Notes on Attacking and Capturing Enemy Chess Pieces

The Importance of Captures

Usually in chess, the player who has the more valuable captures has control of the board. You should train your eyes to look for possible captures at each turn. A good practice is to see if the last piece your opponent moved can be captured by any of your men in their present positions. If the enemy piece that changed squares had been guarding a valuable piece, see if you can pursue the latter.

Early Attacks and Captures

Do not be too ambitious with captures early in the game though. You should capture enemy pieces whenever it is good to do so, but don't think you can checkmate at the opening! Be patient.

Captures and Points

When planning a capture, you should be aware of the pieces' standard values: pawn - 1, knight - 3, bishop - 3, rook - 5 and queen - 9 with bishops valued more than knights. But this is not enough. You have to judge by the game itself to see which piece is more valuable to your opponent. Sometimes you will want to capture a lower-ranked piece first due to the threat it poses. For instance, a pawn nearing a promotion is very dangerous.

The Role of Check in Attacks and Captures

Another factor in captures is the check. Try to put the enemy king on check while another piece is under attack. For example, check the king and at the same attack a rook. Your opponent won't have a choice but to lose the piece while saving the king.

Attacking an Overused Piece

If an enemy piece is defending several allies at once, it is easier to take advantage of. You can either attack the defender or attack two of the other pieces simultaneously.

If a knight is guarding the king, a bishop and two pawns, you only have to put the king in check. While your opponent saves their king, you can attack the others.

Judging a Series of Captures

In a crowded board where pieces are guarded by ally pieces, one capture would lead to another. When you are faced with a series of captures, use the point values to assess if it is worth undertaking or not. If, at the end of the exchange of captures, you would see yourself down a queen, clearly it is not worth it. For example, the sequence of captured pieces might be something like: their pawn, your bishop, their knight, your queenówith no further capture possible. You'd end up trading a bishop and a queen for a pawn and a knight. Bad move!

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