The Chess Variant Pages

How Many "Mets" Will Finish Off The Naked King Of Siam?!

For the tournament player it seems to be a question of great practical value: How many pieces of that piece named "met" do you need to hunt down and finish off the naked King in Thai Chess? Since the "met" in Mak Rook Thai - only having the same possibilities of moving like the "vezir" of the Arab Shatranj, that is to say: just one square diagonally - is so weak, in comparison to the modern counterpart in Western Chess, the Queen.

The match as follows is trying to give an answer. The duel has been decided on July 4th, 2004, at Hamburg/Germany, in the Portuguese open-air café "Transmontana", on the occasion of a training session among a small, but enthusiastic group of aficionados of Mak Rook Thai.

White: Torsten Mendel
Black: Dr. René Gralla
Training match at Hamburg/Germany, July 4th, 2004

1.d3-d4 f6-f5 2.Nb1-d2 Ng8-f6 3.Bc1-c2 Nb8-d7 4.f3-f4(?) ...
Producing a weakness on square e4.
4.... Rh8-g8 5.Qe1-f2 g6-g5  6.Ng1-f3 g5xf4 7.g3xf4 Bf8-f7 8.Rh1-g1 Rg8xg1
9.Qf2xg1 Ke8-e7 10.Kd1-e2 Qd8-c7 11.Bf1-f2  Bc8-b7 12.Qg1-h2 Ra8-g8
13.Ra1-g1 c6-c5
Opening up the diagonal for the Black Bishop b7 who is dreaming of the nice locus e4.
14.Bc2-d3 Bb7-c6 
Already on his way: the Black Bishop b7, now c6.
15.b3-b4 b6-b5  16.Rg1xg8  Bf7xg8 17.Qh2-g3? ...
Overlooking the possible interdiction on the left wing of White.
17.... c5-c4  18.Bd3-c2 Bc6-d5 19.Qg3-h4 ...
Nothing more than a demonstration - since the White Queen has no chance of sneaking in on the right flank.
19.... Bg8-g7 20.Bf2-g3 Bg7-g6 21.Nf3-e1 Bd5-e4
That's why Mr. Mendel shouldn't have played 4.f4(?) ....
22.Bg3-f2! ...
A brilliant regrouping.
22.... Nd7-b6 23.Bf2-f3! ...
The punch line.
23.... Be4-d5
So the Black Be4 must retreat, reluctantly for sure.
24.Qh4-g3 Ke7-f7
Black is planning to storm the right wing of Mr. Mendel - by the help of his King. But will that plan work out?!
25.h3-h4? ...
It will work out - since Mr. Mendel is lending a helping hand. 25.h4? ... is a real blunder, because White himself is paving the way via h5 and g4 (diagram).

White: Ne1; Bc2//Nd2//Ke2; Pa3//c3//e3//Bf3//Qg3; Pb4//d4//f4//h4;
Black: Pc4; Pb5//Bd5//Pf5; Pa6//Nb6//Pd6//e6//Nf6//Bg6//Ph6; Qc7//Kf7

Black is exploiting the weak white squares.
26.Ne1-g2 Bh5-g4
Attacking the White Queen g3.
27.Ke2-f2 Bd4xf3+ 28.Kf2xf3 Bd5-e4+ 
The Second Coming ... of Black Bishop d5 ...
29.Kf3-e2 Nb6-d5
Putting pressure on the sickly White Pawn c3.
30.Nd2-f1 Kf7-g6 31.Qg3-f2 ...
Expecting the storm ...
31.... Kg6-h5
The General himself is leading the final assault.
32.Nf1-g3+ Kh5-g4 33.Nf2xe4 ...
The death warrant for Pc3. But the White front-line is crumbling anyway.
33.... Nf6xe4 34.Ke2-f1 Ne4xc3 35.Bc2xc3 Nd5xc3 36.Qf2-e1! Nc3-b1!?!?
Very optimistic: Black Horse wants to eat the White Pa3 - but it is underestimating the hidden peril of 36.Qe1! ....
37.Kf1-e2 Nb1xa3 38.Qe1-d2! Na3-c2
The only way to reach the outpost b3 - otherwise that cavalry unit would be lost.
39.Qd2-c3! Nc2-a1!
Thank God that the Queens in Thai Chess - here the Met c3 - do not possess the attacking capabilities of Queens in Western Chess.
40.Ke2-d1 Na1-b3
A safe haven for the Ma b3 - with one big disadvantage: The Knight is cornered on b3.
41.Kd1-c2 Qc7-b6 42.Kc2-b2 a6-a5  43.Kb2-a3 a5-a4  44.Ka3-b2 Kg4-f3
Now Black King is exposing the disadvantage of the White plan - the right wing of Mr. Mendel is going to get rolled up.
45.Ng2-e1+ Kf3xe3 46.Ne1-c2+ Ke3xf4 47.Nc2-a3 Kf4-e4 48.Na3xb5 Ke4-d5
49.Nb5-a3 e6-e5  50.Na3-c2 f5-f4 
In order to prevent 51.Ne3+ ....
51.h4-h5  e5xd4
After trying to figure it out for quite a while: After the onslaught on d4 - will the remaining material be sufficient to check-mate White King?!?
52.Qc3xd4 Nb3xd4 53.Nc2xd4 Kd5xd4 54.Kb2-a3 c4-c3=Q 55.Ka3xa4 Kd4-c4! 
Preventing the escape of Mr. Mendel's monarch via b5.
56.Ka4-a3 f4-f3=Q (diagram)
White: Ka3; Pb4; Ph5;
Black: Qc3//Qf3; Kc4; Qb6//Pd6//Ph6
That new-born Queen is very far away - but very important: She has to block the last possible exit for White King via d1.
57.b4-b5  Qf3-e2! 
Now the gigantic pocket for White King is closed.
58.Ka3-a2 d6-d5  59.Ka2-b1 d5-d4  60.Kb1-c2 d4-d3=Q+ 
Queen no.4 - and the end is near.
61.Kc2-c1 Kc4-b3 62.Kc1-b1 Qb6-c5
It is amazing, really: Black is needing Queen b6 too in order to enforce the capitulation of White King.
63.Kb1-c1!  Qc5-b4! (diagram)

White: Kc1; Pb5//h5;
Black: Qe2; Kb3//Qc3//Qd3; Qb4; Ph6

Generously conceding to White the last triumph - Mr. Mendel is getting one Queen back, at last.

64.b5-b6=Q Qb4-a3! 
And now we are knowing the answer - if there are no auxiliary troops and no helpful Pawns that are blocking their own King, so you do really need four (!) Queens plus your own King in order to check-mate the Ruler of Siam Chess.
65.Qb6-c5! ...
Trying to get back into action - with the great plan of the sacrifice 66.Qd4! ...: That would force open the siege by the Black army.
65.... Qa3-b2+
Black is faster ...
66.Kc1-b1 Qd3-c2# (diagram)

White: Kb1; Qc5//Ph5;
Black: Qb2//Qc2//Qe2; Kb3//Qc3; Ph6

And we do know the answer now, finally: How many Mets will finish off the naked King of Siam? At first you will need a foursome - in the end, it is just a trio ...

Written by René Gralla.
Webpage created: December 12, 2005.