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Checks, Captures, Threats. Every chess instructor rightly reminds the learners about the importance of this golden trio, which forms the elite list of forcing moves in chess. Checks are the most forcing of the three, followed by Captures and Threats in decreasing order of their forcing nature. However, a certain kind of check stands head-and-shoulders above the ‘usual’ checks, a move that has the uncanny knack of surprising and turning the game on its head. We are talking here about the powerful Double Checks!

What is a Double Check?

Simply put, double check is a move that unleashes two checks at the same time.

Let’s take the following example:

The above example very well illustrates the forcing nature of a double check – the move severely limits the opponent’s responses. This is exactly what makes a double check deadly.

Now let’s move to examples where a double check actually causes damage.

Double Check and its lethal ways

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Notice how Re8+ limited Black’s options – he was unable to capture the seemingly ‘undefended’ Rook on e8, ultimately allowing White to win a whole piece! By now, we can drive home a key lesson: Whenever there’s a double check, the opposing side has only one way of escaping the check viz. Moving away the King. Capturing the checking piece or Blocking the check do not work. 

This forcing nature of Double Check makes it a potent weapon in delivering checkmates. Indeed, several games in the history of chess have witnessed fascinating sacrifices and stunning turnarounds, thanks to this mighty move.

We’ll take a look at a few of them.

It’s worth highlighting how Bg5 awfully limited Black’s options. Among other things, Black was unable to capture the supposedly ‘free’ Bishop on g5, thanks to the Double Check.

We will wrap our examination of Double Check with an illustration that showcases the unexpected nature of this brilliant move.

To summarize, Double Check is the most forcing move in all of chess. If you learn to wheel out this fascinating move, you can have a major impact on the game, often grabbing crucial pieces or inflicting surprising checkmates. And if you are in a commanding position, do not relax! Who knows, your opponent could have a double check lurking around…