Mate, Mate! Trivia Quiz

Checkmates in One Move

In this quiz, we'll be looking at the easiest possible chess problems - "Mate in one move". Each black and white piece type can move and deliver mate in exactly one position. Who MOVES to deliver mate in each case? Some positions are slightly tricky!

A label quiz by WesleyCrusher. Estimated time: 3 mins.

Time
3 mins
Type
Label Quiz
Quiz #
411,989
Updated
Mar 13 23
# Qns
12
Difficulty
Difficult
Avg Score
5 / 12
Plays
34
Last 3 plays: Guest 173 (0/12), Guest 102 (2/12), Cavalry414 (12/12).
Only one side can deliver mate in one move in each position. Assume it's that side's move - so in six diagrams, it's white's turn, in the other six, black's - that's up to you to figure out. Castling is a king's move and in positions with the king and rook in the proper position, assumed to be legal. No en passant captures and remember, I am asking for the piece that moves, not necessarily the one that delivers the fatal check! (Remember that "open image in new tab" can give you a closer view of the boards).
Black Bishop White Bishop Black Rook White King White Knight Black Knight White Rook White Pawn Black Queen Black Pawn White Queen Black King
* Drag / drop or click on the choices above to move them to the answer list.
 1. Foolish! 2. Can it move? 3. I can't breathe! 4. A really basic checkmate 5. Just check all the options 6. You might need a capture 7. The meek will inherit 8. The who is easier than the where 9. Discovery channel 10. Two is better than one 11. Less is more 12. Two is better than one, but differently

Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Black Queen

This position is the quickest checkmate possible in chess: After 1. g4 e5 2. f3, black delivers checkmate by moving the queen to h4. The two pawns that could have protected the king have both moved away so white has no answer to this check. Because it requires a really foolish opening by white, the position is called "Fool's mate".
2. Black Rook

The mating position here is essentially the first endgame checkmate a player learns - using two rooks to checkmate the opposing king at the edge of the board - Rf1#. There is a small complication here however: white's rook on d2 could normally move to d1 and nullify the check, but that move is prevented by the black queen which pins the rook before its king.
3. White Knight

This type of position can happen quite often in amateur games after a piece sacrifice. White moves to g8 and black captures not with the king, but with a rook or knight. Now the king on h8 cannot move at all, allowing a lone knight to checkmate it: Nf7#. This style of checkmate is called a smothered mate.
4. Black Bishop

While two rooks can checkmate without the help of their king, two bishops require the monarch's help to deliver the mate. Black moves Bd4# to win instantly. None of the white pieces can capture the bishop or get into the line of attack.
5. Black Knight

At first glance, one might favor white to mate in this position, after all the black king is stuck in the corner while white's is in the very center with what looks like a lot of room. However white has only two ineffective checks with the rook and one with the bishop. Black on the other hand can simply move Nf6# to end the game.
6. White Queen

In this position, the white rook seems the first candidate for mating, but the knight on f7 controls the square h8 and could capture it, so there's no mate in one. However the queen can take the pawn on g7 and deliver mate, being protected by the knight f5.
7. White Pawn

It is rather uncommon that pawns directly deliver checkmate as their limited range of movement permits them to do so only when they are protected by another friendly unit. However, in this position, the black king's movement options are nonexistent and the a7 rook is perfectly positioned to give cover - exf7#.
8. White Rook

The black king is stuck in the corner with two white rooks having the run of the board, so a rook mate for white seems likely - and it's the solution for this position. However, a back rank mate in one move from g8 or h8 does not work due to the black e7 rook (white still wins in two moves).

The only mating move is Rxa2# - none of the black pieces can move to the a-file to delay the inevitable.
9. White King

Delivering checkmate with a king move is a rare event, but it can happen. As the king cannot directly give check (it can't move next to the opponent's king), the typical way for it to happen is a discovered check - the king moves out of the line of attack of a friendly queen, rook or bishop. In this position Kf1# or Kf3# do the job.
10. White Bishop

The only white piece that can give check in this position is the bishop c1, but it can do so only on e3, where it would be under attack from the black queen. However it turns out that this does not matter - because once the bishop moves, the rook on b1 also delivers a check and the only way to parry a double check like this is to move the king, so the capturing option does not help black. Be3# is thus checkmate.

Black to move could deliver a forced mate with Rxa5+, but it is not a mate in one. White must play Ba3 and only loses on the following black move.
11. Black Pawn

White is in a pretty bad position here - black could win the queen with dxc3+, but this is not checkmate. Instead, black can move exd1 and promote his pawn not to the usual queen but to a knight! With all possible flight squares of the white king controlled by either the rook or bishop, exd1=N# is the mate we are looking for.
12. Black King

Black's king is not in an enviable position here, but none of the checks white could give on the e-file result in checkmate. A black queen or bishop check does not do the job either (white can easily capture or move away). Rd8+ looks promising, but there's this pesky flight square on c7. What to do? The answer is 0-0-0# which not only puts the rook in perfect position to give check but also lets the king control c7 for the checkmate.

If you should actually manage to deliver a checkmate by castling in a real game where the opponent tries to win, you join a highly elite club - this is probably the rarest way to checkmate, even more rare than the king's discovered check, a pawn underpromotion or an en passant pawn move. Not only does the position have to be very close to the one depicted, you also have to reach it without ever moving your king and the rook you'd want to castle with.
Source: Author WesleyCrusher

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