Recognising the patterns : Challenge # 13

Today’s challenge: Find the typical pattern and react accordingly.

Juan Carlos Klein against Bartolome Jorge Marcussi in 1963; White to Move

Q: White has a winning position but how can he finish things off?

A: All you need to do is to open lines to let your rooks joins the main battle as follows:

22. Bxg7 Kxg7 23. Nf5! +

Opening the g-file.


What else as 23…Kg8 then Qxh6 is winning.

24. gxf5+ Kh7

Now what?

25. Qxh6+!!

That helps White’s other rook to deliver final blow along the h file.

25… Kxh6
26. Rd3 and there is no defence against Rh3 so Black resigned.

This method of checkmating called the lawnmower or staircase checkmate. It is easy to remember but often hard to recognise in practise as it mainly works when there are open lines. It would be very helpful if you look for levers, sacrifices on g & h files and rook lifts very closely to see if this pattern exists.

Viktor Bologan against EdWin Van Haastert in 2005 – White to move

Q: Can you see any relevance between Rxb5 and the lawnmower pattern?

A: The rook is not only attacking the queen but also shadowing the black king along the 5th rank:

38. Rxb5 Qa7 39 fxg6

Clearing the 5th rank for the rook.

39…fxg6 40. Qxh5!!



If 40…Kg8 then 41. Qxg6 is winning, but the text move leads to mate in four.

41. Nf6+ Bxf6

If 41…Kh8 then 42.Rxh5+ followed by mate in few moves.

42. Rh5#

Emil Schallopp against George Hatfeild Gossip in 1890 – Black to move

Q: On which diagonal will you move your bishop, d1-h5 (Bh5) or h3-c8 (Be6)? Note that taking the knight is no good because 11…Bxf3 12. Qf3 Nc6 13. Bh6 is just winning for White.

A: Black should play 11…Be6 when both sides have chances.

The game went as follows:


Q: This is a natural move but not the good one. What should White play now?

A: He has a winning sacrifice as follows:

12. Bxh7! Kxh7

It was better not to take on h7.

13. Ng5! Bxg5

Usually when g5 is completely protected and the h-file isn’t open, we don’t play this classic bishop sacrifice. Here it is possible because of vulnerability of Black’s bishop on h5.

14. Qxh5+ Bh6

If 14…Kg8 then 15.Bxg5 is winning.

15. Bxh6

Q: Was there anything better than text move?

A: 15. Rf6!! was much better.


It was better to play g6.

16. Rf6!

Now the win is straightforward.

16…Kg7 17. Qxh6 Kg8 18. Qg5+ Kh7 19. Rh6#

Ashvin Chauhan