Recognising the Patterns: Challenge # 20

A battery on lines using major pieces is the simplest yet most powerful mating pattern. This pattern is very easy to recognise on files as compare to ranks.

Heikki MJ Westerinen against Gudmundur Sigurjonsson in 1977

Q: You can see that both White’s rooks are bearing down on the g-file. How could you get the most out of this?
A: White can get the maximum from this position by sacrificing his queen in order to open up the g-file.

25. Qxg7!! Kxg7 26. Bd8!

This is the only move that wins the game after the queen sacrifice.


If 26…Kf7 then 27. Bh5 is checkmate or if 26…Kh6 then 27. Rh3 is checkmate.

27. Rg8!

Again the only winning move.

27…Rxg8 28. Bf6 Rg7


29. Bxg7 Kg8 30.Bxd4+

This discovered check followed by Bxb2 wins the piece and the game.

Karpov against Ribli in 1986

Q: White’s last move was Qh2, offering the knight on b5. Is it wise to take it?
A: The knight can’t be taken as White can checkmate down the h file using a double rooks battery. In the game Ribli did take on b5:

52…Rxb5?? 53. Qxh7!! Kxh7

If 53…Kf8 then 54.Qh8 is mate.

54. Rh2+ Kg8 55. Rdh1 f6

The last try, hoping for 56. g6.

56. Rh8

Black choose to throw in the towel here. If 56.g6 then Kf8 is in fact winning for Black.

Alekhine against colle in 1925

Q: White has just captured the knight on g6. How would you recapture the piece?
A: Black has three options to recapture the piece but only one can prolong the fight.

Option A: 29..Qxg6 White can the win the rook and the game with 30. Qxd7!.

Option B: 29…hxg6 This was played in the game but unfortunately it was not the right one. Alekhine’s reply was stunning:



30…Rxd7 31. Re8+

Not 31. Rc8+ because of Rd8.

31…Kh7 32. Rcc8

Doubling the rooks on 8th rank after which Black has to give up a ruinous amount of material to stop checkmate.


Hoping for Rcxd8.

33. Rexd8!

Colle resigned as he has to give up his queen to save the game.

I have found that recognising the pattern vertically is very much easy than seeing it applied horizontally.
Option C: 29…fxg6 This is the right option which can prolong the fight but White still has considerable winning chances.

Ashvin Chauhan