Bulletin No.47 – 7 Deadly Sinful Traps for White

In Bulletin No.31 Martin Simons showed how to ‘Bash’ the Birds and to be (almost) winning after only 3 moves.

In Bulletin No.38 we covered ‘7 Deadly Sinful Traps for Black’.

In Bulletin No.45 we examined perhaps the most trappy of Black openings with the Stunning Stafford Gambit.

However, these bulletins have all been written from the Black perspective.

In this article Martin redresses the balance by providing 7 trappy ways to catch Black out in their standard mainstream openings in less than 10 moves when they are on ‘autopilot’! There are four cunning lines with 1.e4, two lines with the English Opening and one line with 1.d4. It has to be said up front that, perhaps surprisingly, opening traps for White have been much harder to find than those for Black. However, as White has the first move, these traps can be even more devastating! Even if Black does find the correct defence, White often stands no worse so these are worth a go, particularly in Blitz games.

We will start with a ‘trap’ in 8 moves then countdown to a 2 move ‘trap’ (well, this last one is not quite a trap but a nice trappy move!).   For each trap we show the main idea and then at the end more analysis on an interactive board.

Let the show (of 7 deadly White traps) begin!

Trap 1 – To ‘Exterminate’ with the English opening in Only 8 Moves!

This is a nasty little trap if Black tries to play a reversed Closed Sicilian with g6.

1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nf3 g6?

The question mark is given because it invites danger!

4.d4 exd4 5.Nd5!

And the exclamation mark here is for its trappiness!

5…Bg7 6.Bg5 Nge7?

A natural move but it loses.

7.Nxd4! The threat is Nxc6 but doesn’t it drop a piece? 7…Bxd4?

7…Nxd4? allows 8.Bxe7

And here is the devious trap!



8…O-O also loses to 9.Nf6+, please see interactive game.

9.Nf6+ Kf8 10.Bh6 mate!

See more analysis on an interactive board.

Trap 2 – To ‘Nuke’ with the Nakhmanson Gambit in only 7 moves!

This trap is brilliant as White stuns Black on move 6 by giving up a piece then nukes Black on move 7 with a further piece sacrifice! It has many other hidden traps but we will only concentrate on one or two.

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.Nc3!

The exclamation mark is for the audacity of this move, White voluntarily puts a piece en prise! What is this crazy move all about?


Black has a few other alternative moves which may form the basis of a future article but we will mainly concentrate on the acceptance of the piece offering. Please see Interactive game for one possible sample line with 6…Nxc3 where Carlsen fell into a trap as Black and lost!


Incredible. Not content with giving up the first piece White chooses to give up a second one too!


The offered second piece has to be taken. If Black has not seen this before then s/he is likely to be extremely concerned.

8.Qd5+ Ke8

8…Kf6!? looks uninviting to the naked eye whilst 8…Kg6? and 8…Ke7? would be a disaster!

9.Re1! White is in no hurry to recover the lost piece or two! 9…Be7

Black seeks to block the e-file with some urgency! 9…Ne7 is covered in more detail in the interactive game when White still has excellent chances.

10.Rxe4 h6?

The most natural move on the board to prevent a White piece arriving on g5 but it is a fatal mistake. However, White’s next move is simply amazing! Can you work it out?

11.Bxh6! What a move! That’s 3 pieces sacced yet it is game over!

11…Rxh6 If 11…gxh6 then 12.Qh5+ Kf8 13.Rf4+ Bf6 14.Qg6 winning.

12.Qg8 mate!

See more analysis on an interactive board.

Trap 3 – To ‘Stun’ with the Stafford in reverse in only 6 moves!

Having covered the trappy Stafford Gambit in Bulletin No.45, we cannot ignore playing it in reverse as White with an extra move! This is also known as the Boden-Kieseritzky Gambit and is even stronger!

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.Nf3!? Nxe4 4.Nc3 Nxc3 5.dxc3

There are now far less options for Black here than playing against the Stafford as White. The 2 most natural ‘autopilot’ moves are 5…Nc6? and 5…d6? but these both lose quickly. The better but odd looking 5…f6 (when White still has excellent practical chances) and the disastrous 5…e4? are covered in the more detailed analysis in the interactive game.

A) 5…Nc6? 6.Ng5! Bc5

6… Qe7 7.Bxf7+ Kd8 8.Ne6+ is an amusing finish!

7.Bxf7+ Kf8 8.Bd5 winning!

B) 5…d6? 6.Ng5! Be6

In the Stafford Gambit as Black, it is recommended to capture the bishop with the knight (which is also good) but White can go one better here!

7.Bxe6 fxe6 8.Qf3!

There is a double threat of mate on f7 and the pawn on b7. White is completely winning!

See more analysis on an interactive board.

Trap 4 – To ‘Excel’ with the English opening in Only 5 Moves!

This is another possible nasty little trap if Black tries to play a reversed Open Sicilian with d5.

1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.e3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5

Everything appears normal, a reversed Open Sicilian but White now chooses a cheeky line to try and take advantage of the extra move.

5.Qh5! The exclamation mark is for knowing when to bring the queen out early! As we will see this move comes with a lot of potency. Surprisingly Black’s attacked e-pawn is hard to defend. Black needs to think carefully about how to do this and could go wrong immediately, particularly in Blitz.

A) 5…Nd7? 6.Nxd5!

B) 5…Qe7? 6.Nxd5! Oops!

C) 5…Bd6? 6.Nxd5! Oops, Black has done it again!

D) 5…e4? 6.Qxd5! Oops, and again!

E) 5…Nxc3?! 6.Qxe5+ Be7 7.bxc3 and White appears to be a safe pawn up.

The better 5…Qd6, 5…Nc6 and 5…Be6 are covered in the interactive game when White still has interesting chances.

See more analysis on an interactive board.

Trap 5 – To ‘Fry’ the French in only 4 Moves!

1.e4 e6 2.c4 d5 3.cxd5 exd5 4.Qb3!

This is known as the Orthoschnapp Gambit. The objective is to sac a pawn, gain open play, put immediate pressure on Black’s pawn on f7 and create unique positions.

4…dxe4 A free pawn! 5.Bc4

The point. Black is already having to make an early difficult decision on how to defend the pawn on f7 and there is no resemblence to a French Defence! It is also not clear what is Black’s best move!

Black has 4 main responses yet they all look look a bit awkward.

(A) 5…Qd7 This looks unwieldy as it blocks in the Black bishop on c8.

6.Nc3 Nf6?! 7.d3! The key move, White is looking for active play for the sacrificed pawn (or two). 7…exd3 This looks like another free pawn! 8.Nf3 Nc6 9.O-O Na5 10.Re1+ and if 10…Be7? 11.Bxf7+ with an excellent position.

If 11…Kf8 12.Qd1 and the bishop is immune from capture as after 12…Kxf7 13.Ne5+ wins the queen! A great trappy line.

(B) 5…Qf6 This looks cumbersome as White may gain time with Nd5 or Nxe4.

6.Nc3 Qg6 7.Nge2 White has a massive lead in development. Black will have to defend very carefully to survive. The beauty about this position is that it looks nothing like a French!

(C) 5…Qe7 This may be one of the most testing defences but it is not easy to find as it blocks in the f8 bishop and may invite a Nd5.

6.Nc3 c6 7.d3 (or 7.d4) 7…exd3+ Here is an example of how White’s attack could become too overwhelming 8.Be3 Nf6 9.Nf3 h6? (to stop Ng5 but too slow) 10.O-O-O Bg4 11.Rhe1.

Black has played sensible defensive moves but all of White’s pieces are now in play with multiple threats whereas Black has 5 pieces on their original squares and with castling a long way off. It is not hard to see White is completely winning.

(D) 5…Nh6? Although it defends f7, this move looks so wrong and clumsy as it invites White’s next move.

6.d3 threatening 7.Bxh6 and renewing the threat on Black’s f7 pawn. 6…Qe7 7.dxe4 and if 7…Qxe4+ 8.Ne2 Qxg2 The only consistent follow up but White’s lead in development is significant. 9.Rg1 Qxh2 10.Nbc3 c6 (to stop Nd5 or Nb5) 11.Bf4 Qh5 12.0-0-0

Despite being 3 pawns down it is not hard to see White is winning!

See more analysis on an interactive board.

Trap 6 – To ‘Sabotage’ the Sicilian with the Delayed Alapin in only 3 Moves!

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.c3

This is the Delayed Alapin which can cause Black immediate problems if the reaction is poor.

3…Nf6 4.Be2!?

This innocous looking move has plenty of venom!  We would expect Black not to fall for the basic trap 4…Nxe4? when 5.Qa4+ wins the knight.

However, if 4…Nc6 5.d4 Nxe4? 6.d5 and wherever the knight goes White once again plays 7.Qa4+ winning the knight on e4.

Peel back, Black can try 5…cxd4 6.cxd4 Nxe4 7.d5 and if the knight on c6 moves then 8.Qa4+ wins again! More detailed analysis where Black flicks in the zwischenzug 7…Qa5+ is examined in the interactive game where Black can be up to 3 pawns up yet still losing!

See more analysis on an interactive board.

Trap 7 – To ‘Immobilise’ the Indian defences in only 2 Moves!

1.d4 Nf6 2.g4!?

This is known as the Kilkenny Gambit and the name has been adopted by Simon Williams following a game played in Ireland. It asks Black the immediate question and could be a great surprise weapon for Blitz chess! Indeed Carlsen has played it in Blitz as Black a move down i.e. 1.Nf3 g5!? and always seems to win with it but he is the World Champion and as we all know, he can more or less get away with playing anything! 2…Nxg4 3.e4

Due to the attack on the knight on g4 Black only has 3 main ways to respond. 3…d6 and 3…Nf6?! are considered in the interactive game.

3…d5 4.Nc3 (4.Be2 is often played to renew the attack on the knight and is equally as interesting) 4…c6 5.Bf4!? (5.exd5 maybe stronger first but White is trying not to give Black the option of developing the knight to c6 hence setting a trap!) 5…g6?! Black is looking for a White square blockade. 6.exd5 cxd5?

Can you spot White’s winning move?

7.Bxb8! So many times in other similar variations this move is missed! 7…Rxb8 8.Bb5+ wins the knight on g4! e.g. 8…Bd7 9.Qxg4 Lewis v Clayton 1985.

See more analysis on an interactive board.


We hope there are one or two traps here which have sufficiently whet your appetite for you to explore further in some of your games. Please let us know if you have any good wins!

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