Finding Checkmate

Finding Checkmate

| 26 | For Beginners

How can you force checkmates and win games? NM Dane Mattson will show you how!

Not what you're looking for? Go back to the video guide.

Pawn Race: When both sides only have kings and pawns it's essential to count how many moves each side will take to promote. Usually whoever gets there first will win the game!

Checkmate In Two Moves:  It's helpful to look at all of the checks for each side and see if there are checkmates or other tactics available on the next move.

Don't Just Check: Attacking the king is great - but it's not always the right move. Be patient. Make sure that a check accomplishes a goal, like helping to mate or preventing your opponent from castling. If your opponent has a useful move to get out of check, it's probably not worth it.
King Safety:  Never forget to protect your most important piece, the king. A material advantage doesn't matter if there's checkmate. Be careful to defend potential checkmating squares near your king and to give your king escape routes if needed.

Weak Targets, f2 and f7:  The f2 and f7 pawns are only defended by the king in the starting position, so it can be subject to attack. If you can attack your opponent's f-pawn with two pieces when it's only defended by a king you can frequently win material or checkmate. A good defensive idea is to castle so that your rook defends the f-pawn.

Back Rank Checkmates: Castling is a good idea, but if the king is on the back rank without other pieces to defend it, it may be vulnerable to a back rank checkmate from a rook or queen. It's often a good idea to advance one pawn in front of the king to create an escape square and avoid mate.

What was your favorite way to checkmate? Let us know in the comments!

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