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Barely Légal

Barely Légal

Jun 22, 2014, 2:06 PM 5

Légal's mate is one of the most famous traps of all time, if not the most. This is for good reason - the queen sacrifice so early in a game is such a bold and beautiful move.  I have always been impressed by the trap and have often wondered if there are any similar tactics involving an early queen sacrifice.

Last night, my friend Matt and I stumbled across another such mate, with great excitement. The opening transposes to the King's Gambit, and Matt replies with a non-standard line I hadn't seen before.

Here Black has two options to take back after White takes Black's e-pawn, either dxe5 or fxe5. Let's assume dxe5, which was played (I think it's the stronger of the two moves). What is White's strongest reply?


Now, only the over-eager will take the queen here, and Black's game is not compeletly lost after taking the knight on e5 and White recaptures the bishop on g4 (after Bf7+ to prevent Qd4+). However, with control of the open f-file, a considerable development advantage, and better king position, White is clearly ahead. 

In the game as played, Black did not take the queen and survived through much of the midgame only down a few points of material. However, I (as white) missed a back rank mate and ended up losing! Despite the loss, I was still in good spirits, excited about the interesting trap I discovered. 

EDIT: Fixed a few typos and added mention of the Bf7+ needed before recapture. Thanks to zibbit and dmalloc for the help.

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