Traps, traps and more traps.

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The Legal Trap

The Legal Trap derives from the Italian game where white develops his light square bishop to the c4 square on the third move, adding pressure to the d5 light square. If black responds by building his defense with d6 then white can simply go into the Legal Trap. The Legal Trap is one of the move common traps that any chess player will come across. This is because it is found in a very common opening and none of the moves made by black look terribly bad on the surface. As we can see though, black will have to make a choice to take the bait from white and capture the queen, losing the game, or instead go down in material and fight on to see another day. Anytime a player exposes his queen, it is really hard for the other player not to take it. That is why this trap works so well. Also if they don't take the bait, you are still in a great position.

 The Lasker Trap

 The Lasker Trap derives from the Queen's Gambit Declined lines and in particular comes from the Albin Countergambit. Black immediately challenges the center by offering up his own unprotected pawn on e5. After white takes the pawn on e5, black has a few options. The most common play is simply to retake the pawn on c4, to equalize the material but at the same time, taking away any queens gambit lines that your opponent may be familiar with. The Lasker Trap, however, does not immediately take the pawn and instead pushes forward with pawn to d4. This simply move applies immense pressure on white and they are foced to deal with this thorn in their side. If white defends incorrectly he can easily fall into the Lasker Trap.

The Kieninger Trap

The Kieninger Trap derives from the Budapest Gambit. Black rarely offers up a gambit but the budapest gambit is the rare exception. After black gives up his pawn on e5, he moves his knight to g4, attacking the white pawn on e5. White then has the option to either give back the pawn that was taken in the gambit or try and hold on to the extra pawn. The Kieninger Trap is unleashed if white tries to hold on the extra pawn.


Siberian Trap

The Siberian Trap derives from the Smith Mora Gambit in the Sicilian Defense. White will offer up a pawn sacrifice in the Smith Mora Gambit in exchange for rapid development. The Siberian Trap allows white to do exactly that and at the same time, get his pieces to active squares and ready for a devastating attack. If white is not careful he will quickly find himself in a world of hurt. His pieces will be developed to great squares but black will be able to use his active knights and cause a lot of problems for white. White will have to choose to either loose his queen or king.


Elephant Trap

The Elephant Trap derives from the Queen's Gambit Declined lines. Black defends the Queens Gambit be simply developing his pawn to e6, keeping the tension on the d5 pawn. White continues to develop his knight and apply even more pressure. Black then starts to set the elephant trap by developing his own knight to f6, baiting the white bishop to come to f5, pinning the knight down to the queen. Black simply brings his own knight to d7. At first glance, this move looks like a mistake by black. If white sees this and falls for the trap, though, it will be a huge mistake. Black can simply sacrifice his own queen with the forced moves that will win back white's queen and put black in a dominating position.


The Birds Eye View Trap

The Bird's Eye View Trap derives from the Bird's Opening. When white opens with the bird's opening of f4, white has a huge weakness on the f2 square and his king is exposed. This trap focuses on that square and gives up a pawn with the intention of laying a trap later on. After white opens with the Bird's opening, black starts to bring all his pieces into the action, getting ready for the attack. The first move for black is Nf6. Once white plays Nf3, then black will play d6. Then if white tries to fianchetto his bishop on the queen side, black can set the trap with e5, offering up a pawn sacrifice in exchange for a brutal attack.


Fishing Pole Trap

The Fishing Pole Trap is one of the easiest traps for white to fall for. Many times, grandmasters have lost to club players at the hands of the fishing pole. If a player is not familiar with the fishing pole the number of ways to hang themselves are sometimes too great and the game can end quickly. The Fishing Pole stems from the Berlin Defense when white responds with the most common main line move of 4. 0-0. After white castles, black has an interesting move of Ng4. This looks like an odd move because the knight has moved twice in the beginning which is usually not a good thing. The knight is also exposed on the other side of the board and looks to be very vulnerable. White's most logical play is to kick the knight out with h3, gaining a tempo and forcing the knight to dance around the board even more. What white doesn't realize is that black is not going to move his knight and instead will play h5, supporting his knight and baiting white to capture. The problem for white is that if he does capture the knight the game will be lose. White can capture with his pawn, then bring his queen to h4 and there is nothing that white can do. The game will end shortly in defeat. Even if white tries to develop some of his other pieces, if he ends up taking the knight, the game will end up very bad for white. The great thing about the trap is that if it does not work out, black can simply bring his knight back to a safe square and does not lose much as far as position and development. The possibility of an easy win is usually worth taking a shot with the fishing pole.  

Marshall Trap

The Marshall Trap is the most common trap that you will see in the Petrov Defense. For those familiar with the Petrov Defense you know that it is a very drawish and somewhat passive opening. With that said, there is still room for error on both sides and the Marshall Trap focuses in on a common error that white makes in his development. After white starts the main line by capturing our e5 pawn, the moves that follow are pretty straight forward and you will see them more than any other move order. This is why this is the most common trap in the Petrov. The trap comes when white is forced to choose how to attack the black knight on e4. The best move is to develop his own knight to c3 but it is also tempting to develop the rook to e1. Anytime you can bring your rook to an open file it is usually recommended but in this case it is actually a huge mistake. White is able to sacrfice his bishop and in the end gain a substantial material advantage due to a small errorin white's development that fell right into the trap.


Mortimer Trap

The Mortimer Traps is one of the less seen traps but is still very important to know as many players like to use uncommon openings and give the false impression that they are giving up material, when in fact they are setting up an attack that becomes unavoidable. The Mortimer Trap stems from the Ruy Lopez and then transposes into the Berlin Defense with Nf6 from black. The most common move from white is to castle king side with 4. 0-0 but if you do see the rare move of 4.d3 which is very logical, protecting the pawn on e4, then you own your way to seeing the Mortimer Trap. After d3 black can spring the trap by playing Ne7 which looks like he is hanging his pawn on e5, but after Nxe5? white has fallen for the trap and will end up losing material in the exchange.


Halosar Trap

The Halosar Trap derives from the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. In the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit, white looks to gambit off his king's pawn on e4. The most aggressive line (the Ryder Gambit) places the white queen on f3 and gives away an additional pawn on the d4 square. If black captures this pawn he is getting closer to falling for the Halosar Trap. After white responds with Be3, attacking the queen, black is forced to choose where to move his queen to safety. Many players will choose b4 as it looks like a safe square and it also looks like it can easily attack the b2 square. Black is not worried about white castling because his bishop can come to g4 and then pin the queen down to the rook. This is exactly what white wants black to think and white can continue with this plan to castle, leaving his queen to be pinned and instead play Nb5 setting up many great attacking lines for white. Black is all but lost and will lose considerable material.


The Blackburne-Shilling Trap

The Blackburne Shilling Trap is a gambit that many black players like to try in the common Italian game from white. Instead of playing the normal Giuoco Piano or even the Ruy Lopez, black offers up a pawn sacrifice on e5. White should decline the offer to go up in material or else he will find himself actually down in material. Depending on how poorly white plays after falling for the trap will determine just how much material he will lose. The best thing white should do is castle king side and continue his development. Black has moved his knight twice, which does nothing for this development and white can now be up 2 moves in development while black is wondering what to do now that white did not fall for the trap. If white does fall for the trap though, black will immediately bring his queen to g5 and attack not only the knight on e5 but also the g2 pawn, and a now exposed white king.

Magnus Smith Trap

The Magnus Smith Trap derives from the Siclian Defense, in particular the Fischer Variation which puts white's light square bishop on c4, attacking the f7 square. Black has two options. His best move is to stop the attack from white with e6. It's a passive move but most sicilian defenses slowly build up a solid defense and attack later, leaving themselves with a strong pawn structure in the end game. If black chooses to play g6 (which is very common), then he has fallen into the trap. White has the move e5 which puts black in a tough spot. He can't recapture with his pawn or else he will lose his queen. If he instead moves his knight, white can continue to apply pressure and force black into a corner with all his pieces passive and looking for a way out. If you play against the sicilian very often you might want to try out the Fischer variation just in case you come across an opponent that thinks g6 is a viable option. If you ever play the Sicilian make sure that you instead play e6.

Fischer Trap

Bobby Fischer was a brilliant chess player and there is so much that we can learn from him. In this trap we look at one of his many contributions to the chess world. Starting with the king pawn opening for white versus the sicilian defense from black, white places his light square bishop on b3 and dares black to move his knight to a5. If black refuses, white still has a solid setup and a good game ahead. If black falls for the trap, white can play e5! and black is in a losing position. There is not a good square for his knight on f6 to go and it is extremely hard to find a good line for black.

Old Benoni Trap

The old benoni is an extremely popular opening at high level play as it immediately threatens the central pawn from white's d4 with black's c5. Black looks to counter attack by bringing his minor/major pieces involved into the game while continuing to threaten the central pawn support from white. In the Old Benoni Trap, Black looks to give up material early on in hopes that he can get his queen involved into the game, putting a lot of pressure on white to play very precise. Once the queen is involved in the game, there are lots of sharp lines that black has and can easily fall back into a good game even if white is familiar with the trap and plays correctly. The moves are so natural for white, you will probably find it quite easy to spring this trap on your opponents.

Queen's Indian Defense Trap

The Queen's Indian Defense is a very solid defense from black and there are many opportunities that black has to be aggressive. Instead of immediately bringing the light square bishop to b7, black moves his bishop to a6, attacking the pawn on c4. After b3 black can set the trap with Bb4. Now if white tries to block his king with his knight then he has fallen for the trap. The best move is to block with the bishop and even still black can continue with his normal gameplan.


Queen's Gambit Accepted Trap

The Queen's Gambit is not considered a true gambit because the pawn is either regained, or can only be held unprofitably by Black. Black will should allow the pawn to be recaptured, and use the time expended to play against White's centre. If Black tries to hold on to the pawn he may just fall into this very common trap: