Attack defender

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If a piece is attacked, and protected by a defender, attacking that defender can force it away and leave the attacked piece insufficiently defended. A subsequent capture can lead to material gains.

Explanation

Protecting a piece is insufficient, if the protector can be forced away with an attack, leaving the piece unprotected.

Examples

Black has just moved the knight to e5, where it is attacked by the rook on e8, but protected by the king on f6.
However, White can attack the defender with Rf1+.
There is no way to escape with the king from the check and keep the knight protected. White is going to win the knight and the game.

Black has just moved the knight to d6, where it is attacked by the bishop on a3, but protected by the rook on c6.
White can win with an attack on the defender with Nb8.
Black can counter-attack the knight with Rc8, however Bxd6 captures the knight and protects the bishop at the same time.

Sometimes it is possible to attack a piece and its defender with one move:

Black can play the surprising Ne6, which discovers an attack by Black's queen on White's bishop b5.
The bishop is protected by the knight on d4, which is now also attacked by Black's knight and queen.
If White runs away with the bishop, or protects it, Black can win the knight on d4.
If White exchanges the knight with Nxe6, Black can reply with Qxb5+. Because White has to deal with the check first, Black will also win the knight and the game.

Visualization

When you are attacking a protected piece, always think about ways to remove the defence.

Related motifs

There are various ways to remove the defence. In addition to attacking the defender, other ways to remove the defence include capturing the defender, deflection, and interference.

It is also possible to attack the defender of a square, for example of a square where a checkmate, or a fork is possible. You can learn these combinations in the following levels: