Fool's Mate

  • Last updated on 8/3/15, 3:22 PM.

  • Send to friend
  • | 2341 reads

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 · #1


    I see this just one time... lol!!!
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #2


    I have known this trap for years, but I find it strange that it should be called "Fool's Mate".  After all, only one line of attack to the "Fool's King" is made available; so, White is not being so foolish as to open up the entire mid-section!  By a quirk of the geometry of the chess board, there is a very quick refutation.  But, it is not such a foolish agenda.
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #3


    Yes that is the fastest way, only if you are playing a 7 year old child, a true fools mate is 4 moves or less.
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #4


    u could also do the same move by playing f4 , g4 instead of f3 , g4 but anyway its the same thing...... you get checkmated either way!
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #5


    I won my game in 4 move in National tmt!!!!!!!!
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #6


    How did you do that???    even i can't do it to my classmate???

  • 9 years ago · Quote · #7


    i used this two days ago, it work but i'm tryng to get better.Innocent
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #8


    white must have been a very inexpirience player to fall for that

  • 9 years ago · Quote · #9


    i pity the fool
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #10


    I pity the fool also, I thought it was impossible to win with less than 10 moves.

  • 9 years ago · Quote · #11


    the begginer need to take note !! don't do it in tournament !!

  • 9 years ago · Quote · #12


    Has anyone played this?
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #13


    that wouldnt work on my 7 year old

  • 9 years ago · Quote · #14


    How many people has this actually happened to? I'm just curious since, even with my minimal talents I never had it happen to me. Scholar's mate yes, when I was younger, but not fools mate!
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #15


  • 9 years ago · Quote · #16


    it would be interesting to see if anyone has the front to own up to having been caught out by fools mate. come on folks, spill the beans. i beat a bloke, (probably a child actually) in four moves thus;
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #17


    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
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #18


    If I tried that on dad, he would check mate me instantly.
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #19


    90 some % of the time u will not see that happen in any game u would play and I can"t even do that to a inexperince play how is just learning and I am not telling them anything period.they would have to be very dum.
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #20


    i can't believe that this could actually happen in a tournament!
Back to Top

Post your reply: