How to Pin a Piece in Chess

Pining in chess is among commonly used strategies to incapacitate a major piece. If we want to stop a strong piece from joining a critical action we apply this strategy against it.

We need to chance upon a strong piece we plan to pin in a straight line horizontally, vertically, or diagonally with its king, with the piece we plan to pin in front of its king. For instance, we want to pin the enemy queen. We look for an instance when the queen and king occupy the same line, with the queen in front the king. If they are in line horizontally or vertically we use our defended rook. If diagonally we use our defended bishop. The idea is to check the queen.

In this case the queen cannot evade the check because the king will be captured in the process. Hence, the only option is to capture the rook but the enemy queen will be counter captured by the rook's support. In case an enemy rook and its king are in a diagonal line we may pin down the rook with our bishop. This renders the enemy rook incapacitated because it has no choice but to stay as it is to protect its king. It cannot do any other more useful work.

Pinning in chess can be disrupted if an available ally piece is immediately accessible in the pinning vicinity to serve as a blockade. For instance, we have our queen and king in a vertical line, the king behind the queen. Then an enemy rook supported by another rook checks our queen. But we have a knight standing nearby that can block the path of the checking rook with one move. We use this knight to frustrate the attempted pinning strategy and provide an escape for our king and queen.

Aside from a blockade, our best defense against a pinning strategy is to always be wary of potential enemy pieces that can do a pinning tactic against us. We should always have a blocking piece handy nearby. We also take care not to have our major pieces lined up too often and be susceptible to enemy pinning strategies.

Another defense against pinning in chess is grouping pieces by 3 or 4. This way, we always have a third piece as defense or a block. Being often hit by pinning strategies can seriously hurt our defenses. But, if we often hit the enemy with them, we increase our winning odds.

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