One of the most fun checkmating patterns that you will probably learn early on is the smothered mate. Especially if you are playing at lower levels, your opponent might not see the pattern coming. And even when they do see it coming, sometimes you can set it up so that the mating net is unavoidable.
Have you ever gotten to play a smothered mate on the board? I have played it and also gotten trapped into them at times, even though I know the pattern.
Below is a game that I just played on PlayChess.com. They don’t let you share the link to the game if you are a free member, and you can’t even copy and paste the moves into NotePad, so you have to type out the full pgn. That’s normally a pain, but I did it for this game because it was a fun game.
In the position below, Black has just played his Queen from h3 to c3 (I had played Qg4, hitting the Queen and threatening a Queen trade). Black was down too much material, so he had to move the queen. But he had to be very careful where he moved it.
Qh6 would have kept the game alive, although it would still be an easy win for White. But after the Queen moved away from the defense of the Kingside, White now has forced mate in a maximum of 5 moves. If you are familiar with the smothered mate pattern, this should be pretty easy to spot.
If you found Qe3+, you are on the right track. After Kh8 (prolonging the game as much as possible), you jump in with Nf7+. Now, unfortunately for Black, he can only choose how he prefers to be mated. If he takes the Knight on f7 with his Rook, you don’t take back of course; instead, Qe8+ exploits Black’s weak back rank, with mate coming on the next move.
Now, unfortunately for Black, he can only choose how he prefers to be mated. If he takes the Knight on f7 with his Rook, you don’t take back of course; instead, Qe8+ exploits Black’s weak back rank, with mate coming on the next move.
So Black instead played Kg8, but this allows Nh6++. Because it is double check from the Knight and Queen, the King must move back to h8.
That’s right–Qg8+!! The King is unable to capture because g8 is protected by the Knight, so the Rook must capture. This boxes the King into the corner, and the Knight can then deliver the smothered mate on f7 (the King is smothered in by his own pieces).
This mating net is a lot of fun if you get to play it over the board. Sometimes you won’t actually get to play the mate, but you might win an exchange if your opponent recognizes that he has to take the Knight with his Rook.