Scholar’s checkmate (4-move checkmate)

What is the Scholar’s checkmate (4-move checkmate)?

The scholar’s checkmate (4-move checkmate) is sometime wrongly referred to as the fool’s mate (2 moves). The scholar’s checkmate refers to the checkmate pattern that often appears in scholastic chess. The diagram below illustrates the scholar’s checkmate.

Scholar’s checkmate pattern (4-move checkmate):

White plays Qxf7#

What made this checkmate possible?

  • White attacked the weak f7 square with 2 pieces: his Qh5 and his Bc4.
  • Black neglected to defend his weak f7 square.
  • f7 is a particularly weak square since it is only protected by the king at the start of a game.
  • The black knight on f6 attacks the white queen but does nothing to defend on f7.

Turn your knowledge of the Scholar’s checkmate pattern (4-move checkmate) into a permanent skill:

This checkmate pattern often appears in scholastic games and you will very likely face opponents who will attempt to checkmate you with this cheap trick. If you know how to defend against scholar’s checkmate your position will already be better since the queen becomes a target for attack and the development of the other pieces lags behind. Understanding why the scholar’s checkmate (4-move checkmate) is not good to try against experienced players will also help you understand other aspects of general chess principles. The exercises on this website helps you understand chess better which ultimately makes you a stronger player than you would be by simply memorizing different patterns.

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