Mating with 2 Bishops

A King and Bishop alone cannot mate the lone King, but a King and two Bishops can. Therefor it is very important to assure that the King doesn’t capture one of the Bishops during the mating attempt.
In addition stalemate has to be avoided and we have to accomplish the mate within 50 moves, but after this lesson this should not be a problem.

It is not too difficult to force checkmate with a King and two Bishops against a lone King, but it is certainly more difficult than checkmating with a single Queen or with a single rook.

 








Black to move Position after move 1 0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

The diagram on the left illustrates the most typical mating pattern. Other mating patterns are possible, but in general this is the mating pattern that you should try to accomplish.
White’s light-squared Bishop and the White King are covering all of the squares to which the Black King might retreat and Black has been checkmated by White’s dark-squared Bishop.

 

 








White to move Position after move 0 0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

The second diagram illustrates one of the most important ideas of the mating process. The two Bishops have created a prison for the Black King and the King is unable to approach the Bishops. The White King is free to move.
Essentially White wins by forcing the Black King to the side of the board, then to a corner, and then checkmates.

 








White to move
 

2_Bishops

 

We start from a rather difficult position in which the Bishop is attacked by the King and our own King is placed in a corner.

 

1.Bb4 Kd4 2.Kb7 Ke3 3.Bb5 and now we have placed the Bishops in such a way that the Black King is locked up within a large triangle. 3…Kd4 4.Kb6 Kd5

4… Ke4 5.Kc5 Ke5 6.Bc6 Ke6 7.Kd4 Kf6 8.Bd7 Kg5 9.Ke5 is rather similar.

5.Bc3 Ke4 6.Kc5 Ke3 7.Kd5 Kf4 8.Bd2+ Kf3 9.Bd3 and the triangle has been narrowed down. Kf2 10.Ke4 Kg3 11.Be3 Kg4 12.Bf4

Not the fastests, but mayby easier to see 12.Be2+ because the size of the triangle is decreased again in the same way. 12…Kg3 13.Kf5 Kh3 14.Bf3 Kg3 15.Ke4 Kh3 16.Bf4 and the Black King can only move between h3 and h4. 16…Kh4 17.Ke3 Kh3 18.Kf2 Kh4 Now the Bishop is placed aside to enable Black’s King to move to h2. 19.Be2 Kh3 and taking away h4: 20.Bg5 Kh2 21.Bf1 Kh1 22.Bg2+ Kh2 23.Bf4#

12… Kh4 13.Be2 Kh3 14.Kf3 Kh4 15.Kf2 in order to checkmate at h2. 15…Kh3 16.Bg5 Kh2 17.Bf1 Kh1 18.Bg2+ Kh2 19.Bf4# 1-0

The next chess lesson is about the Knight Fork. You will see that the Knight can become more powerful than you may have thought at first sight.

Basic checkmates

You have to know some of the checkmates in order to know what you are looking for when playing a chess game. Some of these basic checkmates even have a name. By studying this kind of diagrams you may be able to avoid or to make use of similar positions during your own games.

King and Queen checkmates








Black to move
Position after move 1
0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture







Black to move
Position after move 1
0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

 








Black to move
Position after move 1
0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture







Black to move
Position after move 1
0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

 

King and Rook checkmates








Black to move
Position after move 1
0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture







Black to move
Position after move 1
0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

 

Back rank checkmate








Black to move
Position after move 1
0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

Many beginners often oversee this kind of Mate. You have to pay attention to this kind of mate opportunities when you run into this kind of positions.

 

To prevent being mated like this it may be a good idea to have an escape square for the king.

Scholar’s mate








Black to move
Position after move 4
Castling possibilities: KQkq
0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

Scholar’s Mate is the most common opening trap a beginner falls into.

 

In this checkmate both the Bishop and Queen attack the weak f7 pawn. This pawn is weak because, in the starting position, it is only protected by the King.

Epaulette mate








Black to move
Position after move 1
0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

In the epaulette mate the King is on its back rank and the Rooks of its own color on either side are blocking off the king’s escape route.

 

But for the mating pattern it doens’t matter if other pieces then Rooks are involved, as long as they are of the same color.

The next ches lesson is Checkmating with the Queen.

White to play and win

White to move Position after move 32 0 half-moves after last pawn advance or captureWhite to move Position after move 32 0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

 

White is able to win the game. Find the right moves.
If needed I’ll add the solution to the comments.
  1. 4 Responses to “White to play and win”

    1. 1. Rf1+ Kg8
      2. Rf8+ Kg7
      3. e8N#

      or
      1. … Kg7
      2. e8N+
      3. Rf8#

      Edited by admin at Januari 7th, 2011
      Replaced d8N+ by e8N+ (twice)

    2. Very good

      Black can delay the mate a little bit by
      1.Rf1+ Qf3 2.Rxf3+

      In the …Kg8 variation there is also an alternative for white
      2…Kg8 3.e8=Q+ Kg7 4.Rf7#

      But the main idea about this exercise is that you’ll see the e8N# possibility, so these are only details.

    3. Shouldn’t it end on e8N#? After the three move sequence.

      I’ve racked my brain over this, but I don’t see how one promotes on d when there is nothing to force the pawn diagonal.

    4. @ Robert Evans

      Of course you are right
      I have updated the comment at the top

      Thanks

Mate in One

You will find a new mate in one problem each time you visit this page (or after a refresh of this page). After giving the right solution or after three wrong answers the solution is revealed.
You can make a move by clicking on a piece and dropping it at the target square.

One additional tip: the load time of the page will be minimized by viewing only this mate in one article. Or do you prefer the mate in two problems or the mate in three problems?








White to move

???

 

 



 

tell us whether black or white to play for the interactive part.

  1. oops. sorry, it’s the black dot. didn’t see that the first time. cheers!

    Don’t be sorry. I probably have to explain the meaning of the black or white circle.

Algebraic chess notation

In order to record your own chess games or to replay the moves from other recorded games and lessons you have to understand the algebraic chess notation.

The squares of the chess board
First we have to identify each square of the chessboard with a unique coordinate. The files are labelled with the lowercase letters a through h, from the left of the player with the white pieces. In addition the ranks are numbered from 1 to 8. The result is that each square of the board is uniquely identified by its file letter and rank number, as shown for some example squares in the diagram.

The chess pieces
Apart from the pawns each type of piece is identified by an uppercase letter. This letter is language dependant, but English-speaking players use K for king, Q for queen, R for rook, B for bishop, and N for knight (since K is already used).

Long algebraic notation
Now the moves can be notated by indicating the moving piece followed by both the starting and ending position separated by a hyphen. When the piece makes a capture, an x is used instead of the hyphen.
Castling is indicated by the special notations O-O for kingside castling and O-O-O for queenside castling. A pawn promotion is followed by a letter to indicate the chosen piece.
If a move places the opponent’s king in check the notation “+” is added. Checkmate is indicated by a “#”. At the end of the game the game result is added (1-0, 0-1 or ½-½).

As an example the moves of the Fool’s Mate can be notated as:
1. f2-f3 e7-e5
2. g2-g4 Qd8-h4# 0-1

Short algebraic notation
In practice the long algebraic notation is only used by players learning the game and by some computer programs. Normally the short algebraic notation is used.
This is almost the same notation, but with the starting position and the hyphen left out.

But now some moves have to be disambiguated. If two (or more) identical pieces can move to the same square, the letter indicating the piece is followed by (in descending order of preference):

  1. the file of departure if they differ
  2. the rank of departure if the files are the same but the ranks differ
  3. both the file and rank if neither alone uniquely defines the piece

The Fool’s Mate now can be notated as:

1.f3 e5 2.g4 Qh4# 0-1

An example (from a real game)
The following game has been played between two juniors and is used as an illustration of the short algebraic notation.

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Bc5 3.d3 Nf6 4.Nc3 O-O 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 d6 7.Nd5 Nbd7 8.a4 c6 9.Nc3 Qe8 10.Nge2 Nb6 11.Bxf6 gxf6 12.Bb3 Be6 13.Bxe6 Qxe6 14.Ng3 Kh7 15.Nf5 Rg8 16.h4 Rxg2 17.Qd2 Kg8 18.Qxh6 d5 19.O-O-O Rg6 20.Rhg1 1-0








Black to move Position after move 20 3 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture
The final position.
 
You may want to continue this chess lessons series with The Way to Mastership or with taking free pieces.

Discovered Attack

A discovered attack occurs when a player moves one of his pieces out of the way of his Queen, Bishop or Rook to reveal an attack on one of his opponent’s pieces. Because the piece moved can make a independent threat the result may also be a double attack.

In the next diagram white’s rook on e1 will place the king in check if the bishop on e4 moves away. This is an ideal situation for a discovered attack. We only have to look for a target for the bishop.








White to move Position after move 0 0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

White will play the move 1.Bc6+

In a normal situation the square c6 would not be a safe place or the Bishop. It is defended by both the Queen as well as a pawn. But in this case of a discovered attack, a discovered check, black has to get the king out of check, probably by a move like 1…Kf8.

Now white can capture the queen for free: 2.Bxb5.

The targets of a discovered attack aren’t limited to pieces only. You may want to read the lesson about the targets again. Try for example to find the appropriate discovered attack in the next diagram.








White to move Position after move 0 0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

You can make the solution visible by selecting the text between the two square brackets.


[1.Bd3 threatens a mate with the queen (2.Qf6#) as well as capturing the rook on a6.

1.Bd3 Qd6
( 1…Ra8 2.Qf6# )
2.Bxa6 
]

 

The next lesson in this series is about the Skewer.

The Skewer

In the skewer two pieces in a line are attacked by a queen, rook or bishop. A skewer is very similar to the pin, but in case of the skewer the most valuable piece is the front piece. So instead of being pinned the piece has to step out of the way allowing the piece behind it to be captured.
The front piece is often a king, but it may be another piece.

In the following diagram white can administer a skewer by 1.Bc4+.








White to move Position after move 0 0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

After 1.Bc4+ black has to move the king.

E.g. 1…Kg7, after which white can capture the queen 2.Bxg8.To spot possible skewers (and pins) you first have to look for valuable pieces on the same diagonal, line or file. The second step is to find the right attacking piece.

 








White to move Position after move 0 0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

After playing 1.Be4 in the diagram on the left the resulting position can be called a pin or a skewer, because the value of the front piece is the same as the value of the back piece.The name doesn’t matter either.

After 1…Rbb6 2. Bxc6 Rxc6 white has gained a rook for a bishop.








White to move Position after move 0 0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

At first sight the third diagram seems to have a possibility for a skewer. But this time white doesn’t gain anything by the move 1.Be4.

Black is able to play 1…Rc1+ after which white has to play 2.Kg2 and black can move the second rook to a save place 2…Rb2.
In the next lesson we will learn how to checkmate with two bishops.

Interfering

In one of the previous lessons 4 possibilities to eliminate the defender have been shown:

  • Capturing
  • Attacking
  • Interference
  • Distracting

This chess lesson will be focussed on Interference, also known as blocking the defender. The general idea is to block the line between the defender and the piece or square it is trying to defend.








White to move Position after move 0 0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

An illustrative example of this tactical motif is shown in the diagram on the left. The white Rook is attacking the black Knight, but this Knight is defended by the black Rook. By playing 1.d4+ the protection is removed and the Knight can be captured 2.Rxh4.
Please note that it is only possible to block a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal line. It will be impossible to block a defending Knight, pawn or King.








Black to move Position after move 1 0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

Let’s have a look at the next diagram. It’s Black’s turn to move. No pieces are attacked, but White’s Queen is an important defender. Without this Queen it was a mate in one.Black can block this defender by 1. …Ra5+, and White has to play 2. Qxa5 to prevent the mate, but also makes that his Queen will be captured 2…bxa5.
The mate can not be avoided 3. Kb1 Bg6+ 4. Rc2 Qf1+ 5. Ka2 Bxc2 6. Be1 Qxe1 7. d5 Qb1+ 8. Ka3 Qa1#.

A nice example of interference, showing that we have to consider more targets than the attacked pieces.

 








White to move Position after move 0 0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

This third diagram gives another example. It is White’s turn to move.
White has a kind of double attack by means of a queen fork, but each of the rooks is defending the other one. The move 1. d6 blocks this line and Black will be unable to bring both rooks to safety at the same time. Black’s best move is probably 1…Raxd6, but then White will continue with 2.exd6. This example illustrates that it is not necessary for the inferfering piece to attack anything at all.








White to move Position after move 0 0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

I will leave the solution of this last exercise to you. It is White’s turn to move.You are invited to add the solution to the comments.

To give a clue: It is a combination of a discovered attack and interference.

The next lesson is a nice example game of interfering: Tarrasch -Allies (1914).

 

 

7 Responses to “Interfering”

  1. 1. Bh7 Qxe2
    2. Bxh6++

  2. @genius

    OK, but I don’t think that Black is going to play 1…Qxe2, but probably 1…Rxh7

  3. It is obvious! 1.Nxf7 and White wins.

  4. @Azizul
    Sorry, but it isn’t that obvious

    1.Nxf7 gives away the advantage
    it will probably be followed by 1…d3 2.Qxd3 Kxf7

    You have to look for a combination of a discovered attack and interference to find the right move.

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  1. Tarrasch – Allies (1914)

Chess Tactics Explained

In some of the previous lessons we have learned about the pin and how we could make use of a pin in order to win a piece. All these lessons started with a position in which two enemy pieces were aligned with each other. In order to create an absolute pin the opponent’s king has to be placed on the same line, file or diagonal as one of his other pieces.

The next step is to learn how to force this alignment.

Before I am going to write a lesson about this positioning of the opponent’s pieces I refer you to another site with some very interesting chess lessons, because it contains a lesson about Pushing the Enemy King into Line. The purpose of this lessons seems to be identical:

Our next task is to learn how to create that alignment when it doesn’t already exist. The principal tools we will use here are checks that push the king into a line with one of its fellow pieces, or that require an enemy piece to jump into line with its king to protect it. Or sometimes a capture may require a king to recapture and cause it to walk into a pin.

Therefor I am going to skip this lesson since a similar lesson exists at Chess Tactics Explained. This chess lessons site seems to be very interesting and consists of six chapters. These chapters deal with the following subjects:

  1. Introduction
  2. Double attack
  3. Discovered attack
  4. Pin and skewer
  5. Removing the guard
  6. Mating patterns

In addition to the on-line lessons a hard copy version of this site is available.
We continue with replacing a piece.

Colle – O’Hanlon, Nice 1930

One of the most used examples of the classical bishop sacrifice is taken from the game Edgard Colle – John O’Hanlon, Nice 1930.

This is rather strange because in this game the normal preconditions before sacrificing the bishop aren’t even met. Some chess players and teachers even considered the sacrifice in this game as unsound. After looking at it more carefully I think that the sacrifice is sound, but that Black will probably be able to survive the attack.

Before going to the game I show two positions in which the classical bishop sacrifice enables White to win the game.

r1bq1rk1/pp1nnppp/4p3/2ppP3/1b1P2Q1/2NB1N2/PPP2PPP/R1B1K2R w KQ – 0 8

rnbq1rk1/pppn1ppp/4p3/3pP3/1b1P4/2NB1N2/PPP2PPP/R1BQK2R w KQ – 5 7

Now we will continue with the famous game from Edgard Colle.

 

 

Next lesson: The Rook and pawn vs Rook endgame.

Newest analysis – revised editions of Vukovic by Nunn in English (2003) and Treppner in German (2006) as well as issue 3 of Kassiber and Broznik’s Colle book – all show the sacrifice to be correct.

I also said that the sacrifice was sound, but with correct counterplay I still believe that Black will be able to survive the attack.

Das Colle-Koltanowski-System by Bronznik Valeri as well as the footnotes by John Nunn in Vuckovic’s book show the shortcomings in the original analysis of Vuckovic, who considered the sacrifice to be incorrect..