King Hunts: Mating on the Opposite Rank - Part 1

King Hunts: Mating on the Opposite Rank - Part 1

NM SamCopeland
Apr 7, 2015, 11:30 AM |

There is probably nothing more exciting in chess than king hunts. Usually a king hunt involves sacrificing material (often a lot) to extract the opponent's king. Personally, I think it's only really a king hunt if the king is forced out in front of the opponent's pawns. Also, if the king is immediately mated in front of his pawns then I think it is more of an execution than a full on hunt. For it to be a hunt, the king must flee.

There is a special and very rare category of king hunt in which the opponent's king flees all the way to the opposite rank. This has happened only a few times in chess history. Personally, I'm aware of about 15 games where this has happened, and I thought I'd share the ones of which I know Laughing

I'd like to start with my personal favorite king hunt of all time. Not only is this one of my favorite king hunts, it is one of my favorite games. As a correspondence game, the level of play is incredibly high. Personally, I cannot detect a serious mistake by either player after move 15; it seems that by that ponit Black is already lost Surprised White plays with remarkable accuracy in bringing down the black king as it ventures across the board.

Kopylov - Koroliov

Another great correspondence king hunt is the following. Moser has no other games in the record that I am aware of, but a game like this is sure to keep one in memory.

Moser - Underwood

Having shared two correspondence games, I thought that I would present the following games in historical order. Generally, king hunts are relatively common in the 1800's, but I have seen more cases of that era where the king is driven to the queenside rather than to the opposite side of the board. The oldest king hunt I know of in which the king hunt drove the king all the way to the opposite side is the following by two players one may have heard of.

P. Morphy - A. Morphy

Another aged example is this game played by the second world champion in a simul. According to TheFocus on ChessGames, Gooding was woman. If so, this is also the oldest game I know of played by a female player. That is most likely simple ignorance on my part. Of course, according to Shatranj legend, one of the most famous ancient problems is named after a female player, Dilaram. However, prior to 1900 I confess I am ignorant of any games by female players.

Lasker - Gooding

Probably the most famous king hunt of all time is the following played by another Lasker - a distant relation of Emmanuel - Edward.

Lasker - Thomas

A nearly identical game is the following. This one seems composed to me. In this one, it is Black to play and he must find a slightly different path than Edward Lasker to mate. Composed or not, it is nice to see the variation.

NN - Crespeaux

Finally, I'd like to close part 1 with the following game which remains in the tradition of the romantic era. In fact, Richter seems to get quite carried away with the romanticism, but the game at least remains fun throughout!

Richter - Kretschmar


The King Hunt by Nunn and Cozens

Storming the Barricades by Christiansen