Make escape square

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Prevent checkmate by making an escape square for the king

In this level, your opponent is threatening checkmate in one move.

How can you defend against this kind of threat?
There are five main ways to defend against checkmate in one move:

  1. Protect the square where checkmate is threatened.
  2. Capture one of the pieces threatening checkmate.
  3. Escape with the king.
  4. Make an escape square for the king.
  5. Block one of the pieces threatening checkmate.

In this level, you must make an escape square for the king.


This situation happens very often in a game:

Black is threatening checkmate with Re1#.
To prevent mate, White has to make an escape square by moving one of the pawns in front of the king.
g3, g4, h3, h4 all prevent checkmate.

This is sometimes called "making luft", using the German word "Luft" for "air", giving the king some air to breathe.

Note that there are four possible moves, so the position in the diagram would not be a puzzle, which requires only one solution move on the first move. The puzzles in this level illustrate some less common situations, where there is only one good move to make an escape square.


White is threatening Anastasia's mate with Rh4#.
Black has to make an escape square with g6 to prevent checkmate.
If White now plays Rh4+, Black can escape with Kg7.

This can also sometimes happen in the endgame:

Black's last move Kc7 takes White's king's last escape square d6 away.
Black is now threatening checkmate with Na4# or Nd7#.
White has to make a new escape square with b5 to prevent checkmate.
If Black now plays Na4+ or Nd7+, White can escape with Kb4.

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