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Jovan Petronic: The King Checkmates

The game of chess revolves around the two Kings, with the main objective of each player to deliver checkmate. A common misconception of the King being open to capture or exchange is still widespread. Being the most important piece in the game, the King is by definition also the most vulnerable piece, and especially in the opening and middlegame phases of the game. In these phases, the King rarely plays an active role. The purpose of this survey is to study a collection of games and game fragments (source: ChessBase Mega Database 2011), which addresses an additional less known power of the King - to personally deliver checkmate by move. As is with all checkmates, a single piece is unable to checkmate the opponent's King, if not assisted by at least one other piece, either own or opponent's, emphasizing the importance of teamwork among chess pieces of both colours. Historical notes excerpts (source: Piceclopedia): - Except for some differences in special moves, the King has remained the same from its earliest days to modern-day Chess. - The King has always moved one space in any direction. - In Chaturanga, which is widely regarded as the earliest form of Chess, the King was called a Rajah, which is Sanskrit for King. - The Persians called it by the own word for King, which was Shah. - "Checkmate" comes from the Persian expression "Shah Mat", which literally means that "the King is ambushed". - Reports that checkmate means "the King is dead" are mistaken.

Lasker E. : Thomas G. A. London 1912 Year 2012 will mark the 100th anniversary of one of the most well-known master games played in the history of chess. Coincidentally, this game also features the main theme of this survey. Edward Lasker was born in 1885 and was reportedly a leading German & American chess player. He won 5 US Championships in the period 19161921. In 1973, as a 9-year-old, I had the honour of meeting and playing Edward Lasker, while at a visit to his apartment in New York City. My mom reminded me he said I was good ... Afterwards he had recommended me to join the Manhattan Chess Club, the 2nd oldest chess club in the USA, which I did. Sir George Alan Thomas was born in 1881 and was twice (1923 & 1934) British chess champion, a 21time All-England Badminton champion, and a semifinalist of the men's tennis doubles at Wimbledon in 1911. 1.d4 e6 2.Sf3 f5 3.Sc3?! Sf6 3...d5! would have made the c3-Knight feel awkward. 4.Lg5 Le7 5.Lf6? Lf6 6.e4 A concept pretty difficult to understand if not looking far enough. White gives away their Bishops pair, and immediately follows up with opening the centre, an opening which should sooner or later generally favour the Bishops. 6...fe4 7.Se4 What motivated Edward Lasker for his previous two moves? The powerful central position of the e4-Knight "guarantees" White is ok. To chase the Knight away, with for example p-d5, would result in a vulnerable backward e6-pawn and a potentially strong e5-square for White. To eliminate the Knight, Black would either have to give up their Bishops pair, too, or manouever the b8-Knight to for example f6-square, which in turn would mean displacing the e7-Bishop to a worse position. 1

FIDE SURVEYS JOVAN PETRONIC

7...b6!? 8.Se5? White violates yet another opening principle, whereby one should not play twice with the same piece in the opening phase of a game. Se5 falls into the category of what sometimes I like to refer to as "smart chess moves", ones with a threat. 8...00 8...Lb7?? is refuted by 9.Dh5 g6 10.Sg6 Le4 (10...hg6 11.Dg6 Kf8 12.Sf6+-) 11.Sh8 Ke7 (11...Lg6 12.Sg6 hg6 13.Dg6+-) 12.Sf7 De8 13.De2!+-; 8...Le5 9.de5 (9.Dh5 g6 10.De5 00) 9...0 0 10.Dg4. 9.Ld3? Lb7? 9...Le5. One of the advantages of having the Bishops pair is that the advantage of the long-range pieces can be often relatively easily transformed into another one, in this case - material. 10.de5 Sc6 wins the e5-pawn: 11.Dh5 Tf5. 10.Dh5 De7? XIIIIIIIIY 9rsn-+-trk+0 9zplzppwq-zpp0 9-zp-+pvl-+0 9+-+-sN-+Q0 9-+-zPN+-+0 9+-+L+-+-0 9PzPP+-zPPzP0 9tR-+-mK-+R0 xiiiiiiiiy Edward Lasker commented: "Black has just played De7 in order to protect the mate which was threatened by Sf6, followed by Dh7. If in the position of the diagram White played Sf6, Black would retake with the Pawn, thereby protecting the pawn h7 with his Queen. However, White can force the mate with a neat Queen's sacrifice which drives Black's King right into the arms of the remaining White pieces." 10...Le5! 11.Sd2! (11.De5 Sc6; 11.de5? Tf5) 11...g6 12.De5 was ok for Black; 10...g6 11.Sg6! hg6 12.Dg6 Lg7 (12...Kh8? 13.Sf6+-) 13.h4 De8?? 14.Sf6!+-. 11.Dh7!!+11.Sf6? gf6. 11...Kh7 12.Sf6 12.Sg5? Kh6+. FIDE SURVEYS JOVAN PETRONIC

12...Kh6 Edward Lasker: "The King cannot go to h8 on account of Sg6 mate. White now continually checks Black's King in such a manner that he has only one square to go to until he is finally driven to the first rank, all White pieces participating in the chase." 12...Kh8?? 13.Sg6#. Edward Lasker: "In answer to Sg4 Black would play Kh5, Lg6, Kh4, g3, Kh3 and there is no mate." 13.Seg4! The only path to a win (by forced checkmate). 13.Sfg4? Kh5! (13...Kg5?? 14.h4 Kf4 (14...Kh5 15.Lg6#) 15.g3#) 14.Lg6 Kh4 (14...Kg5?? 15.h4 Kf4 16.g3#) 15.g3 Kh3 (15...Kg5?? 16.h4#) 16.00! would be an interesting position for further analysis. 13...Kg5 14.h4! 14.f4! also mates in four moves, with best play by both sides. 14...Kh4 (14...Kf4 15.g3 Kf3 (15...Kg5 16.h4#) 16.00#! The King (move) checkmates! 14...Kf4 15.g3! Kf3 16.Le2 Edward Lasker: "White could have forced the mate in seven instead of eight moves by playing Kf1, or 00, for there was no protection against Sh2." 16.00!+- gf6 (16...Tf6 17.Se5# (17.Sh2#)) 17.Sh2#; 16.Kf1!+- gf6 (16...Tf6 17.Se5# (17.Sh2#) ) 17.Sh2#. 16...Kg2 17.Th2 17.000+- gf6 18.Th2# (18.Tdg1#). 17...Kg1 18.Kd2#. The King checkmates! Reportedly, after Lasker checkmated, Thomas said, "This was very nice." Lasker, who had yet to learn English, was touched by Thomas's sportsmanship after a spectator translated Thomas's remark into German for him. In his "Chess & Checkers - The Way to Mastership" Edward Lasker wrote: "Sacrifices made with the view of a direct mating attack are, as a rule, the easiest to figure out, as there is no guesswork connected with them. In those cases the player does not face the question as to whether the position attained after the sacrifice will be strong enough to insure a gain of material at least equivalent to the 2

amount of material sacrificed, a question which to answer correctly sometimes requires a good deal of instinct trained by experience; all that is necessary if to ascertain whether the opponent can be mated in a definite number of moves or not. If the mate cannot be clearly foreseen, the sacrifice must not be made. The possibility of a sacrifice with consequent forced mate is always indicated if a greatly superior force is available for attack at the part of the board where the opposing King is located." 18.000# The King (move) checkmates! 1:0. Pillsbury H. N. : Maroczy G. London 1900 XIIIIIIIIY 9-+-+-tr-mk0 9+p+lwq-trp0 9p+-+p+-wQ0 9+-+pzPp+P0 9-zP-+-zP-+0 9+-zP-+N+-0 9-zP-+-+-mK0 9tR-+-+-tR-0 xiiiiiiiiy 34...Tg4!? 35.Sg5? Too early, as both the game and analysis attempt to prove. 35.Kh3!? Tfg8 36.Sg5! Tf4 37.Sf7! Df7 38.Tg8 Kg8 39.Df4 Dh5 40.Dh4! Df3 41.Dg3 Dg3 42.Kg3. 35...Tf4! 36.Sf7 Df7 36...Tf7? 37.Df4+-. 37.Df4 Dh5 38.Kg3 De2! In a materially equal position, with both Kings open to attack, Black's chances are as good as White's. 39.Kh4?! 39.Kh3. 39...Tc8! 40.Tae1? 40.b3!? Tc3 41.Tg8!? Kg8 42.Dg5=. 40...Db2! 41.Kh3 41.Kg5 Tc4. 41...Tc3 42.Tg3 42.Te3 Te3 43.De3 Db4 44.Dg5 Df8 45.Df6 Df6 46.ef6 Le8 47.Tg7 Lg6 48.Tb7 Kg8 49.Te7 e5 50.Te5 Kf7 51.Td5 Kf6=. 42...Tc2 43.Th1? 43.Tg8 Kg8 44.Dg5=. FIDE SURVEYS JOVAN PETRONIC

43...Tc8? 43...Lb5! 44.Tg8 Kg8 45.Dg5 Kf7 46.Df6 Ke8 47.De6 Kd8+. 44.Dh6!+44.Dh4+- Tf8 45.Dh6 Tf7 46.Dg5+-. 44...De5 45.Dh7!! Kh7 46.Kg2# The King checkmates! 1:0. Seuss O. Hurme H. Dresden 1969 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Sf6 3.Sc3 g6 4.f4 Lg7 5.Sf3 00 6.e5!? A variation which has brought White many quick and beatiful wins. After extensive research made, it is now considered not of high theoretical value as one where White may benefit at high-level events. 6...Sfd7! 7.h4!? c5! 8.h5! cd4 9.Dd4 9.hg6? dc3! 9...de5 10.Df2! 10.fe5? Se5!; 10.Dg1!? 10...Te8? 10...e4! 11.Se4 Sf6 12.Sf6 ef6! 13.hg6 Te8. 11.hg6! hg6 12.Dh4 12.fe5!. 12...Sf8? 12...e4 13.Se4 (13.Dh7 Kf8 14.Se4 Db6! and Black is ok). 13.fe5 Sc6? XIIIIIIIIY 9r+lwqrsnk+0 9zpp+-zppvl-0 9-+n+-+p+0 9+-+-zP-+-0 9-+-+-+-wQ0 9+-sN-+N+-0 9PzPP+-+P+0 9tR-vL-mKL+R0 xiiiiiiiiy 13...Dd7. 14.Lh6+- f6 15.Lg7 Kg7 16.Dh8 Kf7 17.Lc4 17.Sg5 fg5 18.Lc4+-. 17...Le6 17...e6 18.Sg5 fg5 (18...Ke7 19.Dg7#) 19.Tf1+-; 17...Se6? 18.Th7#. 18.Sg5! 18.Th7 Sh7 19.Dh7 Kf8 20.Le6+-. 18...fg5 19.00# 1:03

Fries N. : Hoi C. Esbjerg 1981 XIIIIIIIIY 9-+-+-+-+0 9+-zP-+-+-0 9-+-+-+-+0 9zp-+-zp-mk-0 9P+-wq-zp-+0 9+-+P+-zp-0 9-+-+R+n+0 9+-tR-+-+K0 xiiiiiiiiy 64...f3!+ 65.Te5 65.Te4 Dd3+ 66.c8D De4+. 65...De5 65...Kf6!?+ 66.Th5 (66.Te4 Dd5! 67.Kg1 Dh5+) 66...Se3+ 67.c8D g2 68.Kh2 Sf1! 69.Tf1 (69.Kh3 g1S#!) 69...Df4! 70.Kg1 (70.Kh3 gf1D# (70...gf1L#) ) 70...De3! 71.Tf2 (71.Kh2 gf1S! 72.Kh3 f2 73.Kg2 Dg3! 74.Kf1 Dg1 75.Ke2 f1D+) 71...De1! 72.Kh2 Dh1 73.Kg3 g1D 74.Kf4 Dh5+. 66.c8D Sf4! 67.Dd8 Kg4! 68.Dd7 Df5! 69.Dg7 69.Df5 Kf5 70.d4 f2+. 69...Dg5 70.Dd7 Df5 70...Kh4!+. 71.Dg7 Dg5 72.Dd7 Kh4! 73.Dh7 Dh5! 74.Dg7 f2! 75.Dg3!? Offering the Queen forces a King checkmate. 75...Kg3# The King checkmates! 0:1. Vedder H. : Berkhout S. Netherlands 1989 XIIIIIIIIY 9-+-+-+k+0 9+q+l+p+p0 9-sN-+-+p+0 9+P+-zp-+-0 9-+p+P+-+0 9+-zPr+P+-0 9-+-+-wQP+0 9tR-+-+-mK-0 xiiiiiiiiy In a materially equal position, weak e5 and c4-pawns and weaknesses of the black squares around the Black King make the defence very difficult. FIDE SURVEYS JOVAN PETRONIC

34.Dc5! 34.Sc4? Db5. 34...Kg7? 34...Le6 35.Ta8 Kg7 36.Df8 Kf6 37.Dh8 Kg5! 38.De5 Kh6 39.Ta6. 35.De5! Kh6 35...f6 36.De7+-. 36.Sd5! Db5 37.Df4 Kg7 37...Kh5? 38.Sf6#; 37...g5? 38.Df6 Kh5 39.Df7 Kh6 40.Df8! Kh5 41.Dg7+-. 38.Kh2? 38.Df6!+- Kh6 (38...Kg8 39.Ta8 Le8 40.De5+-) 39.Df7+-. 38...Lc6? 38...Td5! 39.ed5 Dd5 offered best practical chances for Black to survive. 39.Df6! Kh6 39...Kg8 40.Se7+-; 39...Kf8? 40.Dh8#. 40.Th1! With a double King checkmating threat. 40.Kg3! Db8 41.Sf4+-. 40...Dc5 Preventing one, but not the other. 41.Kg3#! The King checkmates! 1:0. Bezold M. : Veingold A. Budapest 1989 XIIIIIIIIY 9-+-+-+-+0 9+-+-+-+-0 9-+-vl-+-+0 9+-+-+-+-0 9-+-+-mkp+0 9zp-+-sN-+-0 9P+-+-+K+0 9+-+-+-+-0 xiiiiiiiiy 50.Sg4! Kg4 51.Kf2= Kf4 52.Ke2 Ke4 53.Kd2 Kd4 54.Kc2 Kc4 55.Kb1 Kc3 56.Ka1 Lf4 57.Kb1 Le5! Black's last practical resource wins the jackpot. 58.Ka1?? 58.Kc1=. 58...Kc2# 0:1. The King checkmates!

Zielinska J. : Rajlich I. Warsaw 1995 XIIIIIIIIY 9-+-+-+-+0 9+-+-+-+k0 9-+-+K+-+0 9+-+-+P+L0 9-+-+-+P+0 9+-vl-+-+-0 9-+-+-+-+0 9+-+-+-+-0 xiiiiiiiiy The endgame resulted with an artistic King checkmate. 65.g5 Ld2 65...Lg7 66.f6 Lf8 67.g6 Kg8 68.Le2 Lb4 69.g7 Lc5 70.Lc4 Kh7 71.Kf5+-. 66.g6 Kg8 67.f6 Lh6 68.Kf5 68.Le2! Kf8 69.Lc4+-. 68...Lf8 69.Ld1 Lh6 70.Lb3 Kh8 71.Ke6! Lg7 72.fg7 Kg8 72...Kg7 73.Lc2+-. 73.Kf6# 1:0. The King checkmates! Vlassov N. : Wirig A. playchess.com 2003 XIIIIIIIIY 9r+-+-vlntr0 9+p+k+pzp-0 9-+-+p+-zp0 9zp-+-zP-+-0 9-zPN+p+-+0 9zP-+-vL-+-0 9-+P+-zPPzP0 9tR-+-mK-+R0 xiiiiiiiiy Internet chess can be a world of fun, and is also a world of chess mistakes, some of which we can hope to learn from. Facing with losing the a5-pawn, Black goes for the e5 one, which turns out to be poisonous. 17...Kc6? 17...Kc7. 18.Sa5! Kd5? 19.Lf4! g5?? 19...Ta5 20.ba5+- was the only way to continue the game. 19...e3 20.f3+- keeps the King in the cage. 20.000#! 1:0. The King (move) checkmate! 20.Rd1# would have been with less style. FIDE SURVEYS JOVAN PETRONIC

Lindenthal A. : Pfefferle G. Donaueschingen 1985 XIIIIIIIIY 9r+l+-wqr+0 9zp-+-+-+-0 9-zp-+-sn-zp0 9+-tR-+-+-0 9-wQ-+P+-+0 9+-zP-+N+-0 9k+P+-+PzP0 9+-+-mKL+R0 xiiiiiiiiy 29.Lc4! Ka1 30.00# 1:0. The King (move) checkmate! 30.Kd2# The King checkmates was option 2; 30.Ke2# The King checkmates was option #3; 30.Kf2# The King checkmates was option #4. Litzka M. : Stoll F. Germany 1990 XIIIIIIIIY 9-+-+-+-+0 9+-+-+-+-0 9-+-tR-+-+0 9+-+-+r+-0 9P+-+-mk-+0 9+-+ptr-+-0 9-+-+p+K+0 9+-+-tR-+-0 xiiiiiiiiy 62...Tg3! 63.Kf2 63.Kh2 Th5#; 63.Kh1 Th5#. 63...Kg4#! 0:1 The King checkmates!