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Maarten Solleveld vs Emil Davidovich Sutovsky
Lost Boys Open (2001), Amsterdam NED, rd 6, Aug-16
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf. Amsterdam Variation (B93)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: One cool thing about the Endgame Explorer is that you can look up elementary mates like this two-bishop mate.

The two bishop mate is so easy I feel that if I ever am called upon to execute it, I'll figure it out over the board. No need to practice your technique for hours on this one. Still, it helps to see it done once or twice.

Jun-14-04  iron maiden: Do they have any King + Bishop + Knight mates? I've never actually seen that done before.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: Sure, there's a bunch of them. A lot of them just end up in a resignation after a few moves (these GM's seem to be pretty confident that their opponents can pull it off), but some play out to the bitter end, or close to it.

Here's a few
Baburin vs G Shahade, 2001
Miles vs Sturua, 1993
A Potapov vs Movsesian, 1995

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White had to work hard to reach the bishops mate;namely,he had to blunder away two pieces.

The mating combination is very simple-so much so,that players resign when they see it coming. Its cousin,the bishop and knight mate,is so much harder that players will try to stick it out. The proof is that there are far more examples in this database.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jim Bartle: Solleveld wasn't sure a 2650-rated GM could mate with two bishops against a lone king? Queen vs. rook I can see, bishop and knight definitely, but two bishops?
Jun-12-08  stardust762: Maarten Solleveld x Mate Solved
Jun-12-08  mezzieh: Gosh, how did he blew it? I thought it was drawn without too much trouble. Imprisoning own Knight at g7 in position with two Black Bishops is often disastrous. Maybe White was exhausted with the defense? I see no better explanation.
Jan-17-09  WhiteRook48: why did White play on until checkmate?
Feb-28-09  WhiteRook48: this is crazy!
Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Caution: It's easy to stalemate the lone king with the two bishops! This is why GMs keep on playing to the bitter end, hoping the confident opponent will relax and make a cut-off move (non-check) that leaves no escape.

Youngsters need to practice this checkmate as a warm-up against other youngsters. After they become proficient in the months ahead, you take the lone king and let them checkmate you (makes 'em feel good, want to learn more endings).

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Alternative moves where Black could have blown the win:

If 85...KxB?? 86.KxB and Black has INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL 1/2-1/2.

If 89...Bc4+?? 90.KxB and Black has INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL 1/2-1/2.

If 98...Ke2?? Stalemate 1/2-1/2.

If 99...Bd2?? Stalemate 1/2-1/2.

If 104...Bb2?? Stalemate 1/2-1/2.

If 105...Bc4?? Stalemate 1/2-1/2.

On the final move 107... any OTHER move by the dark-squared bishop is Stalemate.

Blunder draws are always lurking in the elementary checkmate with two bishops. Stranger things have happened, so play it out.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: In the final position 107... any move along the a2-g8 diagonal by Black's light-squared bishop is a Stalemate 1/2-1/2. (Actually, 107...Ba2 108.KxB is technically a draw by Insufficient Mating Material. The other non-check diagonal moves are Stalemates.)

107...Kc1?? is also a Stalemate 1/2-1/2.

By now, the reader should realize the importance of having youngsters practice the two bishops ending! It's a real witch to get that far and ruin a won ending.

P.S. Fredthebear usually starts a lesson reviewing:

1) Check & Checkmate,
2) Stalemate,
3) It's neither.

In most cases, the lone King is on the outer edge of the board (particularly the corner), and/or a "knight's move" away from the opposing queen. Thus, FTB's students are well-versed in Stalemate situations; they are very comfortable with the term and it's meaning. FTB writes this as a word of CAUTION...

For others, warming-up with the two bishops elementary forced checkmate could be "setting the lesson up for failure" as the student is likely to step into a Stalemate and be confused or embarrassed by it. It leaves the student starting out w/a bad feeling that s/he messed up. That's not a good way to start a chess lesson!

Initially, it's probably better for the instructor to ask for move suggestions from the crowd. Then the instructor makes the moves on the demonstration board, and steers clear of all the lurking Stalemate possibilities -- yet points them out. In this way, the student can learn by watching the demonstration without having made the actual mistake.

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