Checkmating opponent’s king is every player’s dream. It is the happiest, most exciting moment of the game. It is the most satisfying part of chess.
However, the majority of club players lack a good understanding of typical mating combinations, piece maneuvers, and sacrifices which prevent them from delivering many checkmates. They struggle finding important clues and simply run out of steam when trying to attack.
How many times have you missed a mating opportunity during the game, and discovered how simple it was in a post-game analysis?
Perhaps, you even lost the game that you should’ve easily won. This happens to everyone, and especially to those under-2200 players.
But this doesn’t necessarily happen because of poor calculation skills and tactical flaws. It’s impossible to calculate everything. After all, players are not computers. Even the very best players in the world use intuition and experience when playing their games. They don’t calculate every variant at every move of the game – that would be exhausting!
A good understanding of the typical mating ideas, attacking patterns, and piece coordination will tremendously simplify your raw calculation work. By recognizing an opportunity in the right moment, you will just focus on analyzing those important variations, instead of wasting your energy on the irrelevant lines.
It is a very important practical skill to develop – to know exactly how to checkmate the opponent’s king. After all, that is how you win the game!
In this preview of his course, IM Renier Castellanos discusses the art of the checkmate, examining positions from games that you are likely to get in your own playing career, and showing how to mate the opponent.
Let’s look at a common attacking idea. IM Castellanos discusses this in the video. We start with the position on the left.
Let’s assess the position. White has some space advantage, with prospects for an attack on the kingside. Most importantly, Black has a pawn on h6, not on h7. This is a major weakness which White can use to launch a deadly attack with a sacrifice on h6. Let’s see:
1. Qh5 Qe8 2. Bxh6 gxh6 3. Qxh6 f6 4. Rae1, and we reach the position on the right. Black’s king is now horribly exposed. Also, White has 2 pawns for the piece, meaning it is hardly a complete sacrifice. Look at the fantastic compensation for only a pawn’s value in material!
The game continued 4…Qf7 5. Re3, bringing the rook into the attack. 5…Qg7, but there is no real defence. White simply carries on with 6. Rg3+ Kh8 and then retreats the queen to avoid the trade with 7. Qe3. With plans of Re3 coming, Black plays 7…Qf5 8. Rf3 Qe4 9. Qd2 fxe5 – Black is desperate here.
10. Re1 Rxf3 11. Rxe4 dxe4 and Black does not have enough material in exchange for the lost queen. On top of that, it is surely only a matter of time until that king, completely exposed and weak, is attacked further.
How did White close out the game? You’ll have to watch the video!
The Art of Checkmate
Ever struggled to win a game, and then find a simple checkmate was available when you look back on it? It’s quite common for players under 2000 Elo. The full course from IM Castellanos covers the most important ideas and mating combinations that will help you finish many of your games in style. Click here to get instant access with 35% off.