The Power of Pin in Chess

There are many professional players of chess. However, they yet have to learn many strategies related to chess. Nevertheless, one basic skill everyone should know is pinning. It creates a confusion that is hard to understand and at the same time increases the chances of winning.
We can say that it is a skill only a few have fully mastered. If you do not know what a pin is in chess, here we have everything you need to know about this technique.

What is a pin in chess?

The pin in chess is a situation created when the opponent cannot move without exposing one of his most valuable pieces. On the following example, you can notice that the black Bishop at g4  is a threat to the Knight at f3 but also to the Queen at d1 because if White moves the Knight then Black will capture the Queen. The effect that Bishop has upon the Knight is called the pin.

If you are planning to improve your tactical skills, it is important that you master the technique of pin in chess because, in this way, you will emerge victorious more frequently.

Importance of  pin in chess

You might have been wondering why a single tactic has been given so much importance. The pin was introduced by Chess master, Fred Reinfeld. The player after the formation of the tactic has been saying that the pin is mightier than the sword! Here are some of the amazing advantages that you will get by using this tactic.

  • The biggest advantage of the chess pin is the restrictions it will create for the opponent. Now he will be forced to expose some of the important pieces in the game. On the example above, you will notice that White has to choose between the Knight and the Queen. The obvious choice is to save the Queen which is more valuable than the Knight. However, in this example, things are not what they look like! More on this later…

  • The pinned piece will always have a weak defense. The reason is that it has least or no effect on the surrounding squares that it is supposed to defend. For example, the Knight in order to protect the Queen cannot move to the following squares:

  • Chances of winning with the help of pin are high because it takes time for the opponent to find a proper defense. In the meantime, you can think possible ways to attack while he is trying to figure out what to do next. This may cause a sense of anxiety to your opponent which helps you win.

Create a pin

There are 3 chess pieces that can be used for the tactic.

  1. Bishop

  2. Queen

  3. Rook

Bishop

You can create a diagonal pin with the help of bishop. In this case, you will have two or more targets in the direction of the diagonal. Make sure that your targets are in the colors of same squares when a Bishop is creating the pin.

Rook

You can create the pin with rook by exploiting your targets that are in the same file or rank. Rook can be commonly used against the targets that are accessible on the D file of the board.

Queen

When it comes to creating the pin, the most flexible piece that you will find is the Queen. You can create a pin with the Queen in any form whether it is a file, rank or diagonal.

My checklist:

When I started playing chess, I was trying to chunk tactics in a way that I can easily remember and execute them with flawless precision. If you are a beginner, I am sure the following checklist will help you.

  1. Search for 2 pieces that are in the same file, rank or diagonal. Check for possible ways to pin the more valuable pieces of the opponent. Very helpful pins include the King and most of the times you will capture the other piece of the two (the more valuable the better!!!). On the following example, the opponent is obliged to sacrifice his Queen because the King is being checked. 

  2. Once you spot those pieces you must find a piece of yours to execute the pin.
  3. Check if your opponent is able to intercept the pin with any of the ways  I will mention in the next section
  4. Finally, you have to decide the benefits of a pin. If you will have an advantage in value and especially the pin fits your overall strategy to win the game then it’s ok to proceed by executing it. Make sure you take into account all possible responses of your opponent that you figured out in step 3 before you make the final decision. For example, you can not sacrifice your Knight at g3 by moving him at c7 because your opponent already has pieces with greater value than yours (see the picture below). 

Defend yourself from pin

As important as it is to learn how to use chess pin, you have to know how you can protect yourself from the procedure as well. It’s incredible when you can utilize pin on your rival, however, what you should do when you are forced to defend yourself against such a technique? In a perfect world, you ought to have expected the likelihood of that in any case. Because you neglected it, it doesn’t really mean you’re damned. There may be yet an exit plan! Here is a list of regular thoughts you can use to escape from the pin in chess :

  1. You will have to take a risky move with one of the pieces that have been caught.  I suggest doing that in cases when you will have to exchange pieces with the same value as a last resort.

  2. Capture the attacking piece. That’s the best case scenario and it could happen when you are playing against inexperienced opponents

  3. Use a counter-strategy to evacuate the pinned piece. For example, you can check your opponent’s King and win some time because he will have to deal with the check. In general, look for ways to attack the pinning piece or your opponent’s more valuable pieces.

  4. Break the strategy by moving a protector in the way to the pinned pieces (see the picture below). 

Tips to gain the best benefits from the chess pin

The position is the most important thing that you have to consider in order to determine the usefulness of your chess pin. However, here we have some tips that you can use to make your tactic more interesting.

  • You can always add pressure to the piece that has been pinned by attacking it.

  • Exploit all the squares that you think are safe by using the pin.

  • On your pinning motives, you will have to look for the tactical combinations because it will give you the best results.

  • Always look for gaps in your defense as well as in your opponent’s. Don’t pin by leaving your defense uncovered.

Legal’s mate

Legal’s mate otherwise called Legal’s Trap is known for the unique positions that it can create. In this illustration, it works differently from all other opening trap for Philidor’s Defense. Legal’s mate is a chess game known for the White’s pseudo-forfeits.

When it comes to pinning in chess, this example is not the norm. Generally, chess players protect the Queen but on this occasion losing it was the fastest way to victory. The pin was considered successful but Black left his defense uncovered. I chose to close the article this way to remind you that making a great move doesn’t guarantee the win. Keep practicing and use the pin in chess under the right circumstances to make your game interesting and substantial. Please comment below to let me know if the article was helpful.  If the information was helpful, I would appreciate sharing this article to social media. Enjoy the game!

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