Run away

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Run away with your attacked piece to a safe square

Your opponent is attacking one of your pieces. They are threatening to capture your piece on the next move and win material. How can you defend against this kind of threat?

The most common way is to "run away" with your piece. This means moving your piece to a different square, where it cannot be captured (a "safe square").


White just played c5, attacking the bishop on d6.
The bishop cannot go to e5, because of dxe5.
It cannot go to f4, because of exf4.
It cannot go to g3, because of fxg3.
And it cannot go to h2 either, because of Nxh2.
The only good move is 1...Be7.


First spot the attack. Imagine it is your opponent’s turn to move and look at all the possible captures. Is any of the captures winning material? Remember what you learned about winning captures and trades and apply this to your opponent's moves.

Visualize the position after all the attacked piece’s possible moves and see if the piece can still be captured by your opponent, and if that capture still wins material.


Running away is the most common, but not the only defense when one of your pieces is attacked. We will look at other possible defenses in other levels.

In this first level the threat is always capturing a higher-value or unprotected piece, and there is always only one good square to run to. In the second level, you must choose the right square, and in the third level, you have to defend against winning trades.