What Is a Ladder Checkmate?

Learn what a ladder checkmate is from Chess NYC in this Howcast video.

Transcript

Hi. Coach Russ here with Chess NYC and, today, I'm going to talk to you
about the ladder mate. The ladder mate can be executed by any pieces that
are able to control the ranks or the files and most popular will be two
rooks, a rook and a queen, or even two queens.

Now the idea behind the ladder mate is we want to force our opponent's king
into one of the four corners. The four corners being the H file, the A
file, the eighth rank, or the first rank. We're going to use our control
of the ranks and files. Together, these two pieces are going to force the
king into one of the four corners and, ultimately, execute the checkmate.
In this position, these two pieces are currently controlling the B file.

What that means is black's king is unable to go anywhere on the B file due
to the control of the rooks on the B file. So when white is looking for a
move, white will leave one rook which controls the B file and it will take
the other rook and control the C file, ultimately forcing the king to go,
then, to the D file.

So, white's rook will simply play a check, as I stated before, black's king
is unable to go to the B file due to the remaining rook on the B file and
is being checked on the C file, forcing the king to go to the D file.
Now once the king has approached or moved to the D file, we now need to
control the D file. We have a rook controlling the B file and the other
rook controlling the C file, and now, we must control the D file.

The rook on the C file is still keeping our opponent's king from entering
the C file. The rook on the B file is no longer being actively used.

Therefore, the rook on the B file will now be used to control the D file.
The rook checks the king on the D file. And now due to the fact that our
other rook is controlling the C file, the only file available for our
opponent's king is to enter the E file. And as we enter this E file, we
will repeat this same pattern again.

We have our rook controlling the D file and we must now control the E file.
The rook on the C file is no longer being actively used, so we will slide
that rook to the E file. And so on and so forth, we will drive the king
into the corner, ultimately delivering a checkmate.

Now, it is called a ladder checkmate because the rooks move in tandem as if
they were steps on a ladder, strategically, forcing the king to the side of
the board where, ultimately, we will deliver a checkmate.

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