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tactic: En Prise
Compiled by Baby Hawk

Compiled by ChessCoachClark under the name of En Prise Tactic.

EN PRISE is another core chess tactic that should be in the toolbox of every student. En Prise is indeed another tactic that can be simple or sublime. In addition, this result may be either accidental or deliberate. When an accidental move, then the chess player is welcome to make the unencumbered capture. However, that capture may subject the aggressor to severe consequences when En Prise was deliberate and well-calculated! Checkmate may even be imminent.

En Prise is a French term that has been taken to mean available for capture (Michael Goeller, PAWN BATTLE RULES AND STRATEGIES, p. 2.) Other meanings include: available for taking, hanging or hung, loose, gratis, in take, for free, etc.

My own explanation of En Prise is that it refers to a chessman who has been left behind in jeopardy while some other direction has been taken. (A violation of the military principle to never leave a soldier behind.)

I explain it as "Ice Cream!" to my youngest students, though, having never met a child who doesn't love that dessert! Let it be pronounced "ohne preez" as if varying bone and ice, which is what lead me to use the phrase "Ice cream!" in the raised voice of an interjection around children when they do it. Fittingly for both cases-- as a treat for the other side when an accident and as a treat for the planner when a strategic ploy.

From Top 4 Basic Chess Tactics to Win Chess at An En Prise is the most common and simplistic tactic of chess. The piece that is En Prise is attacked but not defended, leading to the most simple move in chess — the capture of an undefended piece. For example, if a player leaves a Bishop undefended in the same column as a Rook, the Rook can take the En Prise Bishop.

The concept of the Poisoned Pawn is not limited to the footman, but may be applied readily to all of the other chessmen other than the King himself. Here is where the conscious ploy of an En Prise temptation lurks.

Another practical application of the En Prise tactic is to target unprotected chessmen on the other side of the board and calculate a set of moves that will culminate in the capture of one of more of them. Nothing wrong with being sneaky that way! Thanks to NOTYETAGM, for the games below where the Queen makes a Fork with Check to win an En Prise piece. Be sure to look at the preceding moves to see how the calculation proceeded in each case, though.

The excellent chess writer Edward Winter has an article about En Prise that bears reading for background information and interesting details (

This game collection is a project in progress. Games are listed in date order, not in order of importance.

Four White pieces En Prise at 22 then calls mate in 10 later!!
Steinitz vs Von Bardeleben, 1895 
(C54) Giuoco Piano, 25 moves, 1-0

Game ends with Black ignoring En Prise Queen to get mate soon
Rotlewi vs Rubinstein, 1907  
(D32) Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch, 25 moves, 0-1

If Kxh2?, then Qh4+ Fork with Check wins En Prise e1 Rook
V Goldfarb vs Alekhine, 1909 
(C01) French, Exchange, 27 moves, 0-1

Black has left two pieces En Prise yet wins this game
S Levitsky vs Marshall, 1912 
(B23) Sicilian, Closed, 23 moves, 0-1

If 31 ...gxh6?, Qg4+ makes the d7 Knight an En Prise piece
Lasker vs Tarrasch, 1914  
(D30) Queen's Gambit Declined, 46 moves, 1-0

N is En Prise, but if 5. fxe3, then 5 ...Qh4# Bye to Q then!
A Gibaud vs F Lazard, 1924 
(A45) Queen's Pawn Game, 4 moves, 0-1

Games end with Pawn Mate, but two chessmen are En Prise! Bold!
A Karu vs Keres, 1931 
(D08) Queen's Gambit Declined, Albin Counter Gambit, 27 moves, 0-1

Game ends with an En Prise that wins, whether or not captured
Bronstein vs Geller, 1961 
(E27) Nimzo-Indian, Samisch Variation, 20 moves, 1-0

If 15 ...fxe6?, 16 Qxe6+ Fork with Check wins En Prise Knight!
Bronstein vs Uhlmann, 1971 
(A07) King's Indian Attack, 15 moves, 1-0

17. Qxe6+ is a Fork with Check that wins the En Prise Bishop
Rublevsky vs E Vorobiov, 2003 
(B51) Sicilian, Canal-Sokolsky (Rossolimo) Attack, 21 moves, 1-0

Continuation has multiple En Prise chessmen to win this game
Vladimirov vs Hydra, 2004 
(A07) King's Indian Attack, 23 moves, 0-1

20. Qg4+ is Fork with Check to win En Prise Bishop
Adams vs Kharlov, 2004 
(D00) Queen's Pawn Game, 47 moves, 1-0

14. Nxf7+ Fork with Check tactic to win the h8 En Prise Rook!
Anand vs N Sulava, 2004 
(C10) French, 17 moves, 1-0

If 22. Qxf2?, then Qc6+ Fork with Check wins En Prise Bishop
M Erdogdu vs R Almond, 2006 
(B01) Scandinavian, 32 moves, 0-1

14 games

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