Winning with stalemate

Winning with stalemate

Feb 5, 2012, 3:33 AM |

If you are looking for a solution of a chess problem of the kind 'White to move, mate in x' it helps often to start with to look:

  1. for Black moves;
  2. which White piece is responsible for attacking which field around the Black king.

Very often most Black moves are loosing, words like stalemate and zugzwang should cross your mind.

Let's have a look to a mate in 6 problem. White is to move, but let us look for possible Black moves.

Do you agree that:

  • Black's king is stuck in the middle;
  • The pawns on a3, f5, f4 and h5 are blocked;
  • 1...e6 2.Qxb7 wins fast (it is just not a stalemate);
  • 1... g5 is a little disturbing. After a closer look you may find out that it is now a mate in 6 after 2. hxg5 h4 3. g6 h3 4. g7 h2 5. g8=Q Qc6 making it all together a mate-in-7 solution;
  • Black's queen cannot move as she is responsible for the defence against Qxe7# and Td5#


Did you look at the variation with 3...Qc6? Did you recognize the Swallow-tail, Quéridon? If so I guess you won't have much problems to solve the next mat in 4 problem:


btw. Of course the title of this piece, 'winning by stalemate' is according the chess rules impossible. A stalemate is a draw. In high brow chess terms the title should be something like: 'playing with tempos' or 'playing on Zugzwang'

btw. Stalemate Patterns! of Alex Ding is a very good article on about our subject

btw. There are several articles about triangulation on This one of Renegade131 is a basic explanation and this one of nimzovich fits perfect to this article.

btw. You can find on several articles about mating patterns in general and the Swallow Tail or Quéridon in special. See f.e. 'Mating Patters #1 Gueridon's Mate' and the 30 articles on simple mate patterns of airbus 



wvo 5-2-2012. vs 2.21 tags: stalemate, Zugzwang, triangulation, mating pattern, Swallow-tail, Quéridon