Question about the Pillsbury Mating Pattern

Here an interesting question that I got from a reader of my free chess tactics e-mail newsletter, that might be helpful to others as well.

From the newsletter “Pillsbury D’oh”

regarding this position (Black to Move)

Pillsbury Chess Checkmate

Black to Move

Spoliers below, so don’t read any further if you want to solve it for yourself first!


Mike writes:

“How about Rxg2+ Kh1, then Rg3.

I really enjoy your column”.

My response:

Hey thanks Mike!

Glad that you like it :-)

The problem with Rg3+ is that it is too slow, and isn’t as powerful as the double discovered check Rg1+

After Rg3+ white can just block the check with f3. Now white isn’t in check, black’s rook is attacked by the pawn on h3, the long diagonal is closed, f3 is protected by the white rook and queen, and there is no more attack.

The double discovered attack Rg1+ however gives white only one legal move – Kxg1, and this buys black just enough time to get the queen into the game and deliver the mate. A rook that could move to the g file would have worked just as well.

Hope this helps! There are some variations of this type of mate that become sort of a windmill, and the attacker first has to take the time to kill the f pawn, so there can be no blocking, then delivers the mate.



The answer that I gave in the newsletter was: 

15…Rxg2+ sets up the Pillsbury mating pattern. 16.Kh1 Rg1+ 17.Kxg1 Qg8+ 18.Bg6 Qxg6+ 19.Qg4 Qxg4#

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