Scholarís Mate

Scholarís Mate is the 4-move checkmate with the Queen and Bishop. The basic move sequence occurs when Black develops only Queenside pieces via Nc6 and Bc5 (in either order). An example move order is: 1. e4 e5, 2. Bc4 Nc6, 3. Qh5 Bc5??, 4. Qxf7 mate.

Diagram: Basic Scholarís Mate

The Queen can sometimes sneak around the Knight on the Black f6 square, as in move sequence: 1. e4 e5, 2. Bc4 Nc6, 3. Qh5 Nf6??, 4. Qxf7 mate.

Diagram: Basic Scholarís Mate

Black can mate too. The same Queen and Bishop sequence can checkmate White too, just half a move behind the other version.

Diagram: Basic Scholarís Mate with Black

Black playing g6 is a bad defence in some lines. If the e5 pawn is not defended by Nc6, then the g6 defence is terrible. The pawn move g6 stops the checkmate but Black loses a pawn and the Rook in the corner the next move!

Diagram: Black has Lost a Rook

In this line, Black does not actually have a saving move with Qe7. The line goes Qxe5+ Qe7!, Qxh8! Qxe4+ (attacking both the Bc4 and g2 pawn), Be2 Qxg2, Bf3! And the Bishop protects the White Rook with an X-ray defence. It looks like White has saved the White Rook owing to a fancy tactic. But actually thatís not correct, because Black checkmates White! Can you see it? Black then plays Qxf2+ Kd1 Qf1 checkmate. So White does actually need to lose something after Qxe4+. But White also has a free Knight via Qxg8+ in this line. A better line for White is: ÖQe4+, Ne2! Qxg2 (or Qxc4), Qxg8+! Ke7, Rf1 and White is more than a Rook ahead with a safe King. Itís getting pretty complicated for a beginner line!

Qf3 version: there is a checkmate version of Scholarís Mate with the Queen on the f3 square, rather than via h5. For example, if Black plays g6 early, then Qf3 is an option.

Diagram: Qf3 Version of Scholarís Mate

Bad defence with Nh6: an early move of Nh6 to protect f7 and prevent the mate is not good. White can play two moves to ďremove the defenderĒ and then checkmate. White simply lines up the dark square bishop via d3 and then threatens Bxh6. Black also loses the better option of attacking the Queen with Nf6.

Diagram: Nh6 fails to d3 and Bxh6

Defence with Early Nf6: an early move of Nf6 is good as it can totally stop the Queen coming to h5. But it needs to be played before the Queen arrives at h5. Nf6 also stops the version via Qf3.

Diagram: Nf6 Defends Scholarís Mate

Defence with Qe7: one of the best defences is to play Qe7 to protect f7 with the Queen.

Diagram: Qe7 Defends Scholarís Mate

But the Qe7 defence needs to watch out for Whiteís other Knight coming to d5 via Nc3 and Nd5. The Knight on d5 will both attack the Queen, and also threaten a Knight fork by Nxc7+.

Diagram: Unwary Qe7 Fails Due to Nd5

If you play Qe7, then you should play Nf6 next, so that the Knight both attacks the Queen on h5, but also stops the White Knight going to d5.

Diagram: Nf6 after Qe7 is Great for Black

Related Chess Tactics

Read more about these related chess tactics and strategies:

  • Common Checkmates
  • Opening Checkmates
  • Beginner Chess Tactics