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A good trap for 1.e4 blitz players to know about

A good trap for 1.e4 blitz players to know about

Mar 23, 2015, 9:19 PM 0

A few years ago, I would say about 10 or so, when I still played 1.e4 and blitz with regularity (I seem to be playing 1.b3 and correspondence theme tournaments most of my time), I noticed that everyone approached my play with the white pieces practically the same way; a sicilian defense and for some reason the Sveshnikov became wildly popular for a time.  This was on a different chess server of course.  I think I was rated about what I am now, 1600 or so in blitz.  Anyway I really didn't like studying openings all that much, then or now, and as little as I knew about the Najdorf, Dragon, and Scheveningen I new even less about this Shvesnikov opening.  Either I would burn too much time trying to navigate an opening my opponent new better than I did, or I would run into some trap of my opponents design.  So, after many losses, I set out to play it myself against my computer, which I think was Fritz 7 at the time.

 Fritz introduced me to this Be3 move, where I had seen all the top players go Bg5, which is the main line and probably still the best move, if you know lots of opening theory anyway.

Of course right away I went astray, somewhat akin to what I felt like was happening to me when I played human opponents from the white side.  I was quite impressed how quickly I got myself into a losing position.  I also felt like psychologically it was just too tempting to make this shallow calculation and figure out that I could win a pawn.  Go ahead and play Be3 and see if you can figure out why Fritz knew the pawn was safe.

So I remembered what Fritz taught me and I quietly went back to playing blitz games en masse.  Eventually I nabbed my first victim.  I recall it was quite thrilling to see the roles reversed with my opponent burning lots of time trying to figure out what to do.  Stronger players, above 1700 or so, they didn't usually fall for it.  And if you are playing a marathon match with someone they will figure out that they cannot take the pawn, although I noticed sometimes that they would just give up playing the whole line.   Ultimately I wouldn't really recommend playing Be3 in a longer time control and this is why:

The move Rb8 solves the problem of the bishop invading with ease, it also puts the Rook on a square it probably wants to be on anyway possibly preparing b4, and now this pawn on e4 really is under attack, so white has to figure out what to do about that, whatever he does it seems like he hands the initiative over to black.  In short Be3 is a nice trappy move in a 3-5 minute blitz game, but in a long game it loses a lot of its punch, so please save it for your blitz matches.  Happy trails.

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