Setting traps for the opponent is very exciting and everybody likes doing it. Chess opening traps can decide the outcome of a game in the first moves! Chess players of all levels are always trying to set traps for their opponents, and if you are not careful you can lose a game very quickly to a sneaky opponent. That’s why it is important to be familiar with some of the most common opening traps.
Of course, setting cheap traps – traps which do not improve your position but only aim to catch the opponent out – is one of the worst beginner chess strategies. In the long run, setting these kinds of traps won’t help you to become better at chess, and if your opponent is familiar with the trap they can quickly brush it aside and end up with a superior position. Don’t play ‘hope chess’, where you play poor moves and ‘hope’ your opponent makes a mistake.
Still, it is important to know about most of these traps as a beginner in order to not fall for them. There are certain traps which force you to make moves which are not easy to find over the board.
In this video, IM Valeri Lilov shares some essential opening traps with you. Let’s take a look at some of them:
The Petroff Defense:
The first trap arises from a well-known position in the Petroff Defense after the moves 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. d4 d5 6. Bd3 Bd6 7. O-O O-O 8. c4 Bg4 9. cxd5 f5 10. Re1 (see the diagram on the right).
You can see this line in many chess games between beginners. Here, Black tries to trick White. He has sacrificed his d-pawn in order to speed up his development. With his last move, White attacks Black’s knight on e4. If the knight has to retreat to f6, Black does not have enough compensation for the pawn.
However, Black has a nice tactical shot in store. It is not easy to find the combination if you haven’t seen it before. At the moment, all of White’s pieces are defended. Black plays 10…Bxh2+ 11. Kxh2 (White`s king has to take back as the knight on f3 is pinned) Nxf2 12. Qe2 (The queen has to move) Nxd3 13. Qxd3 Bxf3 14. Qxf3 Qh4+ (see the diagram on the left).
We can see the idea of Black’s sacrifice on h2 now. Black has a double attack against White’s king and the rook on e1. Suddenly, after some massive exchanges, the rook on e1 has no protection anymore. Black wins.
The Albin Counter Gambit
Another essential opening trap arises from the Albin Counter Gambit after the moves 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5. After the logical move, 3.dxe5 Black’s idea behind the pawn sacrifice is to advance with 3…d4 to deprive White’s knight of its natural developing square c3 and to claim a space advantage in the center.
If White immediately challenges the pawn with 4.e3, he falls into an old opening trap. 4…Bb4+ 5.Bd2 dxe3 (see the diagram on the right) offers the Bb4 as a sacrifice. After 6.Bxb4? exf2+ 7.Ke2 (White can’t take the pawn as his queen on d1 would be en prise then) comes 7…fxg1N+! (see the diagram on the left) – underpromotion. If Black takes the knight with 8.Rxg1, Black has 8…Bg4+, winning the queen.
Conclusion – Beginner Chess Strategies: Essential Opening Traps
These beginner chess opening traps were only 2 out of 6 great examples you will find in the free chess video by IM Valeri Lilov. As we’ve seen, the opening offers plenty of chances to go wrong and fall for tricks and combinations.
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