Légal or illegal

I recently wrote an article on Hubpages.com about the tactical pattern known as Légal’s Mate, and when it works, and when it doesn’t work.  This is a very important tactical pattern to know, and has a lot of subtle points to it.

While playing through dozens of examples from amateur games I collected, I noticed that many class players:

  • Played it at the wrong time.
  • Played against it incorrectly.
  • Missed the opportunity to play it all together.

Don’t let this happen to you!

As a review, here are a series of positions taken from that article, plus a few bonuses.  All of the games are taken from my Tactics Time database. For each, you have to decide if white can safely play the move Nxe5, which is the key move of Légals Mate. For each vote “Yes” or “No”.

Next to each game is the complete game score if you want to see how the position was handled in the real game that I took the position from.  Note that this does not mean that the person who played the game played it correctly!

If you like these types of original tactical problems, taken from real games, you will love my chess tactics newsletter.  You can sign up on right hand column.  Just enter your name and e-mail.

 


Tactic #1 Does Nxe5 work for white

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Legal's Mate

Tactic #1 White to move

[Event “December 2008 Hardcore Grand IV”]
[Site “http://www.redhotpawn.com”]
[Date “2008.12.19”]
[Round “1”]
[White “British Telecom”]
[Black “SurroundedByCats”]
[Result “1-0″]
[ECO “B50″]
[WhiteElo “1115”]
[BlackElo “686”]
[PlyCount “13”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Nc3 Bg4 4. Bc4 e5 5. Nxe5 Bxd1 6. Bxf7+ Ke7 7. Nd5# 1-0


Tactic #2 Does Nxe5 work for white

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Legal's Mate tactic #2

Tactic #2 White to Move

[Event “Challenge”]
[Site “http://www.redhotpawn.com”]
[Date “2009.01.10”]
[Round “?”]
[White “konhen”]
[Black “gulenz”]
[Result “1-0″]
[ECO “C34″]
[WhiteElo “1463”]
[BlackElo “1185”]
[PlyCount “17”]
[EventDate “2009.??.??”]

1. e4 e5 2. f4 Nc6 3. Nf3 d6 4. Bc4 exf4 5. O-O Bg4 6. Nc3 Ne5 7. Nxe5 Bxd1 8. Bxf7+ Ke7 9. Nd5# 1-0


Tactic #3 Does Nxe5 work for white

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Legal's Mate #3

Tactic #3 White to Move

[Event “Open invite”]
[Site “http://www.redhotpawn.com“]
[Date “2007.02.28”]
[White “O Artem, O.”]
[Black “Amsterdamn”]
[Result “1-0″]
[ECO “C50″]
[WhiteElo “1172”]
[BlackElo “1475”]
[PlyCount “15”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 d6 4. Bc4 h6 5. g4 Bxg4 6. Nxe5 Bxd1 7. Bxf7+ Ke7 8. Nd5# 1-0


Tactic #4 Does Nxe5 work for white

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White to Move

Tactic #4 White to Move

[Event “Open invite”]
[Site “http://www.chessatwork.com”]
[Date “2008.08.11”]
[White “strokem1″]
[Black “ram2rose”]
[Result “1-0″]
[ECO “C30″]
[WhiteElo “1286”]
[BlackElo “1305”]
[PlyCount “27”]

1. e4 e5 2. f4 f6 3. Nf3 d6 4. Bc4 f5 5. d3 fxe4 6. dxe4 Bg4 7. f5 Nf6 8. Nc3 a6 9. a3 Nc6 10. Bg5 h6 11. Bxf6 gxf6 12. Nxe5 Bxd1 13. Bf7+ Ke7 14. Nd5# 1-0


Tactic #5 Does Nxe5 work for white

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Legal's Mate #5

Tactic #5 White to Move

[Event “Challenge”]
[Site “http://www.redhotpawn.com“]
[Date “2006.05.28”]
[Round “?”]
[White “ETR”]
[Black “angree pirate”]
[Result “1-0″]
[ECO “C50″]
[WhiteElo “1460”]
[BlackElo “1186”]
[PlyCount “15”]
[EventDate “2006.??.??”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bc4 Bg4 4. Nc3 Nc6 5. O-O Na5 6. Nxe5 Bxd1 7. Bxf7+ Ke7 8. Nd5# 1-0


Tactic #6 Does Nxe5 work for white

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Legals Mate #7

Tactic #6 White to Move

[Event “Warren Barter Memorial”]
[Site “Colorado Springs”]
[Date “2011.01.15”]
[White “Wood, Liz”]
[Black “Bommireddipalli, Venkata”]
[Result “0-1″]
[ECO “C50″]
[WhiteElo “1182”]
[BlackElo “600”]
[PlyCount “22”]

1.e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bc4 Nc6 4. d4 Bg4 5. Nc3 Nxd4 6. Nxe5 dxe5 7. Qxg4 Nxc2+ 8. Kf1 Nf6 9. Qf5 Qd4 10. Bb3 Qd3+ 11. Ne2 Qd1# 0-1


Tactic #7 Does Nxe5 work for white

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White to Move

Tactic #7 White to Move

[Event “Challenge”]
[Site “http://www.redhotpawn.com“]
[Date “2005.08.28”]
[Round “?”]
[White “zwu”]
[Black “themole”]
[Result “1-0″]
[ECO “C50″]
[WhiteElo “1295”]
[BlackElo “1330”]
[PlyCount “13”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 d6 4. Nc3 Bg4 5. Nxe5 Bxd1 6. Bxf7+ Ke7 7. Nd5# 1-0


Tactic #8 Does Nxe5 work for white

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White to Move

Tactic #8 White to Move

[Event “2010 US Am West”]
[Site “Personal”]
[Date “2010.05.29”]
[Round “1.45”]
[White “Green, Sr”]
[Black “Harris, J.”]
[Result “0-1″]
[ECO “C41″]
[WhiteElo “1163”]
[PlyCount “98”]
[EventType “team-tourn”]

1.e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Nc3 a6 4. Bc4 Bg4 5. O-O Nf6 6. d3 h6 7. Be3 Nbd7 8. h3 Bh5 9. d4 b5 10. Bb3 c6 11. g4 Nxg4 12. hxg4 Bxg4 13. Kg2 h5 14. Bg5 Bxf3+ 15. Qxf3 Qxg5+ 16. Qg3 Qxg3+ 17. Kxg3 exd4 18. Ne2 Nf6 19. f3 c5 20. Rh1 c4 21. Bxc4 bxc4 22. Nxd4 Rb8 23. b3 d5 24. e5 Nd7 25. Rae1 Nc5 26. e6 Bd6+ 27. Kh4 f6 28. Nf5 g5+ 29. Kh3 Be5 30. Kg2 h4 31. Ne3 Nxe6 32. Nxd5 Nf4+ 33. Nxf4 gxf4 34. Kf2 c3 35. Re4 Rb5 36. Rc4 Kf7 37. Kg2 Rd5 38. Kh3 Rd2 39. Rc1 Rf2 40. Kg4 Rg2+ 41. Kh3 Rg3+ 42. Kh2 Rxf3 43. Kg2 Rg3+ 44. Kh2 f3 45. Kh1 h3 46. Rf1 h2 47. Re4 f2 48. Ree1 Rg1+ 49. Rxg1 hxg1=Q# 0-1

 


Tactic #9 Does Nxe5 work for white

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White to Play

Tactic #9 White to Play

[Event “December 2008 Mini Quartets V 1275-1300″]
[Site “http://www.redhotpawn.com”]
[Date “2009.01.01”]
[Round “1”]
[White “Pariah325″]
[Black “Butch Cassidy”]
[Result “1-0″]
[ECO “C41″]
[WhiteElo “1516”]
[BlackElo “1066”]
[PlyCount “19”]

 

1.e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bc4 g6 4. d3 h6 5. O-O g5 6. Nc3 Bg4 7. Be3 Nc6 8. Nd5 Bxf3 9. Qxf3 Nge7 10. Nf6# 1-0


 






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2 thoughts on “Légal or illegal

  1. I don’t understand. On problem 4, move 12. Why didn’t black respond with Nxe5. That move stops the mate and threatens the B on c4 and protects the B on g4 from being taken by the Q. The B is still threatening the Q. What have I missed? Thank you

  2. Hey Bonnie,

    With problem #4 – the correct answer is that the move Nxe5 doesn’t work.

    You are absolutely right – after 12. Nxe5 black should have played Nxe5. Instead black got greedy, and grabbed the queen, and promptly got mated.

    The main point is that is that sometimes white misses chances to play the Legal’s pattern, sometimes white tries it at the wrong time (but gets away with it), and sometimes plays it at the wrong time, and black plays correctly.

    it is a really good pattern to know!

    Hope this helps!

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