The Scholar’s mate is given with a Queen and a Bishop. It’s one of the fastest checkmate patterns in the game of Chess.
If you’re a beginner chess player, you’ve likely been a victim of the dreaded four-move checkmate pattern known as the Scholar’s mate. This was the first chess term and checkmate pattern seen in the Netflix series, The Queen Gambit.
This mate has most likely happened to you as a lower rated player, especially if you play on Chess.com. Most players below 700 or so play either the Fool’s Mate or the Scholar’s Mate. Both are incredibly quick checkmates and if you’re new, you simply haven’t learned what to do to prevent this mate. William Steele said when he started playing, over 90% of his opponents tried this mate, if it failed they would just continue trying to attack with the Queen.
Learning how to punish your opponent for bringing out their Queen early attempting early Queen attacks, even the Wayward Queen Attack, is important to learn so you can move past that phase, but that’s a different subject.
This is a game that took place in 1952 between Michael Meyer and Douglas Newcomb. White, played by Michael, successfully performs Scholar’s Mate. This mate happens with higher rated players as well, although rare.
This isn’t a perfect Scholar’s Mate. However the same principle applies with the mate given with the Queen and Bishop.
White simply dominates Black for a couple additional moves before giving mate. A common mistake that’s made in response to Qh5 is pushing the pawn to g6. Never do this. It’s a guaranteed loss. The Queen then just takes the e4 pawn putting the King in check, then taking the Rook in the corner. Checkmate is inevitable and even if it wasn’t half your pieces get gobbled up by the Queen.
This is an example of Scholar’s mate given by Black.
White makes the wrong move after Qh4. It would have still been bad for White, but this mate wouldn’t of occurred.
White playing Nf3 doesn’t defend anything. It attacks the Queen but so what? Black then delivers mate with Qf2#.
How To Defend Against Scholar’s Mate
So what do you do if your opponent tries this on you? The good thing is you immediately know if your opponent is going for this pattern. If they move their Queen to Qh4 or or their Bishop to Bc5, that’s a massive red flag for you and you should defend against this mate before doing anything else.
I hope this guide on the Scholar’s mate helped you. If you liked this post, you may also be interested in other checkmate patterns like Anastasia’s mate and the back rank mate.