HOW TO Mate with K+B+N vs K - Finally!

After recently seeing several different forums (and probably just a fraction of all forums on this topic) about how to  mate with K+B+N vs K I finally decided to just copy out the entire procedure from GM Ruben Fine's classic Basic Chess Endings (BCE) - starting from the longest position to win from: mate-in-33; presumably the most difficult position for this type of basic checkmate.

There have been innumerable discussions at and elsewhere I'm sure about whether or not you should memorize this procedure. CONS: It rarely if ever occurs OTB.

PROS: Knowing it will greatly increase your knowledge of how to coordinate Knights and Bishops, and you'll amaze all your friends, family and fellow chessplayers by announcing "Mate in 33" and then doing it in under two minutes. Plus you'll know how to mate with K+B+N vs K so you don't end up looking like a chump if you ever reach this admittedly rare situation OTB.

For a description of BCE see my blog on endgame books. The old cover is on the right, the new algebraic edition cover on the left.

Check out all the other diagrams before proceding to read the main one demonstrating the forced mating procedure 

There are 3 possible stalemate positions - right, with Bishop; left with Knight; center with both pieces.

These 2 diagrams illustrate the only possible mates that are not forced

These 2 diagrams illustrate the only forced mates possible - on the left, the Bishop can obviously be anywhere on b7 - g2; on the right the Knight may also be on c6 or d7.


  • 4 years ago


    More homework! Thanks NimzoRoy! Tongue Out

  • 4 years ago


    nice Roy

  • 4 years ago


    It might be useful to state 2 critical principles:

    (1) Ultimately you must force the K into a corner of the same colour as your B.

    (2) The most important sequence you need to know (and consider memorizing) is how to force the K from an incorrect corner into a correct corner.

    This ending has only happened to me once in 44 patchwork years of chess. My opponent deliberately simplified into it, hoping I couldn't do it. He was wrong, but almost wasn't ... I recall it took me very close to the 50-move limit.


    (Edit: I just noticed that these 2 points are mentioned in diagram comments above.)

  • 4 years ago


    Thanks Roy! Diamond of chess! :)

  • 4 years ago


  • 4 years ago


    Interesting blog, although as you mentioned not very practical for otb, still nice to know. Thanks Roy!

  • 4 years ago


    The method of Deletang's triangles is easier to learn

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