Friday, February 18, 2005


Hanging Pieces

The situation in my post My Chess Mistakes, Vol. 1 brought up an old beef of mine. I am tired of trying to follow the adage "Don't hang your pieces!". I have encountered this advice in many beginner books, and plenty of examples to back it up. Furthermore, I have found it to be a critical consideration at the intermediate level. Heck, inadequately guarded pieces is one of Silman's rules of recognition for tactical possibilities. How could anyone have a problem with this?


Take a look at it the other way:

Visualize two people at chess board in the starting position with a single spectator watching. You can hear the thoughts of the spectator. This spectator has been brain-washed into thinking hanging pieces is actually good. Oh, and hanging material normally freaks him out!

Looks bad with all rooks unprotected.
Only four pieces hanging... got to get things going here.
1. e4 e5
OMG six pieces are unprotected!
Hmm only six now...give me more!
2. Bc4 Bc5
Ten!? No way, no way, somebody is gonna lose, and real fast.
Ah ten men hanging, it's looking good now.

All seriousness aside, my point is the end position is ok.


Anyway, doing tactics problems repeatedly has driven home that occasionally you must hang your pieces. I am writing down the following note in hopes I start checking for those types of moves.

"Sometimes hanging a piece is the best move."

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