# Checking and Checkmating Studies III Complex Checkmates

In this section, we move into examining and studying complex checkmates applying the basic principles and concepts of the patterns, which run as common elemental themes in checkmating shown in the simple checkmates tutorials. This page provides an introductory tutorial and index table providing links to the separate tutorials and problems. The index table is separated first into complex checkmate patterns and game examples (e.g., Anastasia’s Mate, Blackburne’s Mate, etc.) and second into some complex checkmate problems. I have just begun loading the various tutorials, so only some are available for now. For now, let’s start with a fairly straightforward, not too overly complex checkmate problem. In the diagram below, White to move and mate. What is the fewest number of moves in which White may mate?

DIAGRAM CCKM-1

The position depicted presents a two-fold problem. First, a “tempting target” exists for White…capture Black’s Knight at c2 to provide protection for White’s Knight at c5 and regain material parity. However, the problem is designed to show the importance of studying the entire chessboard and resisting what appears to be a “tempting” – even a “very tempting” – target on the chessboard. We move to the second facet of the problem, which moves us forward from the simple Queen-Knight mating patterns and mating nets into using the Queen and Knight together in a more complex manner where the Knight delivers checkmate while the Queen blocks the opposing King’s escape squares. White may force mate in two moves:

1.Qg5+ Kf8 2.Nd7#

We see the following basic principles and concepts at play in this endgame:

White’s first move takes advantage of the open g file to drive Black’s King to the f8 square where it is now entombed. Black’s King cannot flee further to e7 because White’s Queen is controlling e7 through its Bishop power along the black diagonal from g5 to e7. The g file also now is controlled by White’s Queen, which prevents Black’s King from moving back to the g file. Black’s Rook at h8, Knight at e8, and pawns at f7 and h7 play critical roles in further entombing in Black’s King at f8. The combination of the positioning of these pieces and the pawns allows White’s Knight to safely deliver checkmate from d7 against Black’s King at the checkmate square…f8.

Thus, while Black had material advantage (is a Knight up; in point value…25 to 22), White had far greater power in positional superiority. This shows the importance of the concept that while material advantage often greatly enhances a player’s ability to checkmate, positional inferiority can drain the strength completely out of the power afforded by material advantage. As with other earlier examples, this checkmate problem again also shows the importance of the general observation in chess that “open files are often killers.” The truth to that observation is more evident when the concept is employed against an opposing King which has been castled (especially to the Kingside) and for whom the defensive pawn structure in front has been breached. White’s first move takes advantage of the open g file to drive Black’s King to the f8 square where it is now entombed. Black’s King cannot flee further to e7 because White’s Queen is controlling e7 through its Bishop power along the black diagonal from g5 to e7. The g file also now is controlled by White’s Queen, which prevents Black’s King from moving back to the g file. Black’s Rook at h8, Knight at e8, and pawns at f7 and h7 play critical roles in further entombing in Black’s King at f8. The combination of the positioning of these pieces and the pawns allows White’s Knight to safely deliver checkmate from d7 against Black’s King at the checkmate square…f8.

Thus, while Black had material advantage (is a Knight up; in point value…25 to 22), White had far greater power in positional superiority. This shows the importance of the concept that while material advantage often greatly enhances a player’s possibility to checkmate, positional inferiority can drain the strength completely out of the power afforded by material advantage. As with other earlier examples, this checkmate problem again also shows the importance of the general observation in chess that “open files are often killers.” The truth to that observation is more evident when the concept is employed against an opposing King which has been castled (especially to the Kingside) and for whom the defensive pawn structure in front has been breached.

Note should be made of another concept…White performed luft by advancing White’s pawn from h2 to h3, opening an escape square and path for White’s King against a back rank mate. White may or may not have intended to do luft. For example, White earlier may have moved h3 to threaten capture of a White piece at g4 for example and to drive it away from g4, but such move also provided luft for White’s King against a back rank checkmate.

Move order often also is a key concentration point in mating nets and mating patterns, as it is in many combinational tactical & strategic maneuveres on the board. This board position is an example of why this is so. If White moved the Knight to d7 first, this would be a bad move (?) and some might consider it a blunder (??). Black would have several options to prevent mate in two, likely leading White into significant difficulties trying to checkmate at all as well as providing obstacles for White trying to defend against and prevent checkmate against White’s King.

One example is the line 1…Nd7? 2.Rg8. Now if White checks Black’s King by moving Qg5+?, Black’s King can simply flee to h8, accomplishing the following salutary goals:

• opening Black’s Rook at g8 to attack White’s Queen at g5, forcing it to flee and gaining an important tempo;
• while also opening up Black’s Rook to provide defense and protection for Black’s King along Black’s back rank and vertically along the g file;
• while keeping the Rook’s defense and protection for Black’s Knight at e8; and
• putting attacking pressure on a key focal point against White’s castled King…the g2 square!

White’s Queen cannot follow-up with moving to f6 to further check Black’s King because of Black’s Knight at e8. Therefore, White would be forced to move the Queen, losing the important tempo and providing Black the opportunity to regain the initiative and bring into force Black’s material advantage.

With that introductory problem behind us, let’s move into specific tutorials and problems. Links back to this index page and to the main chess page are provided throughout the separate tutorials and problems.