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Georg Marco vs Albert Hodges
Cambridge Springs (1904), Cambridge Springs, PA USA, rd 6, May-03
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Tarrasch Variation (C77)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-07-14  john barleycorn: <Once> <"The Oxford Companion to Chess" defines an epaulet mate (their spelling) as "a mate with two SELF-BLOCKS on the same file, rank or diagonal.">

Right. "the same rank and file" as the king I would add. It is the linear setup. The V shape is different imo.
I put 3 positions in the "Kibitzer's Cafe" for discussion. If you find time let me know your suggestions.

My opinion is that none ot those is an epaulette and C is a dovetail.

May-07-14  psmith: Opinions, opinions. But at least today no one is lacking in chess knowledge, retarded, or stupid. OK?
May-07-14  john barleycorn: <psmith> that is your opinion. Why do people play certain openings? Because they are of the opinion they good for them. Chess is not a science.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <john barleycorn: Right. "the same rank and file" as the king I would add.>

But that isn't what either the Oxford Companion or Wikipedia actually said.

Neither of them mentioned the fact that the blocking pieces needed to be on the same rank or file as the king. And it's a bit hard to mate where the enemy king has self-blocking pieces on the same diagonal as the king.

But what is a name anyway? It's what the majority of people decide to call something. We could call this the Barleycorn mate if we wanted to. And if enough people agreed with us and called it the same thing, that's what the dictionaries would eventually recognise.

You don't think that today's positions should be called an epaulet or epaulette. Without much searching I found two respectable sources that don't agree with you (and one that did, sort of). I am not going to say you are wrong because your definition is one possible definition that I have heard. But it is by no means the only definition. And anyway there is very little to be gained from nit-picking to try to do someone down.

May-07-14  john barleycorn: <Once: You don't think that today's positions should be called an epaulet or epaulette. Without much searching I found two respectable sources that don't agree with you (and one that did, sort of). I am not going to say you are wrong because your definition is one possible definition that I have heard. But it is by no means the only definition. >

There should be only one definition or different definitions should be equivalent. Seemingly they are not which means we don't have a definition even the sources are respectable they can be superficial as so many times in chess. It is lie with an chess analysis which is not necessarily good accurate because it was given by a respected player in a respected magazine/book. I am convinced my opinion concerning the type of mate can be better justified at the moment.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <There should be only one definition or different definitions should be equivalent.>


Is it the Ruy Lopez or the Spanish?

Do you pronounce lieutenant as "lootenant" or "leftenant"?

Should we say mate or checkmate?

Is it a zwischenzug or an in-between move?

Chess analysis can be right or wrong, but a name is simply what convention says it is. And chess is full of terms which are used differently by different people.

Your opinion about this kind of mate is simply that - your opinion. It's not the only opinion out there.

And even if it was, that does not mean that we should use it to criticise another kibitzer. Please.

May-07-14  john barleycorn: <Once> a name is not a definition.

You can call it Spanish, Ruy Lopez or whatever you like when it is clear that all the names designate the moves 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 in that order.

Same here for the epaulette as said before.

May-07-14  Conrad93: Life Master AJ, why would anyone ever visit your site with name calling like that?

By the way, your commentary is awful.
How can you claim it's the best site on the internet when your commentary is lacking?

99% of the variations posted are computer lines, and the rest is about stating the obvious.

May-07-14  YouRang: Wow, I thought religion was a touchy subject.

FWIW, I've always thought there were too many "named mates". It's impractical to name all possible mates, and some mates may easily be seen as variants of two or more others.

Besides, as far as I know there's no established mate-naming authority. There's also no dire consequence for calling a mate by the "wrong" name (unless some of the chess players on this site catch you in a dark alley).

May-07-14  James D Flynn: 26.Rd7+ Rxd7 27.Rxd7+ Kxf6(if Kf8 28.Rxf7#) 28.Rxf7#

I neither know nor care whether this is an epaulette or dovetail or whatever, it is definitely mate in 3 as from the the position after Black's move 25.

May-07-14  TheBish: G Marco vs A Hodges, 1904

White to play (26.?) "Medium/Easy".

White has a nifty mate after 26. Rd7+! Rxd7 27. Rxd7+ Kxf6 (or Kf8) 28. Rxf7#.

There are two different mating patterns which are very similar, whether Black takes the knight or goes to f8. After 27...Kf8, the white knight controls squares e8 and g8, while after 27...Kxf6, Black's owns pieces (pawn on e5 and rook on g5) prevent the king's escape to those squares (similar to what a white knight on f3 would do) and of course White's pawn of f5 controls e6 and g6. If you move the f5 pawn to h5 it would still be mate (since the white bishop already covers e6) but I think it's more aesthetically pleasing to have it on f5, even though it's not a "pure mate" (problem composer's term for a mate where every escape square is controlled only once).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Mating Pattern Wars.... :)

Personally I believe it is important to know the difference between an epaulette mate and dovetail mate.

If a reader comes across a diagram with a following note.

"White cannot take the Knight because Black has a Dovetail Mate."

If the reader does not know the difference then there is a chance they may not see it and miss the idea.

We must also remember that the object of the game is to checkmate the other lad's King.

Knowing the name and pattern the many ways this can be done will help. If you have never seen a mating pattern before the chances of your seeing it x moves ahead are remote.

Look how many refreshingly honest lads come on here after these POD's and admit they never saw the mate. One honest poster on this thread admits he stumbled upon it.

Here from the game.

click for larger view

Mates from here are missed at the lower level because there other good and tempting moves available.

1.Rd7+ Rxd7 2.Nxf6+

click for larger view

That's winning. Or how about;

click for larger view

1.gxf6+ Ke8 2.Bx7+ Kxf7 3.Rd7+

click for larger view

Another plausible way to win it.

If this position had popped up in a game those without the mating pattern would toil to find it. Marco saw it here.

So studying mating patterns and picking up the correct term will help.


I have a good book on tactics to give away to a kid.

One kid names and shows me examples of half a dozen mating patterns he has memorised.

Another kid names and shows me half a dozen opening variations he has memorised.

Remembering the object of the game. Who do I give the book too?

May-07-14  solver43: The winning move reminds me of a basketball
player driving for a layup who suddenly
stops short and takes a jump shot.

26 Rd2 Rd7 check

May-07-14  MostlyWatch: <Sally Simpson> Might I suggest tearing out every other page, give them to one kid and the crippled book to the other... now they have to learn to get along in order to benefit... (!)
May-08-14  LIFE Master AJ: The only thing I will ad is that <JB> following me all over the site and posting negative comments is both STALKING and troll-like behavior. (There is nothing good or commendable about it.)

As for the splitting hairs on what is or is not an epaulette mate, you can duke it out in the corner, I don't care ... I just know what I was taught as a child in New York at the Marshall Chess Club.

May-08-14  LIFE Master AJ: Under the strictest interpretation of the actual word ... an epaulette is actually a fancy (useless) decoration on military uniforms. (They come in pairs.)

Under that interpretation, anytime a King's retreat is blocked equally on both sides ... whether it be a line, file, rank diagonal, whatever ... then I think that this would qualify on those terms.

May-08-14  LIFE Master AJ: <Sally> I have to strongly disagree with you ... a dovetail is probably a SUB-CATEGORY of the epaulette mate ... whether or not you agree with this, I don't care.

I do know that I used to have a book by Horowitz, and he gave all kinds of examples, I am sure some of them qualified as a "dovetail" mate. (Which is a load of garbage, I never even heard this terminology until a few years ago.)

May-08-14  LIFE Master AJ:
May-08-14  LIFE Master AJ:
May-08-14  john barleycorn: I am glad that they did not play the Dilworth variant as the <LITE Master>'s dangerous knowledge might shine through twice.
May-08-14  john barleycorn: <LITE Master AJ: The only thing I will ad is that <JB> following me all over the site and posting negative comments is both STALKING and troll-like behavior.>

You wish.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi AJ,

How about we dispense with terms 'epaulette' and 'dovetail' altogther.

Epaulettes, as you correctly state sit on the shoudlers so this:

click for larger view

Is a Shoulder Mate.

And this is....

click for larger view a Shoulder Blade Mate.

Still friends?

May-08-14  LIFE Master AJ: Kool with me.

Its just a silly dispute over splitting hairs, anyway.

I wish I still had the book by I.A. Horowitz ...

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: We could dispense with the whole debate over terminology--in certain quarters, it simply supplies grist for the mill which turns out endless invective from a poster who needs no encouragement.
May-09-14  LIFE Master AJ: <perp> And you are nothing more than a troll, anyway ...
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