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#


  • 9 years ago · Quote · #21


    oh my! i too wondeer if this ever happened in a tounament? if yes, white must be really inexperienced and ashamed. lol
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #22


    wow and i thought i was good its an old trick but its an effective but a real fools mate is done in 4 moves or less
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #23


  • 9 years ago · Quote · #24


    it is easy for new players only and some of happiness :)


  • 9 years ago · Quote · #25


  • 9 years ago · Quote · #26


    I think the first winner of the Fool's mate is that the inventor of the Fool's mate. It was probaly that he won it to his opponent or he invented it as a chess puzzle.

  • 9 years ago · Quote · #27


    only if i knew what that was....sorry new to this..just become my freind foe me and teach me or play me please
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #28


    It´s so hard to get it
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #29


    I hate to say it, but I've fallen for that a few times (in my early days of course).  Now I'm praying that someone slips up so I can try it for a change.  Laughing
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #30


    A couple of years ago my kid went to a school district tournament (not USCF).  I was shocked to see some of the younger kids were using this--and successfully.  The good news is that at least they were using a plan, and they understood it.  The bad news is that the queen brought out too early went unpunished!

  • 9 years ago · Quote · #31


    If i recall correctly, I may have fallen for that two or three times (it took me that long to learn not to play that particular sequence. I have also fallen for the 'four move fool's mate'. I've learned since then.

  • 9 years ago · Quote · #32


    Fool's mate is always can be prevented unless you oppenant is not so good in chess.
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #33


    The better fool's mate should be...



  • 9 years ago · Quote · #34


    Does anyone Know the four move fools mate im just interested as im new to chess
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #35


    that's sweet!
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #36


    I've heard of fools mate, but I've never actually seen it happen.  It's such an unusual opening that I wonder if I ever will.  I have seen the 4 move checkmate a few times... albeit against inexperienced players. It's funny when your opponet sits down for what everyone expects to be a long game of chess, only to lose the game in less than 2 minutes.
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #37


  • 9 years ago · Quote · #38


    If an inexperienced player you are facing opens with 1. f4, proceed with 1...e5 and see if they might back their pawn up with 2. g3!
    If they do 2...exf4 3. gxf4 Qh4# mates :)
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #39


    thanks for telling me!
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #40


    no one will do this,what if they didn't move the move u want them to,u will lose a move
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