Ruy Lopez Checkmates


Table of Contents

It is checkmate Monday again and today we present a number of Ruy Lopez checkmates. All of the positions below were reached from games starting with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5, which ties in with our most recent instalment of Chess Opening Basics.

Test your strength on the first diagram in each case. The second diagram depicts the actual moment of checkmate.

A Hook Checkmate

Ruy Lopez Checkmates

Johann Loewenthal – Daniel Harrwitz
London, 1853

White to PlayWhite appears to be in trouble in our first example, but fortunately there is a forced checkmate available.


Black resigned here, due to the inevitable checkmate after:


41.Rxd7+ Kf8

42.Rd8+ Ke7

43.Re8 checkmate.

Johann Loewenthal - Daniel Harrwitz

42…Kg7 43.Rg8 checkmate is an alternative line, which doesn’t change the result.

Follow the Legacy

The next example features a classic pattern in a slightly different setting.

Ruy Lopez Checkmates

Daniel Harrwitz – George Medley
London, 1853
White to Play

This is heading for a smothered mate on the theme of Philidor’s Legacy. Everything runs like clockwork after the initial move.

21.Nd7+ Kc8

22.Nxb6+ Kb8

23.Qc8+ Rxc8

24.Nd7 checkmate.

Daniel Harrwitz - George Medley

Major Problem

Our next checkmate is an unusual one. White has just promoted a pawn on c8, to obtain a new queen.

Paul Journoud - Jules Arnous de Riviere

Paul Journoud – Jules Arnous de Riviere
Paris, 1859

Black to Play

Black pulls off a snap checkmate from a position which has the look of a composed problem, featuring only major pieces.


66.Kg4 Qg3 checkmate.

Endgame Checkmate

White has an alternative in 64.Rg3, but then 64…Qxg3 checkmate follows.

The Pin is Mightier than the Sword

Adolf Anderssen certainly knew a thing or two about checkmate patterns.

Ruy Lopez Checkmate Carl Mayet - Adolf Anderssen

Carl Mayet – Adolf Anderssen
Berlin, 1862

Black to Play


22.Qxg2 Rxf1 checkmate.

Ruy Lopez Checkmate

Note the excellent use of the pin, by the bishop on b7, preventing 23.Qxf1.

Anderssen’s Sacrifices

Checkmate in Three Moves

James Robey – Adolf Anderssen
England, 1862
Black to Play

Once again Anderssen has sacrificed his queen. However, he now has a forced checkmate in three moves – involving a rook sacrifice.


39.Kh3 Rh1+

40.Bxh1 Rh2 checkmate.

James Robey - Adolf Anderssen

Snap Checkmate

Our next example is another unusual pattern. The eye many be drawn to 26…Nh3+, but Black has something much simpler.

Philipp Hirschfeld - Berthold Suhle

Philipp Hirschfeld – Berthold Suhle
Berlin, 1860
Black to Play


27.Qxg2 Ne2 checkmate.


Tricky Finish

Finally for today’s target practice, we present a tricky checkmate in five moves.

Richard Hein - Oskar Cordel

Richard Hein – Oskar Cordel
Berlin, 1862
Black to Play


18.Kf2 Qf1+

19.Ke3 Qxe2+

20.Qxe2 Bd4+

21.Kf4 Nxe2 checkmate.

Richard Hein - Oskar Cordel

Well played, if you managed to solve that one by sight from the first diagram.

Chessable Courses

If you enjoyed our Ruy Lopez Checkmates, you may like to know that there are many more beautiful checkmating patterns in our course, The Checkmate Patterns Manual, by International Master John Bartholomew and CraftyRaf. This course won third place in our Chessable Awards for 2020.

The Checkmate Patterns Manual

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

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