The exposed cannon checkmate was termed so in the free ebook downloadable at WXF. I had called it the empty headed cannon checkmate previously, which is a direct translation of the chinese term.
Anyway, when there is no other piece in the same file as your opponent's king, a cannon can control the entire file if placed in the same file as that exposed king. Any other piece that moves in between the king and that cannon will act as a cannon mount and the cannon will perform a check immediately.
Other attacking pieces are required to serve as cannon mounts for the final kill.
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