Figure[White to move]

Driving Off the Queen with a Threat.

The idea of the flush attack that we've been examining—moves where you stick an attacker right next to the enemy king to make it move—can be used against other pieces as well, such as the queen. This section looks at some examples.

In the frame to the left, White’s bishop and queen attack Black’s knight on f6, but the knight is defended three times by Black—by his bishop, his queen, and his other knight. White would need to remove two of those guards to win the contested knight. One of them already is under attack: White's rook can take the knight on d7. But notice that RxN, a sacrifice of the exchange, not only captures one of the guards but is a flush attack against another—the queen. It may seem counterintuitive to plant the rook against a queen because it so obviously gets taken, but when Black does play QxR he now finds his knight on f6 overmatched: attacked twice and guarded once. White plays BxN next move, and has won two knights for a rook. The queen was decoyed away to d7.

This position also could have been placed with studies in the previous chapter where capturing one guard has the effect of removing two of them; the recapture you invite by your opponent draws one of his pieces out of position. Those cases likewise could have been described in part as decoys. The jargon doesn’t matter. The important point is to see that there are different ways to get rid of pieces that guard a target you want to take. One is to capture them; another is to attack them and hope to provoke a capture, even with an obvious sacrifice. Sometimes, as here, both techniques can be used at once.