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#


  • 8 years ago · Quote · #181


    Wow, I never knew u can do a mate in 2 moves!!!!!!!!!!!!????????Surprised

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #182


    I've been caught 2 times by this trick... Not this year thoughSmile

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #183


    I kid you not.


  • 8 years ago · Quote · #184


    I got fool's mated once, but only cause my Asperger's played a role >_>


  • 8 years ago · Quote · #185


    *not two moves, mind you

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #186


    I have known this move for years and it dosen't take 2 moves it takes 3 moves.

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #187


    My friend would checkmate me if I tryed to do that. Smile

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #188


    who would do that?

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #189


    TonyGas - the trap you're referring to with the fancy queen sacrifice is called Legal's Trap and goes like this:

    1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bc4 Nc6 4. Nc3 Bg4 5. h3 Bh5 6. Nxe5 Bxd1 7. Bxf7+ Ke7 8. Nd5#
    see link here:
    I find this one particularly nice because while all opening traps require your opponent to make mistakes in order to even work, this one mostly follows decent opening principals and doesn't leave you in a losing position if you are playing against someone who doesn't fall for it.  Note that if the queen is taken the win is imminent, but if the "free" queen is declined you can still keep things even.
    I'm sure we all love punishing the players who bring the queen and bishop out early and are then stuck with their pieces scattered all over the place like sitting ducks when it doesn't work...Laughing
  • 8 years ago · Quote · #190


    I've once won a game without any piece being moved

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #191


    never seen it happen in a real game but I've known about it...

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #192


    fools gold, golden lesson in chess and humility

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #193


    it happened to me today

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #194


    dude i got mated in 5 moves, its on my profile if you want to see it....

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #195


    To bad White won't be so dumb to all for it!! I never saw it in a game before? I there a game like this before?

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #196


    the only way that could happen is if their trying to loose but then again, they might as well resign on the second move or not play u at all

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #197


    Cool, wont get me with it though.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #198


    i think it is called fools mate because the opponent can see it easily and chess is supposed to be itneresting

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #199


    There is a two move checkmate for black you know!

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #200



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