Discovered attack

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In chess, a discovered attack is an attack revealed when one piece moves out of the way of another.[1] Discovered attacks can be extremely powerful, as the piece moved can make a threat independently of the piece it reveals. Like many chess tactics, they succeed because the opponent is unable to meet two threats at once. While typically the consequence of a discovered attack is the gain of material, they do not have to do this to be effective; the tactic can be used merely to gain a tempo.[2] If the discovered attack is a check, it is called a discovered check.


When the moving piece gives check to the opponent's king, the maneuver is often described as a discovered attack with check. When the discovered attack is itself a check, it is called a discovered check. If both pieces give check, a double check results.

Discovered attacks—especially checks—can win material when the moving piece captures an opposing piece nominally protected by another opposing piece. If the opponent deals with the discovered attack (obligatory if it is a check), the attacking player will have time to return the moving piece out of harm's way. This scenario is often referred to as a discovered attack (or check) with capture.

When the moving piece moves to a square from which it threatens to inflict checkmate on the next move, the tactic is called a discovered attack with mate threat. A discovered checkmate itself is also possible.


a b c d e f g h
a8 black rook
c8 black bishop
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
e6 black pawn
b5 black cross
d5 black pawn
e5 white pawn
d4 black queen
d3 white bishop
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
h1 white rook
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Position after 8...Qxd4. White wins Black's queen using 9.Bb5+ (×), a discovered attack with check.

The diagram illustrates a trap in the Advance Variation of the French Defence, based on a discovered attack. If, after 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Db6 6. Bd3 cxd4 7.cxd4, Black mistakenly attempts to win White's d4-pawn with 7...Nxd4?? 8.Nxd4 Qxd4 (diagram), White can play 9.Bb5+, a discovered attack (White's bishop gets out of the way of White's queen) against Black's queen with check. Black must get out of check, then White can follow up with 10.Qxd4.


  1. ^ Discovered Attack Article at
  2. ^ More detailed tutorial at[dead link]

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