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8 a8 rd b8 nd c8 bd d8 e8 kd f8 bd g8 nd h8 rd 8
7 a7 pd b7 pd c7 pd d7 pd e7 f7 pd g7 pd h7 pd 7
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5 a5 b5 c5 d5 e5 pd f5 g5 h5 5
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2 a2 pl b2 pl c2 pl d2 pl e2 pl f2 g2 h2 pl 2
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Fool's mate. White is checkmated.

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#

leading to the position shown. 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?! 4(6.Be2 is probably better, but this move sets a trap) 6...Rh6? (defending against Bg6#, but...) 7.Qxh5+! Rxh5 8.Bg6#.

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 g and h-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).[1][2][3][4]

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 2.f6 g5 3.Qh5#.

See also[]


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