Chess Deflection, Decoy, Overload and Other Tactics

Here are more chess tactics in our free chess lessons. Learn these one by one during your practice and study.

Defender Removed

Suppose a man is protecting another piece from capture. If one gets rid of the protector, we say the defender is removed leaving the protected piece open to attack.

In the example below, the two queens are both being defended: the black one by a bishop, and the white one by a rook. But if the other white rook seizes the black bishop, the black queen is left vulnerable. She must move to safer ground to avoid capture.

A B C D E F G H 8 b R 7 q 6 Q 5 4 R 3 2 1

Discovered Attack

When a chessman moves to unveil the threat of another, it is a discovered attack. In a discovered attack, the would-be attacker needs another piece to move out of its way so it can attack an enemy piece.

An example of a discovered attack when a white bishop stands between a black knight and a white rook. By moving out of the rook's way, the bishop allows the enemy to be captured.

Of course, the assailed piece can move to safety. That is, assuming its escape squares are not attacked as well and there is no check on one's king. If there is such a check, the attacked chessman cannot escape since the king must be saved first. For example, a white knight puts the black king on check while at the same time discovering an attack on a black rook by the white queen. Black has no choice but to let go of the rook to save the king.

Discovered Check

A discovered attack becomes a discovered check if it threatens the king. Note that it is the revealed piece that must check the king, not the revealing piece that moves away to show the discovery.

To illustrate this tactic, let us say a black pawn stands in the way diagonally between the black queen and the white king. The pawn moves to attack a white bishop. Since the white king is in check, the bishop cannot be saved. Black wins a bishop while the white king escapes the check.

This chess tactic is very important—and dangerous so be careful!


A chessman is said to be overloaded when it is defending several fellow pieces at the same time. It is obvious how this can be manipulated by the enemy. If a piece is defending too many of its allies, you can attack one piece to force it to abandon and expose another. For instance, if a rook is defending its king, queen and a knight simultaneously, you only have to put the king in check. This will force the rook to abandon its multi-purpose defensive post to foil the check. You can then capture any of the other pieces.


When a chessman is forced to leave an important square or to abandon a threatened piece, we say it is a deflection. If the queen is protecting a rook and she herself is threatened, she must abandon the rook. Or, if a queen is in front of a castle and she is attacked, one of the pawns is forced to break up the castle to save her.


A decoy is a chess tactic in which a chessman is decoyed into a trap square. If the king is defending his queen and he is attacked, the king must move to safety. The queen is exposed and captured.