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Smothered Mate Examples
Compiled by ChessCoachClark

Only the Knight can bring a Smothered Mate, as only the Knight is able to jump over any chessman. Probably the most popular checkmate pattern, the Smothered Mate often fascinates new chess players and retains its popularity even after one becomes proficient. Like the Arabian Mate, the Smothered Mate dates from the earliest days of chess because the move of the Knight has remained unchanged from the beginnings of chess play.

What can make the Smothered Mate so amazing is that the Knight is often unprotected, just moving into position at a hole in the defenses of the opposing chessmen. It can be a psychological shock to the opponent even as a threat tactic because otherwise, the King seems to be so well-protected.

Masters have relied on this mating pattern as well as intermediate players. Do consider it to be an essential part of your chess knowledge, then. It can help you become a winner and improve your skills if you are just learning about the Smothered Mate.

It should be noted that a Queen sacrifice (technically, a sham sacrifice) is only one of several ways to bring about a Smothered Mate. There are many variations on the theme, but I suggest classifying Smothered Mates in three ways. Type A has the attacking Knight one rank away from the defending King. Type B has the attacking Knight two ranks away from the defending King. Then a group of special Smothered Mates, even in the vertical orientation.

Here's a pictorial for the Type A Smothered Mate, which is a skeleton/extract (only the essential chessmen are shown) of the game Credit vs Edl, FICS, 2008 (not provided at, yet):

click for larger view

This is a pictorial for the Type B Smothered Mate, which is a skeleton/extract of the game Trefny vs Stratil, Czech Republic, 1994 (not provided at, yet):

click for larger view

A curious or eager student should not only look at the Smothered Mate itself (to make it familiar), but also look at the moves just before the Smothered Mate occurs. Check out how the winning player prepared for the mate and try to see if the losing player could have avoided it. A serious student will play through the entire game, finding tactics, trying to see strategies and even evaluating the opening. These over-the-board (OTB) examples can provide valuable insights to you and help make the Smothered Mate pattern become an active part of your "toolbox."

This game collection is a project in progress. Games are listed in date order, not in order of importance.

Bird vs NN, 1869 
(C37) King's Gambit Accepted, 14 moves, 1-0

TYPE A-- King has not castled yet in this miniature
Bird / Dobell vs NN, 1886 
(C37) King's Gambit Accepted, 13 moves, 1-0

TYPE B-- King has not castled yet in a very short miniature
J McGrouther vs Robert McCann, 1893 
(B32) Sicilian, 6 moves, 1-0

TYPE B-- Absolute Pin keeps attacking Knight safe and sound
Muhlock vs B Kostic, 1911 
(C50) Giuoco Piano, 7 moves, 0-1

TYPE B-- King has not castled yet in a very short miniature
Henricksen vs Bjarne Pedersen, 1937 
(A52) Budapest Gambit, 8 moves, 0-1

TYPE B-- King has not castled yet in a miniature
Ed. Lasker vs I A Horowitz, 1946 
(D04) Queen's Pawn Game, 14 moves, 0-1

TYPE A-- Queen Sacrifice at edge file, instead of rank.
R Slade vs D Hooper, 1947 
(B83) Sicilian, 31 moves, 0-1

TYPE B-- King has not castled yet in a very short miniature
C R Gurnhill vs W H Banks, 1962 
(B17) Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation, 6 moves, 1-0

TYPE A-- Continuation 20. ... Rxg8 21. Nf7#
Benko vs I A Horowitz, 1968 
(A12) English with b3, 20 moves, 1-0

Giving up TWO pieces to get the Smothered Mate
Delarochette vs J Negro, 1983 
(B10) Caro-Kann, 23 moves, 0-1

TYPE B-- Dependent upon Absolute Pin from Rook
Hort vs Piskov, 1994
(D31) Queen's Gambit Declined, 35 moves, 1-0

Smothered Mate is Pending after Double Check at End
Ziatdinov vs D Gurevich, 1995 
(B64) Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 26 moves, 0-1

TYPE A-- Queen is sacrificed as Removing the Guard tactic
Yagupov vs R Khusnullin, 1999 
(B82) Sicilian, Scheveningen, 25 moves, 1-0

Grischuk vs Ponomariov, 2000 
(B04) Alekhine's Defense, Modern, 27 moves, 1-0

TYPE A Pending-- see continuation in Kibitzing section
Karjakin vs T Hillarp Persson, 2003 
(B06) Robatsch, 25 moves, 1-0

S Duron Godoy vs V Garcia Castro, 2004 
(B50) Sicilian, 20 moves, 0-1

K Bischoff vs K Mueller, 2004 
(D45) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 36 moves, 1-0

TYPE A-- Continuation 28. ... Rxg8 29. Nf7#
G Kjartansson vs J Rety, 2005 
(B07) Pirc, 28 moves, 1-0

TYPE A-- Continuation 26. ... Nxg8 27. Nf7#
R Buhmann vs B Saeheng, 2008 
(D30) Queen's Gambit Declined, 26 moves, 1-0

19 games

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