In a standard opening position in chess, imagine that all Black pieces are removed except for the king and pawns.

[FEN "4k3/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQ - 0 1"]

What is the shortest forced mate, assuming White starts?

I don't know the answer to this but it seems like a fun piece of chess trivia if it is solvable.

2 Answers 2


Having run stockfish for a couple of days, I can confirm there is at least a mate in 15.

enter image description here


Stockfish took a long time with this one, but with some help it eventually got to here.

Looks like it's approximately checkmate in 15 from your position. By move 9 (following Stockfish recommendations) it finds a checkmate in 6. Here's what Stockfish says is the best line:

[FEN "4k3/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQ - 0 1"]

1. c3 b5 2. Qb3 c6 3. Qa3 a5 4. Qxa5 e5 5. Qc7 f6 6. Qc8+ Ke7 7. Qg8 e4 8. Qxg7+ Ke6 9. g3 f5 10. d4 e3 11. Bh3 b4 12. Bxf5+ Kxf5 13. Qf7+ Kg5 14. Bxe3+ Kg4 15. f3#

Here's a sample game, me vs Stockfish. Took me 18 moves: https://lichess.org/AJFXfWmCQB5I

And another, also 18 moves: https://lichess.org/Ibno7F6cdfhT

I missed some sequences both times.

  • 3
    Maybe I'm misunderstanding something but for me your link shows the board, but no moves
    – Ian Bush
    Commented Jan 21, 2019 at 8:44
  • 1
    Woops. My mistake. I'll see if I can get the move order in my answer
    – Brandon_J
    Commented Jan 21, 2019 at 14:24
  • If you're struggling just cut and paste the text of the moves and someone (e.g. me) will make it suitable for the replayer. Or look at chess.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/179/…
    – Ian Bush
    Commented Jan 21, 2019 at 15:56
  • @IanBush crud, I can't get the starting FEN to work right. Would you mind editing it, or telling me how? I feel kind of goofy now lol.
    – Brandon_J
    Commented Jan 21, 2019 at 16:41
  • Black can play 11. ... ef2+ just to lengthen the game one more omve
    – yrodro
    Commented Jan 21, 2019 at 17:38

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