Chess is a fun and highly addictive game played across the globe that has had a recent popularity surge since the world went online over COVID and thanks to the success of Netflix’s ‘The Queen’s Gambit’. What I love about chess is how there are no limits to your improvement journey – not only the best players in the world but also the best chess computers can make mistakes!

Here I will teach you a simple and fail-safe method of how to checkmate with a King and Queen against a lone King. The only prerequisite for this tutorial is to know how the pieces move!

STEP 1: Use your queen – the ‘knight’s move’ method: The first step is to use your queen alone to push the enemy king into the corner of the board. The way to do this is to put the king in a box by positioning the queen so that it is a ‘knight’s move’ away from the king. See the illustration to the right and compare to the above to see the correct first move.

Wherever the enemy king moves, move your queen a knight’s move away from it to make the box smaller.

Repeat the process again…

STEP 2: Use your king Once the king moves into the corner, you don’t want to move your queen a knight’s move away from the king again (to the g3 square) because it will be stalemate! Stalemate is where the person whose turn it is to move has no legal moves and so the game ends in a draw. But of course you are trying to win! So it is time for the next phase, where you bring your king closer to the enemy king…

And again! Remember that the ultimate goal of step 1 is to push the king into one of the four corners. In this case the enemy king seems to be moving towards the h1 square. In the next diagram, step 1 will be complete!

Repeat this process again until your king can’t get any closer to the enemy king (so that in this case, your king is on f1, f2 or f3). Once you have done that, you are ready to move onto the final stage… to deliver checkmate! After the moves with arrows are played, can you spot how white can checkmate black? (There are 3 possible solutions). See below for one of them…

STEP 3: CHECKMATE This checkmate shown on the right is what I believe to be the most elegant. Queen to h5 and Queen to h4 also do the trick.

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