Vishy Anand once had to resign on move 6 of a serious tournament game, while Magnus Carlsen was lost in 7 moves against Ian Nepomniachtchi in the first Magnus Carlsen Invitational. Such accidents are incredibly rare for the best, but for the rest of us they tend to happen all the time! Sean Marsh takes a look at some potential speedy checkmates in the opening that you should keep your eyes out for – either to avoid them or to catch out your opponents.

You may or may not encounter these exact checkmates in your own games, but remembering the basic patterns will undoubtedly be of use.

Catastrophe in the Caro-Kann

1.e4 c6

The Caro-Kann Defense is normally very solid, but there are ways to go wrong in every chess opening.

2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7

Black wants to play 5…Ngf6, which would enable him to recapture with a knight rather than pawn after 6.Nxf6+ thus avoiding having to accept doubled pawns.


This is not the best move, but it does set a trap for the unwary.

5…Ngf6?? 6.Nd6 checkmate

Note that White’s queen pins the e-pawn, which means the knight is immune to capture on d6.

There are similar smothered mates in other openings too. Here is another example of the same theme.

Beaten by the Budapest

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5

The Budapest Gambit.

3.dxe5 Ng4 4.Bf4 Nc6 5.Nf3 Bb4+ 6.Nbd2 Qe7 7.a3 Ngxe5

The trap is set.


Greed is often a contributory factor when one falls for a trap.

8…Nd3 checkmate

read about next example at chess24

Mapping your Chess Progress: A Guide to Chess Rising Stars Courses

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How to Use Chess Rising Stars Courses to Improve Your Chess

Our comprehensive chess courses serve as the roadmap to chess mastery. Whether you’re a junior or adult improver, our expert coaches are here to guide you with the knowledge and support you will need.

Juniors – In-person

Chess Rising Stars London Academy is creating the ideal environment to help introduce the game to younger children, the Chelsea Chess Club for 5 to 7 year olds. Your child will discover the joys of learning chess in an interactive and enjoyable setting. We will work together on chess strategy and tactics plus associated skills such as sportsmanship, planning and focus. Moving forward, our main junior chess club, the Chelsea Chess Club is staffed by 4 expert coaches. The Chess Rising Stars team will ensure that children are grouped with those of a similar age and chess level. We also offer support to more experienced children who are intending to compete in chess tournaments and team matches.

WGM Andreea Navrotescu, Guest coach at the Chelsea Chess Club

Juniors – Online

The Wednesday Online Club is perfectly suited as an introduction to small-group chess lessons for less experienced children. We would recommend that children are already familiar with how the pieces move, check and checkmate but no further knowledge is required. The Friday and Sunday Online Clubs offer groups at Beginner and Intermediate/Advanced level. There is a new group exclusively for secondary school chess players aged 11-16 at the Friday Online Club. Chess is gaining popularity in this age range, with students even using it for their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award activity. In our invitational Elite Online Club, we work together on areas of strategy, tactics and mindset to build the confidence and skills necessary to compete beyond Chess Rising Stars. To support this development, there are regular guest coaching appearances from Grandmasters.

Registration is open for the CRS Christmas Online Tournament 2023

Adult Improvers

Our Adult Improvers Online Group Classes would be ideal for adult beginners or parents whose children are learning the game. We will work together on the fundamentals of chess strategy and tactics. You will have the chance to try out what you have learned in our private, friendly tournaments. We offer interactive and engaging private chess lessons online, delivered by our team of experienced coaches. The Chess Rising Stars teachers have been carefully selected and trained by WFM Maria Manelidou and are passionate about sharing their extensive chess knowledge and experience. If you are keen to compete in OTB or online tournaments, our coaches have supported adult students in their local leagues, tournaments and even internationally. We have helped students to exceed their rating goals by following our individual training plans.

What Next?

If you are embarking on a journey to enhance your chess skills, look no further than Chess Rising Stars courses, meticulously designed to cater to players of all ages and levels.
Jan 12, 2021

Stalemate is the biggest miracle in chess

Stalemate is the biggest miracle in chess — there, I said it. You might disagree and give me dozens of different examples of chess magic and you might be correct too. We all have different definitions of beauty and magic.

Yes, when you see one of those GM Mikhail Tal games where he sacrificed a gazillion pieces and managed to win the game, it is definitely a magical experience. But to be fair, in all of those games Tal’s remaining pieces were swarming around his opponent’s king and therefore a checkmate wasn’t that unexpected or even what I would call a miracle.

Not everyone likes this unique feature of chess. GM Nigel Short didn’t mince his words calling stalemate a “stupid rule”.

It is not the most logical rule indeed. Imagine a real war where a commander-in-chief lost almost his whole army. He is completely surrounded by the enemies and cannot move anywhere. Yet, he stops the war and calls it a tie.

Nevertheless, I don’t think this analogy is valid. As a coach, I see the biggest benefit of chess in its educational value. What can we learn from real wars? Pretty much only one thing: the wars shouldn’t exist. There are no winners and losers there, since everyone loses, just to a different degree. Now, let’s see what we can learn from just one feature of chess called stalemate.

Here is how the game actually ended:


Mar 14, 2024

Grandmasters are now achieving their Titles at an earlier age than ever

The game of chess is witnessing a fascinating trend. New research by shows that grandmasters are now achieving their titles at an earlier age than ever. Will the chess world see 10- or 11-year-olds becoming grandmasters in the next few years?

In the past year, we’ve seen a surge in children scoring extraordinary results. Records that would’ve seemed unbreakable only five to 10 years ago aren’t as shatterproof as we once thought, and it’s just a matter of time until they are broken again. “Child’s play” as some say.

Here are some examples:

The results appear to be a part of a new trend as shown by research that looks at the age of players who secure the grandmaster title.

While the average age for players achieving the most prestigious title in chess was 30 between 1975-1979, it dropped to 22.8 between 2020 and 2024. The highest age for a new GM was 32.8 in 1977. More then four decades later, in 2021, the average age is down to a record low of 20.9.

10 players are currently pending approval for the GM title in 2024. The average age is down to 21.4, the second lowest to date.

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