There are a lot of little kids out there who love zapping people with SCHOLAR'S MATE.

It's like a catapult: it's crude but it can be effective, even against some grownups. Just remember how David beat Goliath!

But it's very easy to beat up a little kid with a catapult. You just punch him on the nose and, when he's down, steal his weapon!

It's also very easy to beat up little kids who play for SCHOLAR'S MATE: if you know how.

Remember: we don't allow kids who make mistakes in this school.

There are fines for kids who lose pieces.

Prison for kids who make illegal moves.

And kids who allow checkmate must face the school executioner.


Your first question is this: It's Black's move.

Which of these moves should he choose?

Ng8-f6 g7-g6
f7-f6 Nb8-c6

OK, let's get this right.

White's Queen move THREATENED the Pawn on e5.

Even one Pawn is important in chess. If you don't defend it the other guy's extra pawn might become a Queen.

So Black should choose a move which DEFENDS the Pawn.

Next question: White's just moved his Bishop out!

What should Black play now?

g7-g6 Ng8-f6
Bf8-c5 d7-d5

Congratulations! You've avoided checkmate!

White's just moved his Queen back to f3. Look VERY CAREFULLY at what he's trying to do before choosing your move.

Nc6-d4 Ng8-f6
Bf8-c5 Bf8-g7

Yes, you've found the right move again.

White's now moved his Pawn from g2 to g4.

Take a look at this move. White's cunning plan is to advance the Pawn again to THREATEN your KNIGHT, and, when the Knight moves, he'll get CHECKMATE on f7.

That's a pretty scary plan, but you'll be fine as long as you act fast. Try to find a way to THREATEN the White Queen and drive her away. How can you do that?

Bc8-g4 Nf6xe4
Nc6-d4 With a machine gun

White, as expected has moved his Queen - to e3. Can you find a really cool move for Black here?

Nf6xg4 Bf8-c5
d7-d5 Nd4xc2+

What a fantastic move!!

Just take a look at that Black Knight.

It's THREATENING the Rook on a1!

It's THREATENING the Queen on e3!!

AND it's CHECKING the King on e1!!!

White must move his King to get out of check, and next move Black can choose between taking the Queen (best!) and the Rook.

We'll be nice (for once - nice kids don't play chess) and let White take his last move back. Now he's gone to d1 instead.

OK Buster, which of these moves is best?

Nf6xe4 Bf8-c5
Nd4-f3+ Nd4xc2+

Yes, a free pawn is always worth having.

Now White's foolishly moved his Pawn from f2 to f3. It's time to move in for the kill! But how?

Nd4xf3+ Ne4-g3
Ne4-f2 Qd8-h4+

White had no choice that time.

It's over to you for the winning move.

Qh4-h3+ Qh4-f2+
Ne4-d2+ Ne4-g3+

Yes, it's CHECKMATE!


The Knight on e4 is DEFENDING the Queen on f2!

So now you know how to stop SCHOLAR'S MATE!

Some kids try to get SCHOLAR'S MATE by moving the Queen to f3.

The easiest move for Black is just to play Ng8-f6, blocking the Queen's path to f7.

As long as you keep your Knight there you'll be safe.

Some kids try to get SCHOLAR'S MATE by moving the Bishop out first.

Again, the easiset move is Ng8-f6. Now, if the Queen goes to h5 you can just CAPTURE it.

But there's nothing wrong with playing Bf8-c5, as long as you're CAREFUL.

In this position White has TWO THREATS. Make sure you've found them both before choosing your next move.

g7-g6 Nb8-c6
Ng8-f6 Qd8-e7

So, remind me again.

Is g7-g6 a good move in this position?

Of course it is! Don't be silly!

What about this position?

Is g7-g6 a good idea here?

Of course it is! Don't be silly!

And is g7-g6 a really terrific idea in this position?

Of course it is! Don't be silly!

What do you think about Nb8-c6 for Black in this position?

A really good move!
A really dumb move!

And what do you think about Nb8-c6 for Black in this position?

A really good move!
A really dumb move!

So now you know all about how to stop SCHOLAR'S MATE!

Yes, if you try it against someone who doesn't go to chessKIDS academy you may well win quickly.

But if you try it against someone good, you'll probably run into trouble.

And if someone tries it against you, you know exactly what to do!

Be strong! Be brave! And, above all, be CAREFUL!

You've now reached the end of your assignment.

Click on the FINISH button to find out how you got on!