World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Combination (chess)

Article Id: WHEBN0000254728
Reproduction Date:

Title: Combination (chess)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Chess, Deflection (chess), Pin (chess), Battery (chess), Fork (chess)
Collection: Chess Tactics, Chess Terminology
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Combination (chess)

In chess, a combination is a sequence of moves, often initiated by a sacrifice, which leaves the opponent few options and results in tangible gain. At most points in a chess game, each player has several reasonable options from which to choose, which makes it difficult to plan ahead except in strategic terms. Combinations, in contrast to the norm, are sufficiently forcing that one can calculate exactly how advantage will be achieved against any defense. Indeed, it is usually necessary to see several moves ahead in exact detail before launching a combination, or else the initial sacrifice would not be undertaken.


  • Definition 1
  • Example 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5


In 1952/53, the editors of Shakhmaty v SSSR decided on this definition: A combination is a forced sequence of moves which uses tactical means and exploits specific peculiarities of the position to achieve a certain goal. (Golombek 1977)

Irving Chernev


What is a combination? A combination is a blend of ideas – pins, forks, discovered checks, double attacks – which endow the pieces with magical power. It is a series of staggering blows before the knockout. It is the climactic scene in the play appearing on the board. It is the touch of enchantment that gives life to inanimate pieces. It is all this and more – A combination is the heart of chess (Chernev 1960).


A combination is usually built out of more fundamental chess tactics such as forks, pins, skewers, undermining, discovered attacks, etc. Thus a combination must be at least three moves long, but the longer it takes to recoup the initial sacrifice, the more impressive the combination. The position below from a game between G. Stepanov and Peter Romanovsky begins a combination which illustrates several forks and skewers.[1]

Stepanov vs. Romanovskij,
Leningrad 1926
a b c d e f g h
a8 black rook
c8 black bishop
a7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
g7 black king
h7 black pawn
b6 black pawn
c6 black knight
e6 black pawn
b4 white pawn
c4 white pawn
a3 white pawn
d3 white king
f3 black rook
c2 white queen
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
f1 white bishop
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h

Black has just played 1... Rxf3+. Retreating with 2.Ke2 would allow 2...Nd4+, a royal fork attacking both White's king and queen and winning the queen. Similarly, 2.Kd2 would allow 2...Rf2+ (skewering the white king and queen) 3.Be2 Rxe2+! 4.Kxe2 Nd4+, again winning the queen. White accordingly chose 2.Ke4, but resigned after 2...d5+!. White still could not take the black rook without losing his queen, but the alternative 3.cxd5 exd5+ 4. Kxd5 Be6+ would leave White with no good defense. Taking the bishop with 5.Kxe6 allows the long-threatened fork 5...Nd4+, while taking the knight with 5.Kxc6 allows the skewer 5...Rc8+ followed by 6...Rxc2. Retreating with 5.Ke4 permits the black bishop to skewer the white king and queen with 5...Bf5+, so White has only one option left: 5.Kd6.

After 5.Kd6, Black would have played 5... Rd8+. White couldn't take the bishop or the knight for exactly the same reasons as before (after 6.Kxe6 Nd4+ 7. Ke7, Black comes out a rook ahead with 7... Nxc2 8.Kxd8 Nxa1), which leaves one legal move, namely 6.Kc7, but then 6... Rf7+ absolutely forces the white king to take the black knight, allowing the skewer 7... Rc8+ followed by 8...Rxc2.

See also


  1. ^ Stepanov-Romanovskij


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.