Greco’s Mate

Greco’s Mate is a checkmate pattern where the enemy king is trapped in a corner with the help of a bishop. It is a great example of how a rook and bishop can coordinate to deliver checkmate.

Greco’s Mate Example 1

Greco’s Mate Example 1

Diagram above: 1.Rh1 demonstrates Greco’s Mate. The white bishop covers the escape-square, g8. The g7-square is occupied by one of black’s own pawns and the white rook delivers the checkmate along the open h-file.

Greco’s Mate Example 2

English chess grandmaster, Michael Adams, demonstrated Greco’s Mate beautifully in this game:

Greco’s Mate Example 2a

Diagram above: Adams played 1… Ng3+! The point is to open up the h-file and follow-up with Greco’s Mate. 2.hxg3 is forced.

Greco’s Mate Example 2b

Diagram above: 2… Rh4+ (or even Qh4+ leads to the same outcome).

Greco’s Mate Example 2c

Diagram above: Black concludes Greco’s checkmate with 3.Qxh4# The point is that black’s bishop covers g1.

Greco’s Mate Example 3

The last example is from a game by Edward Lasker. It is a unique take on how Greco’s Mate can be executed.

Greco’s Mate Example 3a

Diagram above: Lasker plays 1… Qa2+! If white plays 2.Kc1, then 2… Qa1# is checkmate right away. Therefore white accepts the sacrifice, 2.Kxa2.

Greco’s Mate Example 3b

Diagram above: 2… Bc3+! is a discovered check by the black rook on a8, but at the same time the black bishop now covers both the b1-and-b3-squares. White can only delay checkmate with one more move, 3.Ba5 Rxa5#

This last example reminds us of Anastasia’s Mate, where the escape-squares are covered by a knight, instead of a bishop.

Interesting Notes on Greco’s Mate

Greco’s Mate often occurs on either the h-file or a-file. Therefore it is one of the checkmate patterns that relate to other H-file Mates.