10 Fastest Chess Opening Traps
“Knowing where the trap is—that’s the first step in evading it.”, Frank Herbert, Dune
Two weeks ago, FM Sebastian Fell explored the fascinating world of checkmates in the opening, discussing the 10 Essential Checkmating Patterns. Of course, if your opponent plays good opening moves it’s difficult to win a miniature, but if you set a little trap…
In this new free video-post, FM Fell reveals some of the quickest, most amazing chess openings traps, giving you the opportunity to apply what you learned in the past video (click here to see 10 Essential Checkmating Patterns).
Knowing different opening traps also helps you avoid being on the wrong side of a 10 move victory and… perhaps you can start winning some quick games!
As Fell explains, some openings can be very tricky, and others can have a good positional basis. So, you can play a good opening AND try to trick your enemy!
We will see some openings traps below but, if you want to know them all, you’ll have to watch the complete video!
e4 Openings Traps
In king’s pawn openings, there are plenty of well-known traps. A classical trap can be seen in the first diagram.
In this Italian game, Black has just played 3…Nd4. This is clearly a bad move, as the knight is moved for the second time and the e5 pawn is now hanging. Can White take the pawn?
No, if White takes 4.Nxe5?, after 4…Qg5 Black is threatening to take the knight and the g2-pawn. And after 5.Nxf7 Qxg2 6.Rf1 Qxe4+ 7.Be2, Black can simply mate with 7…Nf3#.
A perfect example of an opening trap! Black tempted White into taking the pawn, which turns out to be a very bad decision.
A similar trap can be seen in the Berlin Defense of the Spanish Opening (see next diagram).
In this quite trendy position, every chess player (even top players) move black’s bishop to c5 here. But, more than 100 years ago, James Mortimer discovered the tricky idea 4…Ne7.
This is a quite typical maneuver in the middlegame, to move the knight to g6 (and then to f4), and to prepare …c6, followed by …d5. But, in the opening, it seems a bit slow, taking into account that Black is now behind in development.
As in the previous trap, the e5 pawn is again hanging. Can White take it?
No, again, it cannot be taken! 5.Nxe5?? loses a piece after 5…c6, and if the bishop moves then 6…Qa5+ wins the Ne5.
But White can be tricky too, and play 6.Nc4!?. Can you see how Black wins now?
First, it’s important to discover that 6…cxb5 loses to 7.Nd6# Amazing!
So Black has to play 6…d6, to defend the checkmate, and after 7.Ba4 b5! wins a piece again.
In the video, two more opening traps in the Caro-Kann are examined. But now let’s look at different openings…
d4 Openings Traps
For the amateur player, the d4 openings are less tactically appealing and perhaps seem a little boring. Nothing could be further from the truth!
To debunk the myth, FM Fell shows 6 opening traps in some tricky variations like the Budapest and the Albin Gambit.
But there is a special, fascinating trap in the Dutch Defense, that even masters are tempted to play.
The trap starts as early as move two with the incredible 2.h3!?!
What on earth is happening here?
The idea to undermine the f5 pawn with g2-g4 is quite typical in the Dutch, but White had not developed any pieces yet!
And what’s White’s idea after 2…Nf6, preventing g2-g4?
To play 3.g4 anyway! After 3…fxg4 4.hxg4 Nxg4 5.Qd3!, now the h7-pawn is threatened, and Black has not many options.
5…h6?? loses immediately after 6.Qg6#
And 5…Nf6?? also loses after 6.Rxh7!, threatening Qg6# and Rxh8. So Black has to resign!
In fact, Black’s only defense is 5…g6, but White’s idea is 6.Rxh7! (anyway!) 6…Rxh7 7.Qxg6+ Rf7 8.Qxg4, with a pawn for the exchange. It’s a really difficult position to evaluate, but the engine gives the advantage to white. Amazing!
There are many opening traps to analyze. Doing so will improve your tactical vision, broaden your opening knowledge and, perhaps, help you win some quick and spectacular games!
Although it’s not recommended to play for a quick trap in the opening, you can play some tricky lines that have a positional background to play on if the opponent doesn’t fall for the trick. After all, games can go longer than 10 moves!
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