Boden’s Mate

Boden’s Mate is a checkmate pattern that demonstrates the power of two bishops on open diagonals. The pattern is similar to the Balestra Mate, but the latter involves a queen and bishop instead of two bishops.

Boden’s Mate Example 1

The first example is a simplified position that demonstrates the essence of the pattern:

Boden's Mate Example 1

Diagram above: 1.Ba6# shows how the two white bishops work together to deliver checkmate. They require the “help” of black’s rook and pawn which occupy their own king’s escape squares.

Boden’s Mate Example 2

The second example is from the game that made this checkmate pattern famous, Schulder–Boden, London 1853.

Boden's Mate Example 2a

Diagram above: 1… Qxc3+ forces white to play 2.bxc3–which clears the way for black’s dark-square bishop to deliver the checkmate on the next move.

Boden's Mate Example 2b

Diagram above: 2… Ba3# shows why black was willing to sacrifice the queen on the previous move–checkmate ends the game!

Interesting Notes on Boden’s Mate

This checkmate pattern is named after Samuel Boden–even though he wasn’t the first player to use it. It was however named after him when the game he used it in became well-known.

Wikipedia has a detailed write up on Boden’s Mate. It gives numerous examples and variations of the pattern. This page by picapica on offers a useful collection of actual games that feature Boden’s Checkmate Pattern.