Chess traps

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Common opening traps

You will see here a few examples of traps in the opening. They are the best argument that in chess, you always have to pay attention to what happens, otherwise you may lose the game when you least expect. You will see here that there are a great number of possibilities even at the beginning of the game.

I will only show you a limited number of this positions (only the most common).

Scholar's Mate 1. e2-e4 e7-e5 2. Bf1-c4 Bf8-c5 Nothing special until now. 3. Qd1-h5 Closes in for the kill! 3... Ng8-f6?? This is a very bad move. This doesn't help Black at all. The right move is 3... Qd8-e7 to protect the f7 square or 3... g7-g6 to block to queen's path. But since none of those moves were done the queen has no problem and : A very common trap you might run into. Remember to protect the f7 or f2 square 4. Qh5-f7checkmate. There are several ways this technique can be applied : using a knight instead of a bishop, moving the queen at f3 instead of h5 and so on.. Black can use this technique as well.
Fool's Mate This is the worst possible combinations of moves White can do! 1. f2-f3 e7-e5 2. g2-g4 And with this, White manages to completely remove his king's defense! Black takes advantage of this and: 2... Qd8-h4checkmate Black wins! the fastes way checkmate can ocure. This is sometimes called Fool's mate. This is sometimes called Fool's mate; you might guess why that is!
Legal Mate This checkmate is famous. The game was played in 1750 at Paris between the Legal and the Saint-Brie knight. The opening is called Philidor Defense. 1. e2-e4 e7-e5 2. Ng1-f3 d7-d6 3. Bf1-c4 Bc8-g4 4. Nb1-c3 g7-g6 5. Nf3:e5 White sacrifices the queen! Black doesn't understand the consequences of what he is about to do and captures the queen!
Black can see the trap layed down for him and rushes to capture the queen. 5... Bg4:d1 After this the mate will immediately occur! 6. Bc4:f7+ Ke8-e7 7. Nc3-d5! Checkmate! The trap is now complete. White wins at the beginning of the game
A very interesting game 1. e2-e4 e7-e5 2. Ng1-f3 Nb8-c6 3. Bf1-c4 Nc6-d4 There are many ways White can react to this move. But this move hides a trap: if White captures the pawn at e5 instead of developing his pieces or exchanging the knight at d4, then he will have a surprise! A relatively hard to spot trap. White shouldn't capture the pawn from e5 4. Nf3:e5? Qd8-g5 Now the queen has a simultaneous attack over the knight at e5 and the pawn from g2. 5. Ne5:f7 With this he attacks both the rook at h8 and the queen. But now Black puts in action his surprise : 5... Qg5:g2 6. Rh1-f1 Qg2:e4+ 7. Bc4-e2 Nd4-f3checkmate And White is checkmate in a beautiful manner with etouffe mate! A beautiful etouffe checkmate

As you can see, White has several occasions to avoid checkmate, but doesn't take advantage of them due to the fact that the end result is hard to spot. For example, White can move the queen in front of the king instead of moving the bishop 7. Qd1-e2. But by loosing his queen 7... Nd4:e2 and having a week position White doesn't really stand a chance. Of course, if Black is a beginner in chess, than White might still go on playing, hoping his opponent will make a mistake.
A game all the way from the
17th century from the Greco collection.
1. d2-d4 Ng8-f6 2. Nb1-d2 e7-e5 3. d4:e5 Nf6-g4 4. h2-h3 As you can see White made many mistakes. Black takes advantage of the many mistakes White makes and develops the trap 4... Ng4-e3 ! White is forced to do the following move otherwise he loses the queen. 5. f2:e3 Qd8-h4+ And now, of course 6. g2-g3 Qh4:g3! White is now checkmated. The fact that White made some mistakes allowed his opponent to make his ingenious moves. A checkmate that proves you have to be cautios even from the beginning of the game
A game played at the 1982 Olympics This game was played between Nisimura (White) and Marco(Black) 1. e2-e4 c7-c6 2. Ng1-f3 d7-d5 3. Nb1-c3 d5:e4 4. Nc3:e4 Nb8-d7 Until now all the moves are specific to the Caro-Kann defense. The next move, however, is not the usual one for this opening; as you may guess it hides a trap!  Until now nothing seems to be out of the ordinary in this game 5. Qd1-e2 Ng8-f6? Black makes the mistake White was expecting. 6. Ne4-d6checkmate A beautiful etouffe mate! But things arren't allways what the seem to be. This is why White checkmates his opponent so fast
A trap you could use
when playing the queen's Gambit
1. d2-d4 d7-d5 2. c2-c4 e7-e6 3. Nb1-c3 Ng8-f6 4. Bc1-g5 Nb8-d7 These are the usual moves for this opening in the Cambridge Springs version. The game normally continues with 5. e2-e3 c7-c6 6. Ng1-f3 ...... If a beginner who is not familiar with this position captures the pawn at d5 he'll have a big problem on his hands! When you are in this position don't capture the pawn from d5 or you'll might end up like White did 5. c4:d5 e6:d5 6. Nc3:d5 Nf6:d5!! An excelent move that hides a good trap 7. Bg5:d8 Be7-b4+ A good move! Now White has no other defense than : 8. Qd1-d2 And Black wins a piece after: 8. Bb4:d2 Ke1:d2 and 9. Ke8:d8 This trap brought Black an extra piece !