The 'Impossible' Checkmate

  • GM Gserper
  • | Dec 15, 2013
  • | 42417 views
  • | 97 comments

What is an impossible checkmate? If you open any book for beginners it will inform you that a king and a lonely knight cannot checkmate an opponent's king. Moreover, if you only have a king and a knight and your opponent lost on time in an Internet blitz game, you'll get a message on many playing servers that your opponent has lost on time but it is still a draw due to the insufficient mating material. Of course you can checkmate your opponent with a lonely knight, but your opponent needs to have some pawns or pieces. Here is one of the oldest chess positions that proves the point:

This is probably the first known example of so-called smothered checkmate. This pattern is well known and relatively popular in practical games, but I have never seen a position from a real game where the smothered checkmate would be delivered by the last knight where the winner has no other pawns or pieces (except a king) left on the board.

Now let's take a look at another 'golden' oldie:


It is interesting to note that this position is winning for White even if it is Black to move:

If you say that this kind of a position can never happen in a real tournament game, then I would respectfully disagree.  Here is the game played in one of our local tournaments. I doubt that any of the opponents is going to be particularly proud of this game, so I will withdraw their names.  

In conclusion, let me offer you a really tough puzzle where White at the end checkmates the black king with his lonely knight.

To be continued...


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Comments


  • 2 years ago

    aro327

  • 2 years ago

    md_azizian

    In a helpmate the two sides cooperate to help White mate Black. Black starts and White mates Black on his sixth move (so both White and Black make six moves).


    Remember that both sides are playing to help White deliver mate, and good luck!

  • 2 years ago

    OgoOgo

    I see, take the knight is what you mean.

  • 2 years ago

    ya_ahmadi

    so nice Wink

  • 2 years ago

    LokiChess

    dadyrocks, cause white will play Qe1 and get the black queen. Then it is white queen versus black knight - the outcome is quite predictable, right?

  • 2 years ago

    ravirochlani2812000

    dadyrocks said why the king should not beat kninght at kxe3. but in next chance white should give a check to queen and have blacks queen

  • 2 years ago

    pastoryoshi

    OgoOgo - with some salt and pepper, and a little cumin ; )

  • 2 years ago

    arclight_7

    "OgoOgo...Qf1+.... if the black king eats the knight.Surprised

  • 2 years ago

    OgoOgo

    @arclight_7 How can you eat a knight?

  • 2 years ago

    jeb083079

    great info! 

  • 2 years ago

    matubadu1

    daddyrocks whynot was the ?you like your blk queen yes or no?a check looses it

  • 2 years ago

    titchess

    [COMMENT DELETED]
  • 2 years ago

    msvkv

    good one..

  • 2 years ago

    arclight_7

    @dadyrocks --- if you eat the knight, then... its a poor neglected black queen inside the sack :)

  • 2 years ago

    aro327

    H1. im dyslexic today. black king instead of pushing pawn and letting knight capture. why not king to H1 

  • 2 years ago

    3point14times2

    Hmm, thats interesting

  • 2 years ago

    zorba_ca

    nice call, kamouro

  • 2 years ago

    pastoryoshi

    aro327 in the second example neither K can move to h8, which example are you referring to?

  • 2 years ago

    aro327

    how is the second example a win for white. black can move 2. kh8?

  • 2 years ago

    ToTally_n00by

    because black will lose queen for knight at Qe1

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