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Tactical Patterns Everyone Should Know: The Siberian Trap

Tactical Patterns Everyone Should Know: The Siberian Trap

Oct 20, 2013, 12:00 AM 51 Tactics

What in the world is the Siberian Trap you might ask. Is it what Russians use in taiga to hunt the Siberian tiger?

One of the World Heritage Sites, the Putorana Plateau,
is composed of Siberian Traps | Image Wikipedia

Well, if you ever tried to find a weapon against the dangerous Smith-Morra gambit (which we analyzed a couple of months ago here), then you probably saw this wicked trick:

Check any database and you'll see how many poor souls (even masters!) played the natural looking 9.h3?? (or 9.Bb3 for that matter). Then the game ends instantly:

This is a very good illustration for a pattern that we are going to discuss today. As you could see, the key features of the pattern is the knight on f3 (or Nf6 for Black) guarding against the instant Qh2 (or Qh7 for White) checkmate. Therefore, such a knight should be deflected by ...Nd4! (or Nd5! for White). It is a pattern both simple and deadly, so without further ado, let me offer you some puzzles to solve:

As you could see in all the games that we analyzed today, the victims were famous masters and grandmasters. I hope that after this lesson you'll do better than them, and never miss this tactical pattern in your games. Good luck! 


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