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The 'Impossible' Checkmate

  • GM Gserper
  • | Dec 15, 2013
  • | 34273 views
  • | 97 comments

What is an impossible checkmate? If you open any book for beginners it will inform you that a king and a lonely knight cannot checkmate an opponent's king. Moreover, if you only have a king and a knight and your opponent lost on time in an Internet blitz game, you'll get a message on many playing servers that your opponent has lost on time but it is still a draw due to the insufficient mating material. Of course you can checkmate your opponent with a lonely knight, but your opponent needs to have some pawns or pieces. Here is one of the oldest chess positions that proves the point:

This is probably the first known example of so-called smothered checkmate. This pattern is well known and relatively popular in practical games, but I have never seen a position from a real game where the smothered checkmate would be delivered by the last knight where the winner has no other pawns or pieces (except a king) left on the board.

Now let's take a look at another 'golden' oldie:


It is interesting to note that this position is winning for White even if it is Black to move:

If you say that this kind of a position can never happen in a real tournament game, then I would respectfully disagree.  Here is the game played in one of our local tournaments. I doubt that any of the opponents is going to be particularly proud of this game, so I will withdraw their names.  

In conclusion, let me offer you a really tough puzzle where White at the end checkmates the black king with his lonely knight.

To be continued...


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Comments


  • 7 months ago

    aro327

  • 8 months ago

    md_azizian

    In a helpmate the two sides cooperate to help White mate Black. Black starts and White mates Black on his sixth move (so both White and Black make six moves).


    Remember that both sides are playing to help White deliver mate, and good luck!

  • 8 months ago

    OgoOgo

    I see, take the knight is what you mean.

  • 8 months ago

    ya_ahmadi

    so nice Wink

  • 8 months ago

    LokiChess

    dadyrocks, cause white will play Qe1 and get the black queen. Then it is white queen versus black knight - the outcome is quite predictable, right?

  • 8 months ago

    ravirochlani2812000

    dadyrocks said why the king should not beat kninght at kxe3. but in next chance white should give a check to queen and have blacks queen

  • 8 months ago

    pastoryoshi

    OgoOgo - with some salt and pepper, and a little cumin ; )

  • 8 months ago

    arclight_7

    "OgoOgo...Qf1+.... if the black king eats the knight.Surprised

  • 8 months ago

    OgoOgo

    @arclight_7 How can you eat a knight?

  • 9 months ago

    jeb083079

    great info! 

  • 9 months ago

    matubadu1

    daddyrocks whynot was the ?you like your blk queen yes or no?a check looses it

  • 9 months ago

    titchess

    [COMMENT DELETED]
  • 9 months ago

    msvkv

    good one..

  • 9 months ago

    arclight_7

    @dadyrocks --- if you eat the knight, then... its a poor neglected black queen inside the sack :)

  • 9 months ago

    Darthstapler8

    Jesus Nogueiras won a game with this mate, didn't he?

  • 9 months ago

    aro327

    H1. im dyslexic today. black king instead of pushing pawn and letting knight capture. why not king to H1 

  • 9 months ago

    3point14times2

    Hmm, thats interesting

  • 9 months ago

    zorba_ca

    nice call, kamouro

  • 9 months ago

    pastoryoshi

    aro327 in the second example neither K can move to h8, which example are you referring to?

  • 9 months ago

    Djenk

    Amazing article. Thankyou!!

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