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Last Updated: May 7, 2020

How to Win in Chess with a Bishop, Knight, and King vs. a King


One thing that has been low in priority on my bucket list is mastering how to affect a checkmate in chess with a king, knight, and bishop against an opponent with just a king. Most of the time, this situation will end in a stalemate, because it’s a difficult checkmate to pull off. Remember there is a rule that if there has been no move that can’t be undone (like a pawn advancing, piece taken, or castling) in 50 sets of moves (or 100 total moves) then either player may declare a stalemate.

What better time to attend to this challenge then when I’m stuck at home? This has been a good challenge. Hard to enough to enjoy, but not too hard that its hopeless. My education began with watching some YouTube videos on the topic. Most are very dry, but this one I find a welcome exception:

How to Checkmate with Knight and Bishop | Chess Endgame Basics #1 By GM Huschenbeth

I’ve tried to take what I learned from watching that video (many times) to this practice game:

Checkmate with a Knight and Bishop

Chess

At this point, I was going to write out a move by move commentary of a game against this computer, but I didn’t want to spend all day on this newsletter and thought a video might be a more efficient way to get the lesson across. So I made this video to accompany this newsletter:

How to checkmate with bishop, knight and king vs. king by myself.

I plan to make a proper video on the topic later, with examples played against real people. So enjoy that video while you can, as I’ll take it down when I make a permanent video on the topic.

Even if you don’t like chess much, I think you’ll find this puzzle a fun challenge.If you do like chess, but think this is an obscure situation you’ll never see in real life, I would argue that knowing how to force a checkmate in this situation will aid in long-term thinking and how a group of pieces are stronger than the sum of their parts.

If you try, you’ll eventually get to a point in the practice game I linked to above where the computer gets repetitive and you see the same situations over and over. When you get to this point, here is a link to the same situation I programmed at Chess.com

Even at level 10, that computer does not play a strong game, with the computer’s king quickly moving to the corner.

To get more practice trying to force the enemy king to the edge, play against ANYBODY. I’ve played at least 100 games against my mother in law, who pretty much moves randomly, and found it to be very useful. Just find anybody who is bored and at least knows how the pieces move.

I hope some of you will rise to this challenge and if you do, find my advice helpful.

Until next week, I wish you good physical and mental health.