Model mate

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Miroslav Havel
1st Prize, Zlata Praha, 1910
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
g8 white queen
f7 white rook
f6 black pawn
e5 black pawn
f5 black king
a4 white king
g4 white knight
e3 white bishop
d2 black knight
c1 black knight
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Mate in three moves
Michal Dragoun
Phénix 1993
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
d7 white king
e5 white knight
h5 white rook
d4 black king
e4 black rook
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Helpmate in two moves (h#2), two solutions

A model mate is a type of pure mate checkmating position in chess in which not only is the checkmated king and all vacant squares in its field attacked only once, and squares in the king's field occupied by friendly units are not also attacked by the mating side (unless such a unit is necessarily pinned to the king), but all units of the mating side (with the possible exception of the king and pawns) participate actively in forming the mating net.

Model mates are extremely rare in practical play, but they add value to chess problems as they are considered artistic. In fact, they form the basis of the so-called Bohemian school of chess composition, most fruitful in threemovers and moremovers. Model mates are very usual in helpmates and they appear often in selfmates too.

The diagram on the left shows a problem by the greatest master of the Bohemian school, Miroslav Havel. The key 1. Bc5!! gives a flight square for the black King and threatens 2. Rxf6+ Ke4 3. Nf2# with a model mate. The main variations end with model mates from white batteries: 1... Kf4 2. Nxf6 (threat 3. Qg4#) 2... e4 3. Nd7#, and 1... Ke4 2. Nf2+ Kd5 3. Rc7#. There are several other variations (after 1... Ne4 and 1... Ke6), which do not end with model mates, and allow for multiple continuations. In the Bohemian school they are irrelevant, as long as they end with a mate in a prescribed number of moves.

The diagram on the right shows a helpmate, in which both sides cooperate to achieve a mate to the black king. It has two solutions ending in model mates (Black moves first in helpmates): 1. Re3 Ke6 2. Ke4 Rh4#, and 1. Kc5 Kc7 2. Rc4 Nc6# If all units of both colours are involved in a model mate, then it is an ideal mate. Both mates in the presented helpmate are ideal mates.

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