Do you believe in trap after trap?

  • GM Gserper
  • | Apr 25, 2009

In my previous articles I devoted a lot of time to opening traps.  We saw different kinds of traps (good ones , bad ones) and we discussed how to avoid those nasty traps.  But what if you deliberately want to fall into your opponent’s trap? Sounds crazy, right?  Yet, falling into opponents’ traps was a favorite pastime of the great Michael Tal.  In his book he even wrote a special chapter aptly named  “Falling into a trap”.  There he explains that whenever he feels like there is a trap prepared by his opponent, he always tries to find an unexpected continuation which could completely turn the table, so a prey becomes a hunter. He admits that he was successful on numerous occasions.  Of course not everyone can play with fire the way the Magician from Riga could.  But if you want to set a trap after your opponent’s trap you have to be sure that your refutation really works.  In the next example White’s ‘trap after trap’ backfired badly.



But in the following game Black's "trap after trap" was so deep and beautiful that I want to offer it as a quiz for you.  So let's begin. 
 Here is the quiz #1

Quiz #2

Quiz #3

Quiz #4

As you could see in this game, when you see a trap set for you by your tricky opponent, it doesn't mean that you should run for your life and avoid this trap like the plague. First you might want to check if the trap is that dangerous and if you can find a hole in your opponent's idea. If you managed to find a move or a combination that completely changes the situation and, using Tal's words, turn a hunter into a prey, make sure that your idea really works. 
Finally, get any of Cher's CDs and listen to her songs.  Well, it has nothing to do with chess, but she is a pretty cool singer!
So, do you believe in trap after trap?


  • 22 months ago


    yes i believe !

  • 2 years ago


    Extremely nice article but in the Mortimer d5 is not the move for black. After Nc4, d6! does the trick. The bishop has nowhere to go but a4 and now b5 forks the two pieces forcing him to lose one of them.

  • 3 years ago


    great !!

  • 3 years ago


    I already knew this game and I consider it to be one of the most beautiful of chess history!!

  • 3 years ago


    Article number 9, woooooooooowwww. That was truly amazing. No doubt why we know who Najdorf was. :)

  • 6 years ago


    Nice catch!!

    In fact fritz only claims a slight edge to black after 7...dxc4 8 exf6 cxb5 9 fxe7+ Qxe7+, which I would agree with, but the comment about white losing a piece seems completely incorrect after e5.

  • 6 years ago


    For the first position the "Mortimer trap"  what about 7. e5 ?

  • 7 years ago


    OH, MY, GOD. That is the most unbelievable combination I have EVER seen, hands down. What's so incredible about is not only how insanely good you must be at calculation, but to actually find so many brilliant moves when it looks like you have like two attackers (towards the middle of the combination)... it just blows my mind. I have no idea how white just happened to be mated after the line he chose.

    And I don't think he used his intuition on this one. My intuition would have told me to STAY away from this idea. It looks so hard before 15...e5 to make anything out of the king position with just two pieces, and I would probably reject it right there, if I could even forsee all of the moves leading up to 15...e5 and then beyond if I actually found that move.

  • 7 years ago


    very instructive for me :D

  • 7 years ago


    Gluksberg vs. Najdorf
  • 7 years ago


    Indeed, scary.

  • 7 years ago


    Thank you for showing the the trap to avoid a smothered mate.

  • 8 years ago


    This is really something... Thanks!

  • 8 years ago


    Wow!! What a precise fantastic calculation from Najdorf!

  • 8 years ago


    in gluksberg vs. najdorf, I was wondering what was white's first mistake. I took it on from towards the end backing up move by move - but to tell the truth I was short on time so decided to take the help of rybka..

    Anyway, the results:

    8.Nd2?! is weak (8.Bd2 +=), but so is 8..Nbd7?! (8...Qe7 =) . 9.Ng5? is bad!  (9.Nf4 +=) 10.Kh1? was white seeing gremlins? (10.KxBh2 Ng4+ 11.Kg1 Qxg5 12.Nf4 Qh4 13.Nh3 is perfectly ok!)

    11.h4?? is the clearly losing move. 11. Nh3 and white could have fought on (or prolonged the agony, depending on how you want to see it...)

  • 8 years ago


    Great game. Thanks

  • 8 years ago


    that was the scariest combo ive ever seen... i only got 1 right without trial and error!

  • 8 years ago

    IM dpruess


    if you expand the move list in the first quiz, you can read GM Serper's comment on that very point:

    if Kxh2 Ng4+ and Qxg5, when black will still have a strong attack, but has an extra pawn instead of losing the bishop. therefore the best chance for white was to play Kh1, then f4 saving Ng5 and trapping Bh2 on the next move. thus it was very hard to find the correct winnings moves for black thereafter.

  • 8 years ago


    Perfect... you really need to have at least 5 moves in advance to calculate the best move on those critical positions.. Very informative..

  • 8 years ago


    only thing i don't understand in the gluksberg-najdorf game, though, is the reason White did not pluck the Black's dark-squared bishop when he had the chance (10. Kxh2 instead of 10. Kh1). of course, White would lose the knight on g5, but, isn't it worth the pressure of bishop holding your neck?

Back to Top

Post your reply: