In this post, you’ll discover how to quickly checkmate your opponent with the five fastest checkmates, and learn the two fundamental principles that will help you not become a victim of one of them.
This article uses algebraic notation to describe chess moves. For more information, see our step-by-step guide on how to read Chess Notation.
A lot of beginners get checkmated very fast, mostly within the first 10 moves. It can be frustrating and disappointing to see such things happen.
But there are two fundamental principles you can follow that will put an end to such disasters. I’ll be sharing them in this article.
At the same time, I’ll also show you some of the fastest checkmates, why they happen and how not to be a victim of one!
Scholar’s Mate (Queen’s Gambit Edition)
Bird Opening’s Fool Mate
1) The Fool’s Mate
This is officially the shortest checkmate in chess. It happens in only 2 moves from the starting position. As per conventional chess wisdom, only a fool would fall for such a mate. That’s where the name comes from.
This is one of the worst ways to start a game of chess. As a rule, you should never expose the weak e1-h4 diagonal very early in the game. This mate shows exactly why you shouldn’t do it.
Instead, it’s better to play 1.e4, 1.d4, 1.Nf3, or 1.c4 which leads to standard openings.
Black responds smartly opening the diagonal for his queen.
A horrible blunder. This makes it impossible to defend any checks on the weakened diagonal.
Better is to play 2.e4 and open the position of the Bf1. In the opening, it’s always important to prioritize piece development.
A beautiful mate! The e1-h4 diagonal is so weak that none of White’s pieces can jump in, despite surrounding the Black king. For more information, see our guide on the Fool’s Mate.
2) Scholar’s Mate
This mate has 2 variations — One which they show in Queen’s Gambit, and the other which is a more direct approach. Beginners often fall into both the checkmates.
But don’t worry, here I will show you how to refute both of them.
1.e4 e5 2.Qh5
White is aggressive right from the word go!
Black defends solidly.
White threatens a sneaky mate. Can you spot it?
Black fails to notice it.
Instead of 3…Nf6, they could’ve defended the mate after 3…g6! cutting off the Queen from attacking the f7-square.
White can play 4.Qf3, renewing the threat of mate, but it’s met with 4…Nf6 now!
Once again, the key is to block the queen from attacking f7-square, which is the weakest spot for Black in the opening.