Sunday, June 20, 2010

En passant mate

It's very rare to checkmate by capturing a pawn en passant. Chess historian Edward Winter observed in Chess Facts and Fables (p. 99), "As far as we are aware, there is still only one game in chess literature that ended in an en passant capture which administered mate: Gunnar Gundersen v A.H. Faul (Melbourne Christmas Tourney, 1928-29)." A few years ago, a second such game, played on the Free Internet Chess Server, was published in Chess Life. (Coincidentally, I was on FICS that night and saw the game shortly after it was played.) Last month, I played a third such game. My 37.h5! threatened Rh8#, which Black could only stop by moving the g-pawn, leading to the historic denouement. (Thank goodness he didn't play 37...g6!)


Bill Brock said...

Discovered check along the rank would be much cooler.

Imagine the sequence 1...f7-f5 2.g5xf6# (say, a rook on a5 giving mate to a king on h5).

Problemists have certainly done this to death: but games and studies?

Frederick said...

Gundersen v. Faul is far cooler than my game: the "mating" pawn actually does not even give check itself. Rather, its en passant capture of Black's g-pawn opens up both the h-file and the c1-h6 diagonal so that White's rook and bishop give double check and mate to Black's king on h6. See This is an EXTREMELY rare form of double check, one that 99% of players won't even think about if asked to describe how a double check occurs.

Frederick Rhine said...

There's also Irina Korepanova-Alexander Tishkov, Khanty Mansyisk (Russia), 23 Nov 2007: 1. b4 e5 2. Bb2 Bxb4 3. Bxe5 Nf6 4. a3 Be7 5. e3 O-O 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Bb2 a6 8. d4 d5 9. c4 Be6 10. Nbd2 h6 11. Rc1 Na5 12. Ne5 c6 13. c5 Ne4 14. Nxe4 dxe4 15. Rc3 b5 16. Qc2 Bd5 17. Be2 Qe8 18. Bh5 g6 19. Bg4 Kg7 20. Nd7 f5 21. Nxf8 fxg4 22. Nxg6 Qxg6 23. g3 Nb7 24. h3 Rf8 25. h4 h5 26. Rh2 a5 27. a4 b4 28. Rb3 Qe6 29. Qd2 Kg6 30. Rxb4 axb4 31. Qxb4 Qc8 32. Ke2 Bd8 33. Rh1 Ba5 34. Qa3 Qf5 35. Rh2 Qf3+ 36. Kf1 Qd1+ 37. Kg2 Qe1 38. f4 exf3# You can play through the game at