After spending some time learning about chess, you will start to realize that the game is not all about checkmates.
Material and positional advantage are just as important as actual checkmates. However, we must not forget that this is the winning goal of the game.
If you have a bad position (or down in material), you can still win by delivering a checkmate.
This winning condition is absolute, the most important goal in chess there is. This is why it is important to learn which chess pieces actually deliver the most checkmates (as well as which pieces deliver the least checkmates).
This will allow you to prioritize what pieces to look for when identifying any available checkmating patterns.
If a particular piece is involved in many checkmates more than the others, then you should look at it most of the time.
This article will talk all about it. With all of that in mind, let’s get started.
Why is this important?
Delivering a checkmate is the goal of the game. Even though you can win in chess just by having a superior position/material count (when the opponent resigns), a checkmate is the fastest way to win a game.
It is also less riskier, opponents have no way of fighting back if they are caught on a checkmate.
Sometimes the checkmate is visible, there is no problem in positions like these. In some positions however, the checkmate is subtle, you have to look deeper in order to see that the combination exists.
The fastest way to identify a checkmate is by learning the common checkmating patterns.
The second way to improve your chances of seeing a hidden checkmate is by looking at the pieces that are likely to create a checkmate.
If you learn that the queen delivers the checkmate in most positions, then you will have to look at the queen more than any other pieces when looking for one.
If statistically, the queen gets involved in more checkmates, then it makes sense that you involve the queen more during the calculations.
Consequently, the pieces that are less likely to deliver a checkmate shouldn’t get looked at all. This way you are more efficient in identifying any hidden checkmates.
Which chess piece delivers the majority of checkmate?
The queen is the chess piece that delivers the most checkmate. This is unsurprising since it is the most powerful piece in the game.
If you have a piece that can move horizontally like the rook, while at the same time moving diagonally like a bishop, you will most likely deliver a checkmate with it then any of the single pieces. It is basically like two minor pieces in one.
Most checkmating combinations involve a queen, it is very weird that you can checkmate without a queen.
Of course there are positions where the pieces are enough to deliver a checkmate, however, most of the time, you will need a queen to deliver the checkmate.
Even in the endgame, the most basic checkmating combinations include a queen.
Though since the queen is the most powerful, sometimes we don’t even need to discuss how to checkmate with certain combinations of it (king+queen+knight for example).
The queen is so strong that if you think about it, it can already deliver a checkmate on its own if it manages to trap the king in the corner. If the queen has support from any other piece (even a pawn) it will be a huge risk for the safety of the king.
If you are looking for any checkmating patterns in a complicated position, try looking at the queen.
Since the queen is often involved in many of these combinations, try to see where the queen fits in your attacking attempt.
You can even try this in a normal chess puzzle.
I bet you, the queen will almost always be the focal point of any checkmating attempt. It is just that powerful, therefore it is involved in many checkmating positions.
Which is the piece that is second most likely to deliver a checkmate?
The second most likely piece to deliver a checkmate is the rook. Unsurprisingly, the rook is also the second most mobile piece in the game. It is definitely worth more than the bishop that moves diagonally.
The reason why it is worth more than the bishop is because the pawns move vertically, something that the rooks can control better.
A straight horizontal or vertical line can also cut the king way better than a diagonal line. This is why during the middlegame or the endgame, the phases where the bishops are also supposed to be strong, the rook is seen as stronger.
Especially with the prominence of the castling move, there are often back rank weaknesses that are exposed by the rook.
If you are not aware, back rank weaknesses refers to positions where the castled king can be checkmated in the backrank by a simple rook or queen check.
This is because when the king castles, it is kept safe, but its movements are also limited. If you do not allow some breathing space as for the king, a single horizontal check can lead to a checkmate (if no piece is covering the king properly).
In the end game, the rook also delivers the most checkmates next to the queen. Since the position is mostly open during the endgame, the rook’s full potential is unleashed.
In cramped endgames it can definitely create a checkmate.
If you have not seen anything after looking at the queen, maybe it is time to look at the rook. Maybe the rooks can offer an opportunity that the queen cannot offer within the position.
Which is more likely to deliver a checkmate, the bishop of the knight?
Now this is an interesting question, which can deliver a checkmate better, the bishop or the knight?
You might know that the bishops are treated slightly better than the knights, this is because the bishops are more mobile in the endgame.
It can move better from end to end of the board, and can cover more critical squares faster.
You know where I am going with this, the bishop is the third most likely piece to deliver a checkmate. This is primarily because of the movement of the knights. As a piece, the knights aren’t that bad.
They can cover a lot of squares if you can manage to create an outpost in the center, but their movements are just inefficient for delivering a checkmate.
They move in an “L” pattern, which doesn’t exactly cover much of a king’s escape option.
The actual squares that a knight can cover are far from each other, not exactly efficient in covering the movement options of a king (one square in any direction).
The bishop is not only more mobile, but it is better in covering a running king’s potential escape routes. If you have two bishops and one king, you can deliver a checkmate just fine.
If you have two knights and one king on the other hand, it is not possible to deliver a checkmate.
There has to be a pawn for you to deliver a checkmate with king + knight + knight combination in the endgame, whether it is yours or it is the opponent’s pawn.
Otherwise it will be a draw, the two knights won’t be capable of finishing the job.
The two bishops + king combination on the other hand can deliver a checkmate just fine, you don’t need any caveats.
This just proves that a bishop is more mobile, and is more likely to deliver a checkmate than a knight.
Which is more likely to deliver a checkmate, a pawn or a knight?
This one, I have been contemplating a lot. Originally I was going to write that the pawn delivers more checkmate than the knight.
This is just based on my experience, the knight jumps all over the place and you rarely deliver a finishing blow with it.
There are some fancy checkmate involving the knight like the smothered mate, however it is so rare that I don’t really see it that much.
The pawns can actually deliver a number of checkmates, especially when you got the enemy king on the run. Even if the pawn’s movement options are limited, there are situations where it can deliver the finishing blow.
We also have to remember that the pawns constitute the majority, you have more pawns than pieces at the start of the game. This means that by quantity, there is some likelihood that it will deliver a checkmate.
Here’s the thing though, in the end, I conclude that the knight delivers more checkmate than the pawn.
This is because there are some endgames which involve the knight. In a king + queen + knight endgame for example, there is a likelihood that you will finish the game with the knight.
Since it is more mobile, it will still be better at giving more checkmate then the pawn. This is my conclusion.
Can a king deliver a checkmate?
The king cannot deliver a checkmate so it will not be a part of this list. Interestingly, even though the king cannot deliver it on its own, it can assist the other pieces in giving the final blow.
A queen for example, cannot give a checkmate on its own (unless the enemy king intentionally walks into the corner).
Most of the time, the king has to provide assistance in cutting off the available squares remaining for the king.
So even though the king cannot deliver the actual checkmate on its own (it is against the rules), it can help the other pieces in accomplishing it.
If we are going to list the most likely pieces that will deliver a checkmate , it will go something like this: queen > rook > bishop > knight > pawn.
If you noticed something funny, they are also the order of pieces if they are ranked from the strongest to the weakest (excluding the king in this example of course).
I think that there is a correlation between the value of the piece and how likely it is to perform a checkmate.
Usually, the reason that a piece is so valuable comes with mobility. If it can move better overall, it is just likely to deliver a checkmate.
Hopefully this list will help you determine which species to look for in any given position.
Your likelihood of spotting a hidden checkmate significantly increases with this in mind, I hope you have learned something.
That is all for this article, thank you for reading.