Chess Traps and How to Avoid them?

Chess traps are always fun and exciting as long as you’re the one who sets it and it’s even more fun if your opponent falls into your trap. However, things are different when a trap is set for you. How to identify the traps that your opponent sets for you, so that you can avoid falling for them?

To answer that question, our guest coach FM Marko Makaj, who is also the co-author of the course “Defending Champion”, has prepared a very interesting video on this topic. He will teach you how to foresee the traps set by your opponent and avoid them, by showing traps like Cambridge Springs from the Queens Gambit, the Mortimer Trap from the Berlin Defense, and the Blackburne Trap (or the Legal Trap). You can watch the video lesson below:

Here are a few important things to remember about chess traps:

1. Traps are often led by a sacrifice
2. When your opponent sacrifices a pawn or a piece, ask yourself why he/she played that and what’s the idea behind it
3. After that, try to identify whether it’s really a trap or simply a blunder (wrong sacrifice)
4. Trust yourself – if you don’t see a trap, then don’t be afraid to accept the sacrifice from your opponent

You can find the PGNs of the traps discussed in the video below:

P.S. What’s your favorite chess trap(s)? Also, please share with us some of your games, in which you’ve used them, in the comments below. 🙂
how to analyze chess games

  • Ding

    Hello Igor , I have 2 questions regarding chess principles .Ques1) as you say ,if you can Attack do it .but can you please provide some points when you will not recommend to play attacking moves as you provided one example in world champions game where attacking move allowing opponent to play Forcing moves .Ques2) Which principle you will recommend to follow in middlegame stage more if I have choice between least active piece and Maximum Activity principle or I have to use according to position arising.?

    • RCA_moderator

      1) One thing to keep in mind is to develop all your pieces before starting your attack.

      2) This is reply from Igor on a similar question.
      “ideally you should follow both the general principles (improve your pieces) and your plan. But in case of doubts – follow the principles (least active piece etc).”

      Prasaadh | Support

    • Hi Ding,
      In addition to Prasaadh’s comment for your 2nd question:

      ‘least active piece’ principle helps you decide which piece should make a move now, while the principle of ‘maximum activity’ helps deciding where it should go. These 2 principles can be applied together.

      If you have to make a choice, however, both options are equal. You need to calculate the vatiations and find the best move for the given position.

  • male Gupta

    vishy anand wins the russian open rapid event again sir what do you think about him as a player thansk ??

    • Anand is awesome! His classical style and deep chess understanding are very instructive.

      • male Gupta

        yess sir karjakin also won the blitz secotion what doyou think aobut him sagar shah is taking interewvi and postiong every vidoe in hsi chessbase blog sir

  • Ding

    ThanQ Igor For your Constant Support !! I Just want to know do you have any plan for bringing any new course on Endgame this year

    • RCA_moderator

      We have some exciting courses for this year. We have not planned an Endgame course yet. But thanks for your suggestion.
      So keep following the blog posts for interesting information.

      Prasaadh | Support

  • Heramb Bhagwat

    Igor sir. I have a doubt. Should we consider candidate moves in strategical positions or only in tactical positions. Please reply. I am a bit confused

    • RCA_moderator

      GM Igor may not be able to answer all the questions due to his schedule.

      Candidate moves are important in all positions. Since it helps you narrow down the options that you have before making a move.

      In tactical position, candidate moves are mostly based on concrete calculation while in a less tactical position it can be based on strategic principles.

      Prasaadh | Support

  • Anup rajawat

    Hello Igor Smirnov, I have thoroughly studied your positional understanding course .But still there is one thing not cleared .I want to know how to attack opponent advanced Pawns I know it that these pawns our main target but I want to how to attack them ? Any particular way or plan with our pieces and pawns ?

    • RCA_moderator

      Hi Anup,
      Thanks for the question.

      If there is another pawn defending that pawn. It is often correct to attack the base of the pawn structure.

      Also you can blockade the pawn from moving especially with your knight and then attack it.

      Prasaadh | Support

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