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Tactical patterns in Chess are what will give you a material advantage. We have studied the Pin in Chess and how to win material with it, the Skewer is another fundamental Chess pattern you need to know.

The Difference Between A Skewer And A Pin In Chess

Why am I starting the lesson on the Skewer talking about the Pin ?

A skewer is very similar to a pin. The only difference is that in the Skewer, the piece of greater value is in front. The opponent is forced to move the more valuable piece to avoid its capture, thereby exposing the less valuable piece which can be captured.

Some Chess Positions With Skewers

Setting Up A Skewer

In many cases, the Skewer does not appear immediately, a nice preparation move might be needed to set the stage for the Skewer.

Setting the Skewer With A Piece Exchange

A Piece exchange is sometimes needed to make the Skewer happen.

There is something interesting with this position, as pinning the Knight was another possible option for White.

So, Skewer > Pin then ? Not quite ! Let’s just say that the position dictates the solution. A skewer was the right tactic to set up in the previous position, but in many other cases, a pin will help you to increase your advantage.

A last word on this: usually, you do not get to “choose” between a skewer and a pin. Generally, only one setup is possible and it depends on the position.

Setting Up A Skewer With An Attraction Sacrifice

An exchange is not the only possible way to “create” a skewer. In fact, as soon as you delve deeper into Chess, you will discover that tactical patterns are often combined with one another. And actually winning material almost alway means combining several different tactical patterns in a way that your opponent cannot escape them !

This was an example of a Skewer prepared by an Attraction sacrifice. The attraction sacrifice is another interesting Chess tactical pattern that we will study in another article.

Escaping From A Skewer In A Chess Game

Now let’s have a look to this tactical issue from the standpoint of the defender. Like any other tactical pattern, being under the threat of a Skewer does not mean that you are lost ! If that happens to you, take a deep breath, and check if you can defend. There are several types of defense that we are going to detail just now.

Move The Attacked Piece So That It Defends The Other One.

This is an obvious way to defend against a Skewer. White’s previous move was hardly threatening anything.

Making A Bigger Threat

Sometimes you will be able to escape the Skewer by making a bigger threat to your opponent. This is what In-Between Moves are used for. Let’s check an example.

A check is the ultimate “bigger threat”, but you might be able to defend against a skewer by threatening the opposing Queen for instance. The key point is that your threat is bigger than the one of your opponent.

Defending Passively Against A Skewer

Also you might simply be able to escape the skewer threat by moving a defender in between. This defensive resource is so obvious that we can sometimes forget about it !

Sometimes, the Skewer looks scary, but a simple move keeps everything under control. Just be sure to look for a save even when the situation looks desperate !


As a conclusion, the Skewer is one of the tactics that will help you winning some Chess games, like the Fork pattern and many other ones !

It is the opposite of a pin, and a very powerful tactical weapon that can sometimes be prepared with an adequate move. Escaping from a Skewer is possible, provided you can make the right threat or defend accurately.

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