To become a good chess player you have to learn to look for captures.

If your opponent is careless enough to leave something lying about it's usually right to take it.

Remember - in most games the player with the most points will win the game.

For your first lesson in taking something for nothing look at this position.

It's White's move. What can you capture in this position?

That's right! Black's carelessly left his Queen lying around where you can take it for nothing.

So: RULE NUMBER ONE. Every move of every game look to see if you can take something for nothing.

You remember how much the pieces are worth? Pawn: 1, Knight: 3, Bishop: 3, Rook: 5, Queen: 9.

The next thing to look out for is the chance to take a stronger piece with a weaker piece. What should White do here?

Do you see how you can use your Bishop to take a Rook?

Sure, you'll lose your Bishop next move, but who cares? Suppose I offered to give you 5 in exchange for 3. It sounds like a good deal to me!

Quite often you'll get a position where one piece is ATTACKED and DEFENDED several times.

You then have to CALCULATE what's going on. If you keep on capturing on who will come out ahead?

Here's a very simple example. White's attacking the Black Pawn in the center twice but Black's only defending it once.

So White can gain by taking the Pawn - in this position either with his Pawn or with his Knight.

That's all very well, but you've also got to make sure you keep all your pieces SAFE.

How do you go about it?

Can you think of some ways to make sure you don't lose your pieces?


If you cross the road without LOOKING you'll get run over.

If you're walking along a cliff without LOOKING you'll fall into the sea.

So - LOOK at your opponent's last move. Why did he play the move? Is he THREATENING any of your pieces?

Look at this position. Black's just moved the pawn from d7 to d5. What's he THREATENING?

Look carefully at the board and you'll see he's THREATENING the WHITE QUEEN. His last move OPENED A LINE for his Bishop to THREATEN the Queen. This sort of move is called a DISCOVERED ATTACK.

It's very easy to miss DISCOVERED ATTACKS if you only look at the piece your opponenet has just moved.


Take a look at this position. Black is THREATENING the Pawn on e4.

What are you going to do about it?

Perhaps you could DEFEND it by moving your Queen to f3.

Do you think that's a good move?

Here's the position after the Queen move,

Do you see what's happened? What can Black do now?

Black has the chance to STEAL a Knight. White made a mistake by MOVING A DEFENDER!

Go back to this position again.

How about using the Bishop to DEFEND the Pawn. You could move it to d3.

Do you see anything wrong with that?

Here's the position after the Bishop's moved.

Do you see what Black can do now?

Again, he can STEAL the White Knight.

Do you see how White's Bishop move BLOCKS his own Queen's DEFENCE?

It is VERY VERY EASY to make mistakes like this.

You'll make a lot of mistakes like this yourself - everyone does when they start out in chess.

But so will your opponents. So keep your eyes open. Always - every move - look out for the chance to take something for nothing.

That's the end of the lesson.

What do you want to do now?

Do a quiz on this lesson

Repeat the lesson

Return to the menu