It was thought for a long time that ‘Fools Mate’ was the quickest chess game ever played but this is not so. A quicker mate, indeed the quickest possible checkmate, is by the player of the black pieces and it occurs on only black’s second move. Fool’s Mate takes 4 white moves for the win but this checkmate is quicker by half. The game begins in a normal fashion with white playing the gambit natural pawn to king's bishop 4 move and black then follows suit by moving his/her pawn to the king 3 or king 4 square. What follows thereafter is a blunder by white which allows the black queen to deliver the fatal checkmate but first we must look at ‘Fool’s Mate’ which is a quick win by white in only 4 moves.

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Fools Mate

Fools mate at the chessboard

The wrong end of Fool’s Mate is usually experienced by a new chess player playing the black pieces. He/she will not be aware of the need to protect the vulnerable KB2 square and pawn where the checkmate occurs. The 'Fool’s Mate' game of 4 moves goes as follows: -

1 p-K4 1 p-K4

2 B-B4 2 p-Q3

3 Q-B3 3 N-QB3

4 Q x p (checkmate)

Algebraic Notation Fool’s Mate

The moves shown above are given in the old notation but the more common algebraic notation of this game would be:-

1 e4 1 e5

2 Bc4 2 d6

3 Qb3 3 Nc6

4 Qf7 (checkmate)

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Quickest chess game final position

Quickest chess game that it is possible to play

1 p-KB4 1 p-K3

2 p-KN4 2 Q-KR5 (checkmate)

Algebraic version of the this chess game

1 f4 1 e6

2 g4 2 Qh4 (checkmate)

A variation of Fool’s Mate can involve the Queen being played to Rook 5 on move 3 but the result will be the same once the player playing the black pieces neglects to defend the King’ Bishop pawn. The mate can be foiled and every beginner soon learns how not to be caught out by the sequence of moves.

Chess Game Help Mate

There are no real variations to the quicker 2 move game and it is sometimes dubbed a ‘Help Mate’ whereby the player of the white pieces assists the opponent playing the black pieces to win the game. The two moves played by white ensure that the Kingside pawns are moved out of the way to facilitate the checkmate by the black Queen. The Kingside and particularly the King Bishop and Knight are not developed at all and lead to the king's demise. They are just silly moves contrived to help black win. Top chess players would never be caught out like this.

Quickest chess game possible

I have seen ‘Fool’s Mate’ variations played in chess clubs on numerous occasions but never have I witnessed the quickest game on record being played by real individuals (except for demonstration purposes). That said, it is still the shortest and quickest chess game that it is possible to play to a checkmate conclusion.