Continuing our series of lessons on deadly weapons, this time you're going to learn how to create an EXPLOSION.

And where's the explosion going to take place?

If you're White, on the f7 square: if you're Black, on the f2 square!

We'll give you a start on the first example.

In this position, only three moves have been played by each side.

But already White has a strong move.

It's an EXPLOSION on f7! White's Bishop takes the Black Pawn on f7.


Black has nothing better than to take the Bishop, giving this position.

Do you see what White can play now?

If you found Nf3-g5+, well played!

Look at the diagram and see what's happening.

White's Knight is CHECKING the King, and he's opened up a DISCOVERED ATTACK on the Bishop.

White's next move will be Qd1xg4.

White comes out a pawn ahead - and, what's more, he's stopped Black castling.

See if you can work out the next example for yourself.

This time it's Black's move.

Perhaps you tried Qd8-b6, FORKING b5 and f2. That's a good idea, but White can play Bb5xc6+ and then defend f2.

The right idea is another EXPLOSION on f7, or, in this case, f2. Here's the position after White takes the Bishop. How do you follow up?

And here's the position after the Queen CHECK.

This time it's a QUEEN FORK!

After White gets out of check Black plays Qb6xb5, with an extra pawn.

And White can no longer castle!

Now try this one. What do you think White should play here?

An easy question this time: Black has only one move: Ke8xf7, and next move White will take Black's Queen.

Another idea that happens over and over again.

Remember these ideas and look out for the chance to use them in your games.

Here's another example. Again, you have the White pieces. What's your next move?

You should have the idea by now: another EXPLOSION on f7.

Black's best reply was Ke8-f8, but let's suppose he takes the Bishop? Now what?

A Knight check leads to big trouble for Black.

He has three ways to get out of check, but they will all bring him grief.

This time, see if you can look ahead from the diagram and tell me what you'd do in each case.

Firstly, what would you play against Kf7-f8?

Yes, Ng5-e6 is a KNIGHT FORK, winning the Queen.

And if Black goes Kf7-e8 you would play...

Well played! This time Ng5-e6 TRAPS the Black Queen.

But if Black moves Kf7-f6 you'll need to do something different. Can you find it?

There are lots of ways to win, but the move we wanted was Qd1-f3, which is CHECKMATE!

If you don't believe me, have a look at the position for yourself and check it out.

If you've been through the previous lesson you'll have seen positions like this before.

It's White's move. What do you think about Bc4xf7+?

A good move winning a Pawn

A bad move losing a piece

It might LOOK like a good move, but in fact it's a mistake. Black takes the Bishop and White must play Nf3-g5+. How should Black get out of check?

Kf7-f8 Kf7-e8

Kf7-e7 Qd8xg5

Here's the position after Black takes the Knight.

At the moment Black has a Bishop and Knight for a Pawn. If White takes the Queen (best) Black will capture White's Queen.

White then takes the Bishop, but Black comes out ahead by a Knight to a Pawn.

And you had to see all that before deciding whether or not to take on f7.

Yes, I know it's hard. Chess is hard. That's why it's worth playing.

Learning to look ahead like that is what will make you a good player.

And now for something a little bit different.

This is another way of using Black's weakness on f7, but this time the sacrifice happens somewhere else.

You won't get the first move right unless you've seen it before so we'll start you off.

White plays the stunning Nf3xe5, moving the PINNED Knight.

Has White gone mad? Black can now take the Queen.

Or if he doesn't like that, he has two ways of taking the Knight.

Let's start by seeing what happens if he goes for the Queen.

White's given up his Queen because he's seen he can get something even bigger in return.

How should he start off?

That's correct! The bishop check leaves Black with only one move: Ke8-e7.

Now you can finish off the Black King with...

A brilliant finish! And a really pretty checkmate with two Knights and a Bishop.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to play a game like that yourself?

But you have to be very careful to calculate everything accurately before you sacrifice your Queen like that!

Let's go back a few moves.

Now suppose Black takes the Knight instead of the Queen. What then?

First of all, what would you do if he played d6xe5?

That's right: you'd just take the Bishop, leaving you a pawn ahead.

But if Black plays Nc6xe5 it's a bit more complicated.

Can you see that White can still play Qd1xh5, but Black can reply with Ne5xc4, leaving him up by a Knight for a Pawn?

Do you have anything in mind now? Let's have a look.

OK, here we are. It's White's move. Can you work out how he can get his piece back?

Don't forget, in every position look for CHECKS, CAPTURES and THREATS.

If you got that one right you're good at spotting QUEEN FORKS!

Have a look at the position: the White Queen CHECKS the Black King and THREATENS the Knight. There's no way out.

White will get his piece back and end up a pawn ahead.

But in chess you always have to be VERY CAREFUL.

In this position Nf3xe5 would be a mistake.

Black would still get mated if he took the Queen, but after Nc6xe5 White would be left looking rather foolish.


You have now completed the EXPLOSION ON f7 assignment.