A checkmate can be enforced with the following minimum materials:
- King and Queen versus King
- King and Rook versus King
- King and Two bishops versus King
- King and Two rooks versus King
In this article, let us discuss the ways in which the opponent King can be checkmated using only the King and Queen at your disposal.
The King, as we know, can move only one square either on any of the sides, front, back or on either of the two sides. The Queen can move any number of unoccupied squares in a rank or file and in any direction.
The first thing that needs to be done is to restrict the movement of the opponent king either to only one rank or only one file among ranks and files in the chess board – that is – either to the first rank or to the eight rank horizontally or to the “a” file or the “h” file vertically. This can be done using the Queen.
Suppose the King is in “g4”, then placing the Queen in the “f” file will restrict the movement of the king to only among the “g” and “h” files. Then the next step would be to make the opponent move to the “h” file and then block the “g” file. Once the king is made to move only among the ranks in the “h” file by placing Queen in the “g” file, then the King should be made to move to the “f” file.
Using the King and the Queen might be tricky at times, and any urgency shown by you in hastening the things might result in a stalemate, instead of a checkmate, and you may have to settle for a draw where you had every chance to finish the game in your favor. You are aware that a stalemate results when the opponent king, in his turn to make the movement, on not being attacked with a check, has no legal moves to make. One typical case of a stalemate is a position in which the opponent king is “a8”, your king is in “a6” and your Queen is in “b6” and it is the turn of your opponent to make a move. The opponent king cannot move and you are not attacking the king either. This is the case of a stalemate.
To avoid a stalemate, it is important that sufficient distance is maintained between the Queen and the opponent King in the “g” file. After ensuring that there is enough distance, then the King should be made to move in the “f” file nearer to the rank of the opponent King in the “h” file. Suppose the opponent king is “h6”, and your Queen is “g1”, then your King should be made to move either to “f7” or to “f5”, and in the next move in your turn, you can place the Queen at “g6” or “g5” and call it “Check”. The opponent King will have no place to move and has to succumb to a defeat.
The similar positioning using the ranks can also be attempted and practised to win the game using only the King and Queen against the opponent’s King.