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.
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+
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.
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.
Paul Morphy predates Steinitz as the world’s leading player. Here he produces an excellent example of Smothered Mate (or Philidor’s Legacy).
James MacConnel – Paul Morphy
New Orleans, 1849
21 …Nh3+ 22 Kh1 Qg1+ 23 Rxg1 Nf2 checkmate.
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.
Milan Vidmar – Max Euwe
Euwe is threatening checkmate with 34 …Qh2. Vidmar has to act quickly.
34 Re8+ Bf8
Is Euwe safe?
35 Rxf8+ No!
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.
We finish with an Arabian Mate, featuring two of the world’s top players.
Boris Gelfand – Vladimir Kramnik
28 Rxb2 Qa2+!!
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
Picturesque Checkmate Patterns