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Epaulette Mate

batgirl

In 1955 Irving Chernev published a curious little book called "1000 Best Short Games of Chess." It was a book of miniatures but one that grouped games, all good games, according to certain particular features that added interest and a bit of mystique.

 

Here are the games Chernev provided under the title "The Epaulette Mate."
(In an Epaulette Mate, the King is mated on an open file, from which he can't escape, by either a Rook or Queen)


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#597   Rautenberg-Nurnberg



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#705   Kramstov-Waxberg



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#797   Coultas-Stenhouse



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#827   Morphy-Amateur



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#952   Albin-Bernstein

 

Wind

That last mate is kinda funny!

White must've been a bit tired to fall for it.. 8-)

 

And does the second checkmate qualify as Epaulette as well? Or did Chernev mistakenly list it?

 

The first one was really hard to spot. He did see that after the capture, black queen would be blocked from defending the key square.

batgirl

I believe the 2nd mate, which differs from the rest by the proximity of the mating piece and the fact that the Queen herself blocks the escape squares rather than the usual Rooks - by my own definition given above, which seems similar to that of Chernev - is an Epaulette Mate. 

batgirl

The very first Epaulette Mate I ever encountered was in Morphy's Queen-Knight odds game given above. I remember being both surprised and delighted by the mate and it's been a favorite pattern of mine ever since.

Nckchrls

The mates where the king pretty much walks into it look particularly painful. By the examples, maybe castling is a simple immunization from the Epaulette Mate?

poucin

In France, we use 2 denominations

Epaulette mate :

Gueridon mate :

Don't be mistaken, the pawn has nothing to do with the names here, just to make it work.

U can see the difference, where king is a rank above the pieces for Gueridon.

Your 2nd games just goes into Gueridon's mate.

Gueridon can be seen as a special case of Epaulette.

I don't know if this feature is inherent to France but i have never seen it in "non french written" books.

MickinMD
jengaias wrote:

Gueridon checkmate is also known as Swallow's tail checkmate.

The second is not Epaulette.

They are both mentioned in the book "The Art of Checkmate" written by Renaud , Kahn and Taylor. 

It's one of the many mistakes in Chernev's books.

I picked that up as well: #705 is a Swallow's Tail Mate, not an Epaulette Mate.  Note that epaulettes are military designations of rank that sit on top of each shoulder - alongside, not behind the head.

Chesstempo says:

Mate - Epaulette

An Epaulette mate involves a queen or rook delivering mate, while the two escape squares parallel to the king are blocked by the king's own pieces preventing escape.

Mate - Swallow's Tail

The swallow's tail mate occurs when a queen delivers mate against the opponent king while protected by another piece. The queen is directly adjacent to the king, and the king is unable to escape due to its own pieces (typically rooks) blocking the two diagonal escape routes.

kingfordesert

!!

batgirl
jengaias wrote:

Gueridon checkmate is also known as Swallow's tail checkmate.

The second is not Epaulette.

They are both mentioned in the book "The Art of Checkmate" written by Renaud , Kahn and Taylor. 

It's one of the many mistakes in Chernev's books.

Yes. It seems to be a "Gueridon Mate."  ("Art of Checkmate" 1962 edition calls it that.)
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"Art of Checkmate" page 45


That said, it doesn't seem to be a mistake at all on Chernev's part.  Curious about the names, I tried to trace them back.  The first mention of Epaulette Mate I could find was in 1938.  In the 1950s the term started showing up in many places. This gives me the impression that even Epaulette Mate wasn't a widely accepted term until the 1950s.  Named mates in general have, in fact, gone through many changes up til today.

Now the term "Gueridon Mate" doesn't show up anywhere I looked until after the publication of "Art of Checkmate" in 1962. The term "Swallow's Tail Mate" seems to have come even later.
In fact, "Chess Review" in January 1963 seems to view "Gueridon Mate" as a new term:

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This seems to imply that what is now the "Gueridon/Gueridon s Mate" or "Swallow's Tail Mate" was once considered a subset of the Epaulette Mate.  So when Chernev wrote "1000 Best Short Games of Chess" in 1955, he probably used the then-acceptable term "Epaulette Mate" for both the pure form and the pseudo form.

 

Here is game #597 as published in "Chess Review" in 1968.  Mote they call it a "double-epaulette mate."  I have no idea what that means.
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Pulpofeira

Epaulette is mate "de las charreteras" here.

batgirl

Also in "Chess Review" also in Jan. 1963, shortly after the publication of "Art of Checkmate" we see, preceding a game (actually a position):

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poucin

 thx a lot batgirl.

Double epaulette is just the fact that king here is blocked by twin rooks+ twin pawns : we have in fact epaulette+gueridon features at same time.

About names (epaulette/gueridon), just to make a recall : Kahn and Renaud where french.

They wrote several books together, and "l'art de faire mat" was first edited in 1947, then translated in english in 1953.

They explain gueridon name like this (i have an english edition published in 1962):

"Guéridon in french means an occasionnal table, and it is thus called because, as will be seen inthe next diagram, the black and white pieces form a rough sketch of a small table".

I guess this explaination is a special add from the translator(s).

The diagram is this one :

 

batgirl

The same issue of "Chess Review" gives the following Gueridon Mate, calling it a "Vertical Epaulette Mate"

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batgirl

IM poucin,  thanks for those details.   I only knew of the 1962 English version and since the writers of "Chess Review" mention that year publication and credit it for defining that mate as Gueridon Mate, I never tried to find an earlier version in any language.

batgirl

Epaulette Mates:

 


 
 
 


 

A "Pseudo-Epaulette Mate"

 

batgirl
jengaias wrote:

I don't think any of these qualify as Epaulette.

In what ways?

batgirl

 Fair enough.

batgirl

Epaulette Mate:

 

btickler
batgirl wrote:
jengaias wrote:

I don't think any of these qualify as Epaulette.

In what ways?

I think they fit the letter of the law, but I also believe that the original term was coined because a mate that consists not just of the king being trapped by his own pieces side by side, but by the same pieces (especially two rooks), actually looks like epaulets.

If someone is intuiting this "spirit of the law" interpretation, then a mate with dissimilar pieces flanking seems off.  

In a similar way, some people may intuitively feel that a "pure" epaulet mate includes the mated player to have been walked into a position where the queen mates with only the "assistance" of the mated player's own "epaulets" (a characteristic shared with the Swallow's Tail mate pattern)...so, a position where another piece being pinned etc. is part of the mating net will not seem like a "pure" epaulet mate.

I'm sure some people could even feel that it needs to be even more pure, for example, that an epaulet mate on a file is a "sideways epaulet" mate because the head and shoulders are not horizontal.

Great thread.

batgirl

IM poucin seems to give some clarity with his explanation of "double-epaulette" as the King flanked by 2 Rooks. That visual is, most liely, how the term came into play.  The term "Epaulette Mate" seems to have been developmental and at first might have encompassed both Gueridon Mate and Epaulette Mate, but became more focused with time.  I suspect one could really get specific and give names to individual forms of Epaulette Mate but somehow, to me at least, this complication seems somewhat counter-productive to remembering the mating themes- which is the main purpose in identifying them to begin with.. But I agree, there are purists who crave such things.

Thanks for the input.