The main tactical themes in chess

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Tactical theme that allows a material  gain thanks to a move that attacks two pieces at a time.  The double attack is effective only if the defender can't counterattack in turn an opponent's piece, moving one of the attacked pieces.

Behting 1894

Troitsky 1912

Kasparjan 1940

Costa 2000


The attack by means of a discovered check is a deadly weapon that allows to gain material, because the defender, engaged to stop the check, can't take care of the attacked piece.

Platov 1929

Gurvic 1955

Kubbel 1927

Kubbel 1925


The imprisonment is a manoeuvre that allows to cage an enemy piece in order to capture it or to make it harmless. The domination is a  similar theme and concerns the absolute control of the movement of an opponent's piece in order to achieve the capture of that piece.

Kovalenko 1936

Guljaev 1940

Zachodjachin 1932

Troitsky 1914


When an opponent's piece is positioned on the same line occupied by the opponent's King, it is possible to gain a material advantage by means of the  enfilade: you deliver check to the King along such line in order to capture the piece placed  behind him once the King has moved.

Liburkin 1940


Troitsky 1895

Bautin 1926


Zugzwang is a German compound word (literally forced move) that, in chess, indicates the disadvantage associated with the obligation to move: the zugzwang occurs when a player, that must move, has at his disposal only moves that make his position worse thus causing the defeat (or preventing the victory).

Liburkin 1947

Herbstman 1927

Gorgiev 1930

Troitzky 1924