Chapter 5 of 29 from Garry Kasparov

Skewers

Garry believes in the power of geometry. Through these positions, he shows how you can get the best out of your pieces—even the weak ones.

Topics include: X-Ray Attack • Classical Skewer • Skewers in Endgames • Kasparov vs Beliavsky, 1992 • Understanding Geometry • Challenge: A Skewer Study

Garry Kasparov

Garry Kasparov Teaches Chess

Garry Kasparov teaches you advanced strategy, tactics, and theory in 29 exclusive video lessons.

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Skewer can also be called an x-ray attack. It's an attack by a line piece, queen, rook, or bishop. And normally, the piece under direct attack is a more valuable one that one is behind. And when this valuable piece has to move, then the less valuable is being lost. We saw one of the types of the skewer in the lesson about double attacks. We can look again at the situation, where black king and queen are on the same row. And the rook attacks. Black king is in check. When king moves, then the rook grabs the queen. So that's one of the forms of a skewer. So we can also look for another form of the skewer. It's with a bishop. And we can start actually with one that, if we tried to explain it in Russian terms, that would be called differently, [RUSSIAN], kind of a line attack. It doesn't make much sense in English. But even if we have two pieces of the same value on the same diagonal-- so let's put two kings just to make it position legal. Both knights are under attack. One is directly. The other one is indirectly. And it's also a skewer. If white king would be on d3, then it could go on e4 protecting this knight. And then, it would be more like a pin. But we'll talk about that later. But let's now look at the classical skewer, where bishop is attacking two pieces and causing damage, irreparable damage, to the opponent. Here is the position. And obviously, we can use the bishop to put it from d2 to c3 attacking the queen, and then also the rook. This is classical skewer. We have a much more valuable piece under direct attack. It has to move. And then, the less valuable piece, in this case, is the rook. It's less valuable. But it's enough for us to win the game. But there's something else I wanted to mention. When you see a good move-- and of course, in our case, skewer bishop from d2 to c3 is winning-- just spend another second, maybe two seconds, and look whether there's something else maybe even stronger, even more powerful. Just imagine for a moment the bishop is not on d2 but on e1. It still makes the move Bc3 perfectly legal. And it's winning the rook. But there's also another option. Because we look at queen and king at the same diagonal. You can put this bishop on g3, this time pinning the queen and winning the queen. So just always look at position, trying to maximize the effect of your attack. OK, with bishop on d2, it's only Bc3. With bishop on e1, you have an even more powerful move. There's also a few practical things that we can learn about a skewer. And one is an endgame. So very often, we have this pattern in the rooks' endgames. And rooks' endgames are probably most popular endgames, happen very often, even in the games of the beginners. And we have this position with white king on f2, rook on a7, pawn on b6. And black rook was on a1, pawn on a2. ...