Sports & Gaming


Garry Kasparov

Lesson time 16:28 min

Not all pins are created equal. Understanding their effectiveness means understanding the power of paralyzing your opponent’s pieces, especially in the endgame.

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Topics include: Structure of Pins • The Power of the Pin • Kasparov vs Bareev, 1997 • Pins in Endgame • Raging Elephant • Challenge: A Pin Study


Pin is very important element of strategy and tactics. And almost in every game, we could see pins on both sides. It's not as deadly as skewer, because you can stay there. It's sometimes the pin could last for many moves without causing real damage. But still, let's look at the structure, how it works. That's the simple form. We have bishop on big diagonal, on b2. Knight on f6, and put black queen hiding behind this knight. So it's a pin. We can call it a relative pin, because black knight can move. Though, I don't think you want to do it, because the queen is there, so it's a pin. And it happens many times. For instance, in many openings, you have black queen standing on d8, knight on f6, and bishop on g5, for instance. That happens many, many, many games, many openings. So again, there's nothing to be afraid of. Just remember that if you have a more valuable piece behind less valuable piece, just be aware. It could be just another form of pin that has more decisive effect. It's kind of a relative pin, so this is a position that I could put in. So now, black rook is on c5. It's pinned by white rook on g5. And of course black rook can take white rook. But then the pawn would be promoted. So that's an important tool, important tactical element. Sometimes in the endgames, or even in middlegames, you use this form of pin to advance either your pawn or just to get something, by deflecting opponent's piece from doing something important, like in this case, preventing our pawn from from promotion. But there are also something which we call absolute pins. For instance, absolute, because in this case rook is pinned, and it cannot move legally, because the king is behind it. So that's why this rook is paralyzed. This pin definitely is more dangerous, because it not only limits the potential of your pieces, but also it may cause other serious, serious problems. Because by using the pin, your opponent can create threats in the surrounding areas. Let's look at a couple of examples how we can use pin as a mechanism to achieve our goals. So let's start with a simple position. If you look at this endgame, it seems roughly even. Even black has an extra pawn. But there's a trick that white can use based on the pin concept. And also the fact that our pawn-- if we play white-- so our pawn h6 is advanced. That's why we can force the exchange of rooks after Rg8+, Kc7, Rg7. Then after the exchange our pawn will advance. So black has to defend this rook. So it can go Ng5. And then we bring our bishop. We continue this attack. We are trying to force this exchange. And you see the pin. Legally, black rook cannot leave the seventh rank, so it goes on d7. It desperately tries to stay its course. But we continue the attack. We're still pushing this rook. It goes back on f7, hoping desperately for repetition of the moves. But now we att...

About the Instructor

At age 22, Garry Kasparov became the youngest world chess champion. After beating Bobby Fischer’s peak rating, he outranked his fiercest competitors for over twenty years. Now, Garry is ready to share the chess strategy that made him a six-time world champion. Through detailed lessons, including his favorite openings and advanced tactics, you will develop the instincts and philosophy to become a stronger player.

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Garry Kasparov

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