Winning Quickly in Chess

Hey everyone, this is Dylan Mize with my second blog post on chess. Seeing as how the first one was a bit dry and lengthy, I figured I’d give the people what they want with this one by providing just a few introductory tips and tricks for achieving a quick and satisfying victory against your less prepared friends or family. Disclaimer: While the quick mating ideas I’ll show you may or may not work against a weaker opponent, they surely will not against anyone who has been exposed to chess in any formal capacity. Therefore, these ideas can be fun for beginners, but are often unsound. However, I will be also be covering a general principle that can be used at any level – the f7 weakness (coordinate on the chess board, for those unfamiliar), which can often be used to form a swift attack, especially against unsuspecting players. While viewing the diagrams below, keep in mind white always has the first move, and checkmate occurs when the king is in check and has nowhere to run nor pieces of his own to block the attack.

Fool’s Mate (below): With that out of the way, lets start with the fastest possible checkmate. It is quite a rare occurrence this checkmate lands on the board even for beginners because it requires your opponent to make two specific moves, and has less to do with an active plan by you. Note that if black had made a normal developing move such as knight f6, it would have prevented white’s queen from invading altogether. Having pushed two of the king’s key defending pawns two spaces already, he has no way to block the upcoming checkmate. Any other combination of legal moves prevents this outcome, which is why this is an especially embarrassing way to lose and a quick way to win.

Scholar’s Mate (below): This takes a close second place for the quickest way to win with mate on the 4th move. It combines the powers of the bishop and queen to deliver mate on the f7 square (on black’s side), or the f2 square (on white’s side). Again, this way of developing is not so subtle and most players who have seen this idea once or twice will not be caught off guard. However, this is a more promising try for a quick win than fool’s mate because it involves a specific plan by white that black must prevent. These moves can occur in slightly altered move orders, but the main idea is the same – to use the queen and bishop to prepare mate on f7.

Attacks on the f7/f2 weakness: Having just seen the two most famous cheapo checkmates, let me expand a bit on one way to form a potentially strong attack, which can easily catch a beginner off guard if they’re not careful. The reason this square is often considered a weakness is because from the starting position, only the king defends it, making it a tender spot which you can often attack. If your opponent neglects it for long enough, you can bring a bishop and a knight to attack it from an early stage in the game with strong effect. In the position below, white is already winning with his attack on f7 because there’s no good defense to either 1. bishop taking with check, or 2. knight taking- attacking the queen and rook simultaneously (a fork) and winning lots of material. In either case, white has created an advantage that should be enough to win.

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Below is another, fancier example showing a tactical way to take advantage of the f7 square. There are plenty more ways than what I’ve shown, so I encourage you to be creative and find your own as well!

If you enjoyed this, let me know in the comments, and if anyone has any specific chess-related themes or concepts you’d like me to cover, also let me know so that I can make these posts as relevant as possible. Thanks! See you in a couple weeks!

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