Opening#!  No. 1

Opening#! No. 1

Nov 20, 2009, 1:48 AM |

One thing that's just as annoying to fall prey to as it is fulfilling to execute on another is... the checkmate in the opening!  I must confess, I've even myself fallen prey to the Fool's Mate, on more than one occasion!  I should note that the first time this happened I was very young and did not play chess often, and the second time it happened (it only happened twice before you make any snarky remarks) I had only recently started playing again.  Anyhow, I thought it might be prudent as well as fun to study checkmates in the opening and to share my findings.  I'm going to try to make a habit of posting about 3 opening checkmates from a variety of openings each Thursday.  No, I'm not going to make the Fool's Mate one of them... ever.  Oh and I will run out of material in a few weeks if all goes as planned.

Shall we begin with episode numero uno?  Ok, so the first checkmate I'd like to look at in the opening is

"Boden's Mate".

  This is a mating pattern that is unique in that it can result from more than one opening.  The rule of thumb here is that the mate is executed by two bishops on criss-crossing diagonals with any "escape" squares occupied by the losing king's own subjects!  Although it is named after Samuel Boden, who performed an early version of it in a game against a man known now only as R Schulder in London circa 1853.  I'm going to pretend the R stands for Rook, even though it bears no relevance to the game.  Here's the game they played, annotated by yours truly:



And yes, I found this on wikipedia... so sue me!  Don't poop on my parade, ok?  I went to the trouble of putting it into the interactive diagram format for you!  Anyway, here's another example from the Horowitz-Popert, Hamburg 1844 game.


Neat, huh?  Typically the Boden's mate occurs in similar fashion to these first examples, where the winner sets the mate by sacrificing their queen, usually on c3 or c6, after the losing king has castled queenside.  The most famous example is the following one:

"The Peruvian Immortal Game"


Guess what?  There are four more examples of this mate from wikipedia, and I'm going to post all of them!  These all deviate from the typical fashion in which the mate is delivered.  For example, in Alekhine-Vasic Banja Luka 1931:


Another example of "Boden's Mate" is 'from' Elyashov–NN, Paris 1948:


Great stuff.  An interesting game in which mate was delivered to a king on e7 took place between Zukertort and Anderssen in Breslau, circa 1865:


And finally, a very rare occurence of Boden's Mate in which no pieces needed to be sacrificed by white in order to checkmate a king on d8 happened between Pandolfini and an unnamed opponent.  Observe:

Well, at the outset I promised you three different checkmates in varying openings.  But this one on it's own was pretty exhausting Tongue out...  Plus, there was a variety of openings!  So I'm gonna leave it there this week.  Next week I promise 3 DISTINCT opening traps/checkmates.  I hope you all enjoyed it!