Sunday, January 18, 2015

How to Lose at Chess - Checkmate in the Opening

Checkmate in the Opening

In the opening, you can increase your chances of being checkmated by failing to develop your pieces off the back rank and by making lots of pawn moves that expose the king. Also, you should never castle if that would make your king safer.

Fool's Mate

It is possible to be checkmated in just a few moves. The following example is often called the “Fool's Mate”.

Notice that by moving his pawns on the f and g files, White has done an excellent job of exposing his king to check along the diagonal that runs from e1 to h4. When you want to lose quickly, move the pawns protecting your king.

Scholar's Mate

The f7 square is a particularly weak square right next to Black's king. If you are lucky, White may try to checkmate you quickly on f7.

Black could have defended f7 by playing 3...Qe7 or blocked the queen check with 3...g6. Surely you would not play either of those moves.

Be sure to keep the square f7 unprotected if you want to be checkmated early in the game.

Legal's Mate

Many players of the White pieces will not bring their queen out early to attempt the Scholar's mate. A more sophisticated way to get checkmated is Legal's mate.

Black's move 4...g6 was a clever losing strategy. Developing a piece by 4...Nc6 or 4...Be7 would have avoided the mate.

Moving pawns instead of developing pieces in the opening is a good way to get checkmated early.

Blackburne Shilling Mate

The story says the master Blackburne would play amateurs for a shilling a game. He would often play these moves as Black and usually win quickly.

White did not have to take the pawn with 4.Nxe5. Greedily grabbing pawns instead of developing pieces is an excellent technique for losing quickly.

Notice how in all of these examples, the losing side did not develop the back rank pieces and castle. It is usually harder to get checkmated if you castle early.

How to Lose at Chess - Introduction

How to Lose at Chess - Losing by Checkmate

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