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Moving Damiano’s Mate One File Over

by Jon Edwards

Those of you who mastered Dami- ano’s Mate in last month’s issue will have little trouble with the first three positions. But the fourth position this month contains quite a surprise.

Position #1: Switching the attack to the g-file In the last issue of CL4K, we took a long look at Damiano’s checkmate. There, White set up a rook sacrifice down the h-file by maneuvering a pawn to g6 and sacrificing the rook on h8. Of course, the mate can also occur

when the g-file is open with a pawn on f6. Many players find this mating pattern even easier to achieve … sim- ply advance the f-pawn to f6, pry open the g-file, and then sacrifice the rook on g8.

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

-+-wqrmk-+ +-+-+p+- -+-+-zP-+ +-+-+-+- -+-+-+-+ +-+-+-+- -+-zPP+-+

mK-+Q+-tR- a b c d e f g h

White to move

This time, White will sacrifice on g8 rather than h8. There’s a quick mate after Black captures.

Here, White has a pawn on f6, the rook can reach g8, the queen can


reach the open g-file, and the king’s escape to the queenside is blocked, here by the rook on e8. 1. Rg8+ Kxg8 2. Qg1+ Kf8 2. ... Kh7 3. Qg7# 3. Qg7# Those of you who worked through the conditions for the regular Damiano sacrifice in the last issue will quickly recognize the similarities here. All we have done is move the entire sacrifice over one file. This modified Damiano sacrifice works and the following four observations are very similar to last month’s:

1. White has a pawn on f6 controlling both g7 (to support Qg7 mate) as well as the escape square on e7. Black has a pawn on f7 which pre- vents Black’s king from escaping after the rook offer to g8.

2. Black has a piece on e8 (other than a knight) that blocks the king from escaping towards the queenside. If Black has a knight on e8, the sacri- fice fails because the queen will not then be able to use g7 for the checkmate.

3. White has at least one rook able to sacrifice itself on g8 in order to draw the king to g8.

4. White’s queen, after the rook sacri- fice(s), has access to the g-file in order to check and immediately thereafter checkmate Black’s king on g7. As we shall see, the queen will reach the g-file at many of the squares on the g-file, even g6 if the f7-pawn is pinned by a light-squared bishop on the a2-g8 diagonal. We

Chess Life for Kids! February 2013

can add here the possibility of the queen safely reaching squares like h6, h7, and h8.

As we saw last month, the attacking

side may have to ready the rook sac- rifice(s) on the g-file with another sac- rifice aimed at providing the queen with access to the key g-file.

Position #2: When e8 is unoccupied When e8 is unoccupied, the defend- ing king, after the capture of the rook on g8, may have an opportunity to es- cape to safety on the queenside.

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

-+-tr-mk-+ +-+r+p+- -+-+-zP-+ +-+-+-+- -+-+-+-+ +-+-+-+- -+-zPP+-+

mK-+Q+-tR- a b c d e f g h

White to move The sacrifice works here despite

the absence of a piece on e8 be- cause the king’s escape square on d7 is blocked by a rook.

1. Rg8+ Kxg8 2. Qg1+ Kf8 3. Qg7+ Ke8 4. Qg8# Note that if the Rd7 were instead a

knight, Black would be able to defend successfully with … Nd7-f8.

Position #3: A Bishop occupies d7 The sacrifice comes under fire when d7 is open, or when a bishop (or a

You can do it!

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