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. 

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Cozio's mate

Cozio's mate is a common method of checkmating. It was named after a study by Carlo Cozio, published in 1766. Another name for this mate is Dovetail mate. It involves trapping the black king in the pattern shown. It does not matter how the queen is supported and it does not matter which type Black's other two pieces are so long as neither is an unpinned knight.


Damiano's bishop mate

Damiano's bishop mate is a classic method of checkmating. The checkmate utilizes a queen and bishop, where the bishop is used to support the queen and the queen is used to engage the checkmate. The checkmate is named after Pedro Damiano.


Double bishop mate

The Double bishop mate is a classic method of checkmating. It is similar to Boden's mate, but a bit simpler. The checkmate involves attacking the king using two bishops, resulting in the king being trapped behind a pawn that has not been moved.


Epaulette mate

Epaulette or epaulet mate is, in its broadest definition, a checkmate where two parallel retreat squares for a checked king are occupied by its own pieces, preventing its escape. The most common Epaulette mate involves the king on its back rank, trapped between two rooks. The perceived visual similarity between the rooks and epaulettes, ornamental shoulder pieces worn on military uniforms, gives the checkmate its name.


Greco's mate

Greco's mate is a common method of checkmating. The checkmate is named after the famous Italian checkmate cataloguer Gioachino Greco. It works by using the bishop to contain the black king by use of the black g-pawn and subsequently using the queen or a rook to checkmate the king by moving it to the edge of the board.


Hook mate

The Hook mate involves the use of a white rook, knight, and pawn along with one black pawn to limit the black king's escape. The rook is protected by the knight and the knight is protected by the pawn.


Kill Box mate

The Kill Box mate is a box-shaped checkmate. The checkmate is delivered by the rook with the queen's assistance. The rook is adjacent to the king, the queen supports the rook by a separation of one empty square on the same diagonal as the rook. This forms a 3 by 3 box shape. The king could be on the edge of the board. Or, the king can be anywhere on the board, but the escape squares must be blocked off to prevent the escape of the king.


King and two bishops mate

King and two bishops checkmate is one of the four basic checkmates along with Queen mate, Rook mate, and the bishop and knight checkmate. It occurs when the king with two bishops force the bare king to the corner of the board to force a possible mate.


King and two knights mate

In a two knights endgame, the side with the king and two knights cannot checkmate a bare king by force. This endgame should be a draw if the bare king plays correctly. A mate only occurs if the player with the bare king blunders. In some circumstances, if the side with the king also has a pawn, it is possible to set up this type of checkmate.


Légal mate

In the Légal mate, two knights and a bishop coordinate to administer checkmate. Alternatively, the mate may be delivered by a bishop on g5.