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4 Move Checkmate -Scholar's Mate Teaches Opening Chess Principles

Updated on March 11, 2011

Four Move Checkmate Easy To Learn and Full of Good Chess Strategies

Chess How to do the Scholar's Mate

As a chess coach to middle schoolers, I enjoyed teaching the beginner chess students the checkmate position and opening called the Scholar's mate. The four move checkmate is easy to learn and provides some basic chess lessons that are essential in becoming a fair player. I am writing this lens to beginners who are trying to start their journey into this most fun game we call chess. You will find many links and resources on this site to help you get started. This lens is a follow up to my lens on the Fool's mate (a two/three move checkmate that only someone "foolish" would fall into) The nice thing about the Scholar's mate is that once you understand its good chess strategies, you can try to impose it (or a similar variant) on your opponent. Below you can see the mate in animation.

The above animation is taken from Wikipedia "Scholar's Mate" Click to read more from that web site.

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Chess How To Make the Four Move Checkmate.

Good Chess Strategies

What makes the four move checkmate work is that your opponent does not understand his weak squares at the beginning of the game. Here are some of the principles:

  1. The seventh rank (row7) above the king has three possible attack points (d7,e7,f7). One of the squares (f7) is only protected by the king. This point could give you an open lane to the king.

  1. If the Queen could get to this point without being captured, the black king would have no escape. However, he could simply take the queen in this possible position! You must always make sure your queen is safe before brining her into the game. Many games are lost because of hasty queen moves.

  1. Therefore white must guard his queen before entering. In this case we bring the Bishop to c4. Now the queen can kill at f7 because the black king cannot take the queen without himself being killed. Also there is no other square of escape Black is in checkmate!

As you can tell, the four move checkmate is easily defended if black knows about king protection at the beginning of the game. If you are able to understand basic chess strategies you can avoid this trap. Most of the time it takes more than four moves so be [patient and give it a try. As you improve, you will find more and far better strategies to imploy. That is the fun of chess!

Possible Four move Scholar's mate chess game:
1. e4 e5
2. Bc4 Nf6
3. Qf3 d6 (Many other moves are possible for black to fall into white's trap. White must proceed with caution before brining his queen in for the kill)
4. Qf7 mate

Final Position: See Diagram


Good Chess Strategies:

1. Be aware of weak points.
2. Develop your pieces with strategy and purpose.
3. Be careful with your queen. It is your most valuable piece.
4. When you are learning, don't be afraid to try new things.
5. Your king must be protected at all times.

Seeing the Scholar's Mate on Video from YouTube - Basic Chess Strategies

Good chess strategy on Amazon

Chess books - Learn the Best Chess Strategies

Practical Chess Exercises: 600 Lessons from Tactics to Strategy
Practical Chess Exercises: 600 Lessons from Tactics to Strategy

Raise your chess to the next level with this program of 600 instructive and challenging exercises covering all aspects of the game. This book will sharpen your tactical vision, deepen your positional understanding, and enrich your knowledge of theoretical positions. It will also strengthen your analytical skills, and instill a sound move selection process. Win more games and increase your enjoyment of chess!

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess, Third Edition
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess, Third Edition

Donât make a move without it. Written by a U.S. Chess Champion, International Chess Grandmaster, and longtime instructor, this book includes information for both novice and expert, including over 400 illustrated chessboards and photos; over 20 pages of detailed answer key notes; a completely new chapter on new evidence about chess and its impact on brain power; a guide to the art of chess collectibles; and more.⢠Foreword by Larry Evans, former International Grandmaster and author of 20 highly acclaimed chess books and a popular monthly advice column in Chess Life⢠Strong sales for previous editions⢠For the beginner or the champ, and for young and old⢠Author has a high profile in the chess community

Chess for Children:  How to Play the World's Most Popular Board Game
Chess for Children: How to Play the World's Most Popular Board Game

With this charming book, children will delight in learning the basic moves of chess - the most popular and challenging strategy game of all. All the rules of chess are clearly explained, step by step, assuming no prior knowledge. The lessons are reinforced by the inventive tales that George is told by his pet alligator Kirsty, self-proclaimed Grand Alligator of chess. Chess is recognized in many countries as a useful tool for developing creative thinking in children. Although chess can be regarded as a rather complex and mysterious game, the rules themselves are straightforward. It doesn't take long to learn how the pieces move, and even children as young as five can enjoy exciting games. They will also thoroughly enjoy outwitting friends and relatives!

How to Beat Your Dad at Chess (Gambit Chess)
How to Beat Your Dad at Chess (Gambit Chess)

This is not just a book for kids - for 'Dad' read any opponent who beats you regularly! This book teaches the 50 Deadly Checkmates - basic attacking patterns that occur repeatedly in games between players of all standards. Each mating motif is carefully and simply explained, and several illustrative examples are given. A final test enables the reader to grade his pattern recognition abilities, and the last chapter explains what to do if your Dad is Garry Kasparov. Fun, instructive - and guaranteed to improve your game.

Chess Tactics for Champions: A step-by-step guide to using tactics and combinations the Polgar way
Chess Tactics for Champions: A step-by-step guide to using tactics and combinations the Polgar way

Susan Polgar became the first female Grandmaster at age 15âand it wasn't luck that got her there. Her use of tactics, combinations, and strategy during her games gave her the critical advantage she needed against her opponents. In Chess Tactics for Champions, Polgar gives insight into the kind of thinking that chess champions rely on while playing the game, specifically the ability to recognize patterns and combinations. With coauthor Paul Truong, Susan Polgar teaches the tactics she learned from her father, Laszlo Polgar, one of the world's best chess coaches.⢠Teaches players how to calculate the effect of a move in order to gain an edge over an opponent⢠For intermediate to advanced chess players of all ages


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    • The Philologist profile image

      The Philologist 

      7 years ago

      Nice article. Certainly informative for anyone starting out!


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