Cross-checks (not to be mistaken for the eponymous ice hockey penalty) are a fascinating and powerful tactic in chess. They are a type of double attack, where the check from one piece opens a line of attack for another piece, which in turn checks the opponent’s king. Cross-checks can be used to create unexpected and devastating combinations that can quickly turn the tide of the game in your favor.
Cross-checks can be used in a wide variety of positions and situations. They can be used to force the opponent’s king into a vulnerable position, to win material, or to set up a powerful attack. They are particularly effective when the opponent’s pieces are poorly coordinated or when their king is exposed.
Cross-checks are not only powerful tactics, but they are also aesthetically pleasing. They often involve subtle moves and unexpected combinations that can surprise and impress your opponent. See the following diagram:
The white king is vulnerable at its position, the black pawn on d2 looks terrifying, so White is delighted that the perpetual check (♕a5-♕d8-♕a5-…) guarantees a draw. However, Black’s idea was different – why to agree with a draw when a cross-check ♛b5+ should force White to exchange queens and Black would eventually win?
Black was pretty satisfied and expected the “obvious” ♕xb5+ ♚xb5 that would really end up with the Black’s victory. But the feeling of domination had been harshly interrupted after White’s surprise cross-check ♖c4+!! instantly finished the game in White’s favor.
Notation of the whole combination: 1. ♕a5+ ♛b5+ 2. ♖c4+ ♚xc4 (2. … ♚d6 3. ♕d8#) 3. ♕c3#
However, cross-checks require a certain level of positional understanding and calculation, so they are not always easy to spot. The best way to improve your ability to find cross-checks is to study plenty of examples and practice calculating variations in your games.
In conclusion, cross-checks are a powerful and fascinating tactic in chess. They can be used to create unexpected and devastating combinations that can quickly turn the tide of the game in your favor. By studying examples and practicing your calculation skills, you can become a master of this exciting tactic