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 · #241


    is checkmate for queen or King????????????????????????????

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #242



  • 7 years ago · Quote · #243


    this is a good opening for black anyway, and even if white does not fall into the trap of fools mate, he is in a good position

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #244


    White's opening is not very well thought out.
  • 7 years ago · Quote · #245


    Lol. Who would fall for that?

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #246


    pie pie pie puie pie pie pie pie pie pie pie pie pie pie pie pie pie pie pie IS GOOD 

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #247


    no not fool, but fallible!  to be a fool you would have to perform foolishly in all and everything you did. unlikely!  let us be hopeful that after performing a foolish behaviour  the person would learn from this mistake!

    we are all fallible, remember this.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #248



  • 7 years ago · Quote · #249


    if white does that it is very funnyCool

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #250


    i didnt realise "2 move" was posible, i was playing online and this happened twice in a few days (me being white). first time i got it almost by accident trying to set myself up for "4 move".

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #251


    The first two moves by the opponent cant come to anybody's mind. This is rare

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #252


    The first time I've lost a chess game was with this moves!!! Cry

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #253


    this really is a fool's mate...

    white has to open up the entire kingside, lose control of the center, not develop any pieces, and invite a loss

    but i'm sure it'd work on inexperienced players

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #254


    I won 1 move game!!!! .....p.s. i won on time:))))  


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #255


    Couldn't they see this?

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #256


    i did that before!

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #257


    White must be willing to die for this to work

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #258


    lol, this once happened to me about 3 years ago against my friend when I was relatively noob Laughing

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #259


    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.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #260


    Has anyone played the fools mate?

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