Meet FOOLISH FREDDIE, the Foolhardy Footsoldier.

Foolish Freddie is on guard duty, protecting his King.

But sometimes he forgets his job and moves away.

And if he does that, his King is open to attack on the FATAL DIAGONAL.

Here you see FOOLISH FREDDIE on the chessboard.


And you don't need me to remind you what happens to kids who move their f-pawn in the opening, do you?



You've seen this before, haven't you?

White's not only moved FOOLISH FREDDIE. He's moved GORMLESS GERRY as well.

And already it's CHECKMATE!!

Listen, kiddo! Whatever you do, DON'T TOUCH THOSE PAWNS AT THE START OF THE GAME!!

Oh look! White's moved FOOLISH FREDDIE on move 2.

This is called the KING'S GAMBIT. (A Gambit is an OPENING where you SACRIFICE something. You'll learn more about this later on.

It's a really scary weapon that's much too dangerous for little kids like you to play with.

When you're a big kid we'll show you how to use it.

Black could have taken the pawn, or done a couple of other things (which we'll show you later).

But instead he's (foolishly) decided to move his own FOOLISH FREDDIE.

Shall we see what happens next?

First of all, White exchanges pawns on e5, reaching this position.

It's White's move. What would you play?

Nb1-c3 Qd1-h5+

Bf1-c4 Ng1-f3

Well done if you found that move.

Here's the position now.

Black's in DEEP DEEP TROUBLE, all because he moved FOOLISH FREDDIE.

He's only got two moves - g7-g6 and Ke8-e7.

We'll look at each in turn.

Let's first of all say that Black plays g7-g6, to block the check.

Enter your move using the keypad below.

White CAPTURES a pawn, CHECKS the Black King and THREATENS the Rook on h8, all at the same time! Next move he'll take the Rook.

What do we call this sort of move?



Going back a move, this time Black's played Ke8-e7 instead of g7-g6. How do you continue?
Yes, again we take the pawn with CHECK. Black has only one move - Ke7-f7.

What's your next move?

Nb1-c3 d2-d4

Bf1-c4+ Ng1-f3

Again, Black has only two moves. He can play d7-d5, which White will take with his Bishop, or he can play Kf7-g6.

Either way, his King's not likely to survive very long.

Try playing out this position against a friend - or a computer - and see how long it takes White to get CHECKMATE!

If White plays the King's Gambit Black has a couple of ways of setting a trap.

Here's one of them. Black moves his Bishop from f8 to c5.

"Oh no!", says Black, wiping a tear from his eye. "I've lost a pawn. Can I take my move back?"

"No way, sucker! It's TOUCH AND MOVE!" laughs White, gleefully grabbing the pawn on e5.

And Black plays... well you tell me.
Black dries his eyes and plays Qd8-h4+."Tough luck, buddy! It's you who's the sucker, not me!"

If White plays g2-g3, Black plays Qh4xe4+ (FORK!), Qe4xh1 and takes most of White's other pieces.

And if White plays Ke1-e2...

...Qh4xe4 is

a really dumb move winning a pawn


Another way Black can set a trap in the King's Gambit is to play d7-d5.

White has a choice of two pawn captures. One's fine: the other one loses.

Which one should White prefer?

e4xd5 f4xe5

If White makes the wrong choice you reach this position, when Black can play...
Right, let's see how good you are at remembering NOT to move FOOLISH FREDDIE.

What should Black play here?

e5xd4 f7-f6

And which move should White prefer here?

f2-f3 d2-d3

Let's take this one a bit further.

White makes the mistake of moving FOOLISH FREDDIE. Black, as usual, plays Qd8-h4+.

"No problem", thinks White. "I can just play g2-g3 and his silly old Queen will have to retreat. Then I'll be able to take the Knight next move."

But in fact Black's got a really groovy move here. What is it?

Ne4-f2 Ne4xg3

Qh4xg3+ Qh4xh2

If White now plays h2xg3 (and he has nothing better) Black can play Qh4xh1, winning a Rook for a Knight.

We say that White's h-pawn is...


SKEWERED Completely useless

Just to check that you're still awake, which move would you prefer in this position?

f7-f6 Nb8-c6

A lot of really sad kids who haven't been to chessKIDS academy play this with Black.

It's easy to beat them up - you play the SACRIFICE Nf3xe5, and if they play f6xe5, again Qd1-h5+ is really strong.

Try it out for yourself and see what happens!

Sometimes you'll meet a kid who plays f2-f4 on Move 1.

White CAN play this move but he has to be careful. A pretty scary reply is e7-e5, as in the diagram.

Now White MIGHT just play g2-g3 to defend FOOLISH FREDDIE.

Black takes the Pawn, White takes back...

... reaching this position.

What should Black play now?


Checkers Tic-tac-toe

Instead, White can play 2. f4xe5 d7-d6 3. e5xd6 Bf8xd6 4. Nb1-c3 (the wrong knight!) 4... Qd8-h4+ 5. g2-g3 reaching this posiiton.

What should Black play?

Qh4-f6 Qh4-e7

Qh4xh2 Qh4xg3+


It's CHECKMATE next move!

Remember: if your opponent moves FOOLISH FREDDIE in the opening, you can often win quickly by playing a Queen check on h5 (if you're White) or h4 (if you're Black).


You have now completed the FATAL DIAGONAL assignment.