Ugly Chess Traps
Chess ... in the "Good old days" ...

Ugly Chess Traps

NM FLchessplayer

This blog will be devoted to chess traps. I will use an engine to check my results, so that you can have 100% confidence in all of my work. - FLchessplayer (A.J. Goldsby I) 

First of all, you might ask: "Why the title? Why is a chess trap ugly?" To be honest, ALL chess traps involve bad/ugly chess moves, so one could, if you were so inclined, describe all chess traps as being examples of imperfect chess!    

I have decided to focus on chess traps that are very common, but not necessarily in all of the books. A lot will occur in my games ... and I will reference them here. 

  • Be sure to check out my other blog on chess traps!  
  • Go this website.  ---> My personal domain, NO ADS!!!!  
    {Click on the website for "Game Of The Month." There are MANY games where the opening is analyzed in GREAT detail, just about ALL opening lines are eventually covered!}  

#1.) The infamous smothered mate.  

  --> The above trap has occurred in actual games, ... ... ... 
almost too many times to bother counting them all! 
[ Check any database ... to see what I mean. (The earliest example - that I could discover was: A. Alekhine - vs - 4 Amateurs; Simultaneous Game; Palma de Mallorca, ESP/1935.And here is one trap that happened in my game, I mated in only five moves! (As Black.) ]    
  • Click HERE to see a game from the WCS, 1966 featuring GM Boris Spassky as White and GM Tigran V. Petrosian as Black. (A classical Caro-Kann.)  

Spassky & Petrosian, circa 1960's

  • Click HERE to see a web page - with a game played by the great Emmanuel Lasker - which involves a really brilliant sacrifice! (AND ... I would be willing to bet that you have never seen this particular chess game before, unless you have studied all the games of Lasker.) 

#2.) The "Help, I can't castle!" trap. 

Definitely ugly, but before you say something like:
"No way! Black would never play like this!" ... please click here ... ... ...
(And please be sure to see all the notes that follow the game, as well.)  
  • I mention the "Old Indian" in the above trap/game, click HERE to see a web page where the opening of "The Old Indian" is analyzed in great detail. (This page also covers the same opening. e.g. The Old Indian.) 

 #3.) Beware the False pin / hanging Bishop

This is a common trap, it is also a pattern that is repeated in several different openings.  

---> This is definitely an "ugly" chess trap ... White should never fall into this one! 

Click here to see a web page that I did on a game that featured the Budapest Gambit. 

#4.) OOOoops!!!!! (I forgot about the move of ...Qh4+.) 

This trap - at least the one that I am referring to - occurs mostly in the Dutch Defense, but it also can happen in just about any opening. (See the example just below.) 

Of course, the above trap is fairly well known. But a big misconception is that this can only happen in QP/closed openings. (See the example just below.) 

OK, I am a teacher ... and as a chess teacher, I think that I am obligated to show the correct way to play the Dutch, so ... see the next inset ... 

I love to play the Dutch Defense. (Stonewall & Modern, with a fianchetto.) ESPECIALLY in blitz and bullet ... where there is not a lot of time for reflection and thought, I can just quickly develop my pieces ... and wait for a mistake. 

In the Stonewall, you can put your Pawns on c6, d5, e6 and f5; and then just develop. (Knight to f6, Bishop to d6 and castle, etc.) All this can be done - almost without thinking. AND ... if you want to risk it, you can play most of your moves using the PRE-MOVE function. 

Of course, this is a drastic example, but it clearly illustrates the problems that White will encounter if he plays f2-f3 at the wrong time. 

And here is one last example: 

I already know what you are thinking, NO ONE would play this badly, right? Believe it or not, I have already caught several opponent's in this trap. click here to see the latest example.   

#5.) Shucks!!! Did I just trap my own Queen? 
The following game occurred one Saturday ... I went to the local "Books-A-Million" just to relax for a few minutes, I had been running errands and found myself on that side of town. I ran into a guy - who shall remain unnamed - for reasons that should soon become obvious. 

Anyway, I bought a Chocolate Mocha (coffee) and sat down with a chess book. In charges a chess player, I think I vaguely recognized him from seeing him at chess club one night. He virtually demanded that I play him a game, but first he wanted to warn me what a strong player he was. He went on to tell me he had been a solid 1800+ (USCF) player at one time, and had even won several chess tournaments. (I am not sure he knew who I was, although I did give my name when he introduced himself.) 

I went out to the car to get a chess set, and we played the following game ... (no clock was used). 

After I played Bg5, it took several moments for my opponent to discover that he had lost his Queen ... he played a handful of moves before Resigning. 

To be fair, my opponent told me - after the game - that he had quit chess for nearly 10 years before getting back into the game, and I know from experience that a long lay-off can adversely affect your chess! 


This trap can happen in almost any opening and as White or Black. Take, for example, the following game

Of course, I could show you an endless number of chess games to illustrate my point ... 
but this would be beating a dead horse! (Another example of this trap.) 


I decided to keep a running list of people who fall into this type of trap. 

  1. Aug, 24th, 2018. My opponent fall into it

#6.) Dragon trap, number four thousand, five hundred and thirty-one. (#4,531) 

OK ... the title {for this trap} is a little bit of an exaggeration, although the Dragon does have many tactical pitfalls - for both sides - that anyone who plays this opening must be aware of. 

Please make sure you visit my domain, my FB page on chess and my FB page on chess miniatures. 
(There you will see many posts about the Dragon, this is probably my most famous game, it is in just about all of the databases.) 


This is NOT the trap I brought you here to see, but its maybe the first one you need to learn if you play either side of the Dragon ... and it once caught the mighty A.A. Alekhine. ("Nuff said?") 


Now the snare that I brought you here to see ... ... ... 

Click here to see this game ... with clock tally's and everything.  

Click here to see a blitz game that I played in this exact line. 

#7.) Mates on files and diagonals!!! tongue.png

I have been playing the Dragon (in tournaments!) just about all of my life. Anyone who has any experience with this opening knows how difficult this opening is. 

  1. The Sicilian is one of the most complicated and tactical openings that you can play! 
  2. The Dragon is (maybe) the most difficult and dangerous of all the Sicilian Systems.  
  3. The "Yugoslav Attack" is recognized by opening theory to be the most dangerous reparte' to the Dragon ... its usually the last opening variation the second player wants to see!! 
  4. "The Konstantinov Gambit" is a sub-system of the Dragon, and you cannot find a more difficult and bizarre byway in the Dragon to play, I played the Dragon for 30+ years before I gained a good knowledge of all of the lines and branches of this opening line. 

Here is a trap that has more ground - If you are interested, you can dig around forever! - than maybe any other trap that I have looked at. 

There are LIGHT notes here ... if you are looking for a DETAILED examination of these complex lines and a deep look at all the various wrinkles of this opening system ... then you MUST buy a book/DVD on this amazing opening!!! 

  • Click here to see the proof of all of this. (See my various websites ... for pages that contain a deep analysis of the Sicilian Dragon.) 
  • Click here to see a nice video on this line by a GM. (Igor Smirnov.) 
  • Click here to see a nice game that I won one year (1993) - against another NM - at the annual Florida State Championships. 
  • The game, Karpov-Korchnoi, Candidates Match (1974) is considered by many to be one of the greatest Dragon Games of all time, click HERE to replay this game now. 

#8.) Cheapo mate in the King's Indian and the Dragon.   

Here is a nifty little mate that I have caught many people in, it usually occurs out of a Dragon or a King's Indian Defense. 

I won't even bother to post a game link now ... maybe the next time someone blunders into this whopper of a chess trap ... ... ...   

9.) Bitten on the ... f7-square!!!

A lot of people (100+) have fallen for this trap over the years. I mostly catch people in it when playing bullet chess - some people only care about playing moves quickly. But I have also caught a few people in this in blitz, and one 14-1500 even fell for it in a USCF-rated game! 

Click here to see the latest victim of this trap. 

#10.) Black traps my Bishop ... and gets mated!! 


Click HERE to see this game ... it is also annotated on that page! 

#11.) Another Dragon ... and a back-rank mate?!?!???  

Click here to see this game  ... with all the info and also the clock times.  

("Merry Christmas ... ya filthy animal!!" - from the Christmas movie, "Home Alone.") 

Click here to go over the famous "sack, sack, mate!" game by Bobby Fischer. (Vs. GM B. Larsen.) 

#12.) The Tricky Englund Gambit   

I have experiemented with this line quite a bit ... I thought about using it, more than once! (I even thought about using it as part of my opening repertoire - as Black - for one of my main Black weapons - in OTB tournament chess, when I was still a teenager - but a strong master talked me out of it.) 

I HAVE used it in on-line chess ... and even used it in blitz tournaments. (Lower-rated players don't know what to do with it!)  


  • Click HERE to see a FIDE rated player (2255) ... lose in under 10 moves!!!  
  • Click HERE to see my bullet game in this line - I mate in five moves!  

 Check back soon ... for more traps. 😎