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 · #141


    I used it on an online game, fun mate.

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #142


    great but 1f3 e5 2 e4 Qh4 works too.

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #143


    this is useful for deadmatch game who have be checkmate first he win .i play at school before just sacfire all finish the pawn,queen knight ,castle and king u will win the game.( this for fun game only no competition ) cause the game is reverse the original rule

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #144


    its impossible to win in 1 move unless your apponent resigns !

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #145


    I once won in 3/4 of a move.  I am the best.

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #146


    It would work also if the person moved the c pawn

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #147


    I have been playing chess casually with my dad and my bother since childhood... I had known of scholars mate but not fools mate. So one day I was playing with one of my chess club members, and he tried to pull of a scholars mate on me. I smiled in my thought and I was like, how dumb can this guy be? And I don't know what got into me, but instead of defending it with my knight I placed a pawn forward and got "Fools Mated" instead of "Scholars Mated" haha. yeah... that was embarassing. It was a preliminary to our local tournament game... and I was the chess president.

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #148


    nobody falls for that trick besides people who are new to chess

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #149


    That move wouldn't work when playing eith a real chess dude but it is a good trap.

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #150


    I actually mated someone like this in a correspondence game!

    He was actually trying, and was shocked when I mated him so quickly!

    It wasn't quite Fool's Mate, however, it went like this:








  • 8 years ago · Quote · #151


    I pulled this in a district tournament when I was 6. It was the first year my school entered the touranment, and seeing as how I won in 2 moves, I was the first victory.

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #152


    i have never actually seen that done before. white would have to be pretty stupid.

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #153


    this is the first time i've  seen this ... and it really is a legit chkmate

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #154


    i really suck at this game, ive never beat anyone or anything except computer chess on level one with redos. this is probably my only chance to win a game, that is, if i can get someone to get in that position

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #155


    No Foolmate now. It can be doged

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #156


    I should try that!

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #157


    The first diagram, I lost against  the computer late one night trying new starts

    The second I learned of in high school, watching from the side lines.

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #158


    That happened to me not so long ago.Frown

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #159


    i heard fools mate but i see this now thank u

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #160


    TonyGas, there is something wrong with that diagram - where is the black pawn from f6?

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