You and your opponent fought sharply throughout a chess game, but you ended up on top with a bishop and a knight paired against their king. However, your opponent has an advantage here because a checkmate with a knight, bishop, and king is tricky and can very quickly become a stalemate. Thankfully, you can achieve a startling checkmate if you follow these tips.
Use Your King Smartly
When you’re down to so little pieces and trying to corral your opponent’s king, you need to push hard with your king. The king can never be captured, which gives it incredible power in the end game. This factor is crucial because your king can never be within one space of your opponent’s king, which can force your opponent to move in ways they don’t want.
So keep your king at the front of your attack in this situation, instead of sitting back. Every time your opponent moves back, you need to react with your king. But you need to carefully use your bishop and knight to prevent your opponent from triggering a stalemate with their clever positioning.
Move Your Opponent to the Corner
The ultimate goal of your king-based attack is to push your opponent into a corner from which they cannot escape. This step is critical because the two edges of the board constrict your opponent and make a checkmate possible. Coordinate this attack by using the bishop and knight to keep the king from moving towards the middle and drive them towards the corner.
However, you must carefully avoid getting into a spot where your opponent cannot move. For example, your opponent may try to get onto an off-color space which your bishop cannot attack and from which they cannot move no matter how you react. The delicate balance here requires moving your bishop at the right time and attacking your opponent to trigger a checkmate.
Trap Your Opponent With the Bishop
Your bishop is the most powerful piece in this checkmate and is, ultimately, the one that you will use to cause a checkmate. In essence, you need to get your opponent onto the same-colored piece as your bishop and to put them in check when your king has them pushed into the corner, and the knight controls nearby off-colored spots.
The best way to achieve this goal is to use your king to drive your opponent to a corner that shares the same color as your bishop. In this position, your opponent won’t be able to move. However, careful knight positioning is also important in this spot.
Constrict Movement With the Knight
The knight’s role in this checkmate is relatively limited but critical. When you’ve driven your opponent’s king into a corner, one or two odd-colored spaces will exist that your king and your bishop cannot control. Your opponent will attempt to escape to this area and force a stalemate by making further movement from their king impossible while they’re not in check.
As a result, you need to keep your knight close to the action without positioning it in a way that accidentally causes a stalemate. This path is very tricky because of the unique movement of the knight. Keep the knight pulled back one-move away from its crucial position and move it into place the move before you put your opponent into check. Doing so keeps that odd-colored spot under control.
Let Us Help You Get Better
If you’re struggling to win games with just a bishop and a knight and need help overcoming this hurdle, please don’t hesitate to contact us today at Chess Teacher to get the help you need. Our experts can provide you with step-by-step guidance sorting out this tricky checkmate scenario and give you the support you need to become a better chess player.