Checkmate Patterns

In chess, the king is never captured—the player loses as soon as their king is checkmated. In formal games, most players resign an inevitably lost game before being checkmated. It is usually considered bad etiquette to continue playing in a completely hopeless position.

In chess, several checkmate patterns occur frequently enough to have acquired specific names in chess commentary. 

 

Lolli's mate

Lolli's mate is a common method of checkmating. The checkmate involves infiltrating Black's fianchetto position using both a pawn and queen. The queen often gets to the h6-square by means of sacrifices on the h-file. It is named after Giambattista Lolli.

 

Max Lange's mate

Max Lange's mate is a less common method of checkmating. The checkmate is named after Max Lange. It works by using the bishop and queen to checkmate the king.

 

Morphy's mate

Morphy's mate is a common method of checkmating. It was named after Paul Morphy. It works by using the bishop to attack the black king and a rook and Black's own pawn to confine it. In many respects, it is very similar to the Corner mate.

 

Opera mate

The Opera mate is a common method of checkmating. It works by attacking the king on the back rank with a rook using a bishop to protect it. A pawn or other piece other than a knight of the enemy king's is used to restrict its movement. The checkmate was named after its implementation by Paul Morphy in 1858 at a game at the Paris opera against Duke Karl of Brunswick and Count Isouard; see Opera game.

 

Pillsbury's mate

Pillsbury's mate is a common method of checkmating and is named for Harry Nelson Pillsbury. It works by attacking the king with the rook while the bishop is cutting off the king.

 

Queen mate

Queen mate is one of the four major checkmates along with Box mate, king and two bishops checkmate, and bishop and knight checkmate. It occurs when the side with the king and queen force the bare king to the edge or corner of the board. The queen checkmates the bare king with the support of the allied king.

 

Réti's mate

Réti's mate is a famous method of checkmating. The checkmate is named after Richard Réti, who delivered it in an 11-move game against Savielly Tartakower in 1910 in Vienna. It works by trapping the enemy king with four of its own pieces that are situated on flight squares and then attacking it with a bishop that is protected by a rook or queen.

 

Smothered mate

Smothered mate is a common method of checkmating. It occurs when a knight checkmates a king that is smothered (surrounded) by his friendly pieces and he has nowhere to move nor is there any way to capture the knight. It is also known as Philidor's Legacy after François-André Danican Philidor, though its documentation predates Philidor by several hundred years.

 

Suffocation mate

The Suffocation mate is a common method of checkmating. It works by using the knight to attack the enemy king and the bishop to confine the king's escape routes.

 

Swallow's tail mate

Swallow's tail mate also known as the Guéridon mate is a common method of checkmating. It works by attacking the enemy king with a queen that is protected by a rook or other piece. The enemy king's own pieces (in this example, rooks) block its means of escape. It resembles the Epaulette mate.

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