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Meeting & Making Captures

Few mistakes can be more costly in chess than failing to guard against captures. Often times a player is so pre-occupied with long-range problems that he misses an innocent-looking capture that wins the game instantly. Why are captures overlooked? Probably because they turn up in positions that seem simple and routine; the players are less alert.

If players acquire the belief that almost every chess positions no matter how simple, has tactical possibilities, then they are on their way to overcoming the tendency to overlook captures. What features of the position might have helped players see the danger ahead? The features are King at the center, tangled pieces, open lines, etc. almost similar to the T.H.I.E.F.S. signals discussed earlier. Players must be quick to recognize these signals.

Once the signals are recognized and the threat of capture is seen the player has to decide how to meet the capturing threat.There are various ways of meeting the threat of capture. The various methods are A.A.C.C.I.D.M.P.

  1. A llow Capture & counter-attack
  2. A llow capture & capture something else
  3. C apture the attacker
  4. C apture something else with your attacked man
  5. I nterpose
  6. D efend the attacked piece
  7. M ove away or
  8. P in the attacker.

When the threatened capture would cost you material, you must select one of the various methods above which you believe is best in the circumstance. There are a number of circumstances in which capturing is advisable. The most important are : when up in material, to gain material or mate, to gain tempo, to preserve initiative, to create a weakness or positional advantage, to get rid of an attacking piece, to get rid of an obstructing defender & for endgame considerations (always capture with a view of the endgame).

The Pawn Capture. When one captures a pawn it is necessary to estimate the loss of time and compensation one concedes to the opponent in the process. The decision is particularly critical when our position is still insufficiently developed. A center pawn should be taken only when tactical calculation shows that the opponent's immediate threats could be warded off and no difficulties in development of the pieces are to be expected.; a flank pawn should be taken only when winning it does not involve a great loss of time or help the opponent open attacking lines with advantage.

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