Basic Checkmates: The Queen Dance
The queen is my favourite piece. She is the most powerful piece on the board; the king is the most important, but the queen is more powerful than anybody. Do you know how many different directions she can move?
That's right! She can move in 8 different directions. This makes her perfect for creating checkmates.
When you get down to the end of a chess game and you have one queen left to nothing, there is a really simple pattern to trap and checkmate the king. The queen can ALMOST do it herself, but she does need the help of her king. Can you find two different checkmates here?
So, how do we make this happen? Simple: We do the Queen Dance! Do you know how to waltz?
Let's get into dancing position. First we try to get our queen a knight's distance away from the king. (Psst! The queen does not MOVE like a knight, of course!)
Now we are ready to boogie! Wherever the king goes, the queen follows! Let's take a look.
Slowly, the queen is trapping the king. He is going closer and closer to the corner. Can you do the next move?
You have to stop dancing now. Do you know why? Have you heard of stalemate before? A stalemate means you get only half of a point: no piece can move, but the king is NOT IN CHECK! This is bad news for black here. I mean, would you want half of a cookie or a whole cookie? Half of a toy or the whole toy? 50 cents or a dollar? If you're winning, you want the whole point, the checkmate. (Ok, if you're losing, probably half a cookie is better than nothing.)
Let's review really quickly:
1. Get the queen a knight's distance away.
2. Start dancing! Wherever the king goes, the queen follows!
3. When the king touches the corner, RED FLASHING LIGHTS go off in your head. Bring in the king!
4. When your king is close enough (remember, two kings never touch--one has stinky feet and the other has stinky breath--they can never be next to each other), there should be a checkmate sandwich in one move!
Hmm...I'm ready for a sandwich myself! Practice this checkmate with your friends, and remember: stalemate is super stinky if you're winning. Have fun dancing! Check back for more basic checkmates...