A Checkmate Pattern

Aug 19, 2009, 1:15 PM |

When sifting through the archives of forgotten webpages, I found an interesting column on a certain checkmate pattern, which should be familiar to most of you. Today I present the positions that appear in that column, as puzzles for you to solve, so that you can hone your tactical skills.

But first, we shall take a quick glance at the fundemental position. The pattern involves the queen on h6, removing the enemy king's escape squares, a bishop controlling the b1-h7 diagonal, and a pawn on f7. Note that in this 'skeletal' position, there is a faster mate by Bh1, winning by zugzwang, but we must ignore this to see our pattern.


Be sure to get that position firmly planted in your brain! Now we move on to our first puzzle. How can white win material by threatening to employ the mating pattern shown above?

Hopefully you got that puzzle correct! If so, you are seeing ways to create the skeletal position by using clever moves, in this case a sacrifice. This ability is key- you can't expect forced checkmates to just drop into your lap.

If you solved that puzzle, it means that not only do you have a nice ability to spot sacrifices that lead to attacks, but also that you can spot variations on a theme. In that case, the bishop is delivering mate rather than the queen, but we can see that it is a similar position.

I now leave you with a final puzzle, which is taken from Vukovic's The Art Of Attack, which is a book I recommend purchasing. By creating the potential to bring our skeletal position to life, you can force black to allow you victory.