I would like to learn about a few checkmates using very few moves.
I know a one where you develop the knight and march it directly towards the King.
Does anyone know the name of this mate and can you suggest others?
There are probably as many quick mates as there have been first time players (since we all get caught in these at the start!) but here are a few common ones:
This is the shortest possible checkmate in a mere two moves:
This mating pattern is also sometimes referred to as "Fool's Mate" and there are two main patterns:
Légal's Mate (also spelled as Légall's Mate) is probably the mate referenced in the question:
For a short mating possibility in a very standard mainline opening, one can look to the Smyslov-Karpov variation in the Caro-Kann Defense:
The most popular continuations are
There are a mere 271 games in my database (out of several million) in which this 5. Qe2 appears, but one finds a few GMs giving it a go: Ivan Radulov, Oleg Nikolenko, Joe Gallagher (against as strong an opponent as IM Tibor Karolyi), even some guy named Alekhine (though, admittedly, only in a consultation game against a team of four amateurs). A 2300 player also tried it out against Yasser Seirawan on the black side; Seirawan didn't fall into the trap of course, but the 2300 did manage to get a draw out of the game.
If you're still reading, you're probably curious: out of the 271 games I have on record, in only 34 of them did black fall into the trap with
The Scholar's and Fool's mates that others have cited are the shortest. They rely on two different but highly important principles chess players should remember. Scholar's mate relies on the opponent's insufficiently protected f2 (or ...f7) point, while Fool's mate relies on a weakening of the diagonal from h5 (or ...h4) to the opponent's king.
While you can actively try for Scholar's mate (and many weak amateurs fall for it), Fool's mate pretty much relies on very poor play by the opponent -- advancing the f and g pawns such that the critical diagonal is fatally weakened. A variant of Fool's mate is more likely to occur that involves several more moves and induces the opponent to make the required weakening moves. Consider the following sequence; White's fourth move is a fatal mistake leading to the loss of his queen or getting mated along the ...h4-e1 diagonal.