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Checkmate Patterns - Rapid Recognition Technique

Wolverhampton Chess Club

Rapid Recognition is a way that we can use 'memory pictures' to enhance the way we play. What follows is a number of common checkmate patterns that you should memorise. I have reduced the board to only include the actual checkmate positions around the attacked King, so that you can 'capture' the arrangement of pieces more easily.

By retaining a 'memory picture' of these positions you will readily see when they may be used to bring games to a satisfactory conclusion.


The minimal material required to force checkmate is:

1. King and Queen.

2.King and Rook.

3.King and two Bishops.

4. King, Knight and Bishop.

5. King and three Knights (This unlikeley situation only arises when a Pawn has beeen promoted to a Knight)

You cannot force checkmate with;

1. King and Bishop against King

2. King and Knight against King

3.King and two Knights against King unless there are other pieces on the bord as well.

Checkmate with King and Queen
Queen Checkmates supported by pawn.
Queen Checkmates supported by rook
Checkmate with Queen and Knight
Checkmate with Queen and Bishop
Checkmates with rook supported by King or Pawn
Checkmate with two Rooks
Rook mates supported by Bishop
More Rook mates supported by Bishop
Rook mates supported by Knight
Bishop and Knight Mates
Mate using two Bishops
Mate using two knights.
  Note how the Black pieces in these examples hinder the Black King depriving it of 'flight squares'.
Smothered mate by Knight -aided by Black's pieces.
The above mating patterns only show the pieces necessary for the checkmates, so that the basic forms can be seen. In the following section I show examples of how the mating patterns, or variations of them, may be used in actual play.