Checkmate ends a game of chess, but it is not often we see anyone checkmating the champion. Last week we saw a former World Champion delivering some snap checkmates but today the tables are turned.
The final of the Skilling Open certainly brought the fireworks to the chess board and it provides us with an excellent example for our ongoing Checkmate Monday series.
Magnus Carlsen and Wesley So served up a treat for chess fans, with four decisive games in the first of their mini-matches. White Sunday followed Black Friday in style, as both players won twice with the white pieces.
Small Move, Big Miss
Game 2 of the match saw the World Champion miss something big, with fatal consequences.
Wesley So – Magnus Carlsen
Skilling Open Final, Game 2
White to play
So played 89 Qc5-e3+ and Carlsen has several ways to meet the check to his king. 88 …Qe5, 88 …Be5 and even 88 …Kd7 will all lead to a draw game.
Carlsen played 89 …Kf8??
It may have been an automatic reflex action to send to king towards his standard castled position. However, So’s queen and bishop work together incredibly well on the light squares and it becomes apparent very quickly that Carlsen’s king is in serious trouble.
90 Qe8+ Kg7
Now 91 …Kh8 92 Qh7 checkmate cannot be allowed and the king has to run out of the corner in search of sanctuary.
92 Qh7+ Kg5
The attack runs like clockwork. The presence of opposite-colored bishops does not always herald the approach of a draw. They are advantageous for the side on the attack, as the opponent will always struggle to defend on the squares his own bishop cannot control.
Carlsen resigned here (1-0) due to his only move (93 …Kf4) allowing a checkmate in one move (Qf5 checkmate).
A very nice checkmating pattern!
Magnus Carlsen bounced back quickly to win the next game.
How long will be it before we see someone else having a go at checkmating the champion?