You are on page 1of 16

And Then There Were None! 1 www.professorchess.

com

Imagine that youre White in the position shown below,


and that its your turn to move.
cuuuuuuuuC
(wdwdwdwd}
7dwdwdwdw}
6wdwdwdwd}Against a strong player
5dwdwdkdw}or a computer, could you
&wdwdwdwd}checkmate Black in less
3dwdwdwdw}than 10 moves?
2wdwdwIw!}
%dwdwdwdw}
v,./9EFJMV
Reaching a position like this is great for White -- as long as that player
knows how to complete the victory. Many, many players who know all the
rules of chess have trouble discovering the strategy it takes to force
checkmate here. And that can be FRUSTRATING! (Not to mention
embarrassing!)

The following pages are intended to help chess students learn, step-by-step,
a good strategy for FORCING checkmate against a lone king. Three
EXTREMELY important ideas for White to use in a position like the one
shown here are:

White MUST force Blacks king to an edge of the board!


White MUST use his own king to help trap Blacks king!
White does not need to give check often, but MUST be
giving check when Blacks king has run out of possible
moves!
And Then There Were None! 2 www.professorchess.com

Exercise 1
cuuuuuuuuC
{wdwdwdwd}
{dwdwdwdw}Is Black in check?
{wdwdwIwd}
Yes
q q No

Problem
{dwdwdwdw}
1 {wdwdwiwd}
{dwdwdwdw}How many possible moves
{wdwdw!wd}does Black have?
{dwdwdwdw}
q
vllllllllV
cuuuuuuuuC
{wdwdwdwd}
{dwdwdwdw}Is Black in check?
{wdwdwIwd}
Yes
q q No

Problem
{dwdwdwdk}
2 {wdwdwdwd}
{dwdwdwdQ}How many possible moves
{wdwdwdwd}does Black have?
{dwdwdwdw}
q
vllllllllV
cuuuuuuuuC
{wdwdwdwd}
{dwIwdwdw}Is Black in check?
{wdwdwdwd}
Yes
q q No

Problem
{iwdwdwdw}
3 {wdQdwdwd}
{dwdwdwdw}How many possible moves
{wdwdwdwd}does Black have?
{dwdwdwdw}
q
vllllllllV
Answers
Problem 1: No, Black is not in check. Black has 0 possible moves (stalemate).
Problem 2: Yes, Black is in check. Black has 0 possible moves (checkmate).
Problem 1: Yes, Black is in check. Black has 2 possible moves (to either side).
And Then There Were None! 3 www.professorchess.com

Exercise 2
Black is running out of time --
cuuuuuuuuC
running out of MOVES! The (w!wdwdwd}
challenge for White is to trap 7dwdwdwdw}
the black king. As you do the
problems on the next 6 pages, 6wIwdkdwd}
that challenge will also be 5dwdwdwdw}
YOURS!
&wdwdwdwd}
First, youll study the position. 3dwdwdwdw}
Youll look at Blacks possible
escape routes. Since you know 2wdwdwdwd}
that you must force the black %dwdwdwdw}
king to the edge of the board,
youll choose which direction you
v,./9EFJMV
want to force him to go. Youll
cut off Blacks escape routes until none are left.

Youll use your king and queen as a team. Individually, all these two pieces
can do is chase the black king around, and around, and around, and around.
And around. And around. (And get very boring!) Working together, they
can efficiently force checkmate.

Once Blacks king is against an edge, you will CONSTANTLY BE ON


ALERT for the terrible danger of giving stalemate instead of checkmate.
Before making a move, youll make absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt
sure that Black is either in check or has a possible move. Should you
accidentally give stalemate, you will wail, gnash your teeth, perhaps even
rend your garments. Then, like every good chess player, youll learn from
your blunder and stubbornly go back into battle!
And Then There Were None! 4 www.professorchess.com
Problem 4

cuuuuuuuuC
Write down HOW MANY different
moves the black king could make: (w!wdwdwd}
7dwdwdwdw}
6wIwdkdwd}
@ 5dwdwdwdw}
&wdwdwdwd}
If there are more than ZERO moves, then 3dwdwdwdw}
theres some serious work to be done!
2wdwdwdwd}
White must work until there are NONE.
%dwdwdwdw}
And when Black has no possible moves left,
White must be giving CHECK!
v,./9EFJMV

Answer 4

v,./9EFJMV
%dwdwdwdw}
2wdwdwdwd}
3dwdwdwdw} Thats way too many!
&wdwdwdwd} 6 possible moves.
5 6
5dwdwdwdw} Black is starting with
4
6wIwdkdwd}
1 23
7dwdwdwdw}
(w!wdwdwd}
cuuuuuuuuC
cuuuuuuuuC Top Top Bottom Left Right
+
(w!wdwdwd}
7dwdwdwdw}
6wIwdkdwd} Blacks king is closest to the TOP edge.
5dwdwdwdw} Whites king is in a good position to
Left White decides to Right help push Black toward the top (rank 8).
force Black to
&wdwdwdwd}
move against the
TOP EDGE.
3dwdwdwdw} Of course, White could also use one of
the other edges and do just fine. It
2wdwdwdwd} just might take a few extra moves to
%dwdwdwdw} force checkmate. Thats not a problem
Bottom except for players who are using a
v,./9EFJMV chess clock.
Answer 5
v,./9EFJMV
Bottom
%dwdwdwdw}
2wdwdwdwd}
Right Left Bottom Top
+ 3dwdwdwdw}
CIRCLE the EDGE that White should aim for: &wdwdwdwd}
Left Right
board is most handy.
5dwdwdwdw}
White should decide which edge of the 6wIwdkdwd}
Blacks king to an edge of the board.
To force checkmate, White must first push 7dwdwdwdw}
(w!wdwdwd}
Top
cuuuuuuuuC
Problem 5
www.professorchess.com 5 And Then There Were None!
cuuuuuuuuC
Qf4
White played _______ (wdwdwdwd}
7dwdwdwdw}
This move greatly limits where 6wIwdkdwd}
Black can go. Black will try to move 5dwdwdwdw}
toward the center of the board by &wdwdw!wd}
playing Kd5.
3dwdwdwdw}
Note that White is NOT trying to 2wdwdwdwd}
give check. Whites concern right %dwdwdwdw}
now is to cut off Blacks main v,./9EFJMV
escape routes.
Answer 6
of the 3 numbered squares. v,./9EFJMV
is allowed to move ONLY to one %dwdwdwdw}
Find a move so that Blacks king
2wdwdwdwd}
hint!
3dwdwdwdw}
Heres a &wdwdwdwd}
3
5dwdwdwdw}
@ 6wIwdkdwd}
1 2
7dwdwdwdw}
(w!wdwdwd}
A STRONG MOVE FOR WHITE
WRITE OR DRAW cuuuuuuuuC
Problem 6
www.professorchess.com 6 And Then There Were None!
And Then There Were None! 7 www.professorchess.com
Problem 7
cuuuuuuuuC edge of the board: Ke6.
Answer 7

(wdwdwdwd} left with one move, a move toward the

7dwdwdwdw} The kings are now face-to-face. Black is


v,./9EFJMV
6wIwdwdwd}
1 %dwdwdwdw}
5dwdkdwdw} 2wdwdwdwd}
&wdwdw!wd} 3dwdwdwdw}
3dwdwdwdw} &wdwdw!wd}
2wdwdwdwd} 5dKdkdwdw}
%dwdwdwdw} 6wdwdwdwd}
v,./9EFJMV 7dwdwdwdw}
WRITE OR DRAW WHITES MOVE.
@
(wdwdwdwd}
Heres cuuuuuuuuC
a hint!
After White makes this king move, Black can
White played _______
Kb5
move ONLY to the square marked by the 1.

Problem 8 Answer 8
cuuuuuuuuC take another step toward the edge: Ke7.
(wdwdwdwd} across from Blacks king. Black must

7dwdwdwdw}
1
Whites king has again moved directly

6wdwdkdwd} v,./9EFJMV
5dKdwdwdw} %dwdwdwdw}
&wdwdw!wd} 2wdwdwdwd}
3dwdwdwdw} 3dwdwdwdw}
2wdwdwdwd} &wdwdw!wd}
%dwdwdwdw} 5dwdwdwdw}
v,./9EFJMV 6wdKdkdwd}
7dwdwdwdw}
WRITE OR DRAW WHITES MOVE.
@
(wdwdwdwd}
cuuuuuuuuC
White can push Black another step closer to White played _______
the edge of the board. HINT: choose a move
Kc6
that forces Black onto the marked square.
And Then There Were None! 8 www.professorchess.com

cuuuuuuuuC
Problem 9 Answer 9
face his fate on the edge! He plays Ke8.
(wdwdwdwd}
1 2 than giving check would be. Black must

7dwdwiwdw} Whites simple advance is more powerful


v,./9EFJMV
6wdKdwdwd} %dwdwdwdw}
5dwdwdwdw} 2wdwdwdwd}
&wdwdw!wd} 3dwdwdwdw}
3dwdwdwdw} &wdwdwdwd}
2wdwdwdwd} 5dwdwdQdw}
%dwdwdwdw} 6wdKdwdwd}
v,./9EFJMV 7dwdwiwdw}
WRITE OR DRAW WHITES MOVE.
@
(wdwdwdwd}
cuuuuuuuuC
Whites king is in a good location on the 6th
rank. A small queen move pushes Black to the
White played _______
Qf5
edge -- to either d8 or to e8.

Problem 10 Answer 10
cuuuuuuuuC by Whites king. White waits patiently.
1
(wdwdkdwd} (Kd8), his king will be trapped on the edge

7dwdwdwdw} After Black plays his only possible move

6wdKdwdwd} v,./9EFJMV
5dwdwdQdw} %dwdwdwdw}
&wdwdwdwd} 2wdwdwdwd}
3dwdwdwdw} 3dwdwdwdw}
2wdwdwdwd} &wdwdwdwd}
%dwdwdwdw} 5dwdwdQdw}
v,./9EFJMV 6wdwIwdwd}
WRITE OR DRAW WHITES MOVE.
7dwdwdwdw}
@ (wdwdkdwd}
cuuuuuuuuC
White must avoid statemate. Before making a White played _______
move, White makes positively sure that Black
Kd6
will either be in check or have a possible move.
And Then There Were None! 9 www.professorchess.com
Problem 11 Answer 11
cuuuuuuuuC this move -- but sure made it count!
(wdwiwdwd} White hadnt given a single check until

7dwdwdwdw}
Qd7 would also have given checkmate!
v,./9EFJMV
6wdwIwdwd} %dwdwdwdw}
5dwdwdQdw} 2wdwdwdwd}
&wdwdwdwd} 3dwdwdwdw}
3dwdwdwdw} &wdwdwdwd}
2wdwdwdwd} 5dwdwdwdw}
%dwdwdwdw} 6wdwIwdwd}
v,./9EFJMV 7dwdwdwdw}
WRITE OR DRAW WHITES MOVE.
@
(wdwiw!wd}
cuuuuuuuuC
White played _______
Qf8#
White has 2 ways to give check and reduce
Blacks possible moves to NONE. Pick one!

Looks like one of our star chess pieces


just got carried away! In the heat of
battle, it can happen to the best of us.

Luckily, friends are standing by to


remind the victorious queen that the
game is over, done, history. Now that
shes successfully trapped the king, he
must be allowed to stick around for the
next game!

(I believe that folks who like to fish call


this rule catch and release.)
And Then There Were None! 10 www.professorchess.com

Exercise 3
cuuuuuuuuC Right now, Blacks king is unrestricted. White must
(wdw!wdwd} reduce his possible moves until there are NONE!
7dwdwIwdw}
6wdwdwdwd} In the previous exercise, we saw that White used his
king to bulldoze Black toward the edge. Whites king
5dwdwdwdw} will again need to be active in this exercise!
&wdwdwiwd} We also saw, in Exercise 2, that White didnt worry
3dwdwdwdw} about giving a lot of checks. Instead, Whites queen
2wdwdwdwd} took away possible escape squares. Black was left with
%dwdwdwdw} very few choices for where to go -- and these choices
led him closer and closer to the edge of the board.
v,./9EFJMV
White has just promoted a pawn. Once Blacks king was along the edge, the risk of
stalemate became very high! Again, well see White
Against a strong player or a make very carefully planned steps during the closing
computer, could you checkmate moves of the game.
Black in less than 9 moves?

Problem 12 Answer 12
cuuuuuuuuC Frankly, thats way too many!
(wdw!wdwd} Thats 8 possible moves.
7dwdwIwdw} Black can go in any direction.
6wdwdwdwd}
5dwdwdwdw} v,./9EFJMV
&wdwdwiwd} %dwdwdwdw}
3dwdwdwdw} 2wdwdwdwd}
2wdwdwdwd} 678
3dwdwdwdw}
%dwdwdwdw} 4 5
&wdwdwiwd}
v,./9EFJMV 1 23
5dwdwdwdw}
To start this exercise, write down how many 6wdwdwdwd}
possible moves Black could make right now:

@ 7dwdwIwdw}
(wdw!wdwd}
If there are more than ZERO moves, theres work to
be done. Black must have zero moves, and be in check!
cuuuuuuuuC
cuuuuuuuuC Top Top Bottom Left Right
+
(wdw!wdwd}
Blacks king is closest to the RIGHT
7dwdwIwdw} edge. White could also easily force
6wdwdwdwd} checkmate along the BOTTOM edge.
5dwdwdwdw}
Left Right White could start with a queen move
&wdwdwiwd} (as in the last exercise). But this time
White decides to she starts with a king move, since she
3dwdwdwdw}
force Black to knows that the white king MUST be
move against the
2wdwdwdwd}
RIGHT EDGE. moved toward the black king before
checkmate can be forced.
%dwdwdwdw} Bottom
v,./9EFJMV To delay being checkmated for as long
as possible, Black will try to stay
toward the center of the board.
Answer 13
v,./9EFJMV
Bottom
%dwdwdwdw}
2wdwdwdwd}
Right Left Bottom Top
+ 3dwdwdwdw}
CIRCLE the EDGE that White should aim for: &wdwdwiwd}
Left Right
board is most handy.
5dwdwdwdw}
White should decide which edge of the 6wdwdwdwd}
Blacks king to an edge of the board.
To force checkmate, White must first push 7dwdwIwdw}
(wdw!wdwd}
Top
cuuuuuuuuC
Problem 13
www.professorchess.com 11 And Then There Were None!
And Then There Were None! 12 www.professorchess.com
Problem 14 Answer 14
cuuuuuuuuC matter where he runs. Black tries Ke4.
(wdw!wdwd} center, hell be able to pursue Black no

7dwdwIwdw}
Now that Whites king is closer to the
v,./9EFJMV
6wdwdwdwd} %dwdwdwdw}
5dwdwdwdw}
1 2wdwdwdwd}
&wdwdwiwd}
2 3 3dwdwdwdw}
3dwdwdwdw}
456 &wdwdwiwd}
2wdwdwdwd} 5dwdwdwdw}
%dwdwdwdw} 6wdwdKdwd}
v,./9EFJMV 7dwdwdwdw}
WRITE OR DRAW WHITES MOVE.
@
(wdw!wdwd}
Heres cuuuuuuuuC
a hint!
White knows that during endgames, kings can White played _______
Ke6
gain power as they move toward the center!

Problem 15 Answer 15
cuuuuuuuuC toward the left or bottom. Kf3 is forced.
(wdw!wdwd} queen has cut-off any chance of escape
Whites king has sealed off the top. The
7dwdwdwdw} v,./9EFJMV
6wdwdKdwd} %dwdwdwdw}
5dwdwdwdw} 2wdw!wdwd}
&wdwdkdwd} 3dwdwdwdw}
3dwdwdwdw}
1 &wdwdkdwd}
2wdwdwdwd} 5dwdwdwdw}
%dwdwdwdw} 6wdwdKdwd}
v,./9EFJMV 7dwdwdwdw}
WRITE OR DRAW WHITES MOVE.
@
(wdwdwdwd}
Heres cuuuuuuuuC
a hint!
With a precise move of her queen, White
White played _______
Qd2
reduces Blacks possible moves to just one!
And Then There Were None! 13 www.professorchess.com
Problem 16 Answer 16
cuuuuuuuuC another step toward the edge: Kg3.
(wdwdwdwd} opposition with Blacks king. This forces

7dwdwdwdw} Whites king has again moved into


v,./9EFJMV
6wdwdKdwd} %dwdwdwdw}
5dwdwdwdw} 2wdw!wdwd}
&wdwdwdwd} 3dwdwdkdw}
3dwdwdkdw}
1 &wdwdwdwd}
2wdw!wdwd} 5dwdwdKdw}
%dwdwdwdw} 6wdwdwdwd}
v,./9EFJMV 7dwdwdwdw}
WRITE OR DRAW WHITES MOVE.
@
(wdwdwdwd}
cuuuuuuuuC
Whites king continues to accept a big part of
White played _______
Kf5
the responsibility for trapping his adversary.

Problem 17 Answer 17
cuuuuuuuuC
(wdwdwdwd} gives checkmate on g4. So he plays Kh3.
the other worse! If he goes to h4, White
7dwdwdwdw} Black is given two options. One is bad,

6wdwdwdwd} v,./9EFJMV
5dwdwdKdw} %dwdwdwdw}
&wdwdwdwd}
1 2wdwdQdwd}
3dwdwdwiw}
2 3dwdwdwiw}
2wdw!wdwd} &wdwdwdwd}
%dwdwdwdw} 5dwdwdKdw}
v,./9EFJMV 6wdwdwdwd}
WRITE OR DRAW WHITES MOVE. 7dwdwdwdw}
@ (wdwdwdwd}
cuuuuuuuuC
Giving check is NOT Whites most powerful White played _______
weapon here. Making Black avoid check by Qe2
moving to the edge is very powerful.
And Then There Were None! 14 www.professorchess.com
Problem 18 Answer 18
cuuuuuuuuC have to decide how to feed the alligators!
(wdwdwdwd} takes his last step, to h4. White will
7dwdwdwdw} Black has been walking the plank. He now

6wdwdwdwd} v,./9EFJMV
5dwdwdKdw} %dwdwdwdw}
&wdwdwdwd}
1 2wdwdQdwd}
3dwdwdwdk} 3dwdwdwdk}
2wdwdQdwd} &wdwdwIwd}
%dwdwdwdw} 5dwdwdwdw}
v,./9EFJMV 6wdwdwdwd}
WRITE OR DRAW WHITES MOVE. 7dwdwdwdw}
@ (wdwdwdwd}
cuuuuuuuuC
White must avoid statemate. The queen is too White played _______
powerful to advance her to f2!! What move
Kf4
forces the black king to face his doom on h4?

Problem 19 Answer 19
cuuuuuuuuC time was to guard his queen from capture.
(wdwdwdwd} The crucial role for Whites king this

7dwdwdwdw} Qh2 would also have dropped the plank.


v,./9EFJMV
6wdwdwdwd} %dwdwdwdw}
5dwdwdwdw} 2wdwdwdwd}
&wdwdwIwi} 3dwdwdwdw}
3dwdwdwdw} &wdwdwIQi}
2wdwdQdwd} 5dwdwdwdw}
%dwdwdwdw} 6wdwdwdwd}
v,./9EFJMV 7dwdwdwdw}
WRITE OR DRAW WHITES MOVE.
@
(wdwdwdwd}
cuuuuuuuuC
White played _______
Hmm. Will it be up close and personal, or from Qg4#
a short distance? White chooses up close!
And Then There Were None! 15 www.professorchess.com

Exercise 4
Play as BLACK in each of the three positions on the left
Problem 20
cuuuuuuuuC against a strong chess player or against a computerized
(wdwdwdkd} chess game.
7dwdwdwdw}
White should move first. White should try to promote
6wdKdwdwd} his or her pawn advantage into a queen advantage.
5)wdwdwdw}
&wdwdwdwd} Your job as Black is to stay out of checkmate for as
3dwdwdwdw} long as possible! (HINTS: Move toward the center of
2wdwdwdwd} the board anytime you get a chance. Always look for the
%dwdwdwdw} possibility that your opponent may blunder and you may
v,./9EFJMV earn a draw by capturing Whites pawn or queen, by
getting into stalemate, by the 50-move rule, or by the
repeated position rule.)
Problem 21
cuuuuuuuuC Pay close attention to the strategy that your opponent
(wdwdwdwd} uses to force you into checkmate. If you dont
7dwdwiwdw} understand a certain move, hopefully youll be able to
6wdwdwdw)} discuss it together!
5dwdwdKdw}

Exercise 5
&wdwdwdwd}
3dwdwdwdw}
2wdwdwdwd} Now play the three positions on the left as White! If
%dwdwdwdw} at all possible, play against a strong chess player or
v,./9EFJMV against a strong chess computer.

(Computers usually are not as tricky as experienced


Problem 22
cuuuuuuuuC chess players can be in these kinds of positions! Some
players are very clever in the way theyll set traps in
(wdwdkdwd}
order to get a draw instead of a loss! Computers
7dwdwdwIw} usually arent programmed to take into account that
6wdwdwdwd} humans can be vulnerable to such nefarious traps!)
5dwdwdwdw}
&wdwdwdw)} As a final reminder: actively use your king; force the
3dwdwdwdw} black king to the edge; and be on constant alert against
2wdwdwdwd} making a blunder that would cause a draw. Good luck!
%dwdwdwdw}
Additional exercises for forcing checkmate against a
v,./9EFJMV lone king can be found at www.professorchess.com.