Studying Combinations: Lolli's Mate (CQL)

May 5, 2014, 9:00 PM |


As previously posted, here are the 9 games I found in Millionbase using my CQL script that searched for the combination featured above. It is from my own game where the mating side sacrifices a Rook in the corner to enable the Queen to slide in with tempo to create a variation of Lolli's Mate.  Employing Lolli's Mate requires an awareness of dark or light color square weakness and how to create or exploit them. The fianchetto-like pawn structure of the mated side can arise from an actual fianchetto or as a response to various mating attacks such as those focused on pinning the g-pawn and taking on g7 or g2. The mating side's pawn can arrive at the key f6 or f3 square in one of two ways:

Option One: The F-Pawn Advance

First, a classic from Blackburne.

Blackburne ( White ) achieves f6 by advancing e5 early and then pushing the f-pawn forward. Later, Blackburne forces his way through the h-file with a Rook battery, culminating in a Rook sacrifice on h8, allowing his Queen to swing around to g7 with tempo for Lolli's Mate.

Veroci Petronic  ( White )  provokes color weakness in Black's Kingside by pushing f5-f6, creating the Lolli's Mate pawn structure, after being allowed to bypass the e5 pawn earlier in the game. White is later able to punish Black's idea of h5 and Kh7 by taking on h5 with the Rook for check. Black misses the longest continuation of gxh5  ( checkmate in 10 )  and falls to checkmate in five with the Rook Sacrifice on h8 and the Queen walk to g7.

Vrkljan ( White ) creates a sideways variation of Lolli's Mate by taking advantage of the eighth rank. The pattern is achieved by a Rook sacrifice on h8 to give the Queen the tempo needed to swing into the key g7 square.

Winter ( White ) achieves f6 by exploiting a pin along the e-file, allowing him to bypass Black's e6 pawn. After opening the h-file, White is interrupted by Black's Queenside attack. After a successful defense, White uses a decoy move to lure Black' s Queen off the h-file and then follows through with the original plan of sacrificing a Rook on h8 (this time through the eighth rank instead of the h-file) to enable the Queen to slide into h6 to end with the one-two punch knockout.


Spielmann (White) advances the f-pawn to f6, after Black declines to capture with gxf5, and supports it. In the late game Black declines to exchange Queens and falls prey to the Rook sacrifice Lolli's Mate combination.


Vujic (White) showcases another example of the one-two knock out variation of the Rook sacrifice into Lolli's Mate combination. With a Rook controlling the backrank, and the Queen waiting in the wings on g5, White sacrifices a Rook on h8 to allow the Queen to swing in through the h-file for checkmate on g7. White, however, misses the faster checkmate with a different pattern on move 34.


Option Two: The Exchange on F6/F3

Occassionally the pawn that arrives at the key Lolli's Mate anchor position isn't the f-pawn, but another pawn (such as the e-pawn) that arrives there by finishing an exchange on f6 or f3. As it happened, this was how it played out in my game at the beginning of the post.


Johansen (White) advances the e-pawn to e5 and contrives a trade of Bishops on the f6 square to achieve the Lolli's Mate pawn structure against a Fianchettoed Kingside castle. However, Black's defense is accurate until he blunders on move 39 by opening up the h-file for White, allowing the Rook sacrifice into Lolli's Mate combination.


Egorova (Black) achieves Lolli's Mate after an oversight by White allows him to get his g-pawn onto the f-file. After the exchange of some Knights, Black pushes to f3 and then opens the h-file with the strategic Knight sacrifice on h2 and follows it up with a Rook lift to h6 to set up the winning Rook sacrifice combination through the open h-file.


Mesaros (White) turns Black's late game plans for King safety into a death trap by using a Rook sacrifice through the weak backrank to create a sideways variation of Lolli's Mate. White achieves the Lolli's Mate pawn structure by allowing an exchange of minor pieces on f6 after creating a significant Kingside space advantage in the French advance variation.



Lolli's Mate is a powerful tool to have in your toolkit when it comes to creating or exploiting dark or light color weaknesses. The key ingredients for this combination with the Rook sacrifice (Attraction Motif) are as follows:

  1. You have the Lolli's Mate pawn anchor in place wedged against a pseudo fianchetto (either by advancing or by contriving an exchange on the anchor square).
  2. You have the ability to open the h-file if it is closed. This could be a Rook battery, like in Blackburne's game, or a Knight sacrifice for the h-pawn, like in Egorova's game, etc.
  3. You have a Rook that can reach the h8 or h1 squares to give check and draw out the opponent's King. This can be along the backrank or the h-file.
  4. Your Queen is on a diagonal, file, or rank that grants one move access to h6+ or h3+ and it is undefended. The Rook sacrifice can be used to draw the King away from contesting that square, or you can support the square with a second piece like a Bishop, like in Blackburne's game. If another piece other than the King was defending the square, you can try the decoy tactic to lure it away (In a sense Winter's game featured a double decoy - the pawn decoy to lure the Queen away from the h-file, and the Rook sacrifice decoy to lure away the King from h6 and attract it to the h8 square).

CQL is a very powerful tool for studying combinations, so if you have the interest I highly recommend you take a look at it over at and poke around the samples. Feel free to see my other posts on CQL, such as this introduction, where I describe how to work with the program and how I am using it. If you know of a game I don't have with this combination, or find one with my script, I would love to see it, so post it in the comments.