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Tactics 101: Meet the Double Check

By: Nathaniel_Fernandes | Posted: October 5, 2020 | Updated: 7/16/2021
This entry is part 8 of 11 in the series Tactics

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • A discovered attack except both pieces check the King!
  • Enemy King can only escape check by moving out of the way 
    • Can’t block two checks simultaneously
    • Can’t take two checking pieces at once
  • If the King can’t move, then it’s checkmate!
  • Sadly triple checks are impossible 🙁

Double Check

Double checks are an epic tactic that can lead to instantaneous checkmate. A double check is a discovered attack except both pieces check the King.

To get out of check, you can either take the checking piece, block the check, or move the King. Double checks are so deadly because they eliminate 2 of the 3 ways to get out of check.

Namely, you can’t block 2 checks or take 2 checking pieces at once. In other words, if the enemy King can’t move and is in double check, the position is checkmate :))!!

The most famous double check by far is Reti v. Tartakower 1910. 

Another very famous one is the Evergreen Game. Simon Williams has an excellent video analyzing it (Chess.com membership needed).

Triple Checks?

If double checks are so powerful, surely triple/quadruple/etc. Checks are even more powerful! 

Sadly, it is impossible to check the King in more than 2 ways at one time in classical chess (it might be possible in variants). This is because it’s impossible for one ‘front piece’ to be hiding attacks by two pieces and deliver check.

The closest you can get is a discovered double check with en passant. For more info, check out this fascinating thread on Chess.com.

Wrapping up

Double checks are a very special type of discovered attack and is potentially lethal. Have you ever double checked your opponent? Let us know in the chat below and post them on Instagram with #DoubleCheck #EpicTactics.

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