Terrific Tips on Ten Tricky Traps to Try

Terrific Tips on Ten Tricky Traps to Try

| 15 | For Beginners

So you want to get better.  You are a beginner or weak player, or just want to beat a certain player. But you keep on losing.  You fall for traps or play a bad opening or make bad moves.  You overlook unprotected pieces or miss combinations that win.  Well, you have to study  some openings, good ones and bad ones.  You have to recognize threats and how to avoid them or take advantage of your own opening and developed pieces.

To get better, you need to understand the idea behind certain openings or moves.  So let's  start with the shortest games, worst blunders, worst moves, great combinations, and great tactics.  Don't rely on a screen display to make the moves.  Sit down at a chess board.  Maybe have two chess boards.  One for the regular game and the other to study the variations from the regular game.  Or use two boards to see the game from the White point of view and the Black point of view.

Here are some of my shortest games.  In my lifetime, I have played over 23,000 games since 1969 and have recorded them all, good or bad.  And you should record all your games as well.  When you get better, you can replay your recorded games and understand more why you lost or won or drew.   You can show your games to someone stronger and they can point out all the mistakes in your game.

So get a board, sit down, and let's play over these 10 awful games.  I won't give you the names of my opponents to humiliate them (besides, most are anonymous on the Internet anyway).  I will call them N.N.  But all of these games have actually been played.  Many of the games were played on the Internet with opponents who want to move fast.  Slow down and think before you move.  Have a plan before you decide on your move and look or think about all the candidate moves.  Rule out the bad moves and concentrate on a few good moves.

 Oh, and if you have a short game you want to share (the shorter, the better) , send it to me (billwall) and  I may annotate it and include it in the next article.

1.  NN - Bill Wall, Internet 1996
1.f3? [not the best opening.  You want to control the center.  If you are just starting out, start with 1.e4 or maybe 1.d4] 1...e5 [the best response to a weak opening move.  Black controls the center] 2.g4?? [the worst move on the board.  If you are going to play 1.f3, at  least follow it up with 2.e4 or some move to control the center.  This move leads to checkmate the next move.  Why couldn't my opponent see this?  He probably never got checkmated in two moves.] 2...Qh4+ mate.  The king is in check and can't move.  Game over.  The opening could also have been played with 1.g4 as the first move, then 1...e5, then 2.f3?? and 2...Qh4 mate.  Always ask yourself, if I make a move, can he check me?  If so, do I have an escape route for my king or can I defend my king, or am I checkmated?  This type of mate is called Fool's mate.

2.  Wall - NN, Dayton 1984
1.b4 [the Orangutan or Polish Opening.  It is a hypermodern attempt to control the center with the fianchettoed bishop.  I have played this opening hundreds of times, and have written a book on it, called The Orangutan] 1...e6 [a slower way to control the center, but not fatal] 2.Bb2 [normal development of the bishop in this opening.  I am not worried about my pawn.] 2...Bxb4?? [This is a poisoned pawn.  My opponent did not see the threat.  Always question free pawns or pieces and protect your pieces.  Remember, your rook is worth more than a bishop in almost every case.  My opponent did not see my bishop winning the rook.  He should have played 2...Nf6 or 2...d5 to control the center and develop the pieces early]  3.Bxg7 White wins the rook and doesn't even get his bishop trapped.  I don't don't know why my opponent missed this unless he never saw a fianchettoed bishop attack along the long diagonal.  So if you see a fianchettoed bishop along the long diagonal, watch out for any trap that might lead the bishop to attack the flank and win the rook.  My opponent later resigned.

3.  NN-Wall, Internet 1996
1.Nf3 [Reti's opening.  It is a hypermodern way to control the center.  It prevents Black from playing 1...e5 right away.  The opening is very popular with grandmasters.  It was the first opening that Bobby Fischer played and mastered] 1...d5 [If I can't play 1...e5, then I will play 1...d5 and try to control the center.] 2.e4?! [not the best move.  You shouldn't play this unless you really know what you are doing.  Solid is 2.d4.  Also popular is 2.g3 and 3.Bg2.  2.c4 can also be played, as well as 2.b3, or 2.b4!?, which is known as Santasierre's Folly] 2...dxe4 [don't turn down a free pawn] 3.Bb5+? [White gives a spite check and overlooks that he will have two pieces attacked.  He should play 3.Ng5 and attack the pawn on e5.  Now he is going to lose a piece.  Giving check with no real purpose is bad.] 3...c6 [Black is now out of check and Black threatens a bishop and a knight with one of his pawns.  Black wins a piece.  I am not sure why my opponent did not see this.  He just saw a check and made the move without thinking about the consequences.  Be greedy with your pieces and don't give them away.  Black won a piece and the game.

4.  NN - Wall, Internet 1995
1.e4 [So far, so good.  White controls the center and plays the most popular first move.] 1...e5 [also controlling the center and countering White's first move.] 2.Qg4?! [not so good.  It is not good to bring out your queen too early.  Usually, you waste moves by bring out out the queen, then moving it around as it gets attacked  Most common for White is 2.Nf3, developing a piece and threatening to win the Black pawn on e5.] 2...Nc6 [developing a piece.  Black could also play 2...Nf6 and attack the queen right away, but maybe White will fall for a well known trap.] 3. Bc4?? [falling for the trap and losing a piece.  White overlooks a double threat or discovered threat as his queen and bishop get attacked at the same time.  He then loses the bishop, not wishing to give up the queen.  Almost any other move was better than 3.Bc4.  Still, the White queen will be attacked soon and must later retreat, losing a tempo and allowing Black to develop his pieces quickly and control more of the center.] 3...d5.  White overlooked that his queen and his bishop would be attacked at the same time.  There is no way to save both pieces.  White will move the queen away from being attacked by the bishop on c8, then Black will play 4...dxc4, winning the bishop.  Always look at discovered threats and don't bring your queen out early.  Develop your pieces first and control the center.  White later lost. The opening could have also been played 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Qg4?? d5.

5.  Wall - NN, Internet 1997
1.e4 [controlling the center] 1...g5?! [not good if you don't know how to play this opening.  Black should control the center with 1...e5, or try other moves such as 1...c5 or 1...e6 or 1...c6.  Black opens up too much space on his kingside with 1...g5.  If his king gets exposed, it will get attacked and may lead to loss of game.] 2.d4 [threatening to play 3.Bxg5 as well as controlling the center] 2...f6?? [the worst move on the board as it leads to checkmate next move.  Black's best reply would be to protect the g pawn with 2...h6, not f6.  Black could also protect the g-pawn with 2...e6.  Now the Queen is protecting the pawn.  But 2...f6 was the worst way to protect the g-pawn.] 3.Qh5+ checkmate.  Black exposed his king and now has no escape route or can defend against the fatal check and mate.  I am not sure why my opponent never saw this.  I doubt he will ever repeat these opening moves and I hope he has learned his lesson.  Do not expose your king or allow it to come under attack.  Defend a pawn with the safest move, but if you have to give up a pawn, don't give up more material, especially if it leads to mate.

6. NN-Wall, Internet 1998
1.h4?! [not the best opening in the world.  White is not doing anything with this opening.  He is not controlling the center or helping his game] 1...e5 [controlling the center] 2.f3?! [exposing the king and hindering the control of the center.  White should follow up and  play 2.e4 and get back at controlling the center.] 2...Be7 [threatening 3...Bxh4, winning a pawn and maybe more] 3.h5?? [White overlooks the mate.  His king is exposed to a check he cannot get out of.  He avoids the loss of his h-pawn, but gets mated instead.  He should at least protect the h-pawn with 3.g3.] 3...Bh4+.  Black cannot defend his king.  If 4.g3, then 4...Bxg3 mate.  If 4.Rxh4, then 4...Qxh4+ 5.g3 Qxg3 mate.  White resigned.

7.  NN - Wall, Internet 1998
1.f4 [Bird's Opening.  Not bad if you know what you are doing. It controls some of the center.  If your are not careful, however, you may be left with an exposed kingside and vulnerable position.] 1...e5 [From's Gambit.  Black usually gives up the pawn (a gambit) for quick development.  Don't play gambits unless you know what you are doing or want to experiment with tactical  play.] 2.g3? [It's best to accept a free pawn.  White should play 2.fxe5.  Black would then play 2...d6 and try to get quick development.  Here, White was trying to protect his pawn, but it doesn't work.] 2...exf4 [Black takes a free pawn and White does not see the threat.  White has an exposed king that comes under attack. 3.gxf4?? [the worst move on the board.  This move leads to mate.  White should just accept that he has lost a pawn and continue his development with 3.Bg2 or 3.Nc3.] 3...Qh4+ checkmate.  White's king is caught in the center and has no escape route or any way to defend it.  Always check to see if you king gets checked when you make a move, especially if your king is already exposed.  White should have taken that free pawn when offered.

8. NN - Wall, Internet 1999
1.b3 [Larsen's Opening.  This is a hypermodern way of controlling the center if you play it right.  I wrote a book on this opening as well.] 1...e5 [controlling the center] 2.d3 [usually 2.Bb2 is played.  That's why you play 1.b3. Not fatal, just slow] 2...Nc6 [quick development and control of the center] 3.Na3? [loses material.  White overlooks that he has left holes on his queenside and he has exposed his king to attack.  White should play 3.Bb3 or 3.e4 and control the center.] 3...Bb4+ [a check that wins material for Black.  White overlooked that he cannot protect himself] 4.c3 [4.Bd2 is no good as Black then wins White's knight after 4...Bxa3.  4.Qd2 loses the queen.] 4...Bxc3+ [wins a pawn and now
attack the rook and the king at the same time] 5.Bd2 Bxa1 6.Qxa1 Nf6 and Black is up the exchange and goes on to win.  White had to see Black's threat of check and winning more material than he was able to give up.  Control the center and protect the king early.  Do not expose it to attack that you cannot defend.

9. Wall - NN, Internet 1999
1.e3 [Usually not the best opening move, but it can be played for surprise value.  It usually transposes into some other normal opening] 1...h6?! [this does nothing to control the center.  Black should have played 1...e5 or 1...d5] 2.Bc4 [a trappy move that bears down on Black's kingside at f7.  White could also have played 2.d4 and control the center] 2...f5?? [this or 2...f6 are the worst moves on the board in this position.  Black exposes his king, which leads to mate.  Black should have played 2...d5, controlling the center and making White waste a move by moving the bishop again.] 3.Qh5+ [a check that proves fatal for Black.  The Black king is exposed and cannot defend itself.] 3...g6 [the only move.  It delays mate for one move] 4.Qxg6+ mate.  Black putting the pawns on h6 and f5 left it open for checkmate with the White queen.  Don't waste moves with h6 or f5 when you need to control the center and get your pieces developed first, then protect you king and perhaps castle early.

10. NN - Wall, Internet 2000
1.e4 [controlling the center] 1...c5 [the Sicilian Defense.  It is one of the most popular openings by Grandmasters.  It can lead to a very complex game] 2.Bc4 [the most common response is 2.Nf3.  Usually you want to bring out your knights before bishops because they are slower to move.] 2...Nc6 [the normal developing move when combined with ...c5.  Black could also play 2...e6, but White does not have a threat on f7 yet.] 3.Qg4? [White overlooks the discovered attack on his queen and bishop at the same time.  See game 4 for a similar theme.  Now White loses a piece.White should have continued with his development and played 3.Nc3 or 3.Nf3, then castle early.] 3...d5 [Black threatens the Queen with the bishop on c8 and threatens White's bishop on c4 with
his pawn] 4.Qg5 [he doesn't want to lose his queen, and gets some compensation for the lost bishop] 4...dxc4 [winning the bishop] 5.Qxc5 [Black gives up a pawn, but wins a bishop.  White is now threatening to win another pawn with 6.Qxc4, losing a bishop for 2 pawns, which is a little better] 5...Qd4 [and Black defends the c-pawn and threatens to win the e-pawn on e4.  This forces White to exchange Queens.  When you are up in material and winning, think about exchanging pieces, but not pawns.  You will almost always have a favorable endgame.] 6.Qxd4 Nxd4 and Black remains two pawns up and won the game. Again, don't bring your queen out too early and watch out for discovered attacks.





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