Knight and Bishop Checkmate | Chess Endgames

Checkmating with a knight and a bishop requires knowledge and a precise technique. I have tried to explain it in steps simple to understand and learn!

As opposed to all other piece checkmating patterns, which are rather easy to grasp or even figure out on your own over the board without any prior knowledge (with the exception of mating with two bishops, which is gong to be covered in a separate video), the knight and bishop mate is far more complex.

There is really only one way, or one technique to achieve checkmate, and if you don’t know it, you will hardly be able to find it in a real game.

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Several things need to be kept in mind when it comes to knight and bishop checkmate:

1. You have to mate in less than 50 moves. Because of the 50 move rule, if no pawns are moved, or no pieces exchanged in 50 moves, the game is drawn. That means that you have a limited number of moves to mate. It can easily be done in 30 moves with correct technique, but if you are missing a single piece of the required knowledge, a hundred moves may not suffice.

2. You can only checkmate in the corner of your bishop’s color. Meaning that if you have a dark squared bishop you have to checkmate in a dark squared corner. Conversely, the defender’s king should try and hide in the opposite corner. You can checkmate on any square on the edge of the board (h and a files, 1st and 8th rank), but your opponent has to help you with that, and he can avoid it very easily.

3. Move your king up the board as much as you can at start. Take up as much space. Move your pieces closer only when your king can no longer improve its position.

4. Use both the knight and the bishop to cut the king off. Restraining is crucial.

5. The winning maneuver can begin when the king is stuck at the back row (any back row, vertically or diagonally). To achieve that, the easiest way is to force it into any corner of the board. From there the technique gets simpler.

6. To force the king into the corner you want, you have to use all three pieces. Your king to restrain it from moving up the board and to keep opposition, your bishop to cut it of the main retreat square on the bishop’s color, and the knight to cover the rest. You basically need your knight to compliment your bishop’s defect. The technique of moving the knight is popularly called the “W” maneuver. You move your knight in the shape of a W. For example – Nf7 to e5 to d7 to c5 to b7. The squares form a W!

7. The easiest piece constellation to force checkmate is knight – king – bishop lined up on the same file or rank.

8. You cannot win without waiting moves. Putting your opponent in zugzwang is crucial. Otherwise it wouldn’t be checkmate but stalemate!



  1. At 12:12 Be4+?? is a gross blunder. If white plays 1.Be4+??, then black plays Kb5, and escapes toward the other dark squared corner. This is a crucial time loss and the game will most likely be drawn due to the 50 move rule. White must play 1.Bd3 instead keeping the black king from escaping through b5 to the other wrong corner. Also, one move prior, after 1.Nd7, black should not play Kd8, as it just allows white to more easily set up the same position that forced him from the corner via 1.Kd6 Ke8 2.Bg6+ Kd8 3.Bf7. After 1.Nd7 Kc6 is a lot more resilient, and white has to play 2.Bd3 as discussed above. Kc7 will be next, followed by the sequence 3.Ke7 Kc6 4.Bc4 Kc7 5.Bd5 Kc8 6.Bc6 Kd8 7.Bb7 Ke8 8.Bd5 Kd8 9.Bf7, and now you have created the same setup used to push the black king from the corner as before; this time, however, the black king made you work for it. The rest is easy; play follows Kc8 10.Nc5 Kb8 11.Kc6 Kc8 12.Nb7 Kb8 13.Kb6 Kc8 14.Bf5+ Kb8 15.Bd7 Ka8 16.Nc5 Kb8 17.Na6+ Ka8 18.Bc6#.

  2. 06:15 Waiting move? What for? It is much better to play Nf7 ☺

  3. what if my opponent doesnt play by the "rules" and just starts doing random stuff (before he thematic position) im rated 1000 and i fear that when my opponent wont do certain things i wont be able to deliver checkmate

  4. I really love this video. Very well narrated and informative. Tremendous job!

  5. This is such a complicated pattern that Stockfish level 8 at lichess with 3000 rating can't checkmate with bishop and knight!

  6. At least watching you having a hard time makes it better while I keep getting draws against Stockfish…

  7. PLZZ cover all 100 endgames I loved your video and learner alot

  8. Excellent work, I can't say anything. you make it easier for understanding (the W manoeuvre). now I can mate with a knight and Bishop. just keep going. Thanks a lot 💜.

  9. This is the best knight + bishop mate explanation I've ever seen! Now even I can do it 🙂 Thank you so much!

  10. thank you so much bro, i watched some videos, but the lights on when i watched your videos (your style of teaching i guess) and i now can mate in 36 moves…

  11. 24:34 if you understand the first example, when you reached this second example, you can just ** tilt your head right** and imagine you are playing first example, even if i just learned this mate, i surprised stephen's trying to imagine the pattern he already known 🙂

  12. Please Please Please make a video on 2 knight vs pawn checkmate please sir

  13. You should play against stockfish instead of yourself.

  14. Thank you so much! So far, I only knew the "triangle method" but it always took too many moves. This technique is just spot on! 👨🏻‍🎓

  15. I played with 2400 elo rated SOS 5.1 for arena but it couldn't checkmate me with bishop & knight in 40 mins in 50 moves,I wonder how u claim that knight bishop checkmates are possible!

  16. Maybe better to offer a draw, get some beers with your opponent and make a new friend 😂

  17. If anyone still finds this tricky, I suggest they look up chessbrah's GM Aman Hambleton teaching the Knight and Bishop Checkmate.

    There's only one two patterns you need to remember – the W pattern described in this video, and the L shape formed by the King, Knight and Bishop (that Aman shows in that video). The L shape simplifies this a lot, and can make the process feel as automatic as delivering a rook or queen checkmate.

  18. This is just great. I've struggled so much to learn this from other videos or the Lichess trainer with no success and you've just taught me how to do it reasonably well in half an hour.

  19. This is the one that really made it click for me – I've watched a bunch of these videos but now after watching this 3 times I've finally got my first Knight + Bishop checkmates. Thank you!

  20. Far out! Great job explaining this tough sequence. Thank you.

  21. I love your content and your contagious love for the game, Stjepan. I’m a fellow adult improver, having become fairly serious about my improvement roughly 2 years ago, and my long term goal is to reach FM level. Your content has been tremendously inspiring and helpful. Wishing you all the best with your road to GM, from sunny South Africa 🙂

  22. Thankyou ❤️ ♟️♟️♟️♟️ Stejpan

  23. White Pieces: King E6, Knight E5, Bishop H7. Black King C7.
    1) Knight to D7 followed by Black King to B7.
    What do I do after?

  24. Your explanation is BRILLIANT. I have looked for a good video on the topic but couldn't find one. Found yours and now I can mate in 32;) Thank you!

  25. Thank you yet again Stjepan! No video I could find explained it as clearly as you

  26. i finally managed to mate with bishop and knight. in my opinion this is the best video i could find, explaining what the crucial points are(especially all the waiting moves at the right time!) thank you very much!

  27. I tried playing a random position against stockfish 8 and by using your teaching i beat it in 29 moves thank you so much

  28. Most elegant chess thumbnail I've seen and amazing content as well

  29. Your initial position is not the "worst" position for white because the black king is in the corner. The "mating net" only begins once the black king has been forced to the edge/corner of the board. If the king runs directly to the corner that is not commanded by the bishop, that actually makes white's job easier because the "mating net" starts there. Black's plan should be to fight to stay in the MIDDLE of the board as long as possible and force white to waste as many moves as possible trying to figure out how to force the king to the edge/corner. Black should never voluntarily go to the edge unless forced to do so.

    Knowing the "w method" doesn't help unless you can first force the black king to the edge of the board. And, even then, white needs to have his bishop and knight on very specific squares to begin the "w method."

    Here is my challenge to those who have navigated to this site with the intent of learning this mate. Once you are confident you understand the "w method", set up a board and place the black king in one of the center four squares. Put all three white pieces on the side of the board. That's the worst position! Have a chess engine play for black. You will notice that the engine will fight to stay in the center. You will also notice that you're going to be frustrated in trying to force the king to the edge of the board. The chess engine isn't going to make a beeline for the wrong-colored corner. It's going to make you force it there.

  30. Brilliant Video. I was able to successfully execute the mate against the computer on my second try after watching the video. Haven't seen anyone explain it better. I am glad to have found this channel.

  31. The trouble you had was not necessary! When you have the Black King on the edge in opposition, with yedgeKnight as the sandwich filling, then start the 'W' manoeuvres. You started brilliantly, but then forgot to start the 'W' when you got opposition position near the corner.

    There is a triangular method also which I should love to learn too.

  32. Just a little correction, the correct move at 12:10 for white isn't Be5+, but its Bd4 I think

  33. Very good video! The only one that helped me master this checkmate

  34. You're the man! Just wanted to drop in a comment and say (and I speak for all of us here) how much we all appreciate your hard work in providing thorough and understandable tutorials to us beginners. Who knows, Maybe due to this video we won't throw the championship one day. Unlike poor Anna.

  35. dude you deserve GM title for those very helpful lessons

  36. Thank you for this. I am getting back into chess after many years and your content is very helpful

  37. I made it work once, but my brain is now twisted beyond repair.

  38. Why is nobody correcting him??? Everyone saying that it helped so much but he gave the ring moves! Either you guys are just stupid and acting like you really know, or you guys are so good that in spite of him not giving the right moves you knew the actual right moves. Common!!! Don't be nice just to be nice!

  39. I learned a different way to do this mate but it’s a very similar start with an alternative finish. But the point is, I finally understand how to use these pieces together and I wouldn’t have ever thought to learn this if you didn’t put it in your series.

    I have always struggled in the end game and I am really looking forward to the rest of this series!

  40. But at 12.06: If the king goes to c6 and you check it with the bishop from e4, won't it be able to escape to b5? Btw Stockfish says to put the bishop on d3 instead, restraining and not checking. Thanks for these marvellous videos btw. I'm a huge fan. You're making alot of chess theory easily available and understandable. It's a huge help.

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