How To Win Chess In 10 Moves? (As White & Black)

Winning chess in 10 moves is not easy, even for grandmasters. It all depends on your level of skill and that of your opponent’s. If a master is playing a very weak player, such as a 1200 elo player, then the chances of checkmating him in 10 moves or less is certainly possible.

However, you have to be careful when trying to checkmate your opponent fast. Setting dubious traps in the opening can sometimes backfire because you have to break certain opening principles in order to achieve your desired position and trap. If your opponent defends properly, you could find yourself on the losing end.

Nevertheless, in this article, I’m going to show you 4 ways how you can checkmate your opponent in exactly 10 moves (2 games for white and 2 games for black). So with that said, let’s jump right in!

How To Win Chess In 10 Moves For White


The game begins with: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3

This is called the 3 knights opening. White develops the knights forward to control key squares in the center.

3…g7 4.d4 exd4 5.Nd5

Instead of capturing back on d4, white advances his knight to d5 to keep some tension on the board and to setup the mating trap as you’ll see later.

5…Bg7 6.Bg5 Nge7??

Nge7 is a poor move for black, because it needs to control the f6 square which is an important square in black’s position. The better move was to block with 6…Nce7 leaving the knight on g8 to watch over f6.

Now, white starts setting up his trap.


White grabs the pawn in the center leaving black baffled as white only has one defender of the knight while black is attacking the d4 knight twice with his knight and the bishop on g7. But there is something deeper in the position. If black captures 7…Nxd4, then 8.Bxe7 wins the Queen! The game follows

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7…Bxd4 8.Qxd4!

White sacrifices his queen to get rid of the dark squared bishop that was protecting the dark squares around the black king. And now white finishes off the game in style.

8…Nxd4 9.Nf6+ Kf8 10.Bh6# (checkmate)

White wins the game in 10 moves. The theme here is to never weaken the squares around your king. Black was guilty of this by playing g7 and allowing white to trade off the only protector of the dark sqaured weaknesses around the king.

You can go through the full game here

Let’s look at another game with white.

Game #2

The second 10 move game begins with the moves:
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4

This is known as the Italian game. It’s played by chess players of all levels from beginner and intermediate players to advanced players. The game continues:
3…Nf6 4.d4

Black knight on f6 attacks white’s d4 pawn. White ignores this, and plays d4 to open up the center and threatening to capture the pawn on e5.

4…exd4 5.0-0


Even though white is a pawn down, white has a pretty good position and is ahead in devlopment. The bishop is devloped nicely on c4 and the white rook can gain access to the e-file now that white castled. Therefore,  it would be slightly risky for black to now take white’s e4 pawn.

5…h6 6.Nh4

White plays the strange move Nh4. It’s not the best move but the plan is to entice black to capture the e4 pawn. Black does it anyways

6…Nxe4 7.Qh5

White threatens Qxf7 checkmate on the next move. To prevent this, the best move for black is 7…Qf6.

7…g6?? 8.Bxf7! Kxf7

g6 was a terrible blunder by Black. Now white finishes of the combination to checkmate his opponent in 10 moves.

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9.Qxg6+ Ke7 10. Nf5# (checkmate)

Game over

The same theme is present in both game 1 and game 2 for white. Black played g6 and weakened the squares around his king. Black exploited this weakness by sacrificing his bishop on f7 in order to drag out the king and deliver checkmate!

You can go through the full game here

Okay, now enough of white. Let’s look at how to checkmate in 10 moves for the Black pieces. Buckle up because things are going to get dirty!

How To Win Chess In 10 Moves For Black?

In the opening, you should know that Black is the one who usually defends and fight for equality. So to gain any attacking chances in the opening as black will be as a result of inaccuracies by white. With the right knowledge, black can try to exploit these inaccuracies in order to gain a promising attack and a good position.

Here is how to win chess in 10 moves for the black side.

Game# 3

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5

This is called the French Defense, a flexible opening for black. Black counters in the center and attacks white’s e4 pawn.

3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 

(We’ve reached the rubenstein variation)

The idea behind playing 4…Nbd7 is to prepare the devlopment of the knight to f6.  If black rushes to play 4…Nf6 instead, then White plays 5.Nxf6+ Qxf6, and black is left with a misplaced queen on f6. If black is not careful he could lose the queen with ideas of Bg5 in some lines.

4…Nbd7 5.Nf3 Ngf6 6.Nfg5

Nfg5 is perhaps a dubious move by white, as he abandons development to try and cause some troubles on the f7 square.

6…Be7 7.Nxf7

White decides to go for the knight sacrifice on f7. It seems like a calculated risk because white can give a knight check on g5 and later grab the pawn on e6.

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7…Kxf7 8.Ng5+

8…Kg8 is the most logical move because any other square the king moves, black will lose the queen on d8 by Nxe6.

8…Kg8 9.Nxe6 Qe8 

The next move for white is obvious right? 10. Nxf7 forks the queen and the rook. Black is in deep trouble right? “Not at all”

Because after 10…Bb4+ black gains a double check from the Queen on e8 and the bishop on b4. Black cannot defend both threats and therefore it is checkmate on move 10.

Full Game


Our final 10 move checkmate game features one of the most popular openings in chess, The Ruy Lopez. It begins with the moves: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5

The bishop on b5 indirectly adds tension in the center, because in some lines, white is threatening to capture the knight on c6 and win the pawn on e5. The moves in the game follow:
3…a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.0-0 (This is all standard position)

5…Bg4 6.h3 h5!

When facing stronger players over the board, you will see this move quite often. Black ignores the threat of losing the bishop, and argues that his activity along the h-file will put Black in a superior position to launch an attack against the white king. And indeed, white goes for it:
7.hxg4? hxg4 8. Nxe5?? Qh4!

White cannot stop checkmate, because after 9.f3 (trying to run with the king) black plays 9…g3 clamping down the position.

10. Re1 Qh1# (checkmate in 10 moves)

View the entire game here

Final Verdict

Checkmating your opponent in 10 moves is not an easy feat, especially if you are playing a strong player. These 4 games are to demonstrate how a chess game can end quickly if your opponent avoid basic opening principles. This include piece development and king safety.

In most cases, the problem lies in king safety whenever you weaken the squares around the king or disregard castling. Once you understand this, you can exploit any weaknesses in your opponents position and win the game in no time.