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Fool's mate

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Fool's Mate - White is checkmated.
Animation demonstrating Fool's Mate

In chess, Fool's Mate, also known as the "Two-Move Checkmate", is the checkmate in the fewest possible number of moves from the start of the game. A prime example consists of the moves:

1. f3 e5
2. g4?? Qh4#

resulting in the position shown. (The pattern can have slight variations: White might play 1.f4 instead of 1.f3 or move the g-pawn first, and Black might play 1...e6 instead of 1...e5.)

Details

Fool's Mate received its name because it can only occur if White plays extraordinarily weakly (i.e. foolishly). Even among rank beginners, the mate almost never occurs in practice.

Teed vs. Delmar, 1896
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After 6...Rh6? White mates in two moves.

The same basic mating pattern can also occur later in the game. For instance, a well-known trap in the Dutch Defence occurred in the game Frank Melville Teed vs. Eugene Delmar, 1896:

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#, a basic Fool's Mate.
5... h5 6. Bd3?!
6.Be2 is probably better, but the move played sets a trap.
6... Rh6??
Defending against Bg6#, but ...
7. Qxh5+!
White sacrifices his queen to draw the black rook away from its control of g6.
7... Rxh5 8. Bg6#

A similar mate can occur in From's Gambit: 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, in 1. e4 g5 2. d4 f6?? 3. Qh5#, the basic Fool's Mate pattern is the same: a player advances his f- and g-pawns, which permit the enemy queen to mate along the unblocked diagonal. One such Fool's Mate is widely reported to have occurred in a possibly apocryphal 1959 game between Masefield and Trinka which lasted just three moves: 1. e4 g5 2. Nc3 f5?? 3. Qh5#

Even more generally, the term Fool's Mate is used in chess variants to mean the shortest possible mate, especially those which bear a resemblance to the orthodox chess Fool's Mate. For example, Fool's Mate in the variant Progressive chess is: 1. e4 2. f6 g5?? 3. Qh5#

Greco vs. NN
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Final position after 8.Bg6#

Similar traps

A similar trap occurred in a game published by Gioachino Greco in 1625:

1. e4 b6 2. d4 Bb7 3. Bd3 f5? 4. exf5 Bxg2? 5. Qh5+ g6 6. fxg6 Nf6??
6...Bg7 would have prolonged the game, as the move opens a flight square for the king at f8. White still wins with 7.Qf5! Nf6 8.Bh6 Bxh6 9.gxh7 Bxh1 10.Qg6+ Kf8 11.Qxh6+ Kf7 12.Nh3, but much slower than in the game.
7. gxh7+! Nxh5 8. Bg6#

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