Figure 2.1.8.12[White to move]

This position is still more demanding. A scan of the pieces on dark squares turns up a knight fork: Nxc6, attacking Black’s queen and his bishop; the latter piece makes a suitable target because it is unprotected. But one must always ask what the response to the fork might be, especially when neither of the forked pieces is a king. Here Black has a clear saving move: Qc7, both taking the queen out of danger and enabling it to protect the previously unguarded bishop. As usual, however, this is no reason to give up on the idea. Once Black makes his reply, a new color scan or other examination of knight moves would be in order: now White’s knight would be on a light square and so would Black’s king and rook. So how about Ne7+? Alas, the square is protected by Black’s queen, now (in our imaginings) sitting on c7. And yet this still is no reason to give up on the idea, since we always can ask what becomes possible if Black then captures the knight. What lines then would be opened? What pins would come into existence? With White’s knight off the board and the Black queen ending up back at e7, White’s e1 rook would pin Black’s e6 pawn to his queen. A pinned pawn can guard nothing, and in this case the pin leaves Black’s rook at f5 unprotected. White takes it with his queen.

This sounds complicated, and at first it isn’t easy to see. But you might be aided by observing a visual pattern trying to emerge. If White’s knight could vacate his square, White’s rook would pin the pawn that protects Black’s rook, which could then be taken. The forcing way for White to vacate his knight from e5 is with a fork at c6. Unfortunately Black’s queen then moves, ruining the pin White is trying to achieve; fortunately, White can draw the queen back into place at e7 with another knight move to that square. So solving this problem might involve two trains of thought: one that sees a goal and tries to reason toward it (here, creating the pin so the rook can be taken), and one that involves looking at various attacks you can make and what their consequences would be.