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Legal's Mate

Aug 19, 2012, 1:51 PM 1

This mate has been written about over and over again, but unlike other basic mates, it is the first position I sat and stared at. It was the first series of moves I found to be intrinsically beautiful - a work of art on the chess board. I consider Legal's mate to be the most fun to play of the basic mates, simply because it involves mating with only minor pieces. The original Legal's Mate resulted from white ignoring black's pin of the white knight to the white queen, and moving the knight anyway. Black, lured by a quite natural greed, takes the queen - but the remaining moves result in an unavoidable checkmate. The psychology of the mate makes this one the most interesting to me of all the well-known mating patterns. Wikipedia's article on Legal's Mate suggests that this pattern does not require the sacrificing of the queen, but it is that sacrifice that makes the ending beautiful! Sometimes it can be dangerous to try to force this pattern, but even those games can still be interesting. I credit my high school friend and fellow chess player, known here as Omnipotent Entity, for being nice enough to allow me to post a game of ours as an example of this. Thanks buddy!

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