The 'Impossible' Checkmate, Part Two

The 'Impossible' Checkmate, Part Two

52 | Strategy

Last week we discussed the 'impossible' checkmate with just a king and a knight and today we'll analyze a similar 'impossible' checkmate with a king and a bishop. As all of you know, king + bishop cannot checkmate a lone king.  But if you add some pawns and pieces that will blockade the king's escape squares, the 'impossible' checkmate becomes a reality! 

I still remember the embarrassment I experienced while solving one of my first chess homework tasks. I just joined my chess club and was pretty much a beginner. So in the next position which I was supposed to solve, I discarded all the moves that led to losing my last pawn. Because if you lose that pawn, then you are left with just a king and a bishop which is an instant draw, right? Boy, did I feel stupid when our coach showed me the solution!

(Try to solve this cute puzzle).

Is this elegant pattern very important for a tournament player? I wish I could say yes, for the sake of the sheer beauty of the checkmating pattern, but unfortunately, the answer is 'no'. I never seen any tournament game finished this way. As a matter of fact, the closest combination I can remember is this:

As much as I like the finish of the game, I have my doubts. In fact I am almost 100 percent sure that the position is composed. First of all, it doesn't look like a position from a practical game to me (unless they played Fischerrandom in the 19th century). Besides, if it was indeed a real game, they would definitely have saved the score, but even mighty Google couldn't help me to discover the first part of this 'game'. My only hope is that batgirl (the best expert in chess history on this site) could provide some info on the subject.

So, since this checkmating pattern has almost no chance to appear in your games, let's treat it as a beautiful fairy-tale. And therefore, for your enjoyment and amusement I want to provide two more studies by the famous Russian chess composer Alexey Troitsky.

Try to solve the next tricky puzzle (it is a finish of another Troitsky's masterpiece):

I hope you enjoyed our 'impossible' checkmates series!


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