No matter if it is a miniature, a King-Hunt, a long endgame, or even a casual game, there is a word that every chess player would love to speak, and conversely, hate hearing it.
That word, so much loved and feared, is MATE.
But if it is a word much beloved in the chess world, why don’t we speak it more in normal conversations?
Well, it turns out that four letters, arranged in a M-A-T-E sequence, do not occur often in English, and even less in other languages.
Let’s look at words with the letters M-A-T-E in them.
AGEMATE [n. one who is about the same age as another.]
AMATE [n. a Central American timber tree with lustrous foliage and edible fruits.]
BREGMATE [n. a junction point of the skull.]
COELOMATE [adj. having a coelom (the main body cavity in most animals).]
CYCLAMATE [n. a salt of cyclamic acid formerly used as an artificial sweetener.]
DESPUMATE [v. to clarify or purify a liquid by skimming a scum from its surface.]
DITHIOCARBAMATE [n. any salt or ester of dithiocarbamic acid, commonly used as fungicides.]
FISSIPALMATE [adj. having lobed or partially webbed separated toes, as in the feet of certain birds.]
GEMMATE [adj. (1) having buds, (2) adorned with gems or jewels.]
HAMATE [n. a bone on the inner side of the second row of the carpus in mammals.]
HIEROGRAMMATE [n. a writer of hierograms (sacred symbols or records, esp. hieroglyphics).]
IMAMATE [n. the office of an imam]
INANIMATE [adj. not alive.]
INCREMATE [v. to cremate]
MATE [n. a companion ; v. (1) to checkmate an opponent in chess, (2) to produce offspring.]
MATELOTE [n. a fish stew that is cooked in a wine sauce.]
MATER [n. an informal use of the Latin word for mother; adj. not reflecting light; not glossy.]
MATERIAL [n. the elements, constituents, or substances of which something is composed or can be made.]
MATERNAL [adj. relating to or characteristic of a mother or motherhood.]
MEPROBAMATE [n. a bitter-tasting drug used as a mild tranquilizer.]
PRIMATE [n. any mammal of the order Primates (defined as having an up-right appearance, large brains relative to body size, body hair, and giving live birth). This group, with over 300 mammals, includes lemurs, lorises, gibbons, tarsiers, gorillas, monkeys, apes, and humans.]
RAMATE [adj. having branches; branched.]
STEARSMATE [n. same as STEERSMATE.]
STEERSMATE [n. one who steers; steersman.]
STOMATE [n. a minute opening in the epidermis of a plant organ.]
TOTIPALMATE [adj. having webbing that connects each of the four anterior toes, as in water birds.]
It doesn’t seem fair that we can mostly say MATE in the chess world. So, what to do if we want to say MATE more often? It’s easy! Play more chess!
Meanwhile, let’s indulge in a few more MATES.
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.d4 Qh4+ 5.Kf1 Bb6 6.Nf3 Qd8 7.Bxf4 Ne7 8.Ng5 O-O 9.Qh5 h6 10.Bxf7+ Kh8
11.Qxh6+! gxh6 12.Be5mate 1-0
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bd3!? Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 h6 6.Ba3 Nd7 7.Qe2 dxe4 8.Bxe4 Ngf6 9.Bd3 b6
10.Qxe6+!! fxe6 11.Bg6mate 1-0
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 Be7 4.Bc4 Bh4+ 5.g3 fxg3 6.O-O gxh2+ (Believe it or not, this is all theory. It is mostly known by the name, “Three Pawns Gambit”.) 7.Kh1 Be7 8.Bxf7+ Kxf7 9.Ne5+ Ke6 10.Qg4+ Kxe5 11.Qf5+ Kd6 12.Qd5mate 1-0
Joe Ei-Ken Scott
Golden Knights, USCF, 1982
1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 c6 8.Bd2 Qd8 9.Bc4 e6 10.O-O-O Qb6?! 11.Ne4 Qxd4? 12.Ba5 Qxc4
13.Qxf6! gxf6 14.Nxf6+ Ke7 15.Bd8mate 1-0
L. Bohne (2025)-J. Adamski (2400)
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 c5 (Other adequate responses include 4…d5, 4…O-O, and 4…Nc6.) 5.dxc5 Qc7 6.a3 Bxc5 7.Nf3 a6 8.e3 Be7 9.Be2 d6 10.O-O Nbd7 11.b3 b6 12.Bb2 Bb7 13.Rac1 Rc8 14.Nd4 O-O 15.Bf3 Bxf3 16.Nxf3 Qb7 17.Qe2 Rc7 18.Nd2 Rfc8 19.e4 Ne8 20.Rc2 Ne5 21.f4 Nc6 22.Nf3 Na5 23.Nd4 Nc6 24.Nxc6 Rxc6 25.Rcc1 Qb8 26.f5 Nf6 27.g4 Nd7 28.fxe6 fxe6 29.Nd5 Bg5 30.Nf4 Re8 31.Rcd1 Bf6 32.Bxf6 Nxf6 33.h3 b5 34.cxb5 axb5 35.Rc1 Rxc1 36.Rxc1 Qa7+ 37.Kg2 Qxa3 38.Rc7 Qb4 39.Rb7 h6 40.Rxb5 Qd4 41.Rb7 Nxe4 42.Ng6 Kh7 43.Qf3 Kxg6 44.Qf7+ Kh7 45.Qxe8 Qf2+ 46.Kh1 Ng3mate 0-1
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The Three Pawns Gambit is also known as the Cunningham Gambit.