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Vukovic Mate Examples
Compiled by ChessCoachClark

IM Vladimir Vukovic (b. 1898; d. 1975) was both Serbian and Jewish. He showed an essential and particular kind of Knight and Rook checkmate pattern in his book, THE ART OF ATTACK IN CHESS, Chapter 4: Mating Patterns, under "Typical Mates without Enemy Pieces," pages 66-67 (AAV, 66-67). It was not labeled with a name there, but several chess writers honor IM Vukovic by naming this pattern after him. Unlike several other named mates in history, it does not appear that IM Vukovic used this mate in one of his own games. However, the body of his games is limited.

If you do find any game where IM Vukovic actually made a Vukovic Mate, put a kibitzing comment that identifies such a game at <Aronian vs So, 2019>. The prolific game collector <FredtheBear> (FTB) has already been using that game as a reference for other purposes. Thanks to him and to any of you who help out.

I have mixed feelings about members who have cloned my tedious work without citing anyone as its originator. The cloning is a simple feature provided by for these game collections altogether, but such imitation-- without the credit that is due-- does not evoke flattery.

The original demonstrative position (AAV, 66) is as follows:

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I have placed the White King at a random location because IM Vukovic omitted it from the starting position.

One series of moves from this root position brings an Arabian Mate: 1. ♘f6+ ♔h8 2. ♖h7# and the other set 1. ♘f6+ ♔f8 2. ♖f7# brings "a mating pattern which is worth remembering (AAV, 67)."

IM Vukovic did not illustrate either finale, so here is the example Arabian Mate position:

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This is the 'Vukovic Mate' position then:

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One suggestion for a memorization aid is to notice that the defending King, attacking Rook and supporting Knight form a line. Another chessman must be employed, however, to protect the mating Rook-- the Pawn could be on either diagonal "behind" the Rook. Obviously, a higher ranking unit could be the Rook's protector also, even your own regent, itself.

That mnemonic line is normally a file. The other orientation for the Vukovic Mate would be visualized along a rank, then. Examples of such sideways Vukovic Mates will be included below as they are encountered. Some chess authorities would claim them as different mates altogether, as the move order differs. Do allow me to politely and firmly disagree. I maintain that an important aspect of chess visualization is being able to see a mating pattern in different parts of the board and in different orientations.

This kind of Rook and Knight mate is not an Arabian Mate. Further, the name Arabian Mate should not be applied to the Hook Mate, either. I have compiled a game collection on the Hook Mate as well: Game Collection: Hook Mate Examples. For those interested, my game collection for the Arabian Mate is Game Collection: Arabian Mate Examples

There should be a formal, technical name for this mating position; something like a Rook and Knight Mate with Helper and some other qualifiers. My preference, as always, it to keep it short and simple (KISS), so I had been describing it for my students as an <In-His-Face Rook Mate> before I saw the <Vukovic Mate> designation. 'Vukovic Mate' is the more colorful and easier to remember moniker.

Similarly, I prefer Pandolfini's use of <Rook Roll> rather than the more mundane and yet proper <Double Rook Mate>. (My younger club members irrepressibly smile when I use a giant chess set with a tablecloth "board" and then watch me literally roll it up as the mating net proceeds!)

This kind of checkmate intrigued me, so I chose to start a collection of games for my students to learn about it. Of course, the games are most likely to need continuations to see the Vukovic Mate, since modern players frequently resign when their games are nearly lost.

The game V Saravanan vs Sasikiran, 1999, 79 moves, 0-1, is the archetype for most Internet citations (without being identified). Continuation in that game gives us this diagram:

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The Vukovic Mate may be expressed in several forms, although in every case, the "victimized" King, friendly Rook and friendly Knight are contiguous and in a straight line, with the Rook directly against the opposing King. Further, there may be two protectors for the Rook (i.e., the threat of the final position of Spassky vs Larsen, 1968, 52 moves, 1-0, would have both the friendly King and a Pawn aiding him). Here is its diagram:

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(Black to move. Using an analysis engine results in a continuation where Black will get Promotion, yet still lose via a different mating pattern.)

Some commentators on this game have made the mistake of declaring that it ends with an Arabian Mate threat. You, gentle readers, know better now.

Another point of interest may be the similarity between the Vukovic Mate and the <Seventh Rank Mate>, which Nimzowitsch called the <Blind Swine Mate>.

This connection is most evident when the protector is a distant Queen or Rook on the same rank as the Rook adjacent to the rival King. Now the Knight is acting as a 'stopper' in the drain of the sink-- the targeted King has no outlet for safety.

See both the end of this game J Aagaard vs A Ismagambetov, 2012 and its continuation to mate for one case in point.

Another case is from S Nikolov vs M Petrov, 2001 Pamporovo 2001, 32 moves, 1-0, with two curiosities. One is the mate in the corner and the other the Blind Swine Mate family resemblance. The continuation to mate from an outdated analysis engine 32. ... ♕xe1+ 33. ♖xe1 ♘b4 34. ♖e7 g5 35. ♖xh7# brings us to this position:

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At one point, I thought that the earliest Vukovic Mate was J Moller vs H L Jonsson, 1901, 38 moves, 1-0. However, the game listed below, Staunton vs E Williams, 1851, 78 moves, 0-1, far precedes it. G Ferenczy vs Charousek, 1897, 37 moves, 0-1, is another prior game. Of course, there could still be another predecessor out there. The first point to recognize from this is that the Vukovic Mate is not a new checkmate pattern, merely newly named. The second point is that the mate predates its namesake, since IM Vukovic was born in 1898.

For brevity, the header for each game will indicate the color and type of the protector for the Rook.

ChessCoachClark (CCC) originated this game collection prior to 2015 and he updates it on occasion. This project is a work in progress, culling games from various sources, including several chess training books and personal research. The games are ordered by date (oldest first), not by importance.

Be well.
Be safe.

Black King protector.
Staunton vs E Williams, 1851 
(A13) English, 78 moves, 0-1

SIDEWAYS IN CORNER! Black Bishop protector.
G Ferenczy vs Charousek, 1897 
(C68) Ruy Lopez, Exchange, 37 moves, 0-1

Others show: 37. ... Qd7 38. Re7#; White Pawn protector.
V Nielsen vs F Englund, 1899 
(C21) Center Game, 48 moves, 1-0

White Pawn protecting.
J Moller vs H L Jonsson, 1901 
(C14) French, Classical, 38 moves, 1-0

Corner; White Pawn protecting.
Alekhine vs Cercle de la Rive Gauche, 1925 
(C00) French Defense, 36 moves, 1-0

Vukovic Mate ends continuation: 23...Rxe8 24.Rxd7+ Kf8 25.Rxf7#
Capablanca vs S Campos, 1927 
(B00) Uncommon King's Pawn Opening, 23 moves, 1-0

Mate from Stockfish continuation; White Pawn as protector.
Fine vs J Rappaport, 1931 
(A00) Uncommon Opening, 28 moves, 1-0

Black Pawn protecting.
G Katz vs H Steiner, 1946 
(A51) Budapest Gambit, 44 moves, 0-1

SIDEWAYS! White Bishop protecting.
A C Ludwig vs C Lyon, 1952 
(C50) Giuoco Piano, 30 moves, 1-0

Blunder for Piling On would bring Vukovic Mate: 38. Nd4?? Rg5#.
Smyslov vs Botvinnik, 1954 
(A07) King's Indian Attack, 41 moves, 0-1

GAME OF THE CENTURY! Black Bishop supporting.
D Byrne vs Fischer, 1956  
(D92) Grunfeld, 5.Bf4, 41 moves, 0-1

White Pawn protecting.
S Lancel vs M Bain, 1963
(E49) Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Botvinnik System, 84 moves, 1-0

Corner; Black Pawn supporting.
E Rinder vs E Ladanyike-Karakas, 1967
(C01) French, Exchange, 57 moves, 1-0

Continuation eventually has Rf7#; White Pawn helping, only.
Spassky vs Larsen, 1968 
(B25) Sicilian, Closed, 52 moves, 1-0

26. Ke1 Re2# for Vukovic Mate with Knight protector.
S J Hooker vs Short, 1975 
(C18) French, Winawer, 25 moves, 0-1

33. ... Qxc8 34.Rb6# is SIDEWAYS-- Black Pawn protector!
E Schiller vs T Redman, 1975 
(B51) Sicilian, Canal-Sokolsky (Rossolimo) Attack, 33 moves, 1-0

White King protecting.
E Torre vs Ljubojevic, 1976 
(B33) Sicilian, 43 moves, 1-0

40. Qg4# is SIDEWAYS by the Queen with Rook protector.
Vaganian vs K Pytel, 1978 
(A15) English, 40 moves, 1-0

White Pawn protecting.
Miles vs F Trois, 1979 
(E12) Queen's Indian, 68 moves, 1-0

Black Pawn protecting.
A Muir vs S R Mannion, 1987 
(D02) Queen's Pawn Game, 39 moves, 0-1

White Pawn protector.
Seirawan vs R Simic, 1987
(D70) Neo-Grunfeld Defense, 44 moves, 1-0

Black King protector.
J Emms vs Hodgson, 1990
(C03) French, Tarrasch, 37 moves, 0-1

SIDEWAYS! Black Bishop helping.
J Hector vs G Barbero, 1991 
(C41) Philidor Defense, 37 moves, 0-1

Black Pawn helping.
V Meier vs Bagirov, 1991 
(B03) Alekhine's Defense, 50 moves, 0-1

Vukovic Mate (variation) by the Queen.
I Gazik vs M Djurkovic, 1992
(B07) Pirc, 26 moves, 1-0

14 lines (!): 36. ...(any) 37. Rf7#; White Pawn protector.
E Agrest vs R Bachler, 1997
(A16) English, 36 moves, 1-0

Queen slides gracefully over for a Vukovic Mate variation.
Syringa Turvey vs K Bhatia, 1997
(C31) King's Gambit Declined, Falkbeer Counter Gambit, 32 moves, 0-1

Continuation: 80. Kf1 Ne3+ 81. Ke1 Re2#; Black Pawn.
V Saravanan vs Sasikiran, 1999
(B10) Caro-Kann, 79 moves, 0-1

White Pawn protector.
A Gunnarsson vs L Knutsson, 2000 
(C45) Scotch Game, 61 moves, 1-0

White Pawn protector.
Vaganian vs M Lodhi, 2000
(D11) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 40 moves, 1-0

White Pawn protector.
M Perunovic vs I Blasko, 2000 
(C10) French, 47 moves, 1-0

White Pawn protector.
S Svoboda vs K Ruckschloss, 2000
(B07) Pirc, 40 moves, 1-0

Black Pawn protector.
S Collins vs N Sulava, 2000 
(B42) Sicilian, Kan, 45 moves, 0-1

Black King supporting.
O Iljushina vs I Zakurdjaeva, 2001 
(D10) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 44 moves, 0-1

SIDEWAYS! White King protector.
P Danek vs S Hanuliak, 2001
(A43) Old Benoni, 68 moves, 1-0

White Pawn protector.
D Gonzalez Diaz vs J Bello Filgueira, 2001
(B23) Sicilian, Closed, 41 moves, 1-0

See header for continuation; Corner-- distant Queen protector
S Nikolov vs M Petrov, 2001
(E91) King's Indian, 32 moves, 1-0

Corner-- QUEEN makes mate; White Bishop protector.
B Podlesnik vs J Skok, 2001
(C05) French, Tarrasch, 36 moves, 1-0

White Pawn protector.
N Zhukova vs A Sharevich, 2004 
(D58) Queen's Gambit Declined, Tartakower (Makagonov-Bondarevsky) Syst, 66 moves, 1-0

Continuation 95. Kb1 Rb2#; Black King supports.
J W Knudsen vs B G Christensen, 2004
(C28) Vienna Game, 94 moves, 0-1

Black Pawn protector.
S Foisor vs P Malysheva, 2005
(E32) Nimzo-Indian, Classical, 74 moves, 0-1

White King protecting.
M Godena vs T Warakomski, 2005 
(C53) Giuoco Piano, 58 moves, 1-0

Black Pawn protecting.
Korneev vs M Rivas Pastor, 2005 
(C16) French, Winawer, 59 moves, 0-1

Corner; Black Bishop protector.
V Akobian vs I Ibragimov, 2006 
(E15) Queen's Indian, 38 moves, 0-1

44. ... d4 45. Rc7#; White King protecting.
A Volokitin vs Karjakin, 2008 
(E37) Nimzo-Indian, Classical, 44 moves, 1-0

Black Bishop protecting.
F Ynojosa Aponte vs P Makepeace, 2010 
(B10) Caro-Kann, 54 moves, 0-1

White Pawn protector.
J Cox vs A Baruch, 2010
(A25) English, 47 moves, 1-0

39. ...Kg8 40. Rhxh7 d4 41. Rhg7#.
A Souza Neves vs Jaime Villafane Gomez, 2010
(A04) Reti Opening, 39 moves, 1-0

White King helping.
C Peptan vs I Ionica, 2011 
(B84) Sicilian, Scheveningen, 73 moves, 1-0

White King helping.
A Kholopov vs A Matsenko, 2011 
(D43) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 45 moves, 1-0

Both Black King and Black Pawn are protectors!
J Aulin-Jansson vs Y Solodovnichenko, 2011
(A07) King's Indian Attack, 55 moves, 0-1

Queen steps ahead to effect a Vukovic Mate variation.
A Bochkarev vs Maryan Kirichenko, 2011
(C62) Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense, 36 moves, 1-0

Continuation 42. Rd1 Rg2#; DISTANT BLACK ROOK protecting Rook.
J Aagaard vs A Ismagambetov, 2012 
(C45) Scotch Game, 41 moves, 0-1

Like a Vukovic Help Mate, as friendly Rook obtends; TWO KNIGHTS
L Borbjerggaard vs E Christensen, 2012
(A45) Queen's Pawn Game, 26 moves, 1-0

SIDEWAYS AT EDGE Vukovic Mate! Black King protects Rook
T Gueci vs A Balaian, 2013
(C03) French, Tarrasch, 40 moves, 0-1

Queen captures to effect a Vukovic Mate variation.
Mihaela Blazeka vs Elena Stankovic, 2014
(C53) Giuoco Piano, 20 moves, 1-0

White Pawn protector.
G N Gopal vs D Howell, 2016 
(C96) Ruy Lopez, Closed, 49 moves, 1-0

FTB saw threat 49...fxg4 50. f5 51. Rg6#
Aronian vs Anand, 2017 
(A21) English, 49 moves, 1-0

Stunning finish for Super GMs; Black Pawn protector.
Aronian vs So, 2019 
(A22) English, 47 moves, 1-0

59 games

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