Chess Wiki
Back Rank Mate

Rd8# is back rank checkmate.

When a rook or queen moves to his opponent's back rank to attack a castled king, and the king is blocked behind its three pawns in the castle, this usually is checkmate.

Ways to prevent the back rank mate[]

  • Move one of the pawns in front of the castled king up. Move h6 or g6, for example, when playing black, or h3 or g3 when playing White. If the opponent tries to back rank mate you, then you can move your king behind the moved pawn. This is called a luft.
  • Move a piece to the back rank to intercept the enemy when it tries to attack you.
  • Have a rook or a queen guard the back rank.

In Tactics[]

Back Rank Mate Tactics

Do not take the "free" bishop, as the black queen will back rank mate you.

See Tactical Defense

Sometimes, the back rank mate is used as a way to protect a piece. For example, if your rook is attacking a bishop and is positioned on your back rank, and there is an enemy rook or queen on an open file, and your king is locked up in his castle; then your rook cannot capture the bishop on pain of back rank mate.