Fool's mate. White is checkmated.For the Peter Hammill album of the same name, see Fool's Mate (album)
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
1. f3 e5
2. g4 Qh4#
There are eight slight variations on the pattern — White might play f4 instead of f3 or move the g-pawn before the f-pawn, and Black may play e6 instead of 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 trap once occured in a game between Gioachino Greco and an anonymous opponent.
1. e4 b6
2. d4 Bb7
3. Bd3 f5?
4. exf5 Bxg2
5. Qh5+ g6
6. fxg6 Nf6??
Now 6. ... Bg7! would have allowed the game to go on, as the move opens up a flight square for the king at f8. Black's greediness has gotten the better of him.
7. gxh7+ Nxh5
8. Bg6# (1-0)
Gioachino Greco – Anon.
Final position.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 queen mate 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).