Anastasia’s Mate

Anastasia’s Mate is a great example of how a knight and rook can cooperate to checkmate the opponent’s king on the side of the board.

Anastasia’s Mate Example 1

The first example illustrates the fundamental idea of Anastasia’s checkmate pattern.

Anastasia's Mate Original

1.Rh3# checkmates the black king against the side of the board. Note how white’s knight is perfectly placed to cover the escape squares.

Anastasia’s Mate Example 2

Anastasia's Mate Example 2

Diagram above: White plays 1.Rd8# This variation of Anastasia’s Mate reminds us of the Back Rank Mate. In this case white’s knight covers the opposing king’s escape squares instead of his own pawns.

Anastasia’s Mate Puzzle

The Anastasia’s Mate puzzle below is from the game Hammer vs. Carlsen, Halkidiki, Greece, 2003. See if you can find the mate in 2 moves.

Anastasia's Mate Puzzle
Anastasia’s Mate Puzzle. Black to play. Can you find mate in two moves?

Note: It is of course much easier to solve a checkmate puzzle if you know what to look for. In a real game you don’t have the luxury of being told that the checkmate is there. However, a good knowledge of checkmate patterns will increase your chances to find such opportunities during your own games.

Solution below:

Anastasia's Mate Example

Diagram above: Carlsen plays 1… Qh5+ and white is forced to capture the queen with 2.gxh5. However, this opens up the 4th rank for black’s rook and allows black to demonstrate a checkmate that is based on Anastacia’s mating pattern.

Checkmate based on Anastacia's mating pattern

Diagram above: Black plays 2… Rh4# The point is that black’s knight on e2 covers the escape-square, g1.

Interesting Note on Anastasia’s Mate

Chess Coach Clark has a collection of actual games that feature Anastacia’s Mate.

This checkmate pattern is very similar to some variations of Greco’s Mate, which features a bishop cutting off the king’s escape-square, instead of a knight.

Anastasia’s Mate got its name from the book “Anastasia und das Schachspiel” (Anastasia and the Game of Chess).