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Stunning Knight Checkmates Your Opponents Don't Want YOU to Know

Updated on November 28, 2012


In this hub we are going to look at various knight checkmates that you should know. It is important to learn these tactical patterns, as they come up often, and can make your chess calculations

  • faster
  • more accurate
  • deeper

For each I will give a position with white or black to move, followed by the answer and some analysis.


Let's begin!

White to Move

White to Move
White to Move | Source


In the above position it is a fairly simple "mate in one" problem. Here white plays Ne7#. This mating pattern is known as "Anastasia's Mate"

However this position didn't just magically appear on the board. I had to MAKE it happen - using tactics! In fact I sacrificed a piece to do it. Lets look at the same game a few moves earlier, and see if you can find the combination I used to get to this position.

It's Tactics Time!

White to Play
White to Play | Source

Unconscious competence

Having just seen the final position in the previous diagram you should be able to reverse engineer the moves here to see how I got to the mate in one.

17. Bxh7+ Kxh7 18. Qh5+ Kg8 19. Ne7#

Here white forces the king out into the open, sacrificing a bishop with 17. Bxh7+ (note too that the rook on a3 is hanging, so if white messes this up, there is no turning back, and he will be down 2 pieces!)

The black king captures the intrusive bishop. If black plays Kh8 attempting to hide in the corner white still plays his Queen to h5, setting up a discovered check.

After 18. Qh5+ the king has only one legal move, and is finished off by the knight.

This pattern comes up a lot.

Sometimes a queen is used to break open the h file, and then a rook chases the king back to the g file.

Sometimes the knight checks first, and the rook delievers mate.

I know this pattern so well, that I really didn't have to "calculate" the position - I could just see the checkmate 3 moves away. This is from repeated study of fundamental chess tactics.

This ability is similar to how when you have years of driving experience, you aren't consciously thinking about how you are putting your foot on the gas or break petal - you can just do it.

Here is the complete game:

[Event "June 2009 Grand Three Seven I"]
[Site ""]
[Date "2009.06.07"]
[Round "1"]
[White "TimmyBx"]
[Black "djkali"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C10"]
[WhiteElo "1632"]
[BlackElo "1303"]
[PlyCount "37"]
[EventDate "2009.??.??"]
[EventType "team-tourn"]
[EventCountry "CRO"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Qd5 5. Nc3 Qd6 6. Nf3 Be7 7. Be3 Nf6 8.
Be2 O-O 9. O-O Nc6 10. Re1 b6 11. a3 e5 12. dxe5 Nxe5 13. Nxe5 Qxe5 14. Bd3
Bxa3 15. Rxa3 Nd5 16. Nxd5 Qxb2 17. Bxh7+ Kxh7 18. Qh5+ Kg8 19. Ne7# 1-0

Preparation H-File

Black to Play
Black to Play | Source

Double Discovered Check

Discovered check is the dive bomber of the chess board. - Reuben Fine

This is a double discovered check, which must be the Stealth Bomber of the chess board!

Here black shows the power of the double discovered check.

The nice thing about these types of checks is that you know the king HAS to move to get out of check. There is no other way for a king to get out of a double discovered check. This can make the calculations much easier, and is another little tip that can save time and mental energy.

Here the variation is totally forced, where each time the king has to move. This can make things much easier to calculate, and should allow you to calculate deeper into the position.

31...Nf3+ 32. Kh3 Rh8+ 33. Kg4 Nh2#

if 32. Kh1 Rh8#

One thing to note about Nh2 is that the knight will always still attack the square that it leaves from. Here the knight left f3 to go to to h2, but still attacks f3 from h2 (which was one of the potential escape squares for the king). This may be obvious, but if not, is another way to look at, and think about, how the knights move.

This is not really a typical mating pattern, but showed good use of

  • the pieces working together
  • breaking open the kingside
  • the power of the double discovered check
  • the power of forced moves in aiding deep calculation
  • forming a mating net.

[Event "Challenge Redhotpawn"]
[Site ""]
[Date "2009.11.01"]
[White "The Temptress"]
[Black "RedwoodPete"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A00"]
[PlyCount "66"]

1. e4 d5 2. Nc3 d4 3. Nd5 e5 4. Nf3 c6 5. Nxe5 cxd5 6. Qf3 Be6 7. Bb5+ Ke7 8. b3 a6 9. Ba3+ Qd6 10. Bxd6+ Kxd6 11. Qf4 Ke7 12. Ba4 b5 13. exd5 Bxd5 14. Qxd4 Ke6 15. O-O f6 16. Nd3 Nc6 17. Rae1+ Ne5 18. Qb6+ Bd6 19. Nf4+ Kd7 20. Nxd5 Ne7 21. d4 Rhb8 22. Qa5 N5c6 23. Qc3 Nxd5 24. Qh3+ Kc7 25. Qxh7 Rg8 26. Qh5 Nde7 27. d5 Ne5 28. c4 bxa4 29. bxa4 Rh8 30. Qe2 Rxh2 31. Kxh2 Nf3+ 32. Kh3 Rh8+ 33. Kg4 Nh2# 0-1

Happy Smothers Day

White to Move
White to Move | Source

Smothers Brothers

This is a TEXTBOOK smothered mate. White goes


Double Discovered Check!

Queen sac Check!

Smothered Checkmate!

27. Nf7+ Kg8 28. Nh6+ Kh8 29. Qg8+ Rxg8 30. Nf7#

This is another pattern you have to memorize. You should be able to just see it instantly.

One of the most beautiful moves in chess.

"How to Beat your Dad in Chess" refers to this mating pattern as "Phiidor's Legacy". "The Art of the Checkmate" calls this "Lucena's Mate".

[Event "2011 Colo Spgs Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "????.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Ron Rossi"]
[Black "James Powers"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B01"]
[WhiteElo "1822"]
[BlackElo "1626"]
[PlyCount "59"]
[EventType "schev"]
[EventRounds "3"]

1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 4. d4 c6 5. Nf3 Nf6 6. Be2 e6 7. O-O Nbd7 8.
a3 Qc7 9. h3 c5 10. Nb5 Qb6 11. Be3 Nd5 12. dxc5 Bxc5 13. Bxc5 Nxc5 14. c4 Bd7
15. b4 Ne4 16. cxd5 Bxb5 17. Bxb5+ Qxb5 18. dxe6 O-O 19. exf7+ Rxf7 20. Qb3
Raf8 21. Rae1 Qc6 22. Ne5 Nd2 23. Qa2 Qc7 24. Nxf7 Nxf1 25. Ng5+ Kh8 26. Kxf1
Qh2 27. Nf7+ Kg8 28. Nh6+ Kh8 29. Qg8+ Rxg8 30. Nf7# 1-0

Rook, Line and Sinker

White to Move
White to Move | Source

Rook and Roll

Here the rook and knight work together to mate the king.

11. Rxc8+ Qd8 12. Nc7#

Note that the Black queen cannot capture the knight, because it is pinned to the king by the black Rook on c8. This is another smothered mate.

[Event "Pueblo Sept 2010"]
[Site "Pueblo, CO"]
[Date "2010.09.11"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Brennan, Timothy"]
[Black "Maier, Jerry"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B03"]
[PlyCount "23"]

1. e4 c5 2. d4 Nf6 3. e5 Nd5 4. c4 Qa5+ 5. Bd2 Qb6 6. cxd5 Qxb2 7. Nc3 cxd4 8.
Rb1 Qa3 9. Nb5 Qc5 10. Rc1 Qb6 11. Rxc8+ Qd8 12. Nc7# 1-0

I hope this hub gave you some good ideas about the possible tactical ideas when using the knight in checkmates. It is a very powerful piece, and the fact that it moves so differently than all of the other pieces, makes it a great asset in mating attacks!

If you liked these chess puzzles, you will love my website Tactics Time.

I have spent hundreds of hours gathering over 9000 class player games that you will not find in any other databases, which mostly focus on the games of Grandmasters and very highly ranked players.

The nice thing about looking at class player games is that - most of us ARE class players! We can see the types of mistakes our typical opponents are likely to make - and then prepare to take advantage of these types of mistakes!

Grandmasters aren't missing mates in 3, but class players do it every single weekend in tournaments all over the world!

So join me at my website, and sign up for my newsletter, where I send out frequent puzzles just like these that you are sure to enjoy. The newsletter is free, sent from a professional email service, and you can cancel any time with no hassle.

Happy Tactics!

Your Friend,



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    • cubefactor profile image


      7 years ago from Murfreesboro, TN

      I enjoyed this a good deal. Keep writing :)


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