Capture unprotected piece

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Capture one of your opponent's pieces, which is not protected

When you capture one of your opponent's pieces, and your opponent cannot recapture, the captured piece is called “unprotected”. Capturing an unprotected piece always gains material, independent of the value of the pieces involved. For example, if your queen captures an unprotected pawn, you still win a pawn.


Black can capture the unprotected knight on f3 with the rook on f8: 1...Rxf3. White cannot recapture. Therefore Black has gained material worth three pawns, and has a winning material advantage.

White can capture the unprotected queen on c6 with the queen on f3: 1.Qxc6 Because Black cannot recapture, White has gained material worth nine pawns, and has a big material advantage.

Note that capturing the bishop on e7 with the rook on e1 is not a good move, because the bishop is protected by the rook on d7. Black could first exchange the unprotected queen and then recapture on e7:
1.Rxe7? Qxf3 2.gxf3 Rxe7


First you spot all your possible captures. For each of them, check if your opponent can recapture. Remember: If the opponent does not have a recapture, the piece is unprotected.

With some practice, you will be able to spot any unprotected pieces more and more quickly. Unprotected pieces are very important in tactics, therefore practicing this will be very useful.


In some cases, winning material does not win the game. For example, if your queen captures a pawn, but allows your opponent to checkmate, you have won a pawn but lost the game. The examples in this level are not of that kind, but in later levels you will have to be more careful, starting with capturing level 3.

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