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Maarten Solleveld vs Emil Sutovsky
Amsterdam 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.

Jan-17-06  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.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Korora: <fredthebear>

Like how Kasparov once blew a ♔-and-♕ vs. ♔ endgame in blitz chess.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: In K&Q vs K endgames, stalemate can occur when the Q is a knight's move away from the lone king on the edge. See diagrams:

click for larger view


click for larger view

Two queens can easily accidently stalemate the lone king, or king plus additional units by a non-check move. With TWO queens, it is important to check continuously when in a hurry, or perhaps sacrifice one of the queens. (In most endings, checking continuously is incorrect if it gives the lone king a choice of directions.) See diagram:

click for larger view

Remember, stalemate often occurs the move just before checkmate would have been delivered, so be extra careful just before the kill shot.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Mating technique to finish with the Two Minor Pieces:

click for larger view

Preventing escape: The winning king takes care of the front door by using the opposition, and the two bishops take care of the back door.

103...Bb5 prevents escape out the back door.

104...Bb4 prevents escape out the back door.

105...Ba5 is an important WAITING MOVE to pass the turn.

If instead 105...Bc4?? 1/2-1/2 Stalemate.
See Stalemate Diagram - White King to move cannot make a legal move:

click for larger view

Realize that stalemate occurs when a non-check move is made. The purpose of the waiting move 105...Ba5 was to allow the lone king to return to a checkable square (the opposition).

The successful checkmate pattern with the Two Minor Pieces:

It is necessary to check the lone king on the square next to the corner (in this case the a2-square). Then checkmate the lone king in the corner. Thus, the last two moves are always check by one minor piece, then check by the other minor piece. This same principle applies to K-B-N vs K checkmates as well. The knight would give check on the square next to the corner, and the bishop gives the final check in the corner. See diagram:

click for larger view

The bishop prevents the backdoor escape. The kings are in opposition. The knight gives the next-to-last check next to the corner, and the bishop gives the final check to the cornered king. A waiting move may be necessary to pass the turn and properly time the next-to-last check next to the corner. This same technique applies to mating in the corner with two bishops.

My students understand the plan to cut-off the lone king from escaping the edge. Then give check-check the last two moves, one by each minor piece. Sorry for the long-winded explanation.

I don't teach two minor piece mates to beginning players to avoid frustrating them. We practice elementary mates with the queen(s) or rook(s) often so they KNOW HOW TO WIN. We also review stalemate positions and perpetual check positions and insufficient mating material positions so they are very familiar with all the ways a game of chess can end. We don't want a tricky or ignorant opponent telling them they have lost when the position is truly drawn.

When does the fallen flag not apply as a loss? Students need to know.

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