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The Fastest Check-Mate
Q: What is the fastest way to check-mate an opponent?
A: The fastest check-mate can be accomplished in a bare two moves, but requires the assistance of the losing player. It is never accomplished when opposing all but beginning players because it is one of the first dangers a new player learns about.
The two-move check-mate can only be performed by black against white. It can, however, be performed by white in three moves. In the two move version on the first move white moves the king's knight's pawn forward two spaces. Then black moves the king's pawn forward one or two spaces. Then, if white moves his king's bishop's pawn forward, black may attack with the queen moving her to the "h" file. (See diagram at left, and algebraic notation at right.)
Although this is rarely seen in this form, it can happen that a player can find his or herself in this situation later in the game, when the board is more cluttered. In fact, it has been known to happen that a player sacrifices a bishop or knight to get his opponent to move out the only possible defense against the queen move.
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