Now employed in modern parlance to describe an irrefutable, strategic victory, "checkmate" is the term used in the game of chess to indicate the situation in which one player's king is threatened with capture and no escape or defense is possible. Delivering checkmate is the ultimate goal in chess, and the player who forces it wins the game. The term "checkmate" is an alteration of the Persian phrase shah mat, which means what?
Back in the day
Fought between Scottish highland clans supporting James II and VII and the government troops of William of Orange, the Battle of Killiecrankie occurred in Scotland during the first Jacobite uprising in 1689. Outnumbered, barefoot, and armed mostly with claymores—large, double-edged broadswords—the highlanders, led by John Graham of Claverhouse, used their position on the steep Pass of Killiecrankie to force a retreat. Despite the victory, Claverhouse was killed. What became of the revolt?
Born on a day like today
Although of aristocratic background, Corday sympathized with the moderate Girondists during the French Revolution. Horrified at the excesses of the Reign of Terror, she gained an audience with one of its leaders, Jean-Paul Marat, by promising to betray the Girondists and stabbed him through the heart while he was in his bath. Arrested on the spot, she was convicted by the Revolutionary Tribunal and guillotined four days later. Why was Marat in the bath at the time of their meeting?