Chess is a game of intense strategy and precise decision-making. Masters of chess pour years into studying and practicing hundreds of different strategies, and professional games can last multiple hours and dozens of moves.
This level of strategy isn’t for everyone, however, and sometimes you just want to win as quickly as possible. But what’s the minimum number of moves you need to win at chess – and can you win a game of chess in just two moves?
Luckily, we’ve done all the hard work for you, and gathered all the answers right here in this handy guide!
Here, we’ll take you through whether or not it’s possible to win at chess in two moves, as well as how you could do it yourself. So let’s get started, shall we?
Can You Win A Chess Game In Two Moves?
First things first – is it actually possible to win a game of chess in just two moves? Surprisingly, the answer is yes! Here’s how:
To checkmate the opponent’s king in two turns, there needs to be a direct and inescapable path that one of your attacking pieces can take advantage of on your second turn.
his can happen if your opponent makes two very ill-advised and illogical moves at the start of the game, leaving their king wide open to attack.
For a two-move checkmate, White first has to move their f pawn one space forwards. This is an unusual opening, as the f pawn is weak and most openings involve moving two spaces forward.
From here, you can move your e pawn two spaces forward to free up the dark diagonal line in front of your queen.
Next, your opponent has to move their g pawn forward two spaces. Now, your queen can move to h4; this creates a direct path to their king that they can’t escape from, checkmating them in two moves.
This technique is known as the Fool’s Mate, and it gets its name from the fact that White has to make two catastrophically bad decisions in order for it to be possible.
The moves for this play can be written as 1.f3 e5 2.g4 Qh4#. Alternatively, White can make their moves in the opposite order, while you can also move your e pawn one space.
This only works if you’re playing Black, however. In order to pull off the Fool’s Mate, White will need to have already moved their two pawns into the right position for your queen to checkmate their king.
As a result, getting a Fool’s Mate is extremely rare. Both of the moves that White must make for you to checkmate them completely go against the basic strategies of chess, and both mistakes need to be made immediately.
Has Anyone Ever Won At Chess In Two Moves?
So considering how unlikely this situation is to unfold perfectly in an actual game of chess, has anyone ever actually won a game of chess with the Fool’s Mate?
As you can imagine, there’s never been a recorded instance of a Fool’s Mate being pulled off in a tournament match – although some high-ranking players have deliberately set up the technique as White as a joke.
However, there have been occasions when Grandmaster chess players have been caught out with a 4-move checkmate (known as a Scholar’s Mate).
It’s impossible to say whether or not it has ever happened in casual chess games, but it would be extremely unlikely to occur without being done deliberately.
Even in beginner ranking games, the Fool’s Mate is extremely rare. However, more advanced players will sometimes try the Fool’s Mate against beginners who aren’t familiar with standard openings and strategies in chess.
What’s The Minimum Number Of Moves For White To Checkmate?
As mentioned earlier, the Fool’s Mate can only be used if you’re playing as Black. With that said, then, what is the fewest number of moves you need to win as White?
While you can’t win in two moves as White, it is possible to checkmate your opponent with just one more move!
To win as White in three moves you’ll need a slightly different strategy than a Fool’s Mate. As the first player to move, open by moving your king pawn forward two spaces with a standard 1.e4 opening.
Black then needs to counter with their bishop pawn, moving it two spaces to f5. You can capture this pawn for your second turn (written as 2.exf5).
From here, Black needs to move their kingside knight pawn two spaces until it’s adjacent to your pawn. This is an unusual move, but it opens up a passage for your queen similar to the Fool’s Mate. Now simply move your queen to h5, and it’s checkmate!
This can be written as 1.e4 f5 2.exf5 f5 3.Qh5#.
Another way to win as White in three moves is to start by moving your queen pawn forward one space, with Black responding by moving their kingside bishop pawn forward one space.
Next, move your king pawn two spaces forward; if Black moves their kingside knight pawn to g5, you have the same opening.
This method can be notated as 1.d3 f6 2.e4 g5. 3.Qh5#.
So there you are! Now you know how to win a game of chess in just two moves – otherwise known as the Fool’s Mate.
It’s important to remember that you’re probably never going to see this play actually occur in a real game of chess.
Because White would have to make two catastrophic decisions immediately for you to get the opportunity to use the Fool’s Mate, it’s extremely rare to see even in beginner’s ranks.
However, if the golden opportunity ever presents itself and you get the chance to checkmate in two moves, now you know what to do. So keep an eye out for this rare moment, and you might just end up going down a legend!