5

[fen "r1bqk2r/ppp3Bp/2n5/8/1b2p3/1P2n1P1/P4PBP/RN1Q1KNR w kq - 0 13"]

I was playing a game where I got to this position as black on lichess.org - the analysis said that checkmate was unavoidable for white and it was a mate in 7. I played with it some more but I can't see the mate in 7.

I wonder what should be my approach to checkmating efficiently? Is it just by playing more games or are there some tips I should know?

Thanks

  • Whose move is it in the diagram? White's? To clarify, you mean that Black can mate White in 7, yes? – Henry Keiter Oct 23 '14 at 20:10
  • 2
    @HenryKeiter, it's obviously White's move :) – Wes Oct 23 '14 at 20:18
  • 1
    @Wes ...I noticed that Black would have an obvious mate in one if it were his move, but somehow not that White is in check. D'oh!! – Henry Keiter Oct 23 '14 at 20:19
  • 7
    Note that in chess terminology "endgame" refers to the stage of the game in which neither player has many pieces. Despite the fact that the game should end soon, this is still a middlegame. – dfan Oct 23 '14 at 21:41
  • 1
    I changed the title because I was constantly opening this question thinking there's a new question about endgames (as @dfan commented) I have missed. – JiK Oct 30 '14 at 15:14
6

There are a fair number of lines toward the end that make the fact that mate is forced a little hard to spot, but it's certainly doable. A couple example lines:

[FEN "r1bqk2r/ppp3Bp/2n5/8/1b2p3/1P2n1P1/P4PBP/RN1Q1KNR w kq - 0 0"]

1.Ke2 (1.fxe3 Qxd1+ 2.Kf2 Qe1#) Qxd1+ 2.Kxe3 Qd3+ 3.Kf4 Bd6+ 4.Kg5 Qd5+ 5.Kh6 Bg4 6.Bxh8 (6.Be5 Qxe5 7.Bxe4 Bf8#) Qh5+ 7.Kg7 Qg6#

As for learning to spot these mates yourself, part of the trick is recognizing that Black's pieces are hugely more active than White's, especially after the White Queen is gone. Black should look to control the White King's movement easily with the two Bishops and the Queen, and mate is surely inevitable. Finding the fastest mate is always nice, but at the end of the day, any line will do as long as it doesn't provide an opportunity for White to escape!

When calculating mating lines (or any combination), it's easiest to look for forcing moves: moves which leave the opponent with only a single move, if possible. This naturally limits the number of lines you have to calculate. Good candidates for forcing moves are checks, or other threats which must be dealt with immediately. For instance, I found the line above by simply evaluating, at each step, the move that gives White as few resulting choices as possible. Even 5...Bg4 is a forcing move, because it threatens immediate mate via ...Qh5.

2

Here you are. Obviously 1. fxe3 is mate in two...


[fen "r1bqk2r/ppp3Bp/2n5/8/1b2p3/1P2n1P1/P4PBP/RN1Q1KNR w kq - 0 13"]

1.Ke2 Qxd1 2.Kxe3 Bc5 3.Bd4 Bxd4 4.Kxe4 Qc2 5.Kd5 Qd3

followed by mate in next move

edit

Regarding to comment below: It's about calculating of course. A matter of practise. First of all, you should calculate all the forcing moves: checks and captures. Try to imagine how the mate (final position) would look like. Those are my small advices:) Anyway I think that this position is not a good example at all. See, in this position you're going to take white's Queen. I wouldn't bother myself counting all up to mate. Why would I? The game is already over, doesn't matter if I mate in 6 moves or in 9.

  • 3
    Good try, but you should also explain HOW to go about finding that checkmate, which is what the OP wants to know. – Wes Oct 23 '14 at 20:39
  • Good point, getting back to edit! – Pijotrek Oct 23 '14 at 21:02
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    +1 for the Anyway I think that this position is not a good example at all. See, in this position you're going to take white's Queen. I wouldn't bother myself counting all up to mate. Why would I? The game is already over, doesn't matter if I mate in 6 moves or in 9. part. – AlwaysLearningNewStuff Oct 23 '14 at 22:27

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