Lesson 4 - Basic Chess Rules: The Checkmate

"Chess is a game sufficiently rich in meaning that it is easily capable of containing elements of both tragedy and comedy."
- Luke McShane

If a player gives a check to the opponent and the attacked King cannot be protected from it, we say that the attacked King is "checkmate". The game is over and the player having checkmated the other is the winner. The number of captured pieces or any other factors are irrelevant in the game outcome: the only thing that matters is the checkmate.

In the following diagram, the White King is checkmated by the rook-bishop tandem. We can see that the White King is in check by the black bishop and that the rook is controlling the escape squares of the King on the d file. It means that White cannot neutralized the attack by moving the King.  Also, the black bishop cannot be captured and its attack cannot be blocked by a white piece.  The game is over and Black is the winner.

White is mated

Diagram 4.3 - White is checkmated

Lesson 8 is dedicated to the mating patterns. It will be important to learn them not only for mating your opponent but also to avoid being suprised yourself by a checkmate!

Here is an example of one of the most frequent mating pattern: the back rank mate (or corridor mate).  In the diagram below, the Black King feels very safe since it is well protected by the f7, g7 and h7 pawns.  But trouble is around: these pawns are building up a tumb instead of a giving it protection! White only needs to play his rook on b8 and the Black King is doomed!

Click here to see the back rank mate (or corridor mate).
Back Rank Mate

Diagram 4.4 - Back Rank Mate

There are other versions of the back rank mate where the attacked King is squeezed in a deadly corridor. We will see these other patterns in lesson 8.

Let's continue the lesson with the next page on other basic rulesonline chess tutorial.