The fastest checkmate that I have played is a 4 move checkmate. You need to develop these skills in chess for you to feel confident in playing. That's what I felt when I learned some of the fastest checkmates in chess, and I can easily recognize a play that can end up with a checkmate quickly.
Even if the checkmates are possibly fast – you should still have to analyze your opponent's game and never rely on quick wins all the time.
Also, recommend using chess tutorial software to help improve your checkmate pattern recognition.
In this article, I will share my 12 favorites “fast checkmates” and will also look at top websites that have lists of the fastest checkmates in chess.
Here is the list of fastest checkmates:
|Name||Number of moves for Black to win||Number of moves for White to win||Possibility of checkmate to occur|
|Fool's mate||2 moves||3 moves||Unlikely to happen with trained chess players, even beginners will not open their king side recklessly.|
|Bongcloud mate||3 moves||3 moves||The possibility of this checkmate to happen is very very unlikely, but it's one of the fastest possible checkmates out there.|
|(Fool's mate) King's pawn opening||Not applicable||4 moves||The possibility of this fool's mate is very unlikely, but was surprised that this actually happened in a real game.|
|(Fool's mate) Bird's opening||4 moves||Not applicable||This is unlikely to happen but just like the fool's mate for king's opening taking the Queen is very tempting.|
|Scholar's mate||4 moves||4 moves||The possibility of executing this quick checkmate is very likely, especially because this move is a fast paced move.|
|(Unknown) Queen's gambit fork mate||5 moves||6 moves||This checkmate is likely to happen only if the Queen takes the pawn during the gambit.|
|Hippopotamus mate||6 moves||6 moves||There is a possibility that this checkmate can occur because of the Queen sacrifice. It will be very tempting to capture the Queen without knowing this checkmate.|
|Legal's mate||7 moves||7 moves||This is an excellent checkmate that I have done and successfully won. The possibility of performing this checkmate is very likely to happen.|
|Italian game smothered mate||7 moves||Not applicable||This checkmate may occur but will be a lot trickier than the other fast checkmates. The queen's position is a critical part of this checkmate.|
|Vienna game smothered mate||Not applicable||7 moves||The possibility of this checkmate to occur is very likely. The knight's moving forward the center is a tricky situation and can lead to checkmate.|
|(Unknown) Englund gambit mate||8 moves||Not applicable||The possibility of winning via checkmate with this moves is very unlikely, but you can cause a lot of damage to your opponent's queen side.|
|(Unknown) Bird's opening mate||Not applicable||9 moves||This is very unlikely to end up in a final checkmate, because there are other moves that can continue into a much longer chess game.|
The fool's mate is the fastest checkmate move in chess, and if you want a quick win with only 2 moves minimum, this might interest you. The opening used in the original fool's mate is the Barnes opening. I do think that the only way to execute this is if your opponent doesn't know this type of checkmate even exists.
With the fool's mate the king is trapped and has nowhere else to go or no chess piece to block the check because the diagonal line is the only path to move through (see below moves).
Barnes Opening Fool's mate for Black
Fool's mate pattern for White
If you find your opponent playing the Barnes opening and potential fool's mate play, you need to take advantage of it quickly.
Here's a game that happened in 1983 between Lance Darling vs Richard Wood
The bongcloud opening is commonly related to a fun and humorous chess opening because of the unexpected move of the King at the very beginning of the game – disregarding the King's castling strategy (see moves below). However, I've seen grandmasters play the bongcloud and have success playing it for reasons it can confuse and baffle your opponent.
The best time to play this opening is in blitz chess, as GM Hikaru Nakamura successfully played the bongcloud in the blitz game.
Bongcloud mate for Black
Bongcloud mate for White
According to some researchers, the bongcloud was coined after Lenny Bongcloud, a chess.com player, which I can't confirm its accuracy since I can't seem to relate the user's joining date to the appearance of the bongcloud opening.
Here's a game that happened with controversy in 1893 between Lindemann vs Echtermeyer
(Fool's mate) King's pawn opening
If you liked the first fool's mate, then you are in luck because you are going to find two other fool's mates that you can study or play around with below. The other fool's mate is for the king's pawn opening, but it only works for white. What I like about this fool's mate is that if your opponent decides to capture the Queen, then the checkmate will be completed by the minor chess piece (see moves below).
(Fool's mate) King's pawn opening for White
This sudden checkmate ended because of a simple mistake, not realizing the King doesn't have anywhere else to go or has nothing to block the check.
Here's a game that happened during Dutch Open 1990 between Hans Klip vs Tom Bottema
(Fool's mate) Bird's opening
This bird's opening fool's mate pattern is for black; just like the king's pawn opening, the final checkmate is performed by a minor chess piece (bishop). All you need to assure is your opponent captured the Queen and did not anticipate the impending checkmate for the White King.
(Fool's mate) Bird's opening for Black
Although it seems like white is winning the game with a material advantage – the black has other plan in mind. In this two other examples of fool's mate checkmate pattern, bishop is considered very useful with its long range attacks.
Also read an excellent article about which is better knight or bishop .
Here's a game that happened in 1990 between Van Kessel vs Rensen
The scholar's mate can baffle your opponent or you as well – I have proven that many times whenever I play with younger chess players or beginner chess players. This is the first quick checkmate they would normally learn. We can't blame them because, as I said, the scholar's mate can baffle your opponent and makes unwanted mistakes that can lead to an easy win.
Scholar's mate for Black
Scholar's mate for White
The player who commits a mistake loses the chess game, which is valid with the scholar’s mate. The f-pawn in the king side is constantly under threat, especially with long-range attacking chess pieces like the queen and bishop.
Here's a game that happened in 1972 between Jesus Amillano vs Arturo Loeffler
(Unknown) Queen's gambit fork mate
Here is an unknown name of a fast checkmate. I’ve tried looking for the correct name of this checkmate but was not successful. This queen’s gambit opening with a blunder can happen in a real game since a move to gain a material advantage is necessary to win. When the queen takes the pawn, it has no idea that a checkmate trap is already prepared.
Queen's gambit fork mate for Black
Queen's gambit fork mate for White
The pawn in the queen's gambit fork mate may very well be referred to as a poisoned pawn. It's because the game was lost when the pawn was captured (see moves above ).
I have seen this type of mate, and I believe it is referred to as smothered mate – which I have other favorite smothered mate examples below. The hippopotamus mate uses the queen sacrifice to execute an excellent checkmate trap, and I like this type of risky attempt. Still, you are at a considerable material disadvantage when your opponent does not fall for this trap. It won't be easy to recover once your attempt to end the game quickly is unsuccessful.
Hippopotamus mate for Black
Hippopotamus mate for White
You have to be very careful when using the hippopotamus mate only because of the material disadvantage. Still, if your opponent is not familiar with this checkmate, then the game is a quick and easy win.
The legal's mate is also called the blackburne trap, which utilizes the queen sacrifice and finishes off with a forced checkmate. I have executed the legal's mate two or three times in an online game, and I recommend this checkmate trap rather than the hippopotamus mate above because there is no risk of material disadvantage (see moves below).
Legal's mate for Black
Legal's mate for White
When playing this checkmate trap, you have to be confident and serious in playing the legal's mate. Once you can play and win with this checkmate, you are sure to want to play another game.
Italian game smothered mate
Like the hippopotamus mate, the knight is the chess piece that will give the final blow employing a smothered mate. I mentioned that I like smothered mates, and I have two below; the best part of smothered mates, especially these two examples, is the knight checkmate ( see moves below ).
Italian game smothered mate for Black
If you are a fan of Italian opening, you should familiarize yourself with these checkmate traps like this and the next one. You need to take advantage of every opportunity when you are trying to play the smothered mate with the Italian opening.
You may also be interested in learning about other chess openings.
Vienna game smothered mate
The Vienna opening fits well both for an aggressive and non-aggressive chess player, and if you are white, you can either move the bishop or knight first to set up the Vienna opening. This smothered mate example is precisely the same as the Italian game smothered mate above. I like this type of checkmate only because the knight is unstoppable.
Vienna game smothered mate for White
Learning the tactics and strategies in performing a smothered mate, you can avoid or used it against your opponent. Smothered mate by knight is unstoppable since a check from knight cannot be blocked.
(Unknown) Englund gambit mate
I will be finishing off with two unknown fast checkmates that I found interesting. The Englund Gambit mate is an interesting one because the missed opportunity is undeniable; this checkmate will give you a material advantage even if the trap or quick checkmate is not executed correctly.
Englund gambit mate for Black
If your opponent takes with a knight, then the next move is to capture the rook; after your opponent blocks the check with its queen, then you have the option to take the queen to prevent the king from castling or take the knight to gain a considerable advantage.
(Unknown) Bird's opening mate
This is the closest same pattern to the Englund gambit mate above that I can replicate. The principle of the Bird's opening mate is the same: your queen can penetrate the queenside for quick destruction and win with a checkmate. Or even win materials easily because of the queen's attack.
Bird's opening mate for White
This unknown bird's opening mate considered a fast checkmate should also be part of your strategy; there is a tendency for your opponent to bounce back and win the game if you don't capitalize on their mistake and finish the game quickly.
I've only shared 12 of my favourite fastest checkmates, which interests me, but I will be updating this with other fast checkmates. You can bookmark this blog post and add it as your resource so you can refer to it easily whenever you want.
I always wanted to have a list of quick checkmates to refer to whenever I wanted to play a game online. I find it very useful, and it gives me the confidence to play chess online.
What I like about the quick checkmates resource is that I can see a checkmate pattern that I may or may not encounter in a real game, which is very helpful. If you found other fast checkmates unique to the above list, then comment below and use it to create the ultimate resource for the fastest checkmates in chess.
Speaking of resource don't forget to check out Chessdelights chess resources here. You can test your knowledge too, by playing chess games online or go directly to this site and register.
Gary FloresGary is a chess enthusiast and has three children who also enjoy learning the game. He is a co-author of the "Chess Fundamentals" book's ChessDelights Edition. He founded ChessDelights.com in order to brush up on his understanding of this tactic and strategy game. He also enjoys encouraging those who are learning, re-learning, or instructing their children in the game of chess.
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