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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Anastasia's mate

In Anastasia's mate, a knight and rook team up to trap the opposing king between the side of the board on one side and a friendly piece on the other. This checkmate got its name from the novel Anastasia und das Schachspiel by Johann Jakob Wilhelm Heinse.


Anderssen's mate

In Anderssen's mate (named for Adolf Anderssen), the rook or queen is supported by a diagonally attacking piece such as a pawn or bishop as it checkmates the opposing king along with the eighth rank.

Sometimes a distinction is drawn between Anderssen's mate, where the rook is supported by a pawn (which itself is supported by another piece, as in the diagram), and Mayet's mate, where the rook is supported by a distant bishop.


Arabian mate

In the Arabian mate, the knight and the rook team up to trap the opposing king on a corner of the board. The rook sits on a square adjacent to the king both to prevent escape along the diagonal and to deliver checkmate while the knight sits two squares away diagonally from the king to prevent escape on the square next to the king and to protect the rook.

There are two points to why the Arabian mate is both unique and significant: 1) It is mentioned in ancient Arabic manuscripts. 2) It is derived from the older Persian form of chess where the knight and the rook were the two most powerful pieces in the game. This was before chess had migrated to Europe and the queen was (later) given its current powers of movement


Back-rank mate

The back-rank mate occurs when a rook or queen checkmates a king that is blocked in by friendly pieces (usually pawns) on his first rank.


Bishop and knight checkmate

The bishop and knight checkmate occurs when the king teams up with a bishop and knight to force the opponent king to the corner of the board. The bishop and knight endgame can be difficult to master: some positions may require up to 34 moves of perfect play before checkmate can be delivered.


Blackburne's mate

Blackburne's mate is named for Joseph Henry Blackburne and is a rare method of checkmating. The checkmate utilizes the black rook (it could be a bishop or queen instead) to confine the black king's escape to the f8-square. One of the bishops confines the black king's movement by operating at a distance, while the knight and the other bishop operate within close range. Threatening Blackburne's mate can be used to weaken Black's position.


Blind swine checkmate

Blind Swine Mate. The Blind Swine Mate is a checkmate pattern that demonstrates the power of two connected rooks on the 7th rank. It's often impossible to defend against this checkmate pattern–which is why you should be very aware of the danger presented by two connected rooks on the 7th rank.


Boden's mate

In Boden's mate, two attacking bishops on crisscrossing diagonals deliver mate to a king obstructed by friendly pieces, usually a rook and a pawn.


Box mate (Rook mate)

The Box mate is one of the four basic checkmates along with Queen mate, king and two bishops checkmate, and bishop and knight checkmate. It occurs when the side with the king and rook box in the bare king to the corner or edge of the board. The mate is delivered by the rook along the edge rank or file, and escape towards the centre of the board is blocked by the king.


Corner mate

The Corner mate is a common method of checkmating. It works by confining the king to the corner using a rook or queen with a pawn blocking the final escape square and using a knight to engage the checkmate.