The Deadliest Chess Pattern

The Deadliest Chess Pattern

| 33 | Tactics

There are many patterns in chess which you should know if you want to become strong. I have discussed many of them in this column through the years. Today, I'll talk about the deadliest chess pattern, the one that usually finishes the game instantly. Incidentally, it was one of the first patterns I learned.

I had just joined a chess section at the Pioneer Palace and was playing my game when I encountered a big problem. Of course, I don't remember the whole position, but the most important part looked like this: 

I kept staring at the position until our coach came to my board and asked me what I was thinking about for so long. I explained that I saw the threat of Qg7 checkmate, but I didn't see how to stop it. Our coach smiled and said that I couldn't find any defense because there was none! He also recommended that I remember this important mating pattern.

Stash that one in the ole memory hole!

I learned that in this pattern the queen can be assisted by a pawn, knight, bishop or even a king! Yes, as improbable as it might sound, a king can help your attack in a middle game as well. No game illustrates this idea better than the following justly famous game.

Notice that the queen can create this pattern from both the f6- and h6-squares. The result is equally deadly.

Since all strong chess players know this basic mating motif well, they will never allow it voluntarily. Usually you have to execute a combination to get this deadly pattern.

Sometimes the defender can avoid a checkmate, but the price paid is usually very high.

A bizarre case of mutual '"chess blindness" struck in the following game which I analyzed in an old article. Two very strong chess players missed this basic mating pattern.

Black missed this simple combination but won the game nevertheless.

Here is another beautiful game from my article about women in chess.

The legendary GM Nona Gaprindashvili knows her deadly mating patterns. | Photo Dutch National Archives.

As you can see, this deadly pattern is both very simple and powerful. Now test your familiarity by finding the best moves in the following positions.

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