Topical opening traps

by Rainer Knaak

As usual the traps analysed here occurred in recent months and in all cases both players had a minimum rating of 2000. You can also see traps 3, 5 and 8 on video.

Care is needed

1) Arroyo Rodriguez,J - Benmesbah,N 0-1 (Sicilian)

fen:r1b2rk1/pp1pppbp/1qn2np1/8/2BNP3/2N1BP2/PPP3PP/R2QK2R w KQ - 0 1;

Both of White's last moves (7.f3 and 8.Bc4) are not in themselves bad, but they do show a lack of knowledge of theory. After 8...Qb6 three of the four most frequently played moves fall into the trap. What would be your choice?

Standard trick wins a pawn

2) Juhasz,B - Gara,T 0-1 (Sicilian)

fen:r1bqkb1r/1p3pp1/p1nppn1p/8/3NPP1B/2N5/PPPQ2PP/R3KB1R w KQkq - 0 1;Yg5h4

The last move 9.Bh4 was very careless, since the bishop is unprotected on h4. A standard trick now wins a whole pawn for Black.

Gradually falling into the trap

3) Winterholler,C - Zahn,A 1-0 (Bishop's Opening)

fen:rnbqkb1r/pppp1ppp/8/8/2BQn3/5N2/PPP2PPP/RNB1K2R w KQkq - 0 1;Yd1d4

This is the basic position of the Urusov Gambit. In this game Black at first does not make a serious mistake, but gradually falls into the trap. Let Rainer Knaak show you in his first video how he went wrong!

Good idea, poor execution

4) Abdulla,K - Gong,Q  1-0 (Sicilian - updating CBM 180)

fen:rnb1k1nr/pp2ppbp/6p1/3q4/3P4/4BN2/PP3PPP/RN1QKB1R w KQkq - 0 1;

If Black wishes to win with Black against the Sicilian with 2.c3, fianchetto variations are on offer and are also very popular. In the diagram the idea of bringing the g8-knight to f5 is perfectly sensible. But carrying it out immediately with 7...Nh6? turns out to be poor. Why was that?

Amazing compensation for the piece

5) Katz,A - Wu,L 1-0 (Sicilian)

fen:r1b1k1nr/pp3ppp/2n5/3qp3/1b1P4/2N2N2/PP2BPPP/R1BQK2R w KQkq - 0 1;Yf1e2

Once again the Alapin Variation of the Sicilian Defence and once more with an attempt by Black to take immediate control of matters, namely with 6...e5!?. But in the position in the diagram after 8.Be2!? he must be careful: 8...exd4 and 8...e4 are his choices. After the wrong move White sacrifices a piece and in return obtains amazing compensation. How would you continue with the black pieces? Let Rainer Knaak show you whether you took the right decision:

The astonishing queen manoeuvre

6) Kantarji,P - Krayz,A 1-0 (Queen's Indian - updating CBM 183)

fen:rn1qkb1r/pb1p1ppp/1p2pn2/2p5/2PPP3/5NP1/PP1N1PBP/R1BQK2R w KQkq - 0 1;Ye2e4

Here some players with Black cannot resist the temptation and take the poisoned pawn on e4. But in doing so they overlook an astonishing queen manoeuvre in the forced liquidation.

Too tempting

7) Indjic,A - Nesterov,A ½-½ (Queen's Indian - updating CBM 185)

fen:rnbqk2r/p2p1pp1/1p2pn1p/2p5/1bPP3B/1QN2N2/PP2PPPP/R3KB1R w KQkq - 0 1;Yg5h4

Here 7...Nc6 is too tempting (and for that reason the most frequently played move), since Black not only exerts pressure on d4, but is also threatenting to win a pawn with ...Na5. But the latter does not bother White one jot and after 8.d5! Na5 9.Qc2 Black is well advised not to take the pawn on c4: if he does not he gets away with only a minimal disadvantage.

Overrun on the kingside

8) Zhang,J - Clarke,B ½-½ (Sicilian)

fen:rn1q1rk1/1p2bppp/p2pbn2/4p3/4PP2/1NN5/PPP1B1PP/R1BQ1R1K w - - 0 1;

What can be wrong here with the typical 10...Qc7, as played, e.g. by Gelfand, Svidler, Epishin, Dvoirys and many other strong GMs? Quite simply, Black is overrun on the kingside: 11.f5 Bc4 12.g4 d5 13.g5 Nxe4 14.Nxe4 dxe4 15.f6 etc. Of course this precise knowledge has been acquired only since it has been possible to examine the position with strong engines. Rainer Knaak explains the subtlleties in his third video: