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In Caruana–Berg (Dresden, 2008), after 26...Ne6, White has pins on all three of Black's pieces on the 6th rank and eventually gets a winning endgame.[1]

[FEN ""]
[Title "Caruana—Berg, Italy vs Sweden, Dresden Olympiad 2008 [C10]"]
[StartPly "52"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nd7 5. Nf3 Ngf6 6. Nxf6+
Nxf6 7. Bd3 c5 8. dxc5 Bxc5 9. Qe2 O-O 10. O-O b6 11. Bg5 Bb7
12. Rad1 Qc7 13. Ne5 Rfd8 14. Kh1 Be7 15. Rde1 h6 16. Bh4 Nd5
17. Bg3 Bd6 18. Qe4 Nf6 19. Qh4 Nd7 20. Nxf7 Kxf7 21. Rxe6 Nc5
22. Rxd6 Rxd6 23. Qf4+ Ke7 24. Re1+ Kd7 25. Bb5+ Bc6 26. Qf5+
Ne6 27. Bxd6 Qxd6 28. Rxe6 (28...Qxe6 29. Bxc6+ Kd6 30. Qxe6+ Kxe6 31. Bxa8 {Winning endgame for White. [1]}) 1-0 

This seems like a rare event. At the time, Caruana was rated 2640 FIDE with Berg's rating at 2623.

In games between 2600+ players, are there any classical games with 4 pieces (for the same player) pinned on the same rank?

If not, are there other classical games between top players with 3 pieces pinned on the same rank?

As depicted, there are no restrictions on the type of pin.

Example: As proof that this is geometrically possible, I offer the following constructed example in the interests of clarity:

[Title "Proof This Is Geometrically Possible"]
[FEN "r7/p1qk2p1/1nbnrp1p/BB3Q2/P7/8/1PP2PPP/3RR2K w - - 8 27"]

Continuation and endgame evaluation provided by
[1] Weeramantry, S., Eusebi, E. 2020. Best Lessons of a Chess Coach: Extended Edition. Mongoose Press, Newton Highlands, MA, p. 237.

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1 Answer 1

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It is not geometrically possible to have four pieces all on the same rank pinned to the King. Nor is it possible for them to be all on the same file, or even the same diagonal. Indeed call that line L. Any piece pinned to the King must be on one of four lines through the King's square, two orthogonal and two diagonal. If the King is on line L then there can be at most two pinned pieces, one on either side of the King. Otherwise L is parallel to one of the four King lines, and each of the other three meets L in at most one point ("at most" rather than exactly one point because the geometric intersection might be between squares, or off the chessboard). So either way four is impossible.

One might imagine four collinear pinned pieces on a line L that's neither orthogonal nor diagonal; this is not possible on an 8x8 board, but could happen on larger boards, e.g. with Kh1 one could have pieces pinned on b1, f3, h4, and n7 (with a 15th file to accommodate a pinning piece on o8). Of course if we imagine unorthodox boards then we could also imagine unorthodox pieces that would allow for four or even more collinear pinned pieces.

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  • 11
    The question does not say they must be pinned to the king. Feb 18, 2022 at 7:05
  • 2
    True, and the poster should better clarify what "counts". (For example, if a piece with its mass blocks the access to a mating square, this sometimes is called "pin" either. Personally I wouldn't water it down: Pin: wA-bB-bC, if bB moves from the line wA-bC, wAxbC wins more material than wAxbB (i.e. it's no skewer), or the move was illegal in the first. I.e. wBa1-bQg7-bKh8 counts. Feb 18, 2022 at 8:45
  • @HaukeReddmann your comment is in agreement what I had envisioned re: "wins more material." I felt I shouldn't add too many additional qualifications to the idea of a pin. I may have misevaluated the community's interest in things like this (I found it beautiful). Feb 18, 2022 at 13:37
  • Your point about geometric restrictions is well taken (+1). Feb 18, 2022 at 18:47
  • I have updated the question to demonstrate that the pins do not need to be against the King directly. Jul 23, 2022 at 23:53

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