All images in this article come from the lichess website and are freely available under the MIT license

A discovered attack occurs in chess when a player moves a piece, exposing the line of attack from a piece that had been blocked before. Discovered attacks can be powerful because both pieces can pose separate threats at the same time. You can also use it to attack an opponent’s piece with two of your own. This forces that piece to move in order to eliminate the threat of capture. It is impossible to take two pieces in one move or to block two lines of attack with one move. At the beginner level, pieces often fall victim to a discovered attack. This is especially true if the attacking piece has not yet moved in that game. Such attacks are easy to overlook if you are not sufficiently careful in your moves.

Several types of discovered attack exist. We will cover each of them below.

Discovered attack

This is the simplest type of discovered attack. Discovered attacks can sometimes lead to gaining pieces if your opponent overlooks them. An overlooked discovered attack is a careless and costly mistake in chess.

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Black has moved the knight. This has exposed a discovered attack on white's rook by black's queen

Black has moved the knight. This has exposed a discovered attack on white’s rook by black’s queen

Discovered check

Similar to the discovered attack above, however the attacking piece attacks the king. The moved piece may threaten another of your opponent’s pieces after being moved. This makes it similar to an absolute fork when used in this way.

Black moves the king. This exposes discovered check on the white king with the black bishop

Black moves the king. This exposes discovered check on the white king with the black bishop

Double check

This is the most powerful form of discovered attack. This happens when a player moves a piece to expose a discovered attack on the king. The moved piece itself also delivers check. This presents the players with a unique situation in which the checked king must move to escape check. This is because it is impossible to block two lines of attack at the same time. Also, it is impossible to take either piece to escape check unless one of the pieces is taken by the king.

double_check

White moves the knight to deliver a check on the king and reveal a discovered check with the queen. This results in a double check of black’s king. Note that although black’s pieces both attack the knight and queen, it is illegal for black to take either piece as black will still be in check. As such, black must move the king on the next turn

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