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Fool's Mate

  • Last updated on 6/24/14, 6:26 AM.

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Fool's mate, also known as the "two-move checkmate," is the quickest possible checkmate in the game of chess. One example consists of the moves leading to the position shown...

There are eight slight variations on the pattern — White might play f2-f4 instead of f2-f3 or move the g-pawn before the f-pawn, and Black may play e7-e6 instead of e7-e5.

The fool's mate received its name because it can only occur if White plays extraordinarily weakly, i.e. like a fool. Even among rank beginners, the mate almost never occurs in practice.

The same basic mating pattern may also occur later in the game. There is, for instance, a well-known trap in the Dutch Defence which occurred in 1896 between Frank Melville Teed and Eugene Delmar that runs 1.d4 f5 2.Bg5 h6 3.Bf4 g5 4.Bg3 f4; it seems that Black has won the bishop, but now comes 5.e3 (threatening Qh5#, the basic Fool's mate idea) 5...h5 6.Bd3?! (6.Be2 is probably better, but this move sets a trap) 6...Rh6? (defending against Bg6#, but...) 7.Qxh5+! Rxh5 8.Bg6#...

A similar mate can occur in From's gambit (Bird's opening) 1. f4 e5 2. g3 exf4 3. gxf4?? Qh4#...

More generally, the term fool's mate is applied to all similar mates early in the game; for example, 1.e4 g5 2.d4 f6 3.Qh5#

The pattern of the simplest fool's mate is maintained: a player advances his f- and g-pawns, allowing a queenmate along the unblocked diagonal. One such fool's mate is widely reported to have occurred in a possibly apocryphal 1959 game between Masefield (or Mayfield, depending on the source consulted) and Trinka (or Trinks or Trent) which lasted just three moves: 1.e4 g5 2.Nc3 f5 3.Qh5#
(variants on these moves also exist).

Even more generally, the term "Fool's mate" is used in chess variants for the shortest possible mate, especially those which bear a resemblance to the orthodox chess fool's mate. Fool's mate in progressive chess, for example, is 1.e4 f6 2. Nc3 g5 3. Qh5#

Comments


  • 6 years ago · Quote · #81

    lukeyboy_xx

    i have never had fools mate done on me

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #82

    BEGINnerCHESS

    With the chess games I've played against my friend, and I have honestly never seen anyone do that to one another there. It's an interesting thing to know if you're up against a beginner, though - like me. If I tried that against someone - friend or otherwise - my opponent probably'd see through it in an instant. -_- 

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #83

    fahimturab

    well played

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #84

    carpediem

    I was really frustrated into making this mistake. I must admit!

    A string of too many losses and the need to try anything different led to it. Embarassed

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #85

    2894L

    lupu1001

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #86

    srn347

    Here's another early checkmate.

    Scholer's mate. And yes, that was englund gambit declined transposed into danish gambit accepted.

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #87

    Saccadic

    I had it happen to me when I was in grade 2 (7 years old) in the first game I played at Chess club. Needless to say, I never returned.

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #88

    hanngo

    there have been about 15 GMs that have fallen for the fools mate

    they play f4,e6

    then g4 and mate

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #89

    alearthcore19

    This 'trap' sucks! Who would fall for this??????

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #90

    thewolf72

    i havent ever see a fool mate !!! its terrible and fantastic at the same !!!

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #91

    paikiller

    huh! I already knew  that checkmate style when I was in preschool...lol hahahahaha

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #92

    ChickenLicken

    Why would anyone even want to move g2-g4? Sounds kinda stupid...

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #93

    ssnyder

    I've only seen this happen once.

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #94

    jimmysaur

    from lupu's trap black plays ...5 Nxe5 and black is up material, he wins the knight and the bishop and loses his light square bishop

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #95

    stanhope13

    legals mate, the queen sacrfice, was used in the nineteenth centuary by blackburne, so i read somewere.

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #96

    willisl0

    no one opens that way!

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #97

    seanki

    this is fool's mate:

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #98

    Rebelde

    The only thing I must correct is that not because one is a primary scholar nor a young child you would play that. Does anyone remember young Kasparov? I think we shouldn't make any assumption, as the serious chess players we are. 

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #99

    alearthcore19

    If anyone falls for this then their stupid......... omg

  • 6 years ago · Quote · #100

    airfast1234

    i have never seen that cheak and mate!

       now,

                   i will use it against my frends.

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