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Checkmate in one!

  • GM Gserper
  • | Sep 11, 2013
  • | 23333 views
  • | 85 comments

Last week we discussed the game where Russian Super Grandmaster Evgeny Tomashevsky missed a checkmate in one. Of course that was a special situation where a draw was enough for him to win the match and qualify for the next round, but in general, how often do grandmasters miss a checkmate in one? More often than you might think!

Let me start with my own game:

Strangely enough, the reason for my stupid blunder was to some extent similar to what happened in the Tomashevsky's game. I was in a must-win situation and saw that my opponent was about to deliver a perpetual check by 47.Ng6+ followed by Nf8+. With my last seconds ticking away, I saw the only way to stop the Ng6 check. Somehow, I totally missed that the Nf8 controls the h7 square as well... I was very embarrassed by the finish of this game until the next game was played six years later:

This game made me feel better. Unlike me, Kramnik wasn't in a must-win situation and had plenty of time; you can see here how calm he is just moments before committing his horrible blunder: 

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So, I realized that it is not me or Kramnik; rather, it is the strange way the chess player's brain thinks. Suppose you have Nf6 or Ng5, then I bet you'll never miss Qh7 checkmate because you've seen countless number of checkmates like this, so this pattern is engraved into your mind, meanwhile the Nf8 + Qh7 checkmate is not that common. You can say that this explanation is far fetched, but here is another game:

Here my teammate GM Zagrebelny explained to me what happened. There was mutual time trouble and he was looking for the way to bring his bishop to d3 (Bg8-c4-d3) to create a threat of Qxh7 checkmate and that's how he missed that Bg8 already allowed Qxh7 checkmate! Fortunately for him, his opponent GM Zaichik noticed the unstoppable threat of Qxh7 checkmate and lost on time trying to find a defense. Otherwise it would be funny to see the manuver Bg8-c4-d3 to prepare the Qxh7 checkmate which could be delivered right away!

You see what happened here? The battery bishop + queen (like Bd3 + Qe4) where the queen is ahead of the Bishop is common and that's why in his time trouble GM Zagrebelny tried to reach the familiar pattern. Meanwhile, the pattern Bg8 + Qh7 is uncommon, so he missed it.

I am at a total loss to explain what happened in this next game:

In this video you can see that Ivanchuk spent about 30 seconds on his move and yet didn't find the checkmate in one move:



Finally, if you think that finding a checkmate in one is child's play, try to solve the next puzzle of the famous Russian composer Leonid Kubbel where you need to find exactly that: checkmate in one! Good luck!




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Comments


  • 2 weeks ago

    KissMyRook01645

    Robert: d8=Q is not possible because the pawn is pinned

  • 3 weeks ago

    Robert0905

    d8=Q is mate

  • 8 weeks ago

    nitsujfortwo

  • 2 months ago

    Sunnyboya

    Amazing article and that is the best puzzle ever!

    CoolCoolCoolCoolCoolCoolCool CoolCoolCoolCoolCoolCoolCool CoolCoolCool CoolCoolCoolCool CoolCool CoolCoolCool CoolCoolCoolCool CoolCoolCoolCoolCoolCool CoolCoolCoolCool!

  • 3 months ago

    nitsujfortwo

  • 5 months ago

    whoisbhauji

    Why is Bh4 not mate?

  • 8 months ago

    Sthebomb

    b2xQ is illegal, the pawn is going the other way.

  • 8 months ago

    vipultyagi88

    b2 is an invalid move. check the side of the board

  • 8 months ago

    chaos91495

    The Leonid game solution is wrong I think... Doesn't b4 or b2xQ kill the mate? 

  • 8 months ago

    upen2002

    In Kubbel problem Ng6 fails because the bishop on B1 simply takes it.

  • 8 months ago

    tomwalker55

    In Kubbel problem Ng6 fails because the bishop on B1 simply takes it.

  • 8 months ago

    m_salame

    Why Ng6 is incorrect looks like checkmate to me

  • 8 months ago

    m_salame

    What about Ng6? Why is it incorrect?

  • 8 months ago

    upen2002

    Qa3#!

  • 8 months ago

    koala08

    BTW d8 =Q is Illegal

  • 9 months ago

    tecnoecuador

    " This is taken from my game with Reshevsky (Black), played in New York, 1962. My opponent has won the United States Championship several times. Actually, I missed this possibility-but I won anyway! " taken from the book Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess 

  • 9 months ago

    tecnoecuador

  • 10 months ago

    cmscool

    Henns Qg5#is incorrect because it will be slaugthered by the queen on  Qc1

  • 11 months ago

    yoavmilikow

    CHESS?Tongue Out

  • 11 months ago

    apostolis1

    A really intresting article, which shows us that also if we blunder a checkmate in one, there is an oportunity for our oponent to miss it ! So, don't resign !!!!Laughing

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