Common Mating Patterns:
Part of the Chess Endgame Guide

Chess Endgame Guide
Common Mating Patterns

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About This Article...

Winning Chess Strategies - TeaserThis article includes my notes, additional images and interactive chess positions from my study of Yasser Seirawan's book, Winning Chess Combinations.

Winning Chess Combinations,
Revised edition
ISBN: 978-1-85744-420-9
Chapter 2. Checkmate! Recognizing Patterns (p24)

In Winning Chess Combinations, Chapter 2, you'll find a collection of 12 Checkmating Patterns.

These twelve scenarios are the most common Mating patterns, presented in their "skeletal" setting and you must be able to recognize their basic outline at any given point during your game(s).

Accompanying each skeletal pattern, Seirawan provides examples for each; either from a theoretical mock-up, or by analyzing real games, where the patterns can be identified.

The patterns are already setup, including the PGN files (see the Index, below) ...

All you need to do is copy them into a Chess Program (e.g. Fritz 12), then turn to the relevant page in Winning Chess Combinations, where Yasser Seirawan explains the examples in detail.

What Seirawan found most effective - the way he was taught, in fact - was to see the pattern in its skeletal setting. Then, once he was satisfied that the King was completely Checkmated (absolutely could not escape), he'd setup a new position and aim to reach the original pattern.

Once he found a successful route, Seirawan would write it down in his notebook, for easy recollection and later revision, as and when needed.

12x Common Mating Patterns, Index

  1. Back-Rank Mates
    12x Common Mating Patterns, Teaser, Back-Rank Mates.No. of Examples: 4

    Seirawan states that Back-Rank Checkmates are a perennial pattern found even at the highest level (among the World's best players).

    Rooks & Queens are the Bank-Rank Mate specialists -- these are the Pieces you'll use if you spot a Back-Rank Mate opportunity.

  2. Queen and Pawn Mates
    12x Common Mating Patterns, Teaser, Queen and Pawn Mates.No. of Examples: 4

    Diagrams 12 (#1) & 13 (#2) show the two most common Checkmate scenarios involving the Queen.

    As with all of these Checkmate patterns, once you've learned one of them, try and identify ways to reproduce it in your next game(s).

  3. Rook and Bishop Mates
    12x Common Mating Patterns, Teaser, Rook and Bishop Mates.No. of Examples: 10

    Typically, the Rook checks the King along one of the files or ranks at the edge of the board; the Bishop cuts off the diagonal escape route(s).

  4. Long Diagonal Mates
    12x Common Mating Patterns, Teaser, Long Diagonal Mates.No. of Examples: 1

    This type of Mating pattern sees play focus along either the a8-h1, or a1-h8 diagonal, respectively.

  5. Rook and Knight Mates
    12x Common Mating Patterns, Teaser, Rook and Knight Mates.No. of Examples: 7

    Two conditions make the Knight's participation in an attack more likely to succeed:

    First, your opponent's defensive position will include a definite weakness, on a critical square nearby, which inhibits their King in some manner.

    Second, your Knight is well protected on its outpost and won't suffer capture, once there.

  6. Bishop and Knight Mates
    12x Common Mating Patterns, Teaser, Bishop and Knight Mates.No. of Examples: 3

    Knights and Bishops may share the same points value (3x each), but their objectives on the Chessboard are very different -- the former being a short-range attacker; the latter being a long-range specialist.

    Seirawan makes reference to experiencing a preference to having two Bishops or two Knights working in tandem, rather than a disjointed mix of Bishop & Knight together.

  7. Two Bishop Mates
    12x Common Mating Patterns, Teaser, Two Bishop Mates.No. of Examples: 3

    With their long-range capability along the diagonals, two Bishops working together can be a highly effecting Checkmating duo.

    As the examples show, the way Two Bishop Mates work is by combining to force the enemy King into a corner.

  8. Lone Bishop Mate
    12x Common Mating Patterns, Teaser, Lone Bishop Mate.No. of Examples: 2

    Seirawan states that it is possible to Checkmate the enemy King with a Lone Bishop, but such occurrences are rare.

    However, the two examples should give you an idea of how you can triumph with a Lone Bishop Mate.

  9. Double Rook Mates
    12x Common Mating Patterns, Teaser, Double Rook Mates.No. of Examples: 6

    Fairly straight forward -- the two Rooks work together to shepherd the enemy King to one of the four edges of the board, cut off any possibility of escape, and apply Checkmate.

  10. Double Knight Mates
    12x Common Mating Patterns, Teaser, Double Knight Mates.No. of Examples: 4

    Remember, with their range of movement being limited, Knights must be already on an outpost nearby the enemy King, if they're to offer any substance in you Combination attack.

  11. Queen and Bishop Mates
    12x Common Mating Patterns, Teaser, Queen and Bishop Mates.No. of Examples: 1

    Here, we get an idea of how the Queen and Bishop can combine their long-range talents to bring about a Checkmate victory.

    There's only one diagram, and it shows the skeletal pattern of the Queen and Bishop Mates.

  12. Epaulette Mates
    12x Common Mating Patterns, Teaser, Epaulette Mates.No. of Examples: 2

    Picture an army General, with golden braids on either side of his uniform -- these are his "epaulettes".

    With that in mind, and turning your imagination to Chess ... the General's head is replaced by the image of the King; while the Epaulettes are the King's Pawns or Pieces, unfortunately positioned, as they prevent their King escaping Checkmate.

From the 12x Common Mating Patterns Index,
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