Photo of venus fly trap by Noah Elhardt. CC BY-SA 2.5
In Bulletin No.31 we showed you how to ‘Bash’ the Birds and to be (almost) winning after 3 moves. In this article we are now going to provide 7 cunning ways to ‘trap’ White in their standard mainstream openings in less than 10 moves when they are on ‘autopilot’! We have three lines against 1.e4, three lines against 1.d4 and one line against the English Opening!
We will start with a ‘trap’ in 9 moves then countdown to a 3 move ‘trap’ (which might even be the best of the bunch!).
Let the show (of 7 deadly Black traps) begin!
Trap 1 – To ‘Maul’ the Morra Gambit in only 9 moves!
In the Morra Gambit, White normally plays Nf3, Bc4, 0-0 and Qe2 almost automatically against everything. This is why this sly trap has caught so many unsuspecting players out! It has appeared in around 400 games and Black has scored about 70%. Let’s see what happens if White is not paying attention …
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Bc4 Qc7 7.0-0 Nf6 8.Qe2 Ng4!
In practice Black has scored well here against all white replies but after 9.h3?? Nd4! it’s game over! The Black threats are 10…Nxe2+ and 10…Nxf3+ followed by 11…Qh2 mate which cannot both be dealt with. If 10.Nxd4 then 10…Qh2 mate! This is known as the Siberian Trap and has ‘trapped’ many top players. The tactical idea is very thematic as it often crops up in many other openings so it’s worth remembering.
Trap 2 – To ‘Attack’ with the Albin Counter Gambit in only 8 moves!
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 d4 4.e3?
White is already in a bit of trouble. The main move is 4.Nf3 when the results are in the normal percentage range. However, 4.e3? is White’s 3rd most popular move, with around 300 players having been caught out!
If 5.Nd2 dxe3 6.fxe3 Qh4+ 7.g3 Qe4 when Black will restore material equality and be significantly better due to White’s weak pawns.
Black has set a double trap! And now…
A) 6.fxe3 is the safest reply but after 6…Qh4+ 7.g3 Qe4 8.Nf3 Qxe3+
Black again stands better due to White’s weak pawns.
B) 6.Qa4+? White may think s/he is winning a piece but this is a great example of the trapper becoming the trapped! Black plays 6…Nc6! 7.Bxb4 exf2+ 8.Kxf2 Qh4+! 9.g3 (best) Qd4+ and White’s king is on the run.
If 10.Ke1 Qe4+ wins the h1 rook and if instead 10.Kg2 Qxb2+ picks up the other rook or it might be easier to capture the bishop on b4 and be a safe pawn up!
C) 6.Bxb4?? Falling fully into the hole! 6…exf2+ 7.Ke2 The king must remain in contact with the queen.
7…fxg1(N)+! a brilliant under-promotion 8.Rxg1 If 8.Ke1 Qh4+ 9.g3 Qe4+ picks up the rook or 9.Kd2 Nc6 10.Bc3 Bg4 11.Qe1 0-0-0+ is murderous! 8…Bg4+ and Black wins the White queen in only 8 moves!
Trap 3 – To be a ‘Pest’ in the Budapest Gambit in only 7 moves!
Let’s see what happens when White switches off in a Budapest (Fajarowicz) Gambit 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ne4!? 4.a3 (to stop Bb4+ which is a typical Black plan) 4…Nc6 5.Nf3 d6!? 6.exd6 Bxd6
If White is not concentrating hard and plays the safe autopilot move 7.g3?? (or even 7.b4??) then 7…Nxf2! 8.Kxf2 Bxg3+ wins White’s queen!
The same trap can equally happen in this variation a move earlier after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ne4!? 4.a3 d6!? 5.exd6 Bxd6
Notice the similarity! Here, White has more opportunity to go wrong with three natural moves 6.Nf3?? or 6.g3?? or 6.b4?? as they will suffer the same fate after 6…Nxf2! when White is completely lost!
It can also arise in the main Budapest Gambit variation (after 3…Ng4) and then a sideline variation 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ng4 4.Nf3 d6!? 5.exd6 Bxd6
If White lazily kicks the annoying knight away with 6.h3?? (Here the natural 6.g3?? and 6.b3?? are also careless!) 6…Nxf2! 7. Kxf2 Bg3+! (or 7…Bc5+! 8.Ke1 Bf2+!) and the White queen is snared once again!
Over the years, this trap has caught out so many players. Indeed, over the summer during lockdown, a similar position was reached in a Ringwood Online Chess Tournament. Unfortunately, both players, who will remain nameless, missed it!
Trap 4 – To ‘Exterminate’ the English Opening in only 6 moves!
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Bb4 This is known as the Kramnik-Shirov Counterattack.
3.Nd5 A logical and main line response 3…Bc5!? This is a 2nd choice move behind the safer 3…Be7 but we do not want to give you that!
4.Nf3 Again the most testing of moves. Other moves give Black a comfortable game. 4…e4!
If White tries to be clever and play…
(A) 5.Ng5 then Black can try the trappy 5 …e3! (5…Bxf2+ followed by 6…c6 might be fun too!).
The pawn cannot be taken with either the d or f pawn as Black calmly responds with 6…c6! with a likely winning position.
(B) 5.d4 is probably the main line and would be the move played by most White players. Black’s best response is the stunning 5…Bf8!
White may now think s/he can play a good intermezzo move with 6.Bf4?? eyeing up c7 forcing d6 with a much better game but then 6…exf3! 7.Nc7+ Qxc7! 8.Bxc7 Bb4+ (that move again!) and Black will be a piece up!
A great disguised trap!
Trap 5 – To ‘Elevate’ the Eccentric Elephant Gambit after only 5 moves!
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5 3.Nxe5 dxe4!? 4.Bc4 Qg5
White may think there is a free ride to be had here with 5.Nxf7? but after 5…Qxg2 6.Rf1 Bg4 7.Be2 Bxe2 8.Qxe2 Kxf7 it is Black who will be champing at the bit! In Parr v Simons, Weymouth (Dorset) Open Congress – early 1990s, White already had enough at this stage and resigned.
Trap 6 – To ‘Gag’ the Giouco Piano in only 4 moves!
The Giouco Piano opening is generally a little quieter in the earlier stages but Black’s 3rd move may just catch a few White players out, particularly in Blitz games.
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nd4!? This is known as the Kostic Gambit.
A free pawn so White thinks! 4.Nxe5? Qg5! and suddenly White is struggling.
If now the greedy (A) 5.Nxf7? then 5…Qxg2 6.Rf1 Qxe4+ 7.Be2 Nf3 mate!
Instead after (B) 5.Bxf7+ Kd8 it looks as though White might be ok as s/he can protect both the loose knight and g2 pawn with 6.Ng4. It is good to have this line as White might think Black has calculated incorrectly but after 6…Nh6! Black maintains the edge.
Both the bishop and knight are attacked and Black’s knight cannot be taken with 7.Nxh6 due to 7…Qxg2 winning.
If (C) 5.Ng4 then 5…d5! wins!
There are lots of cunning ‘key’ traps in this Piano sideline to appeal to the Black player!
Trap 7 – To ‘Lacerate’ the London System in only 3 moves!
This is currently very popular and a number of articles have recently been produced (by Simon Williams et al) promoting the trendy 2.Bf4 line. It has even been played by Magnus Carlsen himself! Here is a very sneaky way to catch the White player off guard before s/he has got out of the blocks!
1.d4 d5 2.Bf4 h5!? What is this crazy move, it looks rubbish? If White continues with the standard ‘Modern London System’ move 3.e3?? as recommended in all the DVDs then this plays straight into Black’s big hands!
Black reveals the cunning trick with 3…e5! and suddenly White is losing his precious London bishop and is so much worse. Dare we say it, White might even be lost.
No matter how the pawn is captured, the White bishop is trapped with either 4…f6 or 4…g5.This is such an outrageous devilish trap we are sure it will catch many White players out! Some people might even think this is daylight robbery and unethical but it just shows what can happen when the White player is not fully concentrating, perhaps playing on autopilot, and fails to consider the intent behind Black’s silly but ingenious 2…h5 move!
Over the summer in the Ringwood Online Chess Tournaments this trap has caught a famous local player out … twice!
The best line (for White) appears to be 4.Bxe5 f6 5.Be2! fxe5 6.Bxh5+ Ke7 7.dxe5 Nd7 but even here White simply does not have enough compensation for the piece!
This is a fantastic, clever trap and, being available on only move 3, we are sure it will ‘lacerate’ many of your ‘London System’ opponents!