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Fool's Mate

  • Last updated on 8/3/15, 3:22 PM.

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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#


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #161


    I've never seen white open like that what would be the plan behind it, it doesn't seem constructive or positive for white to make those moves. It does demonstrate how checkmate can be acheived in two moves and I would be a fool if I fell for it and I'm no expert by any means. Embarassed

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #162


    thank you, this is the fool's mate, ...

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #163


    I fell for this once, when I was practicing my Bird's Opening ... I had made the wrong move tho, I accidentally opened with Knight's pawn instead of Bishop's pawn, that was why i fell for it, and then tried to do the same opening, which was silly.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #164


    its also funny mate after 1. e4 e5 2. Qh5 Ke7 3. Q:e5 mate - however this is  longer.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #165


    I agree, that is impossible to see in any game, espesially in rated games because they must either be retarded or think they're so good so they go to a tornament and get their ass kicked.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #166


    These two moves, for me, are just a tremendous REMINDER for how WEAK is the King's wing..

    Excellent lesson for all.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #167


    I've never fallen for this before, but I have been checkmated in four moves at least ten times.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #168


    Hey TonyGas , I got caught out there a few weeks ago I guess practice makes almost perfect in this game... and even that's far fetched

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #169


    I got this. same mate, just delayed a bit

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #170


    nobody falls for fools mate anymore...well becides people that are new to chess.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #171


        Hey guys, just came back from nationals half the players I played were suckers for this technique.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #172


    The name is apt... white is a fool! A two-year oldd wouldn't make that mistake, no offense!

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #173


    I pity the fool

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #174



  • 7 years ago · Quote · #175


    Have you ever read or watched Harry Potter and the Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone? If Ron was a Knight, then - Whoops, sorry to all you guys who haven't seen it. I might have spoiled it. Sealed

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #176


    I would like to know if someone someday has played this move in chess.com.. I'm pretty sure someone has...:P

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #177


    hahaha fools mate indeed!

    Thank god it's never happened to me....i'd like to think my focus is a bit better then that :)


    P.S. I hope so anyway!

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #178


    I beat a player with this exact mate.

    Go to my games and look at a name that start with an "H".

    I hope the person learned from that and is still playing chess.

    A player might fall for that once but then never again!

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #179


    I did it to a whos name starts with an "H" in my game archives.

    I had to sit there and make sure that I wasnt doing something stupid with my Queen before hitting the submit button.

    needless to say the person is still playing chess and ranked in the mid 1300s.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #180


    cool, quick, but not easy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Laughing

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