Topic 24 (Intermediate) Ė How to Checkmate Your Opponent (Game Analysis 3)


This Topic will teach you that one crucial bit of Kung-Fu youíve been lacking: how to checkmate your opponent. Checkmating your opponent is something you ought to do every chance you can.


Letís start off with:


Chapter 1: Common Checkmates You Usually Miss


It will perhaps be better if you learn the checkmate on your own, instead of just reading it. So pretend you are white. Checkmate the black king within 10 seconds in each position below:



White to checkmate black in 10 seconds



Better checkmate black fast!



10 seconds.



White to mate in 10. Easy one.






Ďnother easy one.



Mate black in 25 seconds.


The first person to solve and post the answers to these 6+1 puzzles in the Strategy Forum will win a surprising prize!


Chapter 2: Devilant Analyzes a Game


This game is a bit different from the previous ones because I got totally schooled. Normally that would be difficult for me to admit but itís okay because I used my awesome checkmating abilities to conjure a win out of thin air in this one. Hopefully you will learn something from it.


Kung Fu Chess Rated Game June 12, 2003

ZeWatcher v. Devilant


ZeWatcher v. Devilant††† 8 seconds


The first thing you should note here is that 8 seconds in, Iíve already finished my opening, while Zewatcher has barely moved any of his pieces!He played e4 right away, and then sat around for 7-8 seconds to see what I was up to before he did anything else.You can tell this game influenced my opening strategy, as this is basically the exact approach I recommended in Topic 3: Basic Openings a few months later.AnywaysÖ heís a pretty good player and he just sat around for 8 seconds planning his opening based on what I didóso a good thing to analyze would be the opening he came up with, eh?


ZeWatcher v. Devilant††† 12 seconds


You can tell Zewatcher really wanted to play his bishop to f4 as soon as he saw my pawns on c5, d6, and e6 because the second move he played in the game was that pawn to h4, protecting against a possible g5.


That h pawn was the first thing Zewatcher played after he saw my opening.The idea (I suppose) was to allow his bishop to safely move to f4 in case I moved my pawn to g5.



So why is that bishop move a top priority?I donít really know. If anyone has a better answer than what I say here, please let me know because it really doesnít seem very threateningÖ


That bishop is attacking my weak pawn on d6, and also guarding e5, where I would love to place my knight.



Maybe the goal is to stop me from controlling the e5 square. I guess had I moved my knight to e5, Ze wouldíve snagged it with his bishop right quick.Anyways, during the game I decided the bishop was a threat, and I chose to chase it away with my pawnÖ


ZeWatcher vs. Devilant††† 14 seconds


NOOOOOOO!If youíve been reading my guide at all, you know why I think this is a bad move. Just terrible.This game is a perfect example of why you shouldnít structure your pawns this way. Maybe this is the idea behind Bf4óto goad me into playing e5?


Anyhow, despite that h4 pawn, g5 is a much better choice for attacking the bishop:



If he takes it, I respond like so and I think Iím in fine shape:



So, back to the game:


ZeWatcher v. Devilant†††† 24 seconds


My pawn move to e5 has another downside: Iíve opened up a long diagonal for ZeWatcher to control with his bishop on h3.Sweet!Also, Iím running into the same problem as the poor guy playing black in the Topic 3 example:thanks to my pawn structure, I have no way to attack.You can see Iím trying some feeble non-threatening stuff like knight to a5 and later b5.Thatís a great moveóIím threatening absolutely nothing.I canít attack with something like f5, h5, Bf6 because that just loses a pawn for nothing:







Or something similar.If I want to try an attack like this, I need to wait until ZeWatcher canít counter as shown.



So Iím just a sitting duck now.How does white begin his attack?


ZeWatcher v. Devilant††† 39 seconds


Ze advances on both sides of the board at onceóan excellent example of how to use your pawns.Letís consider the attack on the right first.What happens if I just capture?



Ze would probably recapture with his rook, and concentrate all his firepower on my resulting weak, isolated h pawn:



This is really bad for me.Ze can bring his knights and the g pawn into the attack here also.Iím going to lose my h pawn.See my Topic on pawns for more examples of this sort of thing.


So capturing the pawn is out.How about just pushing it?



I donít particularly like this either.Iíve just created another hole in my pawn structure, my dark squared bishop is now totally blocked in by my own pawns, and my h pawn is once again weak.Pushing the pawn would work much better if I hadnít played my pawn to e5 earlier. In the game, I ended up just letting Ze capture my g pawn, but this actually led me into trouble because of Zeís attack on the other side of the board.


ZeWatcher v. Devilant††† 52 seconds


I retreated my knight and bishop (they werenít threatening anything anyways), but I needed to capture his b pawn here, because (as happened in the game) if I donít, he can capture my c pawn:


ZeWatcher v. Devilant††† 60 seconds


After recapturing, my e pawn is all by itself in the center of the board!Yikes.Itís only a matter of time before I lose it now.In fact, my pawn structure is completely shotómy pawn on c5 is defended only by the queen and the pawn on e5 is isolated. Ze, on the other hand, has a strong group of 5 central pawns.


Zeís plan now is to swing his knight from e2->c1->b3 and then capture my c5 pawn with the bishop.



I know Iím in serious trouble, so I try a desperate attack:


ZeWatcher v. Devilant†††† 74 seconds


The idea here is very simple.I am hoping to simply win the bishop.If he panics and dodges the bishop to f3, I just take it with my rook.If he dodges correctly to h3 (as he did in the game), I havenít lost anything because Iíve positioned my rook on the open f-column.If Ze captures my bishop and defends with his f pawn, I have the counter already in place and Iíll win a pawn:



This is actually a pretty crafty unreliable move; I donít care if he dodges my attack! (see Topic 23: Unreliable moves).


ZeWatcher v. Devilant†††† 80 seconds


Of course, itís no longer a good move if I block my own rook from attacking the f pawn, right?Right, but itís not as simple as you might think.In the game, Zewatcher still lost his f pawn!



ZeWatcher seized the opportunity and advanced his f pawn.It will recharge before my rook can capture it.However, ZeWatcher needed to play this move to keep his pawn:



This rook move forces me to capture the bishop before my rook captures on f3.Since ZeWatcher didnít play this move, I was able to attack the f3 pawn, and wait to take the bishop with my h pawn until the rook captured on f3!


Even though whiteís f3 pawn is recharged, it doesnít save his bishop because black waits until the rook arrives before he grabs the bishop!White must play Rxh5 to force the pawn to take the bishop earlier.



I havenít mentioned my knight move to d4 yetóthis was simply a mistake. My intent, I assume, was to block his bishop from attacking my c pawn.Ze was threatening to capture my c pawn with his bishop, defending with a knight on b3.But it is far better to just push the pawn to c4 if he tries to do that because this knight move leaves me in bad shape:


ZeWatcher v. Devilant†††† 94 seconds


This is well played.The knight on e2 defends whiteís g3 pawn from my rookís attack, and I would like to capture that bishop with my isolated e pawn (un-isolating it), but Ze threatens a counter:



I just noticed I have a counterattack here:



ActuallyÖthis seems ok.I wish Iíd seen this in the game!I saw ZeWatcherís combination, so I didnít analyze this position any further and instead captured with the other pawn.Thatíll happen when you only have 10 seconds to decide what to do.


ZeWatcher v. Devilant†††† 90 seconds

Not only does this pawn capture avoid ZeWatcherís combination threat (shown above), it also opens up my bishop for an attack on ZeWatcherís a pawnóanother reason I mistakenly chose this capture over taking with the e pawn.



Now ZeWatcher is attacking my d pawn with his c pawn and both his knights.Iím going to lose a pawn there.However, I was threatening ZeWatcherís a pawn with my bishop, so all is not lost.


ZeWatcher v. Devilant†† 105 seconds


I made the mistake here of pushing my a and b pawns in defense of my attacking bishop.ZeWatcher just pushed his pawn forward and out of danger, and now Iíve trapped my own bishop in the corner of the board.It cannot move anywhere safely now (and wonít for the rest of the game).Another problem with this attack is that my bishop had been defending my g5 pawn, which now gets captured.


ZeWatcher v. Devilant†† 115 seconds


Material is actually still level, but Iím playing without my bishop and Iím under too strong of an attack now to defend.ZeWatcher is attacking my d pawn with both his knights (Iím defending with only the queen), and he is also attacking my g pawn (undefended!).If ZeWatcher plays like so, I am totally sunk:



He needs to capture with the knight on e2 (and to defend the g pawn with the rook) because if he uses the other knight I have a saving move:



Bam!Black can now capture both knights at once, and white cannot stop it after these defensive moves:



White has lost here.Black has defended everything and his knights are about to be combo-captured!


So, letís get back to the actual game:


ZeWatcher v. Devilant†† 118 seconds


Oops!He screwed up but I missed the winning shot.


ZeWatcher also plays the necessary defensive move Rook to b3, defending against this potential attack:


Note that the rook must go to b3 to defend the d pawn.Playing rook to d1 allows blackís bishop to escape by moving to b2!



Notice how whiteís rook move not only defends the d pawn, it also continues to trap my bishop in the corner. My bishop has no safe squares to move to. Good play.


ZeWatcher v. Devilant†† 121 seconds


Now I hung my queen.Iím a good player.


ZeWatcher v. Devilant†††† 125 seconds


I quickly realized he could just take my queen and defend with the d pawn, so I was forced to block/sacrifice with my knight.


ZeWatcher v. Devilant†† 131 seconds


Ouch.I couldíve played my king to d5 here to catch his queen, but he wouldíve just played rook to h5 to defend.


Anyways, Iím getting slaughtered here, but I didnít give up.Earlier in the game when I was about to fold, I found a tricky unreliable move to save myself.Here I found another one!


ZeWatcher v. Devilant†† 140 seconds


Or at least, I almost did.I faked a capture on his b3 rook, because the rook has to move 2 squares to dodge safely.Itís like an attack on an undefended knight.I have no idea why I played a fake here, especially since his knight can now just take my rookÖ and the actual capture is safe. Just a stupid play.Maybe a misclick.


ZeWatcher v. Devilant††† 146 seconds


Now ZeWatcher goes for the kill shot, attacking both my rook and bishop at the same time (because my pawn is defending both of them).I dodged away, of course, but there was no harm for Ze to try to end the game immediately because he was winning by so much.Iím still losing after I capture a knight with my pawn:



The threat is he can just take my bishop and pawn.The only thing to watch for would be an inmove capture attempt by me on his queen by playing queen takes e4.


Now I played my rook to f3, and I guess ZeWatcher saw it and thought he could catch my rook with his king and queen because he played king to e3.


ZeWatcher v. Devilant†††† 154 seconds


I guess he thought about something like this to win the rook?:



But you can see the problem now I think, and it brings me back to the whole point of the Topic.I have a checkmate!


ZeWatcher v. Devilant††† 156 seconds


ZeWatcher v. Devilant†††† 158 seconds


One thing to remember after youíve checkmated your opponent is that the game isnít over yet!You still have to keep playing until you actually take your opponentís king!


ZeWatcher v. Devilant††† 161 seconds


You have to make sure your king survives long enough for you to actually capture the opponentís king.Iíd actually rather move the king to d7, as there is absolutely no danger in that move.Anyhow, I win!


ZeWatcher v. Devilant†††† Final position


Obviously the majority of this game had nothing to do with checkmating (though I hope it was interesting), but the main lesson to learn here is that no matter how hopeless your position seems, you shouldnít give up as long as you have enough pieces left to checkmate your opponent.Once you know the basic mating patterns, you can often salvage a game by finding a checkmate, even against the strongest of opponents. The best players are constantly making major, game-losing mistakes, as you just saw!


Check the strategy forum for the answers to those puzzles, as well as a potential youtube link to watch this game in action!