Figure[White to move]

Cases Involving Multiple Steps.

The positions so far in this section have enabled you to remove the guard with one move and take the piece it protected a move later. Now let's see how the same ideas work in positions involving an additional step or two. In this first example White’s queen is loose and is attacked by Black’s queen. White has no way to add protection to it. Should he move it, or perhaps initiate QxQ himself? Black’s queen is protected by a pawn that White’s knight attacks, which seems tantalizing. But as we have seen, one must do better than just capture the guard when trying to loosen a queen; here Black would reply to Nxc6 with QxQ. The point is familiar: in this sort of position, the knight must take the pawn with a check that keeps the opponent busy. Unfortunately Nxc6 is not a check; yet it might be turned into one by dragging the king onto a closer square. White therefore starts with Rd8+ (his only check on the board, so inspection of it was mandatory anyhow). After Black plays KxR (or Ke7, if he somehow prefers it), White’s Nxc6 is indeed a check. Black has no time for QxQ; he must defend his king with QxN. Now the Black queen’s protection is gone, and White is the one who plays QxQ. To summarize: 1. Rd8+, KxR; 2. Nxc6+, QxN; 3. QxQ wins White a queen and a pawn for a rook and a minor piece.

Notice the backwards style of reasoning. White starts with the thought of taking Black’s queen. He sees that to do this, he first needs to take the pawn behind the queen; but to take the pawn without losing control of the action, he has to give check at the same time; and to give check with that move, he first needs to move Black’s king onto a square the knight will be able to reach from c6. So White starts with the check Rd8 and it looks like he is seeing three moves ahead. But it might be more accurate to say that he is seeing three moves beneath the position on the board. The issue is not so much extending your ability to see forward in time; it is extending your ability to perceive the chains of cause and effect in front of you.