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The Scholar's Mate

Aug 12, 2012, 5:35 PM 2

The scholar's mate is one of the first few mates any beginning chess-player learns as a combination threat, wherein the queen and bishop work together to mate on the kingside bishop pawn. Traditionally white is the one that accomplishes this mate - specifically because the original mate occurs in four moves - but I feel that either color can accomplish this mate. What matters to me is the pattern, not the number of moves! The essence of the Scholar's Mate is that of a Queen capturing the kingside bishop pawn, and being able to checkmate because of its supporting bishop. I find that I get duped by this mate a lot more easily if the player using it first appears to be defending with his/her queen, rather than moving it directly into view. Bishops often attack the kingside bishop pawn along the long diagonal, so it is easy to hide that one's intent, but the queen is far too powerful to mask. For this reason, scholar's mates are often discarded as options - but add a knight in there for some backup and all of a sudden it might be that the kingside rook is in danger instead! I hate bringing my queen out early, so I rarely even attempt to threaten this mate, but for overly aggressive match partners it might just be the thing to do to make them move more cautiously :) Here is the original:

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