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“On the interaction of figures”

The goal of a chess game is to checkmate the opponent’s king. But not one of the figures alone can achieve this goal, not even the all-powerful queen. As in all other operations conducted on a chessboard, a coordinated action of the pieces, their harmony, and interaction are necessary here. Understanding how such an interaction arises is extremely important for chess players of any level. We will try to disclose the content of this extremely important concept.

Take a look at the initial position of the figures. Enemy forces lined up in two lines against each other. Between the enemy camps a large neutral strip. Everything is quiet, everything is calm – no one is threatening anyone, and so far he cannot threaten.

However, in the initial position you can find some very specific contacts, and hence the interaction between the pieces and pawns of the same camp. Firstly, pawns cover the pieces behind them from future attacks by enemy pieces. Secondly, the pieces, at least once, protect (support) these pawns, while protecting each other. These contacts – cover and support, of course, play a positive, but so far defensive role. However, the initial arrangement of the pieces has a significant drawback: in addition to the horses, not one of the pieces is able to budge or attack the pieces of the opponent – their own pieces and pawns interfere.

So, already in the initial position, we saw three types of contacts between the pieces (as well as between pieces and pawns) of each side – three types of elementary interaction:

support: a piece or pawn supports (protects) another piece or pawn;
cover: a piece or pawn covers another piece or pawn from attacks;
restriction: a piece or pawn restricts either the movement or the scope of another piece or pawn (hereinafter referred to as “piece”, we will mean “piece or pawn”).
Here is the first move, for example, 1. e4. And the situation is changing. A certain restriction is removed: immediately two pieces, the queen and the elephant, get the opportunity to move forward.

After the response 1 … e5, the situation changes again. The e4-pawn is inhibited, it makes contact with the opponent’s pawn, which limits it. Thus, a restriction can be created both by oneself and by others.

We have not yet seen new forms of contacts. If, say, White answers 2. K3, then the knight will support the e4-pawn. However, if they play 2. Kf3, then a new, fourth kind of elementary interaction will arise – an attack on the e5-pawn.

It is worth paying attention to the fact that after the first move of White, when the pawn left on the e4-field, breaking away from his camp, there was a threat of attacking it with the move 1 …. Kf6. The same can be said of the e5-pawn. This, by the way, shows that the attack of one piece on another does not occur immediately, but gradually: first, a threat must be created, and then an attack is made.

Of the four elementary contacts between the figures, more complex forms of tactical interaction of the figures are formed, which we will proceed to study. (Strictly speaking, in the endgame there is another, fifth, very peculiar contact – between the passed pawn and the field of its transformation. The pawn is magnetically attracted to this field, and there is a threat of its transformation into a queen. The threat of turning a pawn into a queen is no less dangerous, than an attack on the queen.)

To achieve victory, you must either give a checkmate or get a decisive material advantage, after which the checkmate will become an elementary task. In both cases, to achieve the goal you need to attack the pieces or the king of the enemy. However, a simple attack on a piece can be effective only if the enemy simply does not notice the threat. Otherwise, theoretically, he will have four possible answers:

withdrawal: the attacked figure leaves the field or from the line of action of the opponent’s figure;
support: the attacked figure is not inferior to the occupied field, and another figure is displayed to protect it. In this case, exchange is allowed. Naturally, such a technique is applicable only when the attacking figure is equal in strength or exceeds the attacked figure: otherwise the exchange will lead to material losses;
cover: on the path of the attacking piece becomes a piece or a pawn that “takes fire on itself.” In this case, the covering figure, as a rule, should be either equal in strength or weaker than the attacking one;
retaliatory attack: if this is beneficial, one can completely neglect the attack and, in turn, attack the enemy’s figure. The latter must be either equivalent or stronger than the attacked one, so that the exchange is not unprofitable.
Of course, when transferring remedies, we did not discover anything new. All these elementary techniques of attack reflection are studied at the first acquaintance with chess. Here we wanted to show that such elementary contacts are widely used in defense.

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