Is the four move check mate (1. e4 e5 2.Qf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5?? 4.Qxf7#) the fastest way to win a game of chess, or is there a quicker way?

  • FYI: The checkmate you describe is known as the scholar's mate
    – Colin D
    Commented Jun 18, 2013 at 15:14
  • @ColinD - Yes, although a slightly unusual move order. The OP has Qf3 on move 2, which is easily countered by Black's Nf6. This is the Napoleon Opening. Commented Jun 18, 2013 at 16:36
  • This question was recently asked on chess.stackexchange: chess.stackexchange.com/questions/2509/…
    – Colin D
    Commented Jun 28, 2013 at 15:16

3 Answers 3


There is a quicker checkmate called the Fool's Mate which only takes 2 moves.

The moves that demonstrate the checkmate are:

1. f3 e5
2. g4 Qh4# 
  • 1
    Also, of course, the fastest mate for White is in 2 1/2 moves (rather than the 3 1/2 given in the opening post) by making a 'blank' move and then following this in reverse: 1. a3 f6, 2. e4 g5, 3. Qh5#. Commented Jun 18, 2013 at 15:33
  • So 'one move' means 'a move for White then a move for Black'. I did not know that. Commented Dec 21, 2013 at 15:27
  • 2
    Can this be edited to show the moves on the board itself like some questions on Chess Stack exchange? Commented Jul 22, 2015 at 13:41

Fool's mate is the quickest way to mate, not win. Technically the fastest way to win is for your opponent to resign on the first move or for them to lose on time (e.g. not show up but their clock is running).

  • 2
    I'm not quite sure that your opponent running out of time could be called "fast" :-) Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 9:49
  • 1
    True @PhilipKendall. Depends whether there is a bar in the venue, in which case the time flies by...
    – user10232
    Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 9:50
  • 1
    Although the answer stands and is relevant to my question I feel this is being a tad Pedantic haha XD Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 11:52

The fastest way for Black to mate is

1. f3 e5
2. g4 Qh4# 

1.f4 is also possible so there are two versions of this.

There are more versions for a fast mate by White:

1. e4 g5
2. d4 f5
3. Qh5#

Coupled with this f, g pawn advances there is also another neat version which takes the same amount of moves for White to mate:

1. e4 e5
2. Qh5 Ke7
3. Qxe5#

Thereby fastest white mate can happen in three moves (precisely 2½ moves) whereas fastest black mate can happen in two moves.

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