What are the quickest helpmates, which is where both sides help administer checkmate to one side, delivered by the rook, knight, bishop, and pawn? Said piece has to deliver the checkmate on the final move.

Note, This is asking for 4 separate answers to be clear, all rolled into one. It does not matter how the mate is achieved, just so long as said piece/pawn asked for does the actual mating. The queen is already known: Fool's Mate.


Here's what I came up with.

Bishop took me 3 moves:

[FEN "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"]
1.e4 f5 2.Be2 g5 3.Bh5#  *

Knight took me 3 moves as Black:

[FEN "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"]
1.e4 Nc6 2.Ne2 Nd4 3.g3 Nf3#  *

Pawn took me 5 moves:

[FEN "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"]
1.e4 Na6 2.Bc4 Nb4 3.e5 Na6 4.e6 Nc5 5.exf7#  *

Rook initially took me 6 moves, with 1.h4 f5 2.Rh3 f4 3.d4 f3 4.Rxf3 g6 5.Bh6 Nc6 6.Rxf8#. But I found a quicker way to checkmate with a rook - promote to one! This results in a checkmate in 5:

[FEN "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"]
1. g4 Nh6 2. g5 g6 3. gxh6 Bg7 4. hxg7 Na6 5. gxh8=R#
  • A rook can actually mate on move 5 without being promoted : 1.a3 e5 2.Nc3 Ba3 3.Ne4 Bf8 4.Ra5 Ke7 5.Rxe5# – Evargalo May 13 at 18:06

I actually discovered a mate by a rook in 4.5 moves WITHOUT promotion! My source is this page with lots of other interesting shortest checkmates.

This made me wonder what the fastest bishop and knight checkmates by promotion are (DM’s answer has that for the rook. It works just as well for a queen!) I also saw these and an even shorter pawn checkmate then what DM has on the same site.

Let the show begin!

Shortest Non-Promoted Rook Checkmate:

[FEN ""]
1.a4 c5 2.a5 Qxa5 3.Rxa5 c4 4.Rc5 c3 5.Rxc8#

Shortest Pawn Checkmate (Many varieties exist):

[FEN ""]
1.e3 e5 2.Ke2 Qh4 3.Kf3 f6 4.Be2 e4#

And just because pawns have other moves (This site is the source and it has tons more!) here’s the fastest double step pawn mate:

[FEN ""]

1. c4 d6 2. Qb3 Kd7 3. e3 Kc6 4. Qxb7+ Kc5 5. d4#

Shortest Knight Promotion Checkmate

[FEN ""]
 1.h4 d5 2.h5 Nd7 3.h6 Ndf6 4.hxg7 Kd7 5.Rh6 Ne8 6.gxf8=N#

Shortest Bishop Promotion Checkmate

[FEN ""]
1.d4 g6 2.d5 Bh6 3.d6 Kf8 4.dxe7+ Kg7 5.Qd6 Qf8 6.exf8=B#

Then again, those are checkmate with promotion. If you want it without promotion, I found these ones on my own. If you know of a faster one (I’m staring at the knight one), please do let me know.

Shortest Promoted Bishop Checkmate

Another Update: As I figured, @DM found a faster bishop one!

[FEN ""]

 1. d4 c5 2. dxc5 Qb6 3. c6 Nh6 4. cxb7 Nc6 5. bxc8=B Nd8 6. Bxd7#

(Again, this also applies to the queen!)

[FEN ""]
1. e4 f5 2. exf5 g5 3. fxg6 Nf6 4. g7 Ne4 5. g8=B h5 6. Bh7 h4 7. Bg6# 

(The same process goes for a promoted queen: 1. e4 f5 2. exf5 g5 3. fxg6 Nf6 4. g7 Ne4 5. g8=Q h5 6. Qg6#)

Shortest Promoted Knight Checkmate

Update: @DM found one better than me as I suspected was possible!

 [FEN ""]

 1. g4 Nc6 2. g5 e6 3. g6 Nce7 4. gxh7 g5 5. hxg8=N Rh3 6. Nf6#

[FEN ""]
1. e4 f5 2. exf5 g5 3. fxg6 Nh6 4. g7 Nf7 5. g8=N h6 6. Qe2 h5 7. Nf6#

Shortest Promoted Rook Checkmate

[FEN ""]
1. g4 h5 2. gxh5 g6 3. h6 Bg7 4. hxg7 Nf6 5. gxh8=R+ Ng8 6. Rxg8#

(This also applies to the queen!)

  • That last example isn't the shortest promoted rook checkmate, since it's 6 moves and mine was 5. – D M May 13 at 0:11
  • I said it was the fastest via the stipulation that the promotion must not come with checkmate. – Rewan Demontay May 13 at 0:19
  • Yours had a promotion WITH checkmate. So we are both right. – Rewan Demontay May 13 at 0:20
  • 1
    I was just looking at that. 1. g4 Nc6 2. g5 e6 3. g6 Nce7 4. gxh7 g5 5. hxg8=N Rh3 6. Nf6# – D M May 13 at 0:46
  • 1
    Also, I found a better one for the bishop promotion where promotion isn't checkmate: 1. d4 c5 2. dxc5 Qb6 3. c6 Nh6 4. cxb7 Nc6 5. bxc8=B Nd8 6. Bxd7# – D M May 13 at 1:06

It's not in your original question, but the game here can be adapted for a mate-in-5 by the king:

[FEN ""]

1. f3 e5 2. Kf2 Ke7 3. Kg3 d6 4. Kh4 Kf6 5. g3 Kg6#
  • That was uh, my answer to that question you know! – Rewan Demontay May 13 at 11:24
  • Right, I didn't scroll down enough to see your answer there. At least I came up with a different solution :) – Glorfindel May 13 at 11:28
  • All is still good! – Rewan Demontay May 13 at 11:29
  • Castling via checkmate as is still technically a king move mate as well. But we know where that is to be found! – Rewan Demontay May 13 at 11:30

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