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You Won't Believe This Simple Trap Even GMs Miss

  • GM Gserper
  • | Aug 10, 2014

There are many different traps in chess. Some of them are so well known that you can hardly use these tricks even against relatively weak players.

However, some traps are good enough to catch even grandmasters.  Sometimes, the world's leading players fall for the same traps more than once, as we discussed here.

Today, I want to talk about a very simple trap which appears in the games of super grandmasters on a regular basis.

I simply cannot explain how the world's top chess players can fall for the same little scheme again and again and again.

Even if you are not planning to play Carlsen or Aronian any time soon, I am sure you'll be able to trap one of your opponents with this tactical pattern.

Chess Traps and Stratagems by Cameron and Mary Maddux

Let me tell you how I learned about this little trick.

In one of the tournaments I entered when I was about 10 years old, I played a very strong opponent. I was leading, so a draw was a good result, especially against my opponent who was much older and stronger than me.

I don't remember the exact position, but it looked pretty much like the following diagram:

The desirable result was very close, so without any doubt I played 1. Qxc5?? expecting 1...Qxc5 2. Rxc5 Rxb2 with an instant draw. It looked like my opponent was expecting exactly my horrible move, since he immediately played 1...Re1+!!

I instantly realized that if I take his rook it will cost me my queen. But I still had some hope and played 2.Kg2, expecting to defend against his attack that might start after 2...Qb7+. Of course, after his simple move 2...Qxc5 I had to resign, as after 3. Rxc5 Rxa1 I am just down a rook!

I was totally crushed, my tournament was ruined, but the worst of all I couldn't belive how I could miss such a simple deflection of my rook. Fortunately, pretty soon I realized that it is not that I am stupid, but that this wicked trap somehow hits very strong chess players on a regular basis.

For example, at first I couldn't believe my eyes when three years after my game, one of the most imaginative chess players of his time (and an also an excellent tactician,) GM Rafael Vaganian, fell for exactly the same trap:

But then I saw more examples like this one:

And here is a game of modern grandmasters:

At some point, I just lost count of super grandmasters who fell for this trap. Here is an example from a game of two 2700+ grandmasters:

And here is the game from the very top:

Now, let's see what happened in the desisive game of the last U.S. Championship:

Finally, here are two games played last week in the Chess Olympiad in Tromso:

Now you can see that this trap is extremely common, and if you never used it against your opponents, don't despair!  

With this trap the question is not "if," it's "when"!



  • 33 hours ago


    How in the heat of the game we can overlook our opponent's back rank check.  Thanks for driving the point home.

  • 2 weeks ago


    Very important article for serious players.


  • 2 weeks ago


    @davidcao1: For the game at the very top:

    1. Qxc5 Re1+

    2. Kg2 Qxc5

    3. Rxe1? (white has 2 rooks, black has 1 queen 1 rook)

    3. Rxc5? Rxa1 (white has 1 rook, black has 2 rooks)


    If instead

    2. Rxe1 Qxc5 and now white again has 2 rooks to black's queen + rook.

  • 3 weeks ago


    I'm sorry.  I'm trying to understand what the problem is?  Maybe it is because i'm a beginner but i dont see what the problem is.

  • 3 weeks ago


    That's cool. Thanks for all the examples! Excellent article! Thanks! Smile

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  • 5 weeks ago


    most excellent... deflection and or, overloading is a very good thing to learn!

  • 5 weeks ago


    this is my daily puzzle, from this article I can solve it in 7 seconds
  • 5 weeks ago


    Wow, what a tale!!  This article is well, just wow:  only the most instructionally easy to follow, practical, and realistic theme I've ever seen on this site; filled with a plethora of specific examples and lots of them from games that mattered.  I will be on the lookout for this move in tactics trainer and beyond yuck yuck duck duck goose.  Thanks for the easily digestible lesson!! 

  • 5 weeks ago


    Thank you so much! I enjoyed this lesson!

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  • 5 weeks ago


    This is interesting. I also used this trap 10 times on the same person!!

  • 5 weeks ago


    Kind of surprising.  Every tactics book I've been through always includes multiple problems with this theme.

  • 5 weeks ago


    good one!!

  • 5 weeks ago


    thanks, very awesome and interisting tactic

  • 5 weeks ago


     that a good li'l tac out there

  • 5 weeks ago



  • 5 weeks ago


    There are simple TT tactics that teach that.

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