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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


  • 5 years ago · Quote · #261

    acpacp

    I've taken it on the chin thus as Black.  Despite years of experience, I still find myself sorely out of position on occasion.  It bleeds the ego and makes me sit up and pay attention.  Moreover, usually 5-10 moves into the game I may open myself up to this in variants as either color.  While this is noted for its quickness, what is more remarkable to me is that no pieces are exchanged.  Such mates, even 10-15 moves in, trouble me more, yet are also quite interesting.

    Let me add that chess is a game at which both men and women can excel.  Let us recognize and promote that.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #262

    kasirohan

    Has anyone played the fools mate?

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #263

    droidsupertank

    i have used it

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #264

    learninchess

    probally it's just a kind of attack/defence that some fool pushed to fast eg.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #265

    ChristianLewis

    you have to be lucky to see that in a game! i've had it done to me on a computer for my first computer game so i guess i was lucky! It was humiliating though!Embarassed

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #266

    Erik2

    Neat

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #267

    manuelclayford

    eccellCoolente

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #268

    EN-Ignigladius

    You must be playing a rated person around(-1200)

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #269

    manuelclayford

    this is nice only two movesSurprised

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #270

    meer1991

    i fell for it when i first started playing chess my sister told me it was the best oppening in the wirld- i was a foolto belive her

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #271

    KeaponLaffin

    I have never checkmated my opponent's king this way. And I'm not going to.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #272

    makmende

    i agree with the name fool's mate

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #273

    FM VPA

    If there was no fool, this fool's mate would have not existed!

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #274

    caballero50

    With respect to all, the fool is the one that give this mate, the person  provably destroy a potential chess players...

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #275

    mastership

    Bosco, how did you do a checkmate in only ONE MOVE?!!???!!!!!


    Sealed

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #276

    AnandBenegal

    WHY DO I NEVER GET SUCH STUPID OPPONENTS!      Laughing

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #277

    AnandBenegal

    WHY DO I NEVER GET SUCH STUPID OPPONENTS!      Laughing

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #278

    newplayer91

    I won by scholar's mate in a tournament once the look on my opponents face... priceless.

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #279

    Abstractthinker

    I made this boo-boo in a tornament once. That was a sad day.

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #280

    Carlo_Pawns

    Uhh 4 or 5 moves are the only legitamate chessmates that I've done. 3 moves is quite insane.

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