Magnus Carlsen And Anastasia

Magnus Carlsen And Anastasia

| 111 | Tactics

July was the month of chess weddings. Dutch super-GM Anish Giri got married to Georgian IM Sopiko Guramishvili, and Polish GM Radoslaw Wojtaszek tied the knot with Russian WGM Alina Kashlinskaya.

If the title of this article gave you hope for another mega-wedding in the making, I have to disappoint you. Anastasia is not Carlsen's girlfriend or a woman for that matter.  

Today, we are going to talk about a very neat tactical pattern called Anastasia's mate.

Giri and Guramishvili: photo by Joachim Schulze

According to Wikipedia, the checkmate got its name from the novel Anastasia und das Schachspiel by Johann Jakob Wilhelm Heinse.

Since I never read that novel, I cannot add much to the origin of this name, but instead I'll give you a bunch of puzzles to make sure that if you get an opportunity to deliver the Anastasia's mate in your own game, you'll never miss it!

First of all, let me show you how the Anastasia's mate looks:

And this is the classical Anastasia's mate: a rook checks the opponent's king along the a- or h-file, while a knight makes sure that the king has no escape!

The pattern is so common that you can find it in the games of chess amateurs as well as in the world champion's games. For example, the next old game by Emanuel Lasker is quoted in many chess manuals:



I was very excited to discover a game by the current world champion where he executed the Anastasia's mate (hence the title of the article!).

Of course you noticed that Carlsen checkmated his fellow GM Jon Ludwig Hammer when both of them were kids, since grandmasters usually don't fall for such a simple trick.

Here is the proof. The hanging g5 pawn in the following game might look tasty, but not to Vishy Anand!


Can you find why the former world champion decided to ignore it?


Here is how the real game ended:

Unlike Vishy Anand, the player who played Black in the following game was very naive if he thought that his 11-year-old opponent (and the future super-GM!) gave him a very strong pawn for free...

[Edit: This wasn't Sergey Karjakin actually, who already had a rating of 2338 in July 2001. The winner in this game is the Estonian player with the same name, Sergei (FIDE writes ‘i’ instead of ‘y’ for him!) Karjakin.]


In this article, I offended some people by calling the current women's world champion a b-word (that's "beautiful" if you didn't read the article). To avoid possible accusations that I show only men's games, and in the spirit of political correctness, here is a women's game that demonstrates the same pattern:



Finally, let me offer you the most elaborate Anastasia's mate from a game played by arguably the best chess composer of all time!


More from GM Gserper
Patterns, Patterns Everywhere!

Patterns, Patterns Everywhere!

How To Play Decisive Games

How To Play Decisive Games