that a piece (usually a Knight) is blocking the White Queen’s communication down the d file.
- White’s King must be on b1 (allowing a check on the dark-square diagonal), and White’s a1 rook and c1 bishop must be on their original squares (so that the rook is isolated on the vulnerable dark-square diagonal)
- No pawn on b2 (otherwise White’s a1 rook won’t directly be forked)
- You are not immediately under a Kingside attack
Remember that White should not be getting active counterplay against your King while you are busy retreating your dark-square bishop. If White’s Queen and another piece or two are already by your King, winning an exchange and a couple more pawns might not be worth it, as doing so might allow White to develop a decisive attack. This is especially the case because you would be removing a key defender of your King (your g7 Bishop) to take a piece that is not participating in the attack (White’s a1 Rook), and you have to waste one move taking the rook and one move getting the Bishop back for defense.
Having said all that, if you play the Fischer Defense regularly, be on the lookout for this tactic, as it does come up (especially in the early middle game).