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Taking Advantage of Mistakes in 1. e4 e5: Part 2

Continuing the subject of the first part of this article series, we are going to talk about ways to take advantage of our opponent’s opening mistakes in the 1.e4 e5 openings.

One of the main things you must understand in any opening you play, is the type of mistakes that your opponent can make in the opening. This can involve small mistakes, such as letting you develop a piece with tempo, or big mistakes, such as tactics that allow you to win a lot of material. In this three part series of articles we are going to examine a few of the tactical mistakes that Black can make after the moves 1.e4 e5.

In this second part we are going to focus on an interesting queen trap tactic.

Opening Mistake 3The position to the right came from the moves 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 Be7 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nd7. Black seems to have solid position, however his moves so far have been weak. The bishop on e7 is not very active and the knight on d7 is blocking the bishop on c8 from moving. Also, Black’s queen is not able to make any moves. White also has more space and more active pieces.

Here, White is able to take advantage of this with the move 6.Bxf7+ Kx7 7.Ne6! attacking Black’s queen. If Black captures the knight with 7…Kxe6, he is mated quickly with the moves 8.Qd5+ Kf6 9.Qf5#. If Black does not capture the knight and moves his queen instead with 7…Qe8, he still ends up losing her when White plays 8.Nxc7 Qd8 9.Qd5+ Kf8 10.Ne6+ Ke8 11.Nxd8.

I learned a lot about how to punish mistakes in the opening by watching the “Winning Chess Games in the Opening” DVD by GM Rafael Leitao and would highly recommend it if you want to learn more about the topic!

This tactic was only possible because of Black’s opening mistakes. With the early …Nd7 move, he blocked the bishop’s defense of the e6 square and White was able to quickly jump on that flaw in Black’s position because he had played better, more active opening moves than his opponent.

Mistake 4The position to the right here has a similar idea, as well. The game started off with 1 e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Be7 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.Nxd4 d6 7.0-0 0-0 8.h3 Re8 9.Re1 Nd7. Black’s last move gives us a similar pattern to the first position.

Again, Black’s c8-bishop is blocked from the defense of the e6 square! Also, Black’s queen is again trapped in the middle of the board. We see that the exact same idea is possible in this position, too, when White plays 10.Bxf7+ Kxf7 11.Ne6!

If Black captures the knight, then we see the same mate after 11…Ke6 12.Qd5+ Kf6 13.Qf5#, and if he does not capture the knight, then White will simply capture the queen next move and be ahead by a lot of material.

Once again, we must always be watchful for possible tactics and forcing moves in openings when our opponent is making mistakes like these. Finding the ways to take advantage of the mistakes will help us a lot in winning games much quicker.

“The Secrets to Mastering the Chess Opening” – GM Damian Lemos
“Winning Chess Games in the Opening” – GM Rafael Leitao

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