Checkmate Patterns in Action


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Our series on checkmate patterns is attracting considerable interest and we now present examples showing the patterns in action.

A sound knowledge of the standard checkmate patterns will enable a player to pounce as soon as the opportunities present themselves over the chess board.

Blind Swine Mate

These patterns do not simply occur in the games of novices. Out first example is from the highest level of chess – a match for the World Championship.

Blind Swine Mate

Mikhail Chigorin – Wilhelm Steinitz

World Chess Championship, 1892

White to play

This match was in the balance all the way through. Steinitz led 9-8 in wins when this game was played. Chigorin is a piece up and is well on the way to equalising the match score.

32 Rxb7 is the best move but Chigorin blundered instead, with 32 Bb4?? allowing 32 …Rxh2+Blind Swine Mate

Chigorin resigned (0-1), giving Steinitz his tenth win of the match, which ended the contest. 33 Kg1 Rdg2 is a classic example of the Blind Swine Mate.

Triangle Mate

Bobby Fischer Attacking

Argentino Rodolfo Redolfi – Bobby Fischer

Mar del Plata, 1959

Bobby Fischer always had an excellent understanding of the various checkmate patterns. In this game he has sacrificed material because he knows the end is in sight.

40 …Rh1+ and White resigned (0-1), as 41 Kg2 Qf1+ is a fine example of the Triangle Mate.

Triangle Mate

Smothered Mate

Paul Morphy predates Steinitz as the world’s leading player. Here he produces an excellent example of Smothered Mate (or Philidor’s Legacy).

Paul Morphy Attacking

James MacConnel – Paul Morphy 

New Orleans, 1849

21 …Nh3+ 22 Kh1 Qg1+ 23 Rxg1 Nf2 checkmate.

Smothered MateAnastasia’s Mate

It is not often we find a future World Champion on the receiving end of one of our classic checkmate patterns, but we now see Vidmar dealing out a particularly instructive example of Anastasia’s Mate against the man who would take the ultimate title in 1935.

Vidmar - Euwe

Milan Vidmar – Max Euwe

Karlsbad, 1929

Euwe is threatening checkmate with 34 …Qh2. Vidmar has to act quickly.

34 Re8+ Bf8

Vidmar Attacking

Is Euwe safe?

35 Rxf8+ No!

35 …Kxf8

36 Nf5+

Anastasia's Mate

Euwe resigned here (1-0) because he is going to be checkmated before he has the chance of playing his intended …Qh2.

The idea is 36 …Ke8 37 Qf8+!! Kxf8 38 Rd8 checkmate. If he goes the other way with his king with 36 …Kg8 then 37 Qf8+!! still works, with the additional line 37 …Kh7 38 Qg7 checkmate.

Arabian Mate

We finish with an Arabian Mate, featuring two of the world’s top players.

Gelfand - Kramnik

Boris Gelfand – Vladimir Kramnik

Berlin, 1996

27 …Rxb2!!

28 Rxb2 Qa2+!!

Arabian Mate

Gelfand resigned (0-1), due to 29 Rxa2 Rb1 checkmate.

We will have more Checkmate Patterns in Action for you soon.

Meanwhile, there are many more beautiful checkmate patterns in our course, The Checkmate Patterns Manual, by International Master John Bartholomew and CraftyRaf.

There is a shortened, free version of the course here.

Here is a handy guide to the episodes in our series of blog posts on Checkmate Patterns.

Checkmate Patterns: Six of the Best

Famous Checkmate Patterns

Historical Checkmate Patterns

Beautiful Checkmate Patterns

Essential Checkmate Patterns

Picturesque Checkmate Patterns

Learn to Train Your Chess Pattern Recognition here.

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Check them on individual course pages