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Daily chess puzzle: Check Mate: Maltese Cross pattern

August 26, 2016

A break for a day. A few weeks ago, whilst on holiday in Turkey, I posted this position on my Instgram, Facebook and Twitter (@allanbeard) feeds.

From Kas, Turkey


Below, I show the position in more convenient format.

Black to play and mate in 2

NN v Kokshal, Prague 1928 (source a 14/5/2003 article by Mark Dvortesky on

I would have posted the position sooner, except that I typically do my daily posts a week or two in advance, and to then insert a new posting is time consuming (a new daily posting: perhaps I should have just posted it same day).

The solution is pretty: 1…Rd4+! and after either 2 Kd4 Qc4 is a smothered mate, or 2 Qd4, 2…Qf5 is a different smothered mate.

The initial position is also instructive. It is part of a series of positions Dvortesky gives on a theme of 'double pin' or he says 'Maltese cross'.

Black to play and win


1…Qd2+! 2 Kf3[] Rd3+ 3 Re3 (3 Kg4 Qf2 4 Qe5 Rg3+! 5 Qg3[] Qf5 mate) 3…Qe1!! The Maltese Cross.

4 Qe5 Qf1+ 5 Ke4 (5 Kg4 Re3 6 Qe3 Qf5 mate) reaches the initial diagram position.

If instead 4 g4 then there is another Maltese Cross: 4…Qf1+ 5 Kg3 Qe2!!


(5..Rd2 wins more prosaically). If (after 5…Qe2) 6 Kf4 then 6….Qf2+ 0-1.


From → Chess

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