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 · #121


    this is 4 move checkmate lol, not 2 move, but i guess some people call things other ways. heaps of people know how to do it, only works with people with ratings below 300 or something

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #122


    It is very unlikely on the part of white to move these two soldiers...However, good point!

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #123


    Only someone very bad would do that

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #124


    tha happened to me oce(ok twice) when i started playing chess last yearFrown

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #125


      Tony, is this (or a variant) the opening you were referring to?  It's one of my favorite easy-wins, though it doesn't come up often at all. 

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #126


    As incredible as it may seem, this type of mate, and recurrent. 
    Last week applied in a departure via the Internet.

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #127


    wow  two moves cool

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #128


    I think of my college days while looking this article when I was always expecting blunder from my oponent and try to win by fools mate.

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #129


    I guess that's why they call it fool's mate! lol

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #130


    i played it once at a school trnm. i didnt know the moves prior. my opponent was VERY stong and all my friends told me that i'm gonna move back to the last row after this game. when i beat him with this, he left the trnm and didn't even come back the next year.

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #131


    if f2 pawn not present then Qh4+ followed by g3. Be7. gxh4. and bang Bh4#

    this works for when playing against novices (in pak there r lots of them)

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #132


    a very simple mate u got there

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #133


    who ever falls for that????Tongue out

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #134



    it appears i made a pigs ear of that diagram lol but one gets my drift. while ive got your attention, i remember a few years ago, getting my butt kicked by a woman no less, in a really clever sequence. it involves no more than ten moves and a sacrificed queen. could anybody show me how this is done please so i can get my rating up at the expence and embarrassment of younger inexperienced players. (only joking). i forget how to do it and i thought it was brilliant. thanks

     Are you talking about Legal's Mate?

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #135


    wow! you can do a checkmate so quickly. But players will notice what you do. I don't think much people will fall into that.

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #136


    I have heard of a one move checkmate. It's just a move that makes your opponent resign.

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #137


    who is so dumb as to get checkmated like that?

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #138


    White  should  have  started  with  the  center.

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #139


    ive won on it before hey you no in the first 8 moves you can only really get checkmate on the number 2,4,6,8

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #140


    you know the thing i like about these kinds of checkmates, they didn' even have to captured any pieces

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