In chess, a decoy is a tactic that lures an enemy man off its square and away from its defensive role.[1] Typically this means away from a square on which it defends another piece or threat. The tactic is also called a deflection. Usually the piece is decoyed to a particular square via the sacrifice of a piece on that square. A piece so sacrificed is called a decoy. When the piece decoyed or deflected is the king, the tactic is known as attraction. In general in the middlegame, the sacrifice of a decoy piece is called a diversionary sacrifice.[2]

Examples

Honfi vs. Barczay, 1977
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Black to move

The game Honfi–Barczay, Kecskemet 1977, with Black to play, illustrates two separate decoys. First, the white queen is set up on c4 for a knight fork:

1... Rxc4! 2. Qxc4

Next, the fork is executed by removing the sole defender of the a3-square:

2... Qxb2!+ 3. Rxb2 Na3+ 4. Kc1

Finally, a zwischenzug decoys (attracts) the king to b2:

4... Bxb2+

After either 5.Kxb2 Nxc4+ 6.Kc3 Rxe4, or 5.Kd1 Nxc4, Black is two pawns ahead and should win comfortably.

 a b c d e f g h 8 8 7 7 6 6 5 5 4 4 3 3 2 2 1 1 a b c d e f g h
Example of attraction

In this position, after the moves 1.Rf8+ Kxf8 (forced) 2.Nd7+ Ke7 3.Nxb6, White wins the queen and the game. A similar, but more complex position is described by Huczek.[3]

Vidmar vs. Euwe, 1929
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Position after 33...Qf4

In the diagrammed position from Vidmar–Euwe, Carlsbad 1929, Black had just played 33...Qf4, threatening mate on h2. White now uncorks the elegant combination 34.Re8+ Bf8 (forced) 35.Rxf8+ (attraction) Kxf8 (forced) 36.Nf5+ (discovered check) Kg8 (36...Ke8 37.Qe7#) 37.Qf8+ (attraction) 1–0 Black resigns. (If 37...Kxf8 then 38.Rd8#. If 37...Kh7 then 38.Qg7#.) The combination after 33...Qf4 features two separate examples of the attraction motif.[4]

Dementiev vs. Dzindzichashvili, 1972
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Position after 61.g6

This example shows a position from the game Dementiev–Dzindzichashvili, URS 1972. White had just played 61.g6 (with the threat 62.Qh7+ Kf8 63.Rxf5+). However, Black continued with the crushing 61...Rh1+ (attraction) 62. Kxh1 (best) Nxg3+ (the white rook is pinned) 63.Kh2 Nxh5 and White has dropped his queen to the knight fork. In the game, White resigned after 61...Rh1+.[5]

Petrosian vs. Pachman, 1961
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Position after 18...Rd8

Perhaps the most celebrated game featuring a decoy theme is PetrosianPachman, Bled 1961,[6] which also involved a queen sacrifice. Pachman resigned after 19.Qxf6+ (attraction) Kxf6 20.Be5+ Kg5 21.Bg7! setting a mating net.

Menchik vs. Graf, 1937
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Position after 20...Ng4

In the game MenchikGraf, Semmering 1937,[7] Graf resigned after 21.Rd7, deflecting Black's queen. (If 21...Qxd7, then 22.Qxh5 with mate to follow; 21.Qxh5 immediately wins only a pawn after 21...Qxh2+.)[2]

Ivkov vs. Taimanov, 1956
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Final position after 49.h6

Often a wing pawn serves as a decoy in endgames.[8] In the game IvkovTaimanov, Belgrade 1956,[9][10] Black resigned in the position shown because White has an easy win by using his passed a2-pawn as a decoy to lure Black's king away from the center and to the queenside, allowing easy promotion of the h6-pawn.

References

1. ^ Hooper & Whyld (1996), pp. 102–03. decoy.
2. ^ a b Hooper & Whyld (1996), p. 110. diversionary sacrifice.
3. ^ George Huczek (2017). A to Z Chess Tactics. Batsford. pp. 1–349. ISBN 978-1-8499-4446-5.
4. ^ "Master Games". Chess.com. Retrieved 2021-01-25.
5. ^ "Master Games". Chess.com. Retrieved 2021-02-02.
6. ^
7. ^
8. ^ Hooper & Whyld (1996), p. 103.
9. ^ Hooper & Whyld (1996), p. 184. Ivkov.
10. ^

Bibliography