Typical Patterns Everyone Should Know: The Trapped Rook

  • GM Gserper
  • | Aug 29, 2010

The pattern we are going to discuss today is unique in many ways. First of all, every single tactical pattern we've talked about so far can happen both in an opening or in a middle game, but today's pattern usually happens only in an early opening stage.   Secondly, most of the tactical textbooks ignore this pattern for some reason.  Yes, you can find the games where this pattern happened, but I've never seen a book or a chess article devoted to this pattern.  Maybe that explains why so many strong chess players fell for this trap.

I learned this pattern as a boy in a book devoted to the Queen's Gambit Accepted, where I found the next game:

(Just like in most of my articles I give you a chance to test your tactical skills, so the games are given as a Quiz.  Please remember that you can always replay the whole game from the first move if you click "Solution" and then "Move list.")


I was so excited about this trap at that point in my chess career that I even switched from my favorite 1.e4 to 1.d4 hoping to lure someone into it.  Needless to say it never happened.  This variation of the Queen's Gambit Accepted is so well known, that it was really naive of me to hope to win a game this way.  But it is a good idea to remember that your Rook can be trapped on its initial position if the long diagonal gets opened.
You might think that this pattern is too primitive for most chess players to fall for it.  Think again!  The next extraordinary game shows how the FIDE World Champion and one of the best players in the history of chess both missed it!!
 Let me show you two more games where strong GMs fell for this little trick:
In conclusion, let me repeat that even though this pattern is very simple, still many strong players have fallen for it.  So, watch out for the Rooks in the corner of the board, and if your opponent allows the pattern we analyzed today, don't miss your golden opportunity the way Kasparov did!


  • 2 years ago


    Blac k Rb8 and then what

  • 4 years ago



  • 5 years ago


    Thank you very much for the advice. About the missed move of big K, i think it was in classical way of playing and diden't  expect such advantage from a so great player as Kasimdzhanov.

  • 5 years ago


    How did the big K miss such a simple tactic, but is genius enough to spot one 10 moves down easily? <_>

  • 6 years ago


    good advice.

  • 6 years ago


    Once you learn the pattern you can spot them pretty quickly.

  • 6 years ago


    Yo creo que Garry estaba pensando en una bella mujer....I think that Garry was dreaming with a beautiful girl!..lol

  • 6 years ago


    Estimado GeniusKJ, really Kasparov missed it:  10...... Ae5!! 11. d6 , Tb8 and black win!

    Saludos desde Chile

  • 6 years ago


    good one .............

  • 6 years ago


  • 6 years ago


    nice one

  • 6 years ago


    I am no master, but even before the tactical error I don't like Van Wely's very passive defense.

    GM Serper, thank you for your excellent article.

  • 6 years ago


    i think it's impossible...i don't understand...how come the author believes that black is losing???give me an idea please...i'm very interested to know..thanks!!

  • 6 years ago


    Hey, the game where Kasparov missed 10...Be5 was a blitz game, he probably overlooked because how many GMs at that level misses such an easy thing? He didn't even looked at tactics so early in the opening.

  • 6 years ago


    The last game puzzle was smooth!

  • 6 years ago


    Alekhine missed it too! It makes me think that their could be a problem with it...

  • 6 years ago


    I'm still a little disappointed when people try to save the their c pawn after accepting the gambit when I play the QG. I want to win the game but not that early, especially to someone rated near or above me.

  • 6 years ago



    10. ...Be5 11. d6 Rb8 12. Bf4 Bxa1 and the d6-pawn is in the way.

  • 6 years ago



    How should white force bishop trade?

  • 6 years ago


    pretty article.

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