Top 5 Fastest Checkmates In Chess

Chess Guides / By Andrew Hercules

I’m sure there have been several instances when you have been defeated within a matter of minutes and wondered, “What the heck just happened here?” Well, your opponent fooled you! They may have used a technique known as the “fool’s mate”, which allows the opponent to trap your king within 2 moves, the fastest checkmate!

The best way to prevent such checkmates is by understanding the different quick game strategies that are popularly employed to ensnare novices.

Here are 5 of the fastest checkmate patterns that are quite common that you can use to either win your games quickly or to thwart your opponent’s quick checkmating dreams.

Learn How to Checkmate

Fool’s mate – The Fastest Checkmate

This is the oldest and most popular quick game strategy that is employed regularly. The fool’s mate allows you to finish the game within 2 moves! Even before your opponent realizes it, you would have finished the game!

1.g4 e5

The game starts with the white pawn (Opponent) moving his pawn from g2 to g4. When this happens, you must over your own pawn from e7 to e5. This will allow you to capture one of the center squares and will make your first move.

fool's mare first move

2.f3 Qh4# 0-1

Next, your opponent will move his pawn from f2 to f3. This will open up the diagonal that leads to the king. Your next move is to move the queen to h4 and the game is over. You will successfully trap your opponent that way.

fool's mate fastest checkmate

Here, you must understand that your opponent must be foolish enough to fall for your trick. If you are caught then this trick will not work. The basic idea is to trap your opponent by capitalizing on their strategy of not leaving space for the king to escape.

Smothered Checkmate (king’s pawn)

This is a trick where the opponent’s king is taken down in 4 moves. This also capitalizes on the opponent’s king’s inability to escape.

1.e4 e5

The game starts with white (opponent) moving her pawn from e2 to e4. Black then advances her own pawn from e7 to e5.

2.Ne2 Nc6

In the next move, white moves her king’s side knight from g1 to e2. In response to

this, black moves her queen’s side knight from b8 to c6.

3.Nc3 Nd4

In the third move, white moves the queen’s side knight from b1 to c3. Now, black traps the king by moving the active knight from c6 to d4.

4.g3 Nf3# 0-1

As a last move, the opponent will choose to move the g2 pawn to g3 as a simple game development. This will mean the end of the game as you can move your knight from d4 to f3 and it will capture the king for you.

Scholars mate – The 4 Move Checkmate

The next game is known as the scholar’s mate or the four-move checkmate. This move also makes use of just 4 moves to defeat the opponent.

1.e4 e5

The first move should be the white king’s pawn moving from e2 to e4. Black will do the same and move the king’s pawn from e7 to e5.

2.Bc4 Bc5

In the next move, white’s king side bishop moves from f1 to c4 and black’s kingside bishop moves f8 to c5.

3.Qh5 Nf6

As a third move, white’s queen moves from d1 to h5. Black then moves the king’s knight to from g8 to f6.

4.Qxf7# 1-0

This proves to be a great lure laid out by white as black tries to attack the queen and pawn. White’s queen then captures black’s f7 pawn and it is now checkmate.

Hippopotamus mate

The hippopotamus mate is one where you can end the game in 6 moves.

1.e4 e5

The game starts with white moving the king’s pawn from e2 to e4 and black moving his king’s pawn to e5.

2.Ne2 Qh4

Then, white moves her king’s side knight to e2 and black brings his queen to h4.

3.Nc3 Nc6

Next, white decides to bring her queen’s side knight to c3. Black does the same and brings his knight from b8 to c6.

4.g3 Qg5

Next, white moves the g2 pawn to g3 and black moves the queen from h4 to g5. As you can see, nobody has taken out any pieces as yet.


Now, white moves her pawn from d2 to d4.


Black then uses his knight to capture the pawn, attacking from c6 to d4. This is a great sacrificial trap laid by black as it makes white believe that a great opportunity lies ahead.


White now then goes for the bait and attacks with her bishop to capture the black queen on g5.

6…Nf3# 0-1

This helps black move the knight to f3. Now the white king cannot escape and it is a checkmate.

Legal’s mate

The legal’s mate is one where you can finish the game in 7 moves.

1.e4 e5

The game starts by white moving king’s pawn to e4. Black moves his e7 pawn to e5.

2. Bc4 d6

In the next move, white’s king side bishop moves to c4. Black then moves his pawn to d6.

3.Nf3 Bg4

Next, white moves his king’s side knight to f3. Black moves his bishop from c8 to g4.

4.Nc3 g6

White then moves his queen’s side knight to c3. Black moves his pawn from g7 to g6.

5.Nxe5 Bxd1

Now, white quickly moves king’s knight to e5 (This is the big trap set by white). Black then uses his bishop to capture white’s queen.


Now, white moves his bishop to f7 and puts the black king in check.


This forces black to move his king to e7.

7.Nd5# 1-0

Now white moves the knight on c3 to d5 and it’s checkmate!

Conclusion to the fastest ways to checkmate 

These are some of the top strategies that you can employ to finish a chess game fast but remember that your opponent needs to play just as you wish them to. If they have identified the trick you are trying to play on them, it may be disadvantageous to you so be prepared to have a plan B!

Understand these trickeries so you may appear to be a chess master in the eyes of novices, and also so that you do not fall into traps laid out by superior competitors. As you observed in the last two instances, ingenious traps were laid out by sacrificing the queen, so if you ever see a queen lying around for free, think twice prior to making your move, for it may be your last.

Andrew Hercules

Hercules Chess, launched in 2020, is a website that teaches you about chess. We started as a chess blog and became a chess training platform in early 2022.

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