Exclusively Checkmates

Exclusively Checkmates

Are you ready to master checkmate patterns?

Do you sometimes stumble at the finish line when trying to checkmate the opponent? Do you want to improve your checkmating abilities? Then this is the course for you! This module provides a series of checkmate problems to introduce you to all of the well known checkmating patterns. Practice tactics and become a checkmating pro! Start improving your checkmating abilities today!

Here is what you will learn:

  • Familiarize yourself with every essential checkmate.
  • Practice calculating tactics.
  • Learn to hunt down your opponent's king.

A First Step

A First Step

Start finding checkmates.
1 Challenge
A Common Denouement

A Common Denouement

Look for a common checkmate.
1 Challenge
Adding a Wrinkle

Adding a Wrinkle

Find another checkmate.
1 Challenge
Philidor's Legacy

Philidor's Legacy

Practice a classic smothered mate tactic.
3 Challenges
Materialistic

Materialistic

Try to win material.
1 Challenge
Staying Ahead

Staying Ahead

What do you do when you're ahead in material?
1 Challenge
Run for a Score

Run for a Score

How do you win a king and pawn ending?
1 Challenge
Metamorphosis

Metamorphosis

Practice promoting.
1 Challenge
Essence

Essence

Find a common checkmate.
1 Challenge
Fool's Mate

Fool's Mate

This position is known as the "Fool's Mate". Some authors prefer to call it the two-move checkmate game: 1.f3? e5 2.g4??.
1 Challenge
Finger Fehler Mate

Finger Fehler Mate

This position is known as the Finger Fehler Mate. (Fehler means mistake in German.) It occurs in the Center Counter Defense after the moves: 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5; White unfortunately touched the king, and Black forced him to apply the touched piece rule: 3.Ke2??
1 Challenge
Scholar's Mate

Scholar's Mate

This position is known as the Scholar's Mate. Some authors prefer to call it the four-move checkmate game. One typical example of this famous mate (between beginners!) occurs in the Bishop Opening after the moves: 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Qf3 Nd4?? (correct was 3...Nf6).
1 Challenge
Greedy?

Greedy?

This position is totally won for Black. It originates from the following opening trap in the Italian Game: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nd4?! (With this strange move Black sets up the trap...) 4.Nxe5?? (This is a greedy capture which plans a knight fork on f7. White should instead castle or trade the knights off) 4...Qg5!! 5.Nxf7?? (consistent but fatal!) 5...Qxg2 6.Rf1 Qxe4+ 7.Be2.
1 Challenge
A Tricky Move

A Tricky Move

Black just fell for White's opening trap. This position occurs in the Caro-Kan Defense after the moves: 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Qe2?! White sets up the trap and Black falls into it!: 5...Ngf6?? White can now deliver mate in one move.
1 Challenge
A Wandering King

A Wandering King

Black's king just fled into the open after White's sacrificial attack on f7 in the Modern Defense.
1 Challenge
King in Disarray

King in Disarray

White thought that he had survived the opening, but Black has a most unpleasant surprise in store!
1 Challenge
Fried Liver!

Fried Liver!

Black fell for one of the numerous pitfalls of the Fried Liver Attack. White can give mate in one move!
1 Challenge
A Gambitted King!

A Gambitted King!

In the King's Gambit White sacrifices a pawn for a lead in development and a strong attack, however, here White just gambitted his king away.
1 Challenge
Legal's Mate

Legal's Mate

Never overestimate the power of a pin! Sir Kermur de Legal was Philidor's chess teacher and it is said that as a youngster Philidor succumbed to this pitfall while playing against Legal! After the moves 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 d6?! 4.Nc3 h6? 5.d4 Bg4 6.dxe5 Nxe5?? (Exploiting the pin?!) 7.Nxe5!! Bxd1?? (Black can't believe his luck and candidly captures the queen!) 8.Bxf7+ Ke7, White now checkmates in one move!
1 Challenge
King Stuck in the Center of the Board

King Stuck in the Center of the Board

White suffers a huge material disadvantage. Fortunately there is a clear-cut way to take advantage of the poor disposition of the Black forces. White now checkmates in one move!
1 Challenge
A Deadly Trek

A Deadly Trek

The Black king went for a deadly trek across the board.
1 Challenge
A Cornered King

A Cornered King

This minor piece mate is most typical. Black mates in one move!
1 Challenge
A Bad Convergence!

A Bad Convergence!

White has sacrificed the house to reach this position. White mates in one move!
1 Challenge
The King Catches a Bad Cold!

The King Catches a Bad Cold!

White's lead in development + Black's exposed king = Mate in one move!
1 Challenge
Boden's Mate

Boden's Mate

This characteristic mate is known as "Boden's mate".
1 Challenge
A Weak Spot!

A Weak Spot!

Black sacrificed two minor pieces to expose White's castled position. White's king has no more defenders ....
1 Challenge
A Basic Weakness!

A Basic Weakness!

Black's king is poorly defended.
1 Challenge
A King in Trouble!

A King in Trouble!

Black has a huge material advantage, but it is White's move.
1 Challenge
Cornered King

Cornered King

White is up a queen for a rook, the his king is too exposed.
1 Challenge
Poor King

Poor King

Black is a queen ahead but material is not everything!
1 Challenge
Open lines to the king

Open lines to the king

Black is a bishop ahead, but his king is too exposed!
1 Challenge
King in the Center

King in the Center

Black's exposed king and White's lead in development more than compensate for the small material deficit!
1 Challenge
An Open Castle

An Open Castle

It is dangerous to castle on a wing where the pawn shield offers reduced protection!
1 Challenge
King in trouble

King in trouble

Black has enough forces to finish the attack.
1 Challenge
Defenseless king

Defenseless king

This is the conclusion of a successful attack on the king.
1 Challenge
Mating minors

Mating minors

Black brings about a swift conclusion to the attack in this middlegame without queens.
1 Challenge
Unlucky king

Unlucky king

White's king sits on the only square on the chessboard to allow checkmate in one move!
1 Challenge
Wandering king

Wandering king

Black sacrificed a queen to attract the White king deep into his camp.
1 Challenge
A king left to his fate

A king left to his fate

Black just went on a rampage, taking away almost all of White's pieces. Unfortunately, Black forgot an important detail.
1 Challenge
Traffic jam

Traffic jam

Black is a queen up, but White has a raging attack.
1 Challenge
Weak line

Weak line

Black just grabbed the White queen on h5. But White has an unpleasant surprise in store.
1 Challenge
Cutting Edge

Cutting Edge

A series of exchanges produced this position. Black expected to hold this endgame, but forgot about White's sharp answer.
1 Challenge
Inside the fort

Inside the fort

Black thought that everything was under control, since White's queen and bishop are threatened, but...
1 Challenge
Behind in development

Behind in development

White is up a queen for a rook, but the development leaves a lot to be desired. King safety proves to be an even more serious problem!
1 Challenge
Smothered

Smothered

Black gave up a bishop to reach this position. What is the follow-up?
1 Challenge
Unsafe king

Unsafe king

White is proud of the queen invasion to g7 and hopes to grab your h8-rook. But White's king is unsafe.
1 Challenge
Trapped king

Trapped king

Everything is set for the mate
1 Challenge
Crossfire

Crossfire

It would appear that everything is safe.
1 Challenge
Sneaky mate

Sneaky mate

White sacrificed queen and knight to reach this position. Figure out why!
1 Challenge
Poorly Guarded Castled Position

Poorly Guarded Castled Position

White has invested two minor pieces to open up Black's castled position. How will you conclude the game?
1 Challenge
The end of the road!

The end of the road!

The Black king went for a "health walk" across the board. How does White "cure" the Black monarch for good?
1 Challenge
A "centralized" king!

A "centralized" king!

With the Black king in the middle of the board, White has good reasons to be optimistic. What is the swiftest solution?
1 Challenge
King on the edge!

King on the edge!

White sacrificed his queen to force the king deep into his camp. It's time to end the king's walk.
1 Challenge
King too exposed!

King too exposed!

White is down a queen, but the Black king is so exposed that White has no reason to worry! The only difficulty is finding the final check!
1 Challenge
Minor problem on the dark squares

Minor problem on the dark squares

White is a queen down, but the weakness of the dark squares around the Black king enables White to execute the Black king in short order.
2 Challenges
Strength of the Initiative

Strength of the Initiative

The strength of Black's initiative is such that the material imbalance is irrelevant. Black can force a quick resolution.
2 Challenges
Dark squares

Dark squares

Black is down two minor pieces, but the weakness of the dark squares and the exposed position of the White king allow Black to quickly decide the issue.
2 Challenges
Invaders!

Invaders!

Black lost a minor piece for a pawn, but it doesn't take an expert to see that White is totally routed! Black's queen and knight have invaded White's camp! It should not take Black too long to conclude the game.
2 Challenges
Weak light squares!

Weak light squares!

White has won some material, but all valuable pieces are hiding in corners far from the king. Black's pieces, on the other hand, display a much superior example of teamwork.
2 Challenges
Deadly battery!

Deadly battery!

The material imbalance is such that unless White finds some clever move, Black will ultimately prevail! Find the way to use a deadly battery to turn the tables!
2 Challenges
Exposed spot!

Exposed spot!

White sacrificed the queen to attract the Black king to an exposed spot. White has many tempting continuations, but which is the correct one?
2 Challenges
Brutal awakening!

Brutal awakening!

Black made a few too many queen moves in this opening! While enjoying a large material edge, Black's pieces are undeveloped and, in the case of the Black queen, decentralized.
2 Challenges
Weak kingside!

Weak kingside!

Black has developed most of the pieces, but has left the king in the middle of the board. White's pieces are ready to jump into action.
2 Challenges
Gasping King

Gasping King

White sacrificed the queen to deprive the Black sovereign of breathing room. How can White exploit the Black king's unfortunate state of affairs?
2 Challenges
Deadly pin!

Deadly pin!

Black has sacrificed the queen to reach this position. White's king appears to be safe; however, a deadly pin will be White's undoing.
2 Challenges
Weak kingside

Weak kingside

White gave the queen away to decisively weaken Black's kingside. White has a great lead in development. However, the material disadvantage is such that White must swiftly conclude, otherwise Black's forces will ultimately prevail!
2 Challenges
Light Square Weakness

Light Square Weakness

White has sacrificed a rook to force the Black king to g6 and to decisively weaken the light squares on Black's kingside. How can White turn these assets into something more tangible?
2 Challenges
Surprise, surprise!

Surprise, surprise!

White is a queen down, but Black's weakened kingside and the unfortunate position of Black's defensive forces allow White to conclude the game swiftly!
2 Challenges
Crossfire!

Crossfire!

One often likes to sacrifice material to open the e-file against an uncastled king. Here White only had to give a knight and two pawns, but is much better developed.
2 Challenges
Black strikes first!

Black strikes first!

Black's position seems like a sad state of affairs. Black is a piece down, the rook on h8 and the queen are under attack, and the king is exposed on d8. Fortunately for Black there is a way to turn the tables, since it is Black's move!
2 Challenges
Classical conclusion!

Classical conclusion!

White sacrificed a minor piece to reach this typical attack on the kingside. Black is totally undeveloped while the king is not defended.
2 Challenges
Powerless army!

Powerless army!

White went on a rampage with the lone queen, grabbing pieces in Black's camp. This severely neglected both development and king safety! It almost never succeeds to attack with only one or two pieces. All Black has to do now is to tie the knot around White's king.
2 Challenges
Poor shelter

Poor shelter

White gave up queen and knight for this mating attack. The d8-square proves to be a poor shelter for the Black king. How should White proceed?
2 Challenges
No defense!

No defense!

White sacrificed heavily to reach this setting. Black's king safety is terrible as there are too many open lines leading to the defenseless monarch.
2 Challenges
Sitting duck!

Sitting duck!

Considering the sitting duck on d7, White has obviously a very good game! The difficulty is the wide choice of apparently strong continuations. Which is the correct one?
2 Challenges
Doomed monarch!

Doomed monarch!

White sacrificed heavily to reach this position. Black's sovereign is doomed! How will you conclude the attack?
2 Challenges
Soaring rook!

Soaring rook!

White has sacrificed the queen to decisively weaken Black's dark squares on the kingside.
2 Challenges
Basic Mating Pattern: Damiano's Mate

Basic Mating Pattern: Damiano's Mate

Things have not been going well for White, who is down a whole bishop. However, Heaven has opened its gates and handed White a rare chance for salvation! Can you find it?
2 Challenges
Up Close and Personal

Up Close and Personal

White has just sacrificed a piece to force the Black queen to a poor square. As Black is way ahead in material, White must be careful to continue the attack quickly and correctly before Black gets a chance to move pieces to the aid of the king.
2 Challenges
Basic Mating Pattern: Back Rank Mate

Basic Mating Pattern: Back Rank Mate

Black's back rank appears to be defended but White shows this assumption to be false.
2 Challenges
Basic Mating Patterns: Dark-square knockout

Basic Mating Patterns: Dark-square knockout

The game is quite even except that Black has weakened the dark squares on the kingside by playing ...g7-g6 at some stage of the game. The holes that result on f6 and h6 turn out to be comfortable homes for the White pieces.
1 Challenge
Basic Mating Pattern: Discovered checkmate

Basic Mating Pattern: Discovered checkmate

Black is a rook ahead, but the two remaining White pieces, the bishop and rook, are bearing down on the Black King. This problem demonstrates the power of a discovered check. It also demonstrates the long-range abilities of a bishop.
2 Challenges
Basic Mating Pattern: Arabian Mate

Basic Mating Pattern: Arabian Mate

This position features a mate that was first recorded in a ninth century Arabic manuscript! Hence the name: the Arabian Mate.
2 Challenges
Basic Mating Pattern: More Dark Squared Attacks

Basic Mating Pattern: More Dark Squared Attacks

Various mating possibilities often exist whenever a kingside pawn structure has holes on f6 and h6. This is clearly something you want to avoid in your own position and create in your opponent's.
2 Challenges
Basic Mating Patterns: Lack of King moves

Basic Mating Patterns: Lack of King moves

White is so far behind in material that one would normally give up. However, the Black king has no moves, so any check will result in a mate.
1 Challenge
Basic Mating Pattern: A variation of backrank mate

Basic Mating Pattern: A variation of backrank mate

Having two rooks doubled on the seventh is the most powerful way to make use of the rooks' capabilities. Mating possibilities abound, especially if the back rank is not adequately defended.
3 Challenges
Basic Mating Pattern: Smothered Mate

Basic Mating Pattern: Smothered Mate

This problem shows that a mate defies all material considerations. You can be down a queen and two rooks and still mate your opponent with a lone pawn or knight.
2 Challenges
Basic Mating Pattern: Dark square weakness

Basic Mating Pattern: Dark square weakness

Both sides have developed most of their forces, but White has managed to get a bit closer to the Black king. To make matters worse, the dark-squares around the Black monarch are without protection and, as a result, are vulnerable to infiltration by White pieces.
2 Challenges
Basic Mating Patterns: Tropical punch on dark-squares

Basic Mating Patterns: Tropical punch on dark-squares

Two of the White pieces are surrounding the Black king for a neat mating setup.
2 Challenges
Basic Mating Pattern: Pawn Mate

Basic Mating Pattern: Pawn Mate

With an extra rook and bishop, it looks like Black must win. However, White has three pieces surrounding the Black king (the rook on f2, pawn on g5 and queen on h6) and is able to turn this fact into a mating attack. Once again we are shown that all material considerations become useless if your king gets mated.
2 Challenges
Basic Checkmating Pattern: Two Rooks on the Seventh Rank

Basic Checkmating Pattern: Two Rooks on the Seventh Rank

It is known that a rook's ultimate home is on the seventh rank where it eyes the opponent's pawns and traps the opposing king on its first rank. It stands to reason that if one rook is strong on the seventh, then two rooks must be even better!
3 Challenges
Basic Mating Pattern-The Combined Wonders of Two Rooks

Basic Mating Pattern-The Combined Wonders of Two Rooks

Both kings are being threatened by the opposing rooks. This means that whoever has the first move, also has the advantage, since the first move will enable you to guide the flow of the game.
3 Challenges
Basic Mating Pattern: Swallow's Tail Mate

Basic Mating Pattern: Swallow's Tail Mate

Not only is White far behind in material, Black threatens mate in a variety of ways. This would be a good time for White to resign if there wasn't something much better to do!
1 Challenge
Basic Mating Pattern: Doubled Rooks on the Seventh with Help

Basic Mating Pattern: Doubled Rooks on the Seventh with Help

Black has two minor pieces for a rook which is usually to be preferred. To make matters worse, the Black c-pawn is about to promote to a queen. If White cannot find a mate, you will lose the game.
3 Challenges
Basic Mating Pattern: Knight and Bishop mate

Basic Mating Pattern: Knight and Bishop mate

This problem shows us the power of doubled checks when two pieces check at the same time. It also reminds us what happens when a king finds itself in a stalemated position.
2 Challenges
Basic Mating Pattern: Queen and Bishop Mate

Basic Mating Pattern: Queen and Bishop Mate

Material is even, but such considerations are secondary here, since both sides are ready to go after each other's kings.
3 Challenges
Basic Mating Pattern: The power of two Bishops

Basic Mating Pattern: The power of two Bishops

Black is ahead by a pawn and the exchange (rook for bishop). This would normally be enough to win the game, but one other factor exists: a trapped Black king. Here we learn that two bishops working together, controlling two full diagonals, are extremely powerful.
4 Challenges
Basic Mating Pattern: Epaulette Mate

Basic Mating Pattern: Epaulette Mate

Vukovic, in his excellent book, "The Art of Attack", says that epaulettes are two Black rooks on the king's shoulders. This problem illustrates the epaulette mate by showing another case of a king being smothered by its own pieces, i.e. the two Black rooks.
1 Challenge

Exclusively Checkmates

Attacking
99 Lessons
No Videos
148 Challenges
Released November 12, 2007
159,023 Students