Mating With Bishop And Knight

Is this ending hard for you? On this page you'll find some practical ideas.

This will make mating with bishop and king possible for you too!

How to mate a king with only a bishop and knight? Let's first look at....

Where To Mate With Bishop And Knight

You'll first have to know where to mate the king. And although this is the last step in the process, you'll have to know this first. If you don't know where the king can be mated, you'll never find the right moves.

In the above diagram, you find a random starting position.

The important thing to notice is the bishop. Which squares covers the bishop?

In this position, the bishop covers the white squares.

You'll have to know this rule: in this ending the mating occurs on a corner square that is covered by the bishop. In this case a white corner square.

In the opposite corner, you'll not be able to mate the king.

The next position is a position you'll be striving for.

Step 1
How To Mate With Bishop And Knight

Do you see how the black king is trapped in the corner? The bishop prevents the king from running away.

Pretend for a moment you're playing white. You have the move. Can you mate the black king?

I bet you can, because this is a mate in two.

1.Na6+, Ka8 (the king has no other options left); 2. Bd5#.

Mating with black to move

Now do the mating again, but this time Black has the first move. Is this easy as well?

If it's not easy for you, I'll give you the insight for this position. The bishop is able to play waiting moves.

After 1...Ka8; 2.Na6 would be a stalemate. Therefore you have to wait a move and only after 2...Kb8 you will have the mating sequence again.

Now you know this, it will be easy for you to find a good waiting move.

As long as the bishop keeps guarding c8, it's ok (otherwise the black king would escape).

So 1....Ka8; 2.Bd7 ( Bf5, Bg4 and Bh3 are good as well), Kb8; and now 3. Na6, Ka8; 4.Bc6#;

Step 2
Chasing The King To The "Right" Corner

Now you know where to mate the king and how to do so, you'll need to know how to chase the king to the corner where it can be mated.

In this position, the king is hiding in the corner. For you this the "wrong" corner, because it can't be mated there.

You'll have to chase the black king to the "right" corner where it can be mated. How do you achieve this?

1. Nf7+,

The king is forced out of the corner.


The king can't go back to h8. You'll have to make sure it doesn't escape to h7 either. Therefore you'll play a waiting move with the bishop.

2.Be4 (Bg6, Bd3, Bc2 and Bb1 are also possible),

forcing the king further towards the "right" corner.

2... Kf8;

Now you have to prevent Black to return to the "wrong"corner.


Here Black has to move further towards an unsafe corner.


And now follows a knight maneuver. This is one of the most important things to know in this endgame. Without this maneuver, you'll not be able to win this endgame. So study it until you know it by heart.


And here Black has two options. The first is Kf8, returning to the safe corner. The second is Kd8, fleeing to open territory.

Option 1: Kf8


The black king tries to return to its safe corner, but you can flush him out with 5.Nd7+,

Black can't reach safety now.

5....Ke8; 6.Ke6,

Black still isn't able to return, so he keeps moving in the unsafe direction.

6....Kd8; 7.Kd6,

Now you may allow Black to take one step back.


It turns out to be only one step. The f8-square is covered by the knight and the bishop is ready to stop the black king from escaping.



This is the typical way to chase the king where you want it to go. After 9.Bf7, the black king is forced to play 9....Kc8; and you'll have to repeat the maneuver with the knight: 10. Nc5.

You will push the king into the corner after 10....Kd8; 11.Nb7, Kc8; 12. Kc6,

Your goal will be reached now after 12....Kb8; 13. Kb6, Kc8; 14.Be6+,

Black has to retreat towards the unsafe corner and can't escape anymore.

Now you're free to position the knight for the mating sequence.

You'll use your bishop for a waiting move (if necessary) and to deliver mate.

I hope this is easy for you now?

Option 2: Kd8

4....Kd8; 5.Ke5, Kc7;

Black tries to run to freedom and you have to prevent it in order to win.

6. Nd7,

This knight move helps setting up a barrier (b6 and c5 are blocked now).


Black hopes to find an exit, but you can close the door...

7. Bd3,

blocking all exits. This is another extremely important thing to remember. The knight and the bishop are able to create this barrier!

Now the only thing to look out for, is not to let the black king break free.

Use your own king to push the black king even further into the corner

After7....Kb7; 8. Kd6,

the king goes into the corner with 8...Ka7 (or Ka8).

The only other try is 8...Kc8; 9. Be4, Kd8 (forced);

10. Bg6, Kc8; And now the knight maneuver again 11. Nc5,

After 11.....Kd8; 12. Nb7+, Kc8; 13.Kc6, Kb8; 14. Bf5, Black is caught in the "right" corner and will be mated.

After 11....Kb8; 12. Bf5, Ka8 (or Ka7); 13. Kc7, White has succeeded in catching the black king as well and after a future Bd3 the knight is free to position itself for the mating sequence.

Step 3
Chase The King To The Edge Of The Board

In the endgame of bishop and knight vs king, you'll have to chase the king to the edge of the board, in order to be able to deliver mate.

This may take a lot of moves, but you should be able to perform this task without my help.

I'll leave this step up to yourself. I suppose you're able to chase a king to the edge of the board, using your own king, a knight and a bishop.

Defending Against Bishop And Knight

When you're the one playing with a lone king against the bishop and knight, you'll want to put up as much resistance as possible.

Ultimately, against a skilled opponent, your defence will not help and you will lose.

However, not every chess player is a skilled opponent. A lot of chess players are having troubles winning this endgame, and your opponent may be one of them. If you defend well, you might obtain a draw because of the 50-move rule.

How will you defend? If you understand the previous winning plan, this will be easy for you.

1. You'll keep your king in the middle of the board as long as possible.

2. If you have to move towards the edge of the board, you'll move towards a corner where you can't be mated.

3. When you're chased out of the safe corner, towards the mating square, you'll try to flee to the middle of the board and the opposite corner.

4. You'll be on the lookout for stalemate possibilities.

This defensive plan assures that if your opponent makes little mistakes, you're able to profit and secure a draw because of the 50-move rule.


Mating a king with bishop and knight within fifty moves is doable.

If you know the winning plan, you'll always be able to win this ending.

There are three steps.

1. Force the king to the edge of the board.

2. Force the king into a corner where it can be mated.

3. Mate the king in the corner.

The defender will try to prevent all of this for more than fifty moves

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