Boden’s Mate, also known as a Criss-Cross Mate, occurs when the two bishops mate the enemy king, with each bishop coming from an opposite diagonal from the other. What makes this sacrifice even more delightful is that is frequently preceded by a queen sacrifice.
The name Boden is used as he is the first player of master strength to have used this mating pattern. Or at the first to have it well-known.
Schulder-Samuel Standidge Boden
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.c3 f5 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.d4 fxe4 6.dxe5 exf3 7.exf6 Qxf6 8.gxf3 Nc6 9.f4 Bd7 10.Be3 O-O-O 11.Nd2 Re8 12.Qf3 Bf5 13.O-O-O d5 14.Bxd5 Qxc3+! (There’s the queen sacrifice.) 15.bxc3 Ba3mate
But he is not the first. Both Morphy and Horwitz predate him.
Paul Morphy-James Thompson
New York, 1859
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 Bxb4 5.c3 Ba5 6.O-O Bb6 7.d4 d6 8.dxe5 Nxe5 9.Nxe5 dxe5 10.Bxf7+ Ke7 11.Qb3 Nf6 12.Ba3+ c5 13.Rad1 Qc7 14.f4 Rf8 15.Bc4 Rd8 16.Rde1 Bd7 17.Bc1 Rf8 18.fxe5 Qxe5 19.Bf4 Qh5 20.Rd1 Kd8 21.e5 Ne8 22.Qa4 Qg4 23.e6 Nf6 24.Rxd7+ Kc8 25.Qc6+! bxc6 26.Ba6mate 1-0
And now the ending of one of Horwitz’s games.
It has proven fruitless to discover the complete score of Horwitz’s game. Can someone find the moves leading up to the mate?
A Center Counter victory by Canal is perhaps the best well-known game of Boden’s Mate.
1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 c6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.Bf4 e6 7.h3 Bxf3 8.Qxf3 Bb4 9.Be2 Nd7 10.a3 O-O-O
11.axb4! Qxa1+ 12.Kd2 Qxh1 13.Qxc6+! bxc6 14.Ba6mate 1-0
Other famous games include the following:
Banja Luka, 1931
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bd3 Bxc3+? 5.bxc3 h6? 6.Ba3 Nd7 7.Qe2 dxe4 8.Bxe4 Ngf6 9.Bd3 b6?? 10.Qxe6+! fxe6 11.Bg6mate 1-0
1.f4 e5 (From’s Gambit – a good opening to discover many miniatures.) 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 g5 5.d4 g4 6.Ng5?! f5 7.e4 Be7? 8.Nh3! gxh3 9.Qh5+ Kf8 10.Bc4 Qe8 11.Qh6+! Nxh6 12.Bxh6mate 1-0
This one should be better known. White sacrifices his queen AND his rook.
Philip Corbin-Othneil Harewood
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 (The Smith-Morra, another good opening to find miniatures.) 3…dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Bc4 Bb4!? (A relatively new move. Black doesn’t seem to get much from this move. More common are 6…a6, 6…e6 and 6..Nf6.) 7.O-O Bxc3 8.bxc3 Na5 9.Bd3 Qc7 10.Qe2 Nc6 11.Ba3 Ne5 12.Nxe5 Qxe5 13.f4 Qc7 14.e5 Qxc3 15.Bd6 Ne7 16.Rac1 Qd4+ 17.Kh1 Nc6 18.f5 h5 19.fxe6 dxe6 20.Rxf7! Bd7 21.Qf3 O-O-O
22.Qxc6+! Bxc6 23.Rxc6+ 1-0
But as you might have expected, a queen sacrifice is not needed to effect the mate.
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nge7 4.c3 d6 5.d4 Bd7 6.0-0 Ng6 7.Ng5 h6 8.Nxf7 Kxf7 9.Bc4+ Ke7 10.Qh5 Qe8 11.Qg5+! (11.Bg5+ hxg5 12.Qxg5# would work just as well.) 11…hxg5 12.Bxg5mate 1-0
Nugent’s Dept. Store, St Louis, Aug. 25 1921
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5 3.exd5 e4 4.Qe2 Nf6 5.Nc3 Bc5 6.Nxe4 O-O 7.Nxf6+ Qxf6 8.c3 Bd7 9.d4 Bd6 10.Be3 Bf5 11.Nd2 Nd7 12.g3 Rfe8 13.Bg2 Qg6 14.O-O-O c5 15.dxc6 bxc6 16.Bxc6 Rac8 17.Bxd7 Rxc3+ (Only the rook is given up.) 0-1
And on rare occasions, no sacrifice is needed.
Pandolfini – N.N., 1970
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4 6.d4 exd4 7.Re1 d5 8.Nxd4 Bd6 9.Nxc6 Bxh2+ 10.Kh1 Qh4 11.Rxe4+ dxe4 12.Qd8+ Qxd8 13.Nxd8+ Kxd8 14.Kxh2 f5?? 15.Bg5mate 1–0