Chess Terms
Checkmate With Bishop And Knight

Checkmate With Bishop And Knight

The bishop and knight checkmate is one of the most difficult and skillful checkmating patterns in chess. Even grandmasters have failed to win a game with only these pieces remaining.

Here is what you need to know about this type of checkmate:

What Is The Bishop And Knight Checkmate?

The bishop and knight checkmate is one of the most advanced checkmating patterns in chess. Players can deliver this checkmate by forcing their opponent's king to the corner of the board that matches the color of their bishop.

The bishop and knight checkmate
Notice how the a8-square is a light square, matching Black's light-squared bishop.

Why Is The Bishop And Knight Checkmate Important?

Although it is not usual for this mating pattern to occur, it is important that you know how to win with it. This pattern is not simple, so if you are not familiar with the way it works, you probably cannot discover it during a game.

This checkmate demands that the knight and the bishop work together flawlessly. Learning how to wield your pieces with such coordination helps you to become a better player overall.

How To Deliver A Bishop And Knight Checkmate

Now that you know why you should learn this checkmate, it is time to learn how to win with it. You can reach a checkmate in a few ways with these pieces, but this article teaches you a pattern that is very easy to remember.

Understanding Your Final Goal

The first step is to understand what your final goal is: you want to force the enemy king into a corner that matches your bishop's color. Doing so is critical because the bishop needs to deliver the final blow. Here is the final sequence of moves you have to perform to mate your opponent.

The ending moves of this checkmate.
The knight and king work together to trap the enemy king, and the bishop seals the deal.

Knowing that is your goal, your opponent will do everything in their power to prevent you from reaching it. They will attempt to keep their king in the center of the board or the opposite corner of the one where you are trying to take them. Let's assume you can force their king to a corner successfully, but they run to the one that does not match your bishop's color.

The wrong corner for a bishop and knight checkmate.
The king is in the corner, but the a1-square does not match the color of the bishop.

After you reach this position, you are ready to start employing the mating pattern. Your goal now is to push the opposing king to the other corner of this row on the board.

Understanding Key Principles Of This Checkmate

Before we start, it helps if you keep a few points in mind.

The most important aspect of this checkmate is that your pieces must coordinate perfectly to trap the enemy king. Especially noteworthy is the fact that while the bishop always controls the squares of one color, the knight controls the other. This feature allows this checkmate to happen, and understanding it is pivotal to making sense of the moves you have to play.

The bishop and the knight coordinate to deliver the checkmate.
The bishop controls the light squares, while the knight controls the dark squares.

A couple of tips can help you to achieve such coordination for this mating pattern. The first is that your knight always moves in a V-shape except on its last move.

Notice how the movement of the knight resembles the letter "V."

The second point you should remember is that the knight almost always leads the way. When you are pushing the enemy king to the other side, the knight usually jumps first, followed by the king, and only then the bishop.

The knight goes first, then the king, and only then the bishop.
If the king tries to lead, your opponent can force you to admit your mistake and step back.

Performing The Pattern

Now that you understand your final goal and the fundamental concepts of this checkmating pattern, it is time to learn the moves you need to play. The image below shows the starting position you need to reach.

The starting position for the bishop and knight checkmate.
Your knight must be in front of your king. Your bishop must control and have free access to the diagonal in front of the opponent's king.

After you have reached that position, you are ready to continue. As you see the pattern unfolding below, notice how the principles mentioned above are applied. Note also how the white pieces work together to force the black king to the other side of the board.

The bishop and knight checkmate pattern.
White forces the king to the corner and checkmates it. Notice how all the pieces work in perfect harmony.

This pattern seems very complicated, but once you understand how to combine the strengths of your bishop, knight, and king, you can easily find the right moves.

If you want a more in-depth analysis of this checkmate, review the diagram below. In it, you can find many of the possible variations that your opponent can try to use to confuse you.

As you can see, if you know how to deliver mate, there is no way for your opponent to escape.

Test Your Skills

Now that you have seen how to deliver this complicated checkmate, it is time for you to practice doing it yourself. Solve the puzzles below with the correct move to keep pushing your enemy king to its end.

Puzzle 1: White is trying to get away from your grip. How can you stop their plan?

Puzzle 2: It looks like Black is escaping from your clutches. Is there any way you can keep them from running away?


You now know how to coordinate your king, bishop, and knight with precision to deliver a checkmate! Try our premium membership for free and head over to our Drills page to practice this and other mating patterns.

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