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Box Mate Examples
Compiled by ChessCoachClark
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One of the most elementary and essential checkmate patterns for a beginner to learn quickly is the Box Mate. It is very similar to the Back Rank Mate, but no defending Pawns are in the mix. Some chess writers consider the Box Mate to be among the four basic mate patterns that every chess player should know.

It is important for beginners to understand that the Box Mate is the ONLY way for the Rook and King vs. King endgame to be solved. The targeted King must be pushed to the edge or into a corner for this checkmate to be possible.

Thus, each case requires the attacker to follow three key steps:

1-- Make the space of the King get smaller and smaller.

2-- Push the King to the edge or into the corner.

3-- Use the Rook and King as a team to finish the Box Mate.

Ask your coach why the Waiting Move tactic is usually part of the process of getting this checkmate.

Direct Opposition and Rectangular Opposition are also vital to getting this checkmate. Opposition is a large enough topic to need thorough coverage elsewhere, but for this mate, it is a means of pushing the King off to one side or backwards, then finally covering any escape square with the "Kings' Fence." This is my fanciful name for that set of squares neither King may use-- two Kings must never be placed face-to-face, whether on a diagonal or in front of each other.

To be specific, when the lone King has been brought to the edge of the board, Direct Opposition is required. The Kings are in front of each other with one empty square between them. It's still the Box Mate-- there is no other type of mate that is possible with Rook and King against a lone King. So, let's call this one style or flavor or case of the Box Mate. Games with this Box Mate will be labelled with S1 below.


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Two other styles of the Box Mate are available when the lone King has been relegated to the corner of the board. One style also needs Direct Opposition and games of this form will be labelled S2 below.


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The 'last' style needs Rectangular Opposition and its games will be labelled S3 below.


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When FULL begins the game header, that game actually proceeded to the Box Mate, so it is a full example of the three-step process. (One or two games may have such a trivial ending that some steps were abrogated, though.)

Some games are included where the concepts for the Box Mate are applied, but other pieces are present on the board. These cases help develop chess visualization and should be examined after the basic concepts are solid skills. BUSY starts the game header for such games (only when there are more than two other chessmen). Such games may not even need either Direct Opposition or Rectangular Opposition, if helpers contribute effectively enough to the mate.

Some games are included where the defending King is not alone, so the Box Mate-- technically-- is not being demonstrated. Again, they are here for the benefits of visualization and application of the Box Mate concepts.

Still other games do not lead to a Box Mate, but the threat of the Box Mate became a tactic to win the game. Again, they are being given below for the benefits of visualization and application of the Box Mate concepts.

ChessCoachClark (CCC) originated this game collection prior to December of 2018 and he updates it on occasion. This project is a work in progress, culling games from various sources, including several chess training books and personal research. The games are ordered by date (oldest first), not by importance.

Be well.
Be safe.

S2 BUSY-- Black avoided stalemate tricks to bring the Box Mate
Burn vs J M Hanham, 1889 
(C41) Philidor Defense, 72 moves, 0-1

BUSY-- Box Mate with help from the Knight (S1 by effect)
Marshall vs Tarrasch, 1905 
(D00) Queen's Pawn Game, 48 moves, 0-1

S1 BUSY-- VERTICAL Box Mate at end of this game
Teichmann vs Marshall, 1905
(C12) French, McCutcheon, 56 moves, 1-0

TACTIC-- Box Mate threat wins game (Bishop falls first)
Schlechter vs Rotlewi, 1911 
(D02) Queen's Pawn Game, 40 moves, 0-1

BUSY After 44. ... Bh4 45. Rb8+ Bd8 46. Rxd8#, S1 by effect
Nimzowitsch vs Spielmann, 1912 
(C02) French, Advance, 44 moves, 1-0

FULL-- VERTICAL Box Mate with Bishop helping (S1 by effect)
M Radojcic vs V Tomovic, 1947 
(C41) Philidor Defense, 86 moves, 0-1

S3 BUSY-- VERTICAL Box Mate at the end of this game
Tartakower vs Rossolimo, 1950 
(E17) Queen's Indian, 48 moves, 0-1

S1 BUSY-- Classic Box Mate at end
L Lane vs T Zatulovskaya, 1961 
(B43) Sicilian, Kan, 5.Nc3, 65 moves, 0-1

Box Mate threat ends game; three possible mates as result!
C Jauregui vs Letelier, 1961
(A04) Reti Opening, 83 moves, 0-1

S1 BUSY-- Game ends with classic Box Mate
S Purevzhav vs A Prameshuber, 1964 
(D55) Queen's Gambit Declined, 57 moves, 0-1

S1 Special Box Mate in corner 123...Be6 124 Rf8+ Bg8 125 Rxg8#
Petrosian vs B Ivanovic, 1980 
(A13) English, 123 moves, 1-0

S1 BUSY-- VERTICAL while Bishop is En Prise/hanging
B Ivanovic vs S Mariotti, 1981 
(C45) Scotch Game, 60 moves, 1-0

Different Box Mates and an Opera Mate in continuations.
Illescas Cordoba vs Kasparov, 1989 
(B83) Sicilian, 86 moves, 0-1

Box Mate threat (Royal Fork) at 58... Rd1+ wins the White Queen
P Nikolic vs Gelfand, 1991 
(E38) Nimzo-Indian, Classical, 4...c5, 65 moves, 0-1

S3 FULL-- Game ends with Box Mate in corner
Haba vs Shulman, 1996
(C02) French, Advance, 118 moves, 0-1

After Rb3+ Bc3 Rxc3+ Kxc3 Kd1, a King Chase leads to Box Mate
J Jackova vs Zhu Chen, 2000
(B75) Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack, 93 moves, 0-1

S1 FULL-- King Chase, then classic Box Mate
A Guillot vs O Yalcin, 2001 
(D50) Queen's Gambit Declined, 86 moves, 1-0

S2 A classic Box Mate after 82. Be1 Rxe1#
T Sammalvuo vs G Guseinov, 2003
(A04) Reti Opening, 81 moves, 0-1

S1 FULL-- VERTICAL, yet classic Box Mate
R Felgaer vs Dominguez Perez, 2004 
(B91) Sicilian, Najdorf, Zagreb (Fianchetto) Variation, 64 moves, 0-1

S1 BUSY Box Mate after 97. ... Rf8 98. Rxf8#
Hector vs D Baramidze, 2004
(B97) Sicilian, Najdorf, 97 moves, 1-0

Box Mate pending at end. Good puzzle from EOG-- M11/M15/M16.
S Shipov vs Turov, 2004
(D85) Grunfeld, 76 moves, 0-1

BUSY VERTICAL Mate by Kh2 Rh7# S1 by effect--distant Kings!
K Akshayraj vs Safin, 2005 
(C77) Ruy Lopez, 46 moves, 0-1

S1 FULL-- Game ends with Box Mate after King Hunt!
Bajgulov Vladimir vs Andrejko Oleg, 2008
(B30) Sicilian, 49 moves, 0-1

S2 Stockfish 14 gives M7 continuation for Box Mate
J J Rabeyrin vs J Sondermann, 2008
(B27) Sicilian, 70 moves, 0-1

Game ends with a Box Mate in the corner with Direct Opposition.
T Burg vs T Kantans, 2009
(B29) Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rubinstein, 74 moves, 0-1

S3 VERTICAL after Ka7 Kc7 Ka8 Ra2 Ka7 Ra1 Ka8 Rxa6#
Zhou Weiqi vs Wang Yue, 2013 
(E32) Nimzo-Indian, Classical, 104 moves, 0-1

BUSY Box Mate VERTICAL (S1 in effect)
I Miladinovic vs M Admiraal, 2017
(D00) Queen's Pawn Game, 70 moves, 0-1

27 games

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