Tactical Patterns Everyone Should Know: Semi-Smothered Mate
The combination we are going to discuss today happens mostly in openings. The key features of the pattern are:
- The opponent's king is surrounded by his own pieces that block all the escape squares except two.
- Your bishop covers two remaining escape squares.
- Your knight is ready to deliver a checkmate, but the key square is controlled by one of the opponent's pieces (usually by the queen).
- You deflect the opponent's piece and your knight delivers a checkmate.
The next memorable encounter demonstrates how it is done in the real game. It was the first ever win of the great Bent Larsen (then just a master) over a grandmaster. The victim, GM Ossip Bernstein, was celebrating his 72nd birthday that day. Look at the nice 'gift' Larsen presented him in their game:
Kenneth Rogoff is a famous economist at the International Monetary Fund. In the following position he shows his tactical skills (well, he is a grandmaster!)
Here's two more combinations-twins:
Finally, it should be mentioned that sometimes this combination doesn't lead to immediate checkmate, and yet, as a rule, the effect of this combo is devastating:
As you could see, the tactical pattern that we analyzed today is very simple and easy to remember. I am sure that when it happens in your game next time you are not going to miss your chance!
RELATED STUDY MATERIAL
- Read IM Jeremy Silman's series Beginner Mating Patterns Part 1, Part 2, Part 3;
- Watch IM Danny Rensch's video series "Tactical Patterns Everyone Must Know". Start with Part 1 here;
- Check out our videos on the legendary Danish GM Bent Larsen;
- Do FM Thomas Wolski's Chess Mentor Essential Checkmate Patterns;
- Improve your tactics even further!;