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Fool's Mate

  • Last updated on 1/23/15, 9:35 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 · #41


    i did it the other day playing against the best player in my school!! it was so funny... he couldn't believe he forgot that move... i have myself tried to get caught out.. never happened
  • 7 years ago · Quote · #42


    No offense, but, who's that stupid to leave a big opening like that?
  • 7 years ago · Quote · #43


    with kings gambit you can find the kingside pretty weak if they don't move the king's knight out early.  It's pretty much the same idea if they don't move the knight; just get your queen in there and wreak havoc.
  • 7 years ago · Quote · #44


    TonyGas: "i remember a few years ago, getting my butt kicked by a woman no less" ... Did you really just say that?!
  • 7 years ago · Quote · #45


    My friend did it in a state tournament years ago. At least he said he did...
  • 7 years ago · Quote · #46


    Here is another layout i find foolish:


























    although this is a trap rather than foolishness 


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #47


    I pitty the fools who fall for that

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #48


    nice trap lupu 1001
  • 7 years ago · Quote · #49


    I heard BongCloud mated a guy in only 2 moves with his king.
  • 7 years ago · Quote · #50


    whoever falls for a fools mate ought to be very ashamed of themselves! lol
  • 7 years ago · Quote · #51


    ......i have never know anyone who fell for that..Yell

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #52


    I TRIED to make my opponnent  see this,they just tried to do something elseTongue out
  • 7 years ago · Quote · #53


    This trap is a classic. Works on most 1260 or below, however, it was successful on a 1440 on one occasion.
  • 7 years ago · Quote · #54


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #55


    that would never happen in a game


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #56


    It doesn't work in all honesty I mean I can't just see a chess player falling for that. Though I have used Scholars mate a few times before.

     Also that one mate Lupu1001 is  really good.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #57


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #58


    Who would be foolish enough to move their pawns in that fashion on their first two moves?!!  It's an awesome diagram.  Now I get to teach my chess students the 2 move chess and watch them be in awe.
  • 7 years ago · Quote · #59


    thats a stupid checkmate because what are the chances of your opponent doing those 2 moves
  • 7 years ago · Quote · #60


    I'd laugh so hard if a grandmaster fell for that.
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