Recognising the Patterns : Challenge #19

Today, I am going to discuss the simplest yet very useful and quite common pattern in practice. It is the queen & bishop battery checkmate. This pattern is not only useful in checkmating your opponent but is also used to weaken the pawn structure around the enemy king.

Here is an educative example to let you know what the pattern is: White to move

White plays e5!, opening up the queen and bishop battery and attacking the natural defender of the king too. If black saves the knight then the queen on d3 delivers checkmate on h7 with the help of her bishop. Therefore White is winning a piece and the game.

Try to find solutions for the following problems based on the given theme.

Albert Frolov against Vitaly Plotnikov in 2006: White to move.

This position is taken after just 9 moves played in a French Defence (Rubinstein variation). Black’s last move was b6 which was a lethal mistake.

Q: How will you proceed?
A: White can win this game as follows:

10. Bxf6

£liminating the natural defender of the king.

10…Bxf6 11. Qe4!!

Attacking the rook on a8 and threatening to checkmate on h7. Of course Black can save checkmate with g6 but losing decisive material. He therefore chose to resign.

Capablanca against Jaffe in 1910: White to move.

Q: White has a winning position. Find the blow that decides the game.
A: In the Capablanca played:

19. Bxh6+!! Kxh6??

Allows mate in two, but if 19…Kg8 then Nxf7 is just a disaster for Black.

20. Nxf7+

Removing the defender of g6, and Black decided to throw the towel here because he can’t stop mate on the next move.
If 20…Rxf7 or 20…Kh7 then 21. Qxg6 is mate and if 20…Kh5 then 21. Qh3 is mate.

The game itself is very instructive, especially about how to build ab attack using a queen and bishop battery. You can find the whole annotated game here.

M. Gerusel against G. Sosonko in 1977: Black to move.

The same position is given in Build up your Chess by Artur Yusupov.

Q: It seems that h2 is perfectly defended against Black’s queen and bishop battery. Is that so?
A: Black can win a piece here as follows:

17…Nxd4! 18. exd4

Opens up the e file.

18…Nxc3

18…Bxd4 loses even more material because of 19. Nd2!!. Now the knight can’t be taken because of mate on h2 and if the queen finds a safe square then …Nxf3+ leads to mate on h2.

19. Rxc3 Rxe2

This wins a piece and the game.

Ashvin Chauhan