Arabian Mate Puzzle One: White to move, mate in 2.


The Arabian mate is one of the oldest studies of a checkmating pattern in chess. Records show that theory and lessons involving this interaction between the Knight and Rook date back to the 1400s.

Note these interactions shown immediately below. The enemy King must be backed into a corner. The Knight must be on the long diagonal two squares away from the King. The square between the King and Knight may be empty, or contain a piece, so long as it cannot freely capture the Knight. Finally, a heavy piece (the Queen or, most commonly and illustrated here, a Rook) is brought onto one of the squares adjacent to the King which the Knight controls - both protecting the heavy piece, and preventing escape.

Basic premise of Arabian Mate

Below is a mid-game position which will end in an Arabian Mate. The board looks quite different from the example above, doesn't it?! Before reading past the board, try to guess what Black will try to do to save its Queen.

Zaven Andriansian vs Brent Burg
Groningen Chess Festival (2013) - Round 1

24. Nh5 ... Black to move

MoveWhiteBlackSF Rec WSF BlackMaterial scoreAnnotation
24Nh5Qg5...Qg5Black up ♙Black feels the pressure from the Knight, faces two active Rooks, and decides to trade queens.
25Reg1Qxe2+Reg1Qxe2Black up ♕ ♙White appears to be forcing the issue towards a Queen trade, but also hoping for an error.
26Kxe2Re7Kxe2g6Black up ♙g6 would have been a major deviation. A much longer game would have liquidated to White being up a knight and two pawns vs a clear board. Instead black blunders, and gives White a grand opening.
27Nf6+Kh8Nf6+Kh8Black up ♙The Knight has taken up residence two diagonal squares away from the King, who is backed into a corner. There's not much time left from here.
28Rxh6+gxh6Rxh6+Nh7Black up ♖The interposition Nh7 is followed up by the immediate 29. Rxh7#, a second Arabian mate from this initial position.
29Rg8#0-1Black up ♖Note how quickly that checkmate developed.

Having learned about the function and mechanism of the Arabian Mate, try to apply those principles to this more complex position...

Arabian Mate Puzzle Two: White to move, mate in four


Further instruction Chess


Solutions to puzzles

Solution to Arabian Mate Puzzle One
1Nf6Kh8The g pawn is pinned by the rook and cannot eliminate the threat.
2Rh7#There are more pieces on the board, but note the similarities between this final position, and the skeletal example.

Solution to Arabian Mate Puzzle Two
1Rc7Ka8Black's interposition by Rb7 leads to the immediate response Rbxb7, Ka8, Rc8#.
2Ra7Kxa7Black's only legal move.
3Nc6Ka8Black is gutted by the Knight's check forcing the King onto the kill zone.
4Rxb8#The Knight protects the Rook and covers the escape square, the Rook delivers check and prevents the King from closing on the Knight.