You've learned some strategy now let's talk about the mates. Everyone hears about Fools Mate and Scholar's Mate when they start off playing chess. People will say to you that they know this great way to win a game of chess in two moves or in four moves.
Well it's true, it's perfectly possible. You can win or lose a chess game in two moves or in four moves. It must be said that in order to lose like this you must play some very weak moves. These ploys are easy to defend against and to prevent.
I'm going to show you the two move game, Fools Mate and the four move game, Scholar's Mate. After today you should never be beaten this way.
The diagram shows you the tragic demise of White after two disastrous moves. Yes the game is over already and this sequence of moves has been dubbed Fool's Mate because only a fool would play the moves White has played. The move order is 1.f3 e5 2.g4 Qh4#. There is no good reason for White to play these moves.
A weak excuse can be made for 1.f3 in that it potentially supports it's neighboring pawn when it is theoretically played to d4 at a later stage. It doesn't aid development of the back row pieces. Indeed it actually takes away a great square, f3, from the kingside knight. And the center can be just as easily supported by numerous other means.
2.g4 if anything makes 1.f3 seem reasonable and that says it all. It does not achieve anything remotely useful. All it does is seal the king's fate by allowing the black queen to swoop for a completely unearned checkmate on h4. Now you know, don't let it happen to you.
Scholar's Mate also known as the four move checkmate takes place by White mating the Black king in four moves. It is quite simplistic and easily defended. However if the player with the Black pieces doesn't know what he's doing then he is vulnerable to this basic plan.
Black's three moves in this sequence are not restricted to any rigid order. As far as White is concerned as long as Black does not play certain sound defensive moves, then White's four moves will work.
So Black does not have to play quite as dumb as White did for the two move checkmate. He just has to be not smart or even reasonably sensible. The move order is 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 d6 3.Qf3 Nc6 4.Qf7#. You can see both of these mates analyzed in detail.
I hope you are now immune to the 'dangers' of these primitive tactics. Don't let me down by falling victim to them. At the same time don't be embarrassed to use them against an inexperienced opponent. It might even work.
If it does just remember that you're doing them a favor. It's an act of kindness. No really! They too will learn the ways of the fools and scholars. You're not just doing it for the fun of it. You're only motivated by the need to help others. Bless you.
These lessons also serve as a strategy primer. You should now be quite comfortable with the rules of chess. Think of your investigation of these basic mating procedures as your first tentative steps along the steep learning curve of basic checkmates.
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