# The 'Impossible' Checkmate, Part Two

• GM Gserper
• | Dec 22, 2013
• | 22634 views

Last week we discussed the 'impossible' checkmate with just a king and a knight and today we'll analyze a similar 'impossible' checkmate with a king and a bishop. As all of you know, king + bishop cannot checkmate a lone king.  But if you add some pawns and pieces that will blockade the king's escape squares, the 'impossible' checkmate becomes a reality!

I still remember the embarrassment I experienced while solving one of my first chess homework tasks. I just joined my chess club and was pretty much a beginner. So in the next position which I was supposed to solve, I discarded all the moves that led to losing my last pawn. Because if you lose that pawn, then you are left with just a king and a bishop which is an instant draw, right? Boy, did I feel stupid when our coach showed me the solution!

(Try to solve this cute puzzle).

Is this elegant pattern very important for a tournament player? I wish I could say yes, for the sake of the sheer beauty of the checkmating pattern, but unfortunately, the answer is 'no'. I never seen any tournament game finished this way. As a matter of fact, the closest combination I can remember is this:

As much as I like the finish of the game, I have my doubts. In fact I am almost 100 percent sure that the position is composed. First of all, it doesn't look like a position from a practical game to me (unless they played Fischerrandom in the 19th century). Besides, if it was indeed a real game, they would definitely have saved the score, but even mighty Google couldn't help me to discover the first part of this 'game'. My only hope is that batgirl (the best expert in chess history on this site) could provide some info on the subject.

So, since this checkmating pattern has almost no chance to appear in your games, let's treat it as a beautiful fairy-tale. And therefore, for your enjoyment and amusement I want to provide two more studies by the famous Russian chess composer Alexey Troitsky.

Try to solve the next tricky puzzle (it is a finish of another Troitsky's masterpiece):

I hope you enjoyed our 'impossible' checkmates series!

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• 22 months ago

The game between La Bourdonnais and Deschapelles in 1836 seems highly unlikely.  In 1836 Deschapelles had not played a game of chess in almost 15 years but came out of retirement and played St. Amant 3 games giving his P+2 odds winning 1, losing 1 and drawing 1.  Around the same time Deschapelles also challenged any champion from England to a match at P+2 for 500 pounds because of a perceived affront, but it never came to be.  I don't know of any recorded game between La Bourdonnais and Deschappelles in 1836.

• 23 months ago

Great !

• 23 months ago
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• 23 months ago

In the Troitsky 1895, 3.g8=Q is not "the only way to win", as g8=R and g8=B both win too (probably g8=N too). Not that it matters, of course.

• 23 months ago

these are awwesome checkmates

• 23 months ago

thanks

• 23 months ago

thanks!thanks!thanks!

• 23 months ago

• 23 months ago

I think blacks can do draw by 2...e6+

• 23 months ago

Very nice! Thanks

• 23 months ago

Seems to me this is a bit of a goofy exercise.   Sure, a lone bishop and king cannot checkmate a lone king.  But add some pawns and it becomes reality?  give me a break.

Why not add to that lone bishop a queen and two rooks, chasing a lone king.   What is the difference?   When you add enought additional anythings, it's a game changer.

• 23 months ago

I liked the puzzles a lot!

• 23 months ago

2...e5 3.Ke6 e4 4.Kf6 e3 5.Bxe3 h5 6.Bg5 { wins }

• 23 months ago

2...e6+ 3.Kd6! Kf7 4.Ke5 Kg8 5.Kf6 e5 6.Be3 h5 ( 6...e4 7.Bh6 e3 8.Bxe3 h5 9.Bg5 { wins } ) 7.Bg5 e4 8.Kg6 h4 9.Bxh4 e3 10.Kf6 e2 11.Be1 Kh7 12.Kf7 { etc. } )

• 23 months ago

Another really fun article about "impossible" checkmates! Thanks!

• 23 months ago

In the first puzzle, what if black moves 2...e6+ or 2...e5 instead of 2...Kf7?

• 23 months ago

and hard

• 23 months ago

nice