Surviving the Four Move Checkmate

In the chess world, there are many players who like to torture weaker players with the 4-move checkmate. It is an old and tired gimmick that I'd like to see disappear.

When we see the signs that our opponent is trying this quickmate, we must defend against it effectively. If we do not, even if the mate is not realized, the opponent who failed to defend will usually find him/herself in a loosing position within the first 4-10 moves of the game. This is how it works:


There are a couple other variations as well:

The signs of the four move mate, then, are clear: The Queen and Bishop (and as is the case in the 7 move mate, Queen and Knight) pointing at the e6/e7 square. A key square in defending, however, is the e4/e5; if these squares are not properly defended, the recipient of this attack will see massive damage:
In addition to the Four Move mate, this sequence of moves often casually becomes another threat: the "Fried Liver" attack, which is the Knight and Bishop attack:

A few key moves is all that is required to stop the four move checkmate:


  • 9 months ago


    Thanks for the observation, sixspeed. What would you do different?

  • 2 years ago


    Thanks.  However, the kingside pawn structure now has a "chink" or weakness no?  Your kingside bishop is going to be defending from b2 and is now a major piece that cannot be lost.

  • 3 years ago


    Once in a while the Parham attack (and Napoleon's opening) come up believe it or not! Even when neither of us makes a mistake in the opening moves, white seems to force black into a bit of a king's indian, but white does black the favor of wasting time while black fianchetto's, so I'm assuming there must be a slight advantage for black, at least in the short term in terms of more coordinated position out of the opening...I'm not sure of course...just my feeling about it...thanks for the post!

  • 3 years ago


    LoL, really!? I wouldn't have thought that at your level, you'd still be encountering this.

  • 3 years ago


    The last two diagrams made me smile. One of the only things cornier than the Parham Attack is combining it with the Fried Liver Attack. I guess the fact that my opponents still try this stuff means that I am still a very low-rated player! :) 

  • 4 years ago


    Thank  you for posting this.  When I was a weaker player, people would do this to me all the time, until I learned how to deal with it.  It's nice to see someone make a comprehensive guide to how to defend it

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