En Prise

En prise is another French phrase. It means “in take” and refers to a situation where there is a piece or pawn threatened with capture at a time when there is no defender ready to recapture. Such a piece or pawn is also said to be hanging or dangling.

White's rook is en prise.

The best advice for dealing with en prise pieces or pawns is to pay attention to them. If you don't notice a hanging piece you probably won't do anything about it. Yet there are usually several good ways to address the problem.

One very good way to keep out of en prise trouble is to make sure all your pieces and pawns are defended at all times. That may not always be possible, but by striving for such a situation you can drastically cut down on accidentally losing such a dangler.

A word of caution: If you are playing an experienced opponent and she leaves a piece en prise, don't immediately snatch it up. There may be a purpose behind this seeming carelessness. Chess is filled with traps in which an innocent-looking capture actually loses the game through a counterattack. It's up to you to find such traps in your games.

Should Black capture the en prise queen? No! After 1…. Rxd2, White plays 2. Na6 checkmate.

Another thing to be aware of is that the en prise disease can affect your opponent as well as you. Always be aware of any unprotected piece or pawn, regardless of its color.

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