The 2 Bishop Checkmate

The two bishop checkmate is easier than the Bishop & Knight checkmate as we can create a barrier more easily and can checkmate in any of the 4 corners of the board.

Again, we will use our King to force Black to the back-rank and keep taking away escape squares until he is forced into the corner and checkmated.

Whenever Black takes the opposition, we can put a Bishop in between the Kings and this will force Black to take a backwards step.

Be careful not to stalemate Black when he is near the corner! You can always play a waiting move by moving a Bishop along the diagonal.

Train by playing this position against your computer: FEN 8/8/8/8/3k4/8/8/2B1KB2 w – – 0 0

The Bishop & Knight Checkmate

The Bishop & Knight checkmate is the trickiest of the basic checkmates but is well worth learning as it will improve how you coordinate the two pieces in middlegames and endgames with extra pieces.

The video illustrates how to win this endgame although regular practice is advised to ensure you can perform the mate easily. The following notes give the general ideas behind the mate:

  • The King will play a large role in restricting the opposing King, especially by taking the opposition.
  • The checkmate must take place in a corner the same colour as the Bishop you have, so if you have a light-squared Bishop, the checkmate will be in the a8 or h1 corner.
  • The defending side will do best to stay in the centre or move to a corner of the opposite colour to the attacking side’s Bishop.
  • When the defending King is in the ‘wrong’ corner, the Knight will have to be used to drive him out.
  • In positions where the attacking side needs to lose a move, play a waiting move with the Bishop along the controlling diagonal.

Train against your chess engine!

FEN: 8/8/8/8/8/4k3/8/2N1KB2 w – – 0 0