|Diagram 1. Black to move|
It seems logical to keep matters simple, and just ask ourselves "which piece(s) am I encircling now" without further ado. In the future things might be different, but we must not becloud our mind with that just yet. The task of the "encircling cue" is to get our attention to the right part of the board. If the encirclement doesn't work just that, then that is what we are going to think about. Can I make it work?
You can compare it to the geometrical motif. There you follow the aura of your attackers to the rim of the board, without worrying whether you can clear the line of attack or not. For the time being. Just to inventory where the line of attack is.
Which pieces am I encircling?
- Nf6 two attackers, one defender
- Qh5 not defended
The obvious line of attack is d5-h5. Bishop g5 is pinned against the queen on h5. But we have to be careful. When your attacker (Qd5) isn't protected, a pin can easily turn into a discovered attack from the other side.
1.Nf6 is a knight fork which threatens mate on h7 as one goal (connection to the next tactical element mate in one via a square), and the queen as the other target.
- Nf6 defends Qh5
- Bg5 shields Qh5
The reason that this problem ended up in my database of doom, is that I reasoned "I have two ways to take Nf6: 1. ... Bxf6 and 1. ... Rxf6. I thought "well, a bishop is cheaper than a rook, so let me take with the bishop.
This gives a clear clue to which cue is missing. I'm insufficient familiar with the fact that a pin can turn into a counter discovered attack when the attacker is unprotected, and the pinned piece can do something with gain of tempo. Basically it is a lack of practical knowledge. Which is cured by now, I hope.
I'm going to put more meat on the carcass, one post per problem. So stay tuned.