Review of the Checkmate Patterns Manual

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The Checkmate Patterns Manual by Raf Mesotten 2022 New in Chess 376pp

One of the latest offerings in the Chessable/New in Chess partnership, The Checkmate Patterns Manual by Raf Messoten offers something for everyone.

Comprised of 30 chapters designed to drill the basic “name” mates, i.e. Anastasia, Arabian, Boden, Smothered, Swallow’s Tail, etc this book serves as an excellent primer for beginner and post-beginner players, a refresher course for slightly more intermediate players, and as a source of valuable teaching material for instructors.

Before we start talking about the book itself, let’s talk about a couple of technical points. First, the book is hardbound with excellent quality paper as has become a hallmark of the Chessable/New in Chess books. Second, the author is an average club player from Belgium (around 1900 FIDE).

I think that for some readers, this second point may seem overly important. After all, who wants to buy a book from a player well below the level of most authors? However, in this case, the level of the writer is well suited to the level of the material selected, so I don’t find that to be an issue at all.

Who is this book for? In my opinion, this book is best suited either for newer players, let’s say up to about 1000 Elo, or for anyone who coaches newer players.

To demonstrate the level of this book, let’s take a quick look at a couple of the puzzles in the “Final Test” which contains “100 of the hardest exercises in this book.”

For most players, neither of those exercises should present too much of a challenge. Those who do find them challenging should immediately buy this book, and those who coach should also immediately buy this book.

As for the book itself, it starts with a basic test to check the level of the reader, and is then split into 30 chapters, covering various “name” mating patterns such as Anastasia’s Mate, Arabian Mate, Boden’s Mate, etc, along with thematic mates such as Mate in the Opening, Bank Rank Mate, etc. After those chapters come three more tests, and then the solutions.

Each chapter contains several examples of the type of mate being discussed. Let’s take a look at an example from the first chapter on Anastasia’s mate.

First, the reader is given a diagram that shows the pattern:

Anastasia Pattern – click to see diagram in book

Then there are several game examples. For instance, this position from Karjakin-Metsalu 2001

Containing over 600 exercises, this book will keep the reader busy for some time.

While this book isn’t for everyone, I still give it five stars for those who it is meant for.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott