How can I stop my knight getting pinned like this in an opening.

I'd like to advance my knight and avoid the pin.

enter image description here

  • 6
    Play a3 on the first move or never develop your knight
    – SmallChess
    Mar 23, 2017 at 8:30
  • 1
    It might help if you showed how you got to this position
    – Ian Bush
    Mar 23, 2017 at 8:33
  • 1
    The pin isn't that bad, just castle your king and the pin is broken. There aren't any consequence of it. If BxN, doubled pawns are ok in this position.
    – Ariana
    Mar 25, 2017 at 5:17

4 Answers 4


There are a few ways to deal with pins in general:

  1. Break the pin. In the position you posted, a long term plan might be to play e3, Nge2 and O-O
  2. Ignore the pin. In the position you show, if black takes on c3, he surrenders the bishop pair (specifically his better bishop) for a knight whilst giving you a semi-open b-file. But this is at the cost of a weakened pawn structure
  3. Play prophylactically. This depends on the position though. Sometimes it is a weakening move, e.g. playing h3, O-O may allow a sacrifical attack with ...Bxh3
  4. Put the question to the bishop. White may want to test black with a3, putting the question to the bishop of 'are you going to take or retreat?'
  5. Play a cramped game with Nbd2, which allows c3 if the bishop comes to b4
  • 2
    Another popular way to deal with it would be to put a bishop on d2 (or e2 if there is a pin on a f3 knight). Mar 23, 2017 at 9:03
  • My 2c is that Nc3 in that pawn structure is suspect. The knight belongs on d2 to support an eventual c4 or e4. Allowing the pin is not understanding the opening ideas.
    – Priyome
    Mar 24, 2017 at 15:57

You will handicap yourself if you are always fearful of being pinned. Strong players know when to prevent the pin and when to allow it. Play through some well-annotated master games where a strong player allows the pin. And dont get carried away thinking about only aspect of the position


You play and develop your Knight to d2 instead of c3 or you make a delay to play the d4 move . You can even play e3 and then develop the King's knight to e2 and then Castle quickly so the Pin won't be served for a longer time .


There are a few ways to deal with (or prevent) pins. Normally it's not too big of a deal if a Bishop pins a Knight, since they are pieces of equal worth.

  • Method 1: Prophylaxis - this involves taking precautions ahead of time to stop things your opponent might do to you in the future. In this case, one example would be pushing your a-pawn to a3, which prevents Bb4 (if this situation was on the Kingside, it would be playing h3).

  • Method 2: Castle first and then develop the Knight to c3. This avoids being in a pin in the first place.

  • Method 3: Have a Bishop ready to break the pin. If you still had your dark squared Bishop on the board, you could just move it back to d2 and defend your Knight, while at the same time breaking the pin.

  • Push the Bishop away. In this case you would just play a3, and if the Bishop retreats to a5 then play b4. If you are worried about Black taking on c3 and doubling your pawns, first protect your Knight with a piece (such as Qd2 or moving your King's Knight to e2) and then push the Bishop away.

These are the main ways to deal with pins. If you really don't want to get involved with them, the easiest solution is to just play a3 before developing your Knight. It wastes a tempo, but if the game is closed like the one you have, it doesn't really matter too much.

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