Mousetrap Gambit - Engine Analysis - Part 2

Mousetrap Gambit - Engine Analysis - Part 2

Nov 24, 2008, 8:40 AM |

Welcome to Part 2 of my chess engine opening analysis of the Mousetrap Gambit.  First some exciting news!  I just found out that my most favorite UCO player Clyde Nakamura is almost done with a new article for Chessville called Mousetrap Gambit Miniatures.  I can't wait!  Clyde is a UCO/Gambit Aficianado and one of the best in the world.  If you haven't already, I would suggest going to his section of Chessville called The search for Dragons and mythical chess openings.  There are many openigns in there that are VERY playable.  I have used many of his opening lines and have scored very well with them.  He has invented many lines and not many people can say that.  Check it out!

OK.. first off.  The engines I used were Rybka 3, Fritz 11, HIARCS 11.1, and Fruit 2.3.1.  All these engines are extremely strong with Rybka being the strongest.  I've ran around 400 games so far in various tournaments to come up with the main replies to the Mousetrap and a couple of sub-variations.  I love watching chess engines because they are ruthless in their analysis.. but most of all its for the Why? factor.  Mainly the "Why did they do that?" and then the following ... "Ooooooooh".  Masters of Forcing Moves and Kings of endless analysis.  Alright, enough blabbering.  On to the games!


The three main replies that the computers used against the Mousetrap were:

  1. h6
  2. Bxe4
  3. Nf6
In that order. Since there were many h6 replies I will cover a few of those games in this post and then post Bxe4 and Nf6 in the next.  NOTE: There may be some wins for black in here and they're usually Rybka.  I ran these games to see the best replies in the opening and not for the tactical/positional savvy of the engines. 

1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bg5 h6

Instead of taking the 'cheese', Black decides to kick out the pesky Bishop from g5.  This is good positional play and the reason for it being the #1 response.  After h6 there are two main replies: Be3 and Bf4.  Lets look at the two variations of Be3.

1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bg5 h6 4. Be3 Bxe4

White simply retreats to reinforce the d4 square.  In my initial touranaments this was the main reply to h6.  Giving up the loose pawn for a solid hold in the center.  The pawn is lost anyways. With Bxe4, Black won 81% of the games... but these also seems to be Rybka and Hiarcs main reply. They were constaly the two leaders in all tournaments.


1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bg5 h6 4. Be3 Nf6
Ignoring the 'cheese' again and adding pressure to the center/developing a piece.

Now for the Bf4 Lines. The two common replies to Bf4 were Bxe4 and Nf6.  I'll include two lines for Nf6.

1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bg5 h6 4. Bf4 Bxe4



1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bg5 h6 4. Bf4 Nf6 5.e5
I like this line.  Attacking the Knight and creating a crazy position.  The e5 push is very common with this opening when the cheese is left to sit.

1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bg5 h6 4. Bf4 Nf6 5.f3
f3 reinforces the a8-h1 diagonal.  Note: White scored extremely well when black responded with Nf6.

Ok.. there are the computer's main replies to h6.  In the next post I will cover the Bxe4 and Nf6 lines.  See you there.  CLICK HERE FOR PART 3