Home Page arrow Chess Life Kids arrow 2008 arrow October arrow DISCOVERED CHECK and DOUBLE CHECK
By NM Todd Bardwick   
September 27, 2008
ImageOne of the rarer types of tactics that you don’t see nearly as often as pins and forks is called the discovered check. A discovered check occurs when a player moves a piece that reveals a hidden piece behind it that attacks the enemy king.

Double check is a more dangerous form of a discovered check where not only the hidden piece attacks the king, but also the piece that moves. Double checks force the king to move because capturing or blocking one of the checking pieces is not possible as the other piece also attacks the king.

Masters love to set up double checks because of their awesome checking power with two pieces suddenly attacking the enemy king.

Here is a position from a game from Erevan played in 1936 with White to move.


Starting with material, Black is ahead by an Exchange and a pawn. If the queens were to trade, Black would win easily. Both light-squared bishops, a knight and a king are on the h1-a8 diagonal. Whenever you observe pieces lined up on the same diagonal, rank, or file, you should note that tactical discovery possibilities exist.

White sets up the double check by playing 1.Qxc6+! Black must recapture the queen (or be in big trouble after 2.Nd4), bringing his king into center of the board. White is running out of attackers, but they are perfectly positioned! The game continued 1…Kxc6 2.Ne5++ Kc5 3.Nd3+. White drives Black’s king towards him, away from his friends. 3…Kd4 4.Kd2! Resigns as 5.c3 mate cannot be stopped!

Here is a critical position from game 10 of the 2000 World Championship match between Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik.

Position after 22…Kg8

Kramnik sets up a trap and a discovered check by playing 23.Qe6! Kasparov replied 23…Rf8?

Kramnik demonstrates the power that a queen and knight have attacking the king using a discovered check. 24.Nd8+ Kh8 25.Qe7 Black resigns. The rook can’t escape. After 25…Rg8 26.Nf7 is mate. If 25…Kg8, White would play 26.Ne6 Rf7 27.Qd8+ Rf8 28.Qxf8 mate.

Discovered checks and double checks don’t always work, but whenever the possibility of creating one exists, be sure to spend extra time to carefully consider the options.

Todd Bardwick is the author of Teaching Chess in the 21st Century and Chess Workbook for Children. He can be reached at www.ColoradoMasterChess.com