The Smothered Mate is a checkmate pattern that is achieved with a forced checkmate by forcing the enemy King to be surrounded by it’s own pieces and a Knight giving the checkmate.
Last Updated: Aug 29th, 2021
A Queen sacrifice is also commonly used as the first check to force the King to become trapped by it’s own piece that must capture the Queen. The King ends up with no legal moves because it gets trapped by its own pieces ironically, hence the term, “smothered”. It’s one the most satisfying mates to give as well as one of the more brutal ways to be beaten.
The Smothered Mate was invented by Tommy Smothers, of “Smothers Brothers” fame. There are different versions of the Smothered Mate, such as the Philidor’s Legacy. We show different variations of this mate below.
I mentioned above that using a Queen sacrifice is commonly used to perform this checkmate, here is a perfect example of this. White sacrifices his Queen that must be taken by Black’s Rook because the Knight prevent’s Black’s King from capturing. The Rook then traps the King in the corner of the chessboard. White then delivers checkmate with the Knight.
This is the earliest smothered mate that was recorded. It took place in 1620. Greco also uses a Queen sacrifice here to smother White’s King in the corner trapped by White’s Knight. Black’s dark squared Bishop prevents White’s King from capturing the queen, forcing the capture with White’s Knight and also trapping the King. Checkmate is then given with the Kf2.
This example is from a game I recently had on Chess.com. I was completely losing the game so I threw a hail marry in the endgame sacrificing my Queen in hopes that my opponent wouldn’t stop and think about taking the Queen with the King or the Rook and just take with the Rook, and they did.
As I state in the headline of this article, making checkmating your opponent with this mate pattern is one of the most satisfying ways to win. Im looking forward to winning more games with this pattern.
I hope this guide on the Smothered Mate helped you. If you liked this post, you may also be interested in other checkmate patterns like Anastasia’s mate and the Ladder Mate.