World Chess Champions Fall For This Trap
Don't be like the world champions who fell for this trick...

World Chess Champions Fall For This Trap

GM Gserper
Feb 26, 2018, 12:00 AM |
48 | Tactics

Today we are going to talk about a very simple trap that any experienced chess player is supposed to know by heart. Yet,at least two legendary world champions fell into this trap in the most unfortunate moment: when they played their world championship matches!

First, let me show you how this trick works. Look at the next game:

Did you notice how a very strong grandmaster, and a big expert of the Dragon variation, Kiril Georgiev moved 11...Qc7 only to play 13...Qa5 two moves later? Why would he waste time in the opening line where every single tempo is extremely important and can make the difference between winning and losing? Why didn't he play 11...Qa5 right away?
Here what could have happened:

That's why Georgiev played Qa5 only after the move Rfc8 was already played, since it prevents this nasty trap:

In most of the cases if the Nd5! trap works it wins the e7 pawn, but sometimes the consequences can be much worse:

I have no idea how the very strong Soviet grandmaster Ragozin could possibly fall into this basic trap.

setting a trap

It is even more puzzling how the brilliant tactician Boris Spassky fell into the same trap in his world championship match game vs. Bobby Fischer:

Apparently it is some sort of world championship curse, because Garry Kasparov fell exactly into the same trap in his match vs. Karpov. In his book, Kasparov calls it the worst blunder of his chess career and adds that "a grandmaster should not make such moves even in a blitz game!"

In the final game of his world title match vs. Magnus Carlsen, the defending champion Vishy Anand was in a must-win situation.

carlsen vs anand world championship

So, he tried the old reliable trap. Unfortunately for him, paraphrasing the famous saying by Tal, a trap is a trap, but Carlsen is Carlsen!

The new world champion broke the curse!

By the way, when Kasparov made his horrific blunder, Karpov spent 25 minutes on his obvious 28.Nd5! move.

Why? Here is Kasparov's explanation: "It is probable that initially he did not believe his eyes: did the move conceal some devilish trap?!"

Karpov always had a unique sense of danger and indeed sometimes even the surefire traps can backfire. Look at the next game where the Bulgarian grandmaster Milko Bobotsov tried to outsmart "The Magician":

I hope that today's study will help you trap many unsuspecting opponents, even if you are not going to play the world championship match any time soon!

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