Saturday, June 28, 2008

Immortal Mates, Part III

Quiz time: White to move and black to move -- Blackburne's or Boden's mate? Solution at the end of the post.

Much to my dismay, the letter "c" hasn't any immortal mates to show for it. Let's move on to "d", then, and one of the pioneers of chess writing, Pedro Damiano (1480-1544). Caissa has played a cruel trick on Damiano's legacy by naming one of the worst defences to 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 after him: Damiano's Defence, 2. ... f6, which Pedro the chess sage condemned in his chess treatise and which has since been named in his "honour". Fortunately, she also rewarded Damiano with an immortal mate, whose trademark signature is a forcing two-move attack by a queen assisted by a pawn or bishop: Damiano's mate and Damiano's bishop mate.

Qf7+, Qd7#. Another queen mate, the Dovetail mate, takes its name from the dovetail setup of the king's pieces. They block the horizontal and vertical escape routes, allowing the queen to mate on the diagonal:

Merry mating!

(Solution to the quiz: 1. Qh7+ paves the way to Blackburne's mate after 1. ... Nxh7 2. Bxh7# / 1. ... Qxc3+! 2. bxc3 Ba3# -- Boden's bishops strike again!)

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