YELLOW BELT - CHECKMATING
In order to earn a yellow belt, you need to checkmate someone during chess class, then call over the coach!
A "checkmate" is the situation on a chess board in which a king is in check but cannot stop that check. "Check" means any situation in which the king is in jeopardy/under attack/is facing being captured. You want to checkmate your opponent's king before they checkmate yours! Remember, in chess a king is literally never captured; checkmate is the state where the king could be captured, and has no way to stop that. The players shake hands at this point since the checkmate is on the board. Capturing a king would be uncivilized and has never been done in the 1600-year history of chess.
The chessboard below shows four possible moves: to the yellow square, to the green square, to the orange square, and to the red square. Is the green square checkmate? Nope. The green square checks the black king, but the black king has escape squares: the D1 and F1 squares. Is the red square checkmate? Nope. True, the red square also checks the black king, but the black king again has escape squares: D2, E2, or F2. Does the yellow square checkmate? Definitely not! The king has all five squares around it as escape squares, including the yellow square! Remember, a king moves one space in any direction, and can certainly capture the rook in this situation. So is there a checkmate on this chessboard? Yes! The orange square! If the H7 rook moves to the orange square, then the king is in check and has no escape squares because the entire second rank is controlled by the A2 rook. When a king is in check and cannot stop that check, that is checkmate!
Let's take a look at another example. The chessboard below again shows four possible moves: to the yellow square, to the green square, to the orange square, and to the red square. Can you see the checkmate? Look hard and take some time with this.
On the chessboard below, is the green square checkmate? Nope. The green square checks the black king, but the black king has three escape squares: the D2, F1, and F2 squares. Is the red square checkmate? Nope. The red square also checks the black king, but the the black king again has escape squares: D2 or F2. Does the orange square checkmate? Definitely not! The orange square does not even put the black king in check, much less checkmate. So is there a checkmate on this chess board? Yes! The yellow square! If the queen moves to the yellow square, then the king is in check and has no escape squares because all the squares adjacent to the king are controlled by the queen. The only square adjacent to the king that is not controlled by the queen is the yellow square itself, but the yellow square is controlled by the bishop! The king cannot capture the queen because that would be moving into check with the bishop, which is against the rules. If your opponent tried to capture the queen with the black king, or to ever make any illegal move whatsoever, our players are trained to respond calmly, "That's an illegal move; please take it back; you are moving into check with the bishop." Then black would retract that capture, watch their opponent remove one minute from their clock for making an illegal move, and then examine the board for a while and finally admit that they have lost the game by being checkmating. Then black shakes the hand of white, gives up all their mardi-gras beads, and goes to replenish their mardi-gras beads with rainbow beads from our huge stash of beads. That is how we do it!
So now you get it, right? When a king is in check and cannot stop that check, that is checkmate!
So here is your big semester exam! You got this! In the diagram below, can you find the checkmate? Remember, you want to put your opponent's king in check in a way that means there is no way to stop that check. THAT is the definition of checkmate.
So on the chessboard below, which is the move for white that checkmates? Rook takes knight at yellow square? Nope. If you try that, then the black king simply captures your rook on the yellow square. Queen takes bishop on the orange square? Nope! The rook could just capture the queen. D6 knight moves to the orange square? Nope. F5 rook would just capture that knight. The answer here is that the F4 knight moves to G6/the green square and that is checkmate! The king is trapped by its own pieces. This type of checkmate is called a smothermate. Good work!, Cool, right!?
The only real way to get good at checkmating is to get out there and play a few games! I suggest you play a game with your TKS student as soon as possible and both of you practice checkmating!
Checkmate someone today!
Happy playing--Dr. Brooks