FLchessplayer looks at chess traps ... ... ...
"Help me!" cries the poor pawn.

FLchessplayer looks at chess traps ... ... ...

NM FLchessplayer

In this blog, I will examine a few chess traps ... and what makes them work. OK? 
(Look for the free PDF book by Bill Wall! See the Google search link - above.)

And be sure to visit my main web site, I have two pages devoted to traps.
(First page, second page.)  

Sunday; August 26th, 2018:  I was just randomly clicking on things and exploring links and I stumbled across this CDC article on the most common chess traps. Check it out! 

In all but a few of these traps, you do NOT see a lot of unsound moves. For the most part, I try to avoid traps where one side plays a  grossly unsound move  simply hoping for one cheap pratfall that their opponent might stumble into. All the traps I am going to cover are either very common ones; or ones that are nice, but are fairly well hidden. (There are four laws or principles that govern the opening phase ... if you have no idea of what I am taking about ... or you would like to know more, then you should visit this web page, the four principles {of the opening} are on page three of this article! There are also FOUR basic ELEMENTS of chess ... you need to understand these - and their relationship to each phase of a chess game - in order to be able to play chess correctly. If you would like to see a detailed description of each of the four elements of chess, then I suggest that you should visit this web page. There is also a concept in the opening ... called "The Greek Gift" in chess. {This is a Bishop sack on f7 or on h7, the game of Fischer vs. Reshevsky - given below - is just one example of this idea.} I used to have an entire website dedicated to this one topic, it had over 100 pages ... but the website was closed when the provider went out of business. Click HERE to see my web page dedicated to this topic; click here to see a list of YT video's on this subject ... peruse, choose, & muse.) 

This blog (of mine) also has a few opening traps ...   
This blog is on common/dumb/ugly chess traps. 
This blog has a nice trap in the analysis. (See the first game, & the note after move eight.) 


All chess traps are based on several ideas, some of those are: 

  1. A pre-existing weakness of a square (like f7) or a series of squares, (that are weak);
  2. One side fails to get developed in the opening / wastes time;
  3. One side brings out the Queen early; (more time wasting);
  4. One side loses time by snatching inconsequential Pawns.  
    (Again, more time wasting! By now, it should be obvious that time might be the
     most important element during the opening phase of chess.) 


One of the simplest examples is the so-called "Fool's Mate." (See below.)

Of course, you might say: "Well! I would never fall for that!" (2.g4??) And you would be right. Yet the weakness of White's f2-square and the whole of the e1-h4 diagonal is exploited all of the time.
Let's look at another example ...
White's last move was a perfectly natural chess reaction, but how does Black exploit it?
OK, lets look at one more Budapest trap ... that clearly shows the latent problems that exist for White if the conditions are right to exploit the e1-h4 diagonal. 
Of course, White can also exploit the "outside diagonal" leading to the King, here is an example that is NOT in a lot of trap books. [About 30-40 years ago, Ken Regan was a dynamic young player and one of the few masters - that I have ever known of - to regularly play 1...b6; (Owen's Defense?) in chess tournaments, a lot of players emulated his play.]  
This was a decisive game for me, I went 5-0 in the "Under 1600" section of this tournament.

Here is another interesting trap. 
 And now another trap ... ... ...
... after seeing the one above, you should recognize (the pattern {of}) this one!
Here is an interesting trap ... and it is fueled by a massive blunder: 
In case you think: "Well NO player would ever fall into something like that," then you should take a look at this game. Or here

And here is a very nice trap in the Giuoco Piano, which can be traced back to an idea which may have originated with the first official World Champion, Wilhelm Steinitz.  
Click here ... to see who played this game ... and what year.  
And here is a nice trap in the Evan's Gambit.

A master .... many yarons ago ... once showed me an interesting trap in the Vienna Game. I have owned THOUSANDS of chess books over the years, but I have never seen this one in any trap book. It must be true that everything you see/learn remains somewhere in your brain, even if you cannot readily access it. Here is a variation of that trap in the Vienna game ... its NOT in any of the standard trap books. (Chernev, Pandolfini, etc.)
Click here to see the web page that I did on this one game.  

EVERYONE falls for an opening trap ... sometime in their career. Even the mighty Capa fell into traps ... here, one of the best players in the whole world is busted in under 15 moves! (The ratings are my own estimates, the game was played in 1958.)
Reshevsky was clearly lost ... and probably should have resigned. Yet he hung on until he reached the end of the first session before resigning ... perhaps he did not want to be recorded as the victim of a short chess trap or a miniature!
Replay this game ... on the "Chess Games" website. (You can also DL the PGN file.)
See my web page ... on this historic meeting between two titans of the chess world. 

Here is another trap in the Queen's Gambit ... that every chess player should know.
Here is a nice trap in the Queen's Gambit Declined. 
The analysis - above - contains several standard traps in the QGD / Cambridge Springs Defense. (It is also the result of days of analysis ... with several different engines. AND ... it is also a HUGE improvement over many books and even analysis that was published in the 'Chess Life' magazine!!!) 

Now we should look at a couple of traps in the Caro-Kann ...
And one more trap ... that has caught many victims! (Back in the 1970's, I caught New Mexico State Junior Champion, Kenny Lopez in this. So if you are going to play the Caro-Kann, you had better familiarize yourself with this one.)
Click here to see the same trap, (from the notes, see the game above); that snared the Junior Champion (Kenny Lopez) from the State of New Mexico. (Click here to see another way to fall into this trap.) 
And, to complete our collection, I have one more Caro for you to examine ...

Now I want to show you a few traps in the Ruy Lopez / Spanish Opening.
The first trap we are going to look at is called "Noah's Ark." I think that is a silly name for a trap, but it was always called that as far as I can determine. And this is NOT the version you will find in most books - I think that a trap should spring naturally from the position and not be overly contrived and/or artificial. (If you want, you can click on the "double-arrow" symbol and see this one from Black's side of the chess board.) 
Friday; December 9th, 2016: The "doubting Thomas's" of the world will ALWAYS say something like, "Nobody falls for that anymore, do they?" Well, as a matter of fact, they do. Click HERE to see a game where White leaps headlong into this trap. To his credit, he puts up a terrific fight, but with both a lead in material and nearly a minute up on the clock, there was never any doubt of what the outcome would be!  
And now another trap in the Spanish Opening / Ruy Lopez. 
And finally ... one last trap in the Ruy Lopez / Spanish Game. (This is actually a game I played - as Black - in 1973 or 1974. I was about mid-1400's and my opponent was high 1900's.) 
  The trap in the Giuoco Piano ... and these last two traps in the Ruy Lopez ... should serve both as a warning and a strong reminder: "NEVER open the h-file leading to your King ... especially when there is a Rook sitting on the opposite end  - of that file!"

Here is another trap in the Caro-Kann. I am not going to add it to the C-K section above ... for several different reasons. The first reason, is that it is based on a game I once played. I had only been playing tournament chess 1-2 years at this point ... and I owned no opening books ... so the beginning of the game is pretty bad. (That was A.) Now ... (B.) I wanted to show a section about the dangers of grabbing the b-Pawn ... (especially with your Queen!). and (C.) It is also a common mating pattern ... based on the two Bishops. (Criss-cross or scissors mate.) 
--->  I just saved the game using a current date, (The files kept "blowing up" and becoming corrupted when I tried to use the older dates!) ... the game was actually played around 1973.
More than anything else ... this trap is a stark reminder of the old Hungarian Proverb:
"Never, my son, take the QNP with your Queen." (Supposedly told to a son by a dying father.)
And here is a nice trap in the Najdorf Sicilian ... it has claimed countless victims!
(In BLITZ, I have - in the past - been on BOTH sides of this chess trap!!!)   
Another game to clearly illustrate the dangers of a possible QxNP.
(I have seen literally over 100 miniatures/traps that involve a Queen capturing a NP. I cannot possibly cover all of them,
 I hope that these two should suffice!)

Another common pattern ... involves a mate with a pair of minor pieces, a Bishop and a Knight ...  as this next section will show.
I  recorded the moves of this game on my computer ... but I did not record the date or my opponent! I am sure that the game was played in Mobile, Alabama. The Mobile Chess Club in those days used to meet in a storefront in a big mall (Airport Mall?) just off I-65. I believe that the game was played in approximately 1992, the time control was: "Game in 30 minutes." (The ratings are "guess-timates.")
Black just took a piece, how should White respond?  (See below.) 
Every time I show this trap (see above), I hear stuff like:  "That was terrible, a MASTER would NEVER fall for something as weak and as transparent as that!" Really?
This is the same Karjakin ... that is scheduled (11/2016) to play a World Championship Match with Magnus Carlsen in New York. ('Nuff said? This game - on another server.)
And how about one more trap ... to round out our collection? (I have actually used this trap myself ... and caught a number of victims in this one.)  
Click HERE to see a game - in the Grunfeld Exchange System - that I played as Black. (It includes a pretty thorough analysis of the opening ... which is the same as the trap just above. There are also lots of links and you can save a PDF file of the analysis to your own computer!) 
A trap - that is the sister of the one above - by the great Hungarian GM, Lajos Portisch.
That will round out our section of traps that feature the mating pattern of a Bishop and a Knight.

Here is a trap in the Pirc/Modern Defense ... it is very common and literally there are hundreds of examples in the (ChessBase) database. The game was played in 1989 or 1990 in the "U.S. Game-in-Thirty-Minutes" (G/30m); Round One. 
There are many (different) examples of this trap in the books ... but there are usually the following common traits involved in this trap: 
  1. It normally arises from a Pirc/Modern Defense, although it can also result from many different Double-KP openings.
  2. Black has developed his QN to the less favorable d7-square, weakening the e6-square. (Black's LSB on the c8-square is blocked out.)
  3. White has his KN on the f3-square ... or (in rare cases) on the h3-square. (Hits g5.)
  4. White develops his King's Bishop, (LSB) to the c4-square, hitting the vital f7-square.
  5. Black often wastes time with some extra move(s) like  ...PQR3.
  6. White almost always plays BxP/f7+, followed by Ng5+.
  7. This is followed up by White playing Ne6. (Winning.)

A very famous game that resulted from the Pirc/Modern System is the classic modern contest:
GM Garry Kasparov - GM Veselin Topalov; 61st Hoogoven's Chess Festival / Wijk aan Zee, NED / 1999. (White won an ultra-brilliant game <1-0> in 44 total moves.) Click HERE to see my extensive web-page/analysis of this game!  (Click here to see this game on the CG website.) 


 Here is a chess trap that has claimed an untold number of victims. 

And here is a trap of a different kind ... Black does almost nothing wrong (except maybe bringing out his Queen too early) ... and winds up losing the lady. 
 I have also caught zillions of people in this trap - and its many versions ... BUT!!!!! the same basic idea of trapping the BQ on f6 - in dozens of online games, especially if you include bullet and quick blitz games! (Click here to see just one example.) 

Here is a nice trap in the French Defense, I once caught a master in it!!! 

This game requires some setting up ... I had played a Dragon vs. a 2400+ player in Round Two and won. The game was very long and went approximately 5-6 hours. (Sudden Death time controls were just beginning to be used, the TD said that he wanted to adjourn the game, but my opponent vetoed that idea.) I eventually won, in the 3rd time control, my opponent carelessly dropped a Pawn and got way behind on the clock. He then began offering a draw nearly every move, which I turned down. After playing a such a long and emotionally difficult game, I told a friend that I might blunder and resign, I was simply exhausted. Instead this is the decisive game with another master. 

After I won this easy point in the third round, I cruised to a relatively easy 5-0 score. (All I had to do was beat two fairly decent experts in rounds four and round five. As I remember it, there had been a flurry of upsets early on, and several strong players withdrew after losing just one game - this was quite common back then.) 
Click here to see a recent (online, 3-0 blitz) example of this trap.  

Here is a nice trap in the "Center-Counter Opening. (The Scandinavian Defense.) 
To be honest, it is the result of YEARS of work and analysis of this line. 
I have caught dozens of players in this trap. hundreds in the line where Black prematurely grabs the QP ... and loses his Queen. 
Click HERE to see a game that I played on this server ("Chess-dot-com") that matches this trap, move-for-move ... ... ... believe it - or not!!!!!   
Wednesday; September 26th, 2018: I spent AT LEAST 3-4 hours doing the analysis for this game. I was NOT trying to impress anyone nor make myself seem important. Believe-it-or-not ... my real motivation was trying to LEARN SOMETHING NEW!!! Maybe - at age 60+, that seems a little crazy - but it is truly one of the things that drive me. (#1. Learning something new. #2. Trying to discover something new ... something that no one else has yet come across.) Where am I going with this? Click here to see a very easy blitz win, all I had to do was remember my own analysis ... 

I have decided that, other than adding examples of people actually stumbling into a trap ... I will add no more new traps to this blog. But don't despair! I am going to start a new blog for chess traps!!! (The reason? This blog has become something of a nightmare to manage ... it is too long.) 

 Keep checking back ... grin.png