Chess Traps?


Can Someone Suggest me some cool useful chess traps that can help me quickly win material or win the game!
The trap called 'fishing pole trap' is excellent and by using that i got to checkmate my opponents several times!
Any other awesome traps like that one?


traps by and large are usually usound, because you make a move which is less than solid, in hopes that your opponent 'falls for it'. If however your opponent doesn't take the bait & plays a good move himself, then it's your own position which is compromised. It's better to just play the best moves you can, and expect your opponent to do likewise. 

If you really want to be sneaky sneaky, then try playing openings which are tactically ripe (usually king pawn games & gambits). Look over games from masters such as Fischer & Tal. Theres even a book (I forget by whom) called 'Traps, Zaps & Mates' which might help you recognize when such a cheap shot is available.

but mostly, just pay attention to where your opponent is putting his pieces. are they on same file / diagonal as his king or queen? try and create a skewer. often simply putting your knight in front of your bishop tends to make people relax (weaker players at least), thinking the bishop isnt really doing anything... until you move the knight with a discovered attack. look for overworked pieces.. is his bishop guarding a rook here & a pawn there? maybe you can grab the pawn, bihop takes, now the rook is no longer defended.. grab that now too. Now you have a rook & a pawn for a minor piece. just constantly ask yourself, what are his weak points? what are your own? fix yours, punish his. easier said than done of course, but its all part of the game.


I completely agree with ChonleyB.  Don't play for traps.  KNOW the traps of the openings you play, but don't play trap openings just because they are there.  :)


but how does that game look after 6... Qd7 7. Qxa8 Nc6 - now Whites queen is trapped, the only way to get her out is 8. Rxa7 Nxa7, giving back a rook to save the queen, and black still has a playable (but ugly) game with equal material.



fun way of learning, but I still prefer the John Watson series on learning openings the normal way,

ChonleyB wrote:

traps by and large are usually usound, because you make a move which is less than solid, in hopes that your opponent 'falls for it'.

I tend to disagree with that premise. Traps are inherently deeply concealed but logical implications in a position.  If they were easily discerned, they wouldn't be traps.  Setting a trap may or may not weaken the trappers position, but one shouldn't ever sacrifice position just to set a trap.  What one should do is use the threat of a trap to improve one's positon by making a move that would be otherwise untenable or impossible.  So, learning as many traps as possible isn't only fun and empowering, it's quite important.  One must know traps not only to set them for a cheap win, but to avoid them since they aren't readily recognizable.  

AdvLegitimate wrote:

There are few useful traps, most you make your position worse in hope of an easy win.

OT, here is one i used often before I had studied a mainline against the Benko.


Nice trap! (I could also see 8...f5;  9.f3.Nf6;  10.Nd6#.) 

Skwerly wrote:

I completely agree with ChonleyB.  Don't play for traps.  KNOW the traps of the openings you play, but don't play trap openings just because they are there.  :)

This is probably the best advice. Traps are there. (Traps are what I teach a student first, when he wants to learn an opening. He/she has to understand some of the common tactical motifs and prattfalls ... before they can try to grasp the mainline.) 


There's a delightful book called "Chess Traps, Pitfalls, and Swindles" by Reinfeld and Horowitz.  Of course it has probably been out of print for 50 years - hey, I'm an old guy - but it is a lot of fun to go through, and I think the authors take the cautious approach.  Know where the traps are so you can use them where they are consistent with principled play and avoid falling into them.


On the opposite end of Reinfeld and IA Horowitz is Pandolfini's "Chess Traps and Zaps," books 1 and 2 which give a lot of unlikely traps that rely on really bad play on the loser's side and has many misprints or typos. 


Maybe thats the one i was thinking of, I remember seeing the book, but never actually had the chance to look at it.

I did get another of pandolfini's openings books when I was a total novice, and it helped me a great deal in understanding the reasons behind going for a particular setup. I remember there being lots of examples in it where if black did this ...?? you get this !! Bad moves for the opponent aside, it was a great help to me in pointing me to a direction I should be going for. Unfortunately, I was severely outclassed at the club, and the local members almost never made those ...?? moves, but I did start lasting longer than 15 or 20 moves hehe


Do lots of tactics and you can make your own traps.  Other than that, just learn the common traps that are in the openings you play.  Heres a trap in the budapest that I've won with in blitz and bullet.

here's a cool trap in the english opening:


Legal's mate in philidor:


King's gambit:



This is a beautiful sacrificial attack in the Scotch.


Studying traps (which I love to do) always reminds me of the story Jean Rousseau told about his beginning chess experience, trying to beat his mentor by spending months intently studying Greco's trappy games, then resorting to Philidor and Stamma, in his "Confessions," published in 1782:

I made an attempt, though almost against my inclination, and after several efforts, having learned the moves, my progress was so rapid, that before the end of the first sitting, I gave him the rook, which in the beginning he had given me (rook odds).  Nothing more was necessary; behold me fascinated with chess!  I buy a chess board and a “Calabrois,” and shutting myself up in my chamber pass whole days and nights in studying all the varieties of the game, being determined by playing alone, without end or relaxation, to drive them into my head, right or wrong.  After incredible efforts, during two or three months passed in this curious employment, I go to the coffee-house, thin, sallow, and almost stupid;  I seat myself, and again attack M. Bagueret; he beats me, once, twice, twenty times; so many combinations were fermenting in my head, and my imagination was so stupified, that all appeared confusion.  I tried to exercise myself with Philidor’s book or Stamma’s book of instructions, but I was still equally perplexed, and, after having exhausted myself with fatigue, was further to seek than ever, and whether I abandoned my chess for a time, or resolved to surmount every difficulty by unremitted practice, it was the same thing.  I could never advance one step beyond the improvement of the first sitting, nay, I am convinced that had I studed it a thousand ages, I should have ended by being able to give Bagueret the rook and nothing more.


I think most opening traps will worsen ones position if the opponent does not fall for it.


right. if you ONLY play for traps, then your position will likely suffer and you probably won't ever be rated much past 1400.  there's a difference between playing for traps and playing the legitimate traps  you know when they arise.  that's why i say to play the same opening for quite some time, and know a few traps and zaps in it. as long as they don't compromise your position in a long-term way, go for it. 

kind of like the reti/benoni trick that picks up a rook if the opponent tries to hold the c-pawn.  i do like that one, but it's thematic with the openings, so it doesn't compromise me.


Traps imply something which is set, in a purposeful manner, to catch an unweary dare I say less evolved opponent. 

What would be benefitial to study are typical ways to exploit your opponents less than perfect responses to sound opening motifs.



A class player - Another class player

Any tournament (R#1), 14,10,2012

A great little trap.  (Caro-Kann / Two Knight's.)
(It's fun to play the 2.Nc3 line, as many players will try to play it  like an ordinary Caro-Kann.) 

1.e4 c6;  2.Nc3 d5;  3.Nf3 dxe4!?
 Better is >/= 3..Bg4 here. 

4.Nxe4 Bf5?!
 Now this is clearly inferior. 

5.Ng3 Bg6
 Again - this is wrong.
(Better to return to the home-square;  or even play >/= 5...Bg4.) 

6.h4 h6[];  (Box/forced.)
 Now Black has no choice, as White threatened to trap the Bishop with h4-h5. (A kind of Noah's Ark.) 

7.Ne5 Bh7?;  (mistake)
 This looks natural, but it is  completely wrong here ...
Black had to play the awkward/ugly move of >/= 7...Qd6. 

 The box prefers 8.Qh5! here. 
(But this move is good, and contains a nasty trap.)  

    [>/= 8.Qh5 g6;   9.Qf3 f6;  10.Bc4!, +-] 


8...e6;   9.Qe2 Nf6?;  
The final mistake here. 

Now White has a forced win. 
(Can you find it?) 

10.Nxf7! Kxf7;   11.Qxe6+ Kg6;  12.Qf5#.  
I have probably caught several hundred victims in this trap ...
over the years.  (A.J. Goldsby I)