The BEST Opening Trap in the Queen’s Gambit
Chess Openings

The BEST Opening Trap in the Queen’s Gambit

The BEST Opening Trap in the Queen’s Gambit

Here I’m going to share with you a really powerful opening trap which happens in the Queen’s Gambit Declined. Also, I’ll tell you a funny story behind this trap.

After 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6, we got the most classical position of the Queen’s Gambit Declined. The Queen’s Gambit Declined is one of the most played openings of all in chess.

Queen's Gambit Declined starting position
Queen’s Gambit Declined starting position

The BEST Opening Trap in the Queen’s Gambit

To learn about this trap, the best in the Queen’s Gambit, first of all, I’m going to show you two games where the trap happened. After that, I’ll show you how specifically you can reach the position to execute the same trap by yourself in your own chess games, playing the Queen’s Gambit.

Famous Chess Games

Rubinstein Falls for This Trap

The best trap in the Queen's Gambit, Euwe - Rubinstein
The best trap in the Queen’s Gambit, Euwe – Rubinstein

This position happened in the game between Max Euwe (who was one of the world chess champions) against Akiba Rubinstein (who was one of the top players of the past). Rubinstein was a real contender for the world chess championship title.

It was Black to play and Rubinstein played Nh5, a fairly good positional move, as taking the bishop would normally be a good idea for Black. But it fails here, due to a very unexpected tactical shot.

Unexpected Tactical Shot!

The best trap in the Queen's Gambit, Rubinstein Trap
The best trap in the Queen’s Gambit, Rubinstein Trap

Nxd5, and the point here is that ―after Black takes the knight― White goes inside with Bc7, all of a sudden, trapping the queen on d8! This is a fairly unusual tactical construction, where you can trap Black’s queen on its original square.

Just to answer your potential question, let me take a move back here. In case Black captures the bishop, instead of the knight ―which is definitely better for black―, which is what actually Black played in the game, then White recaptures with their own knight and, along the way, White has won a pawn (that Black’s pawn on d5). Certainly, White got a really really great position and won the game afterwards!

Alekhine vs Rubinstein

Two years later, the same player, Rubinstein, was playing Black against another world champion, Alexander Alekhine. Of course, definitely, Black was unhappy with how the opening worked out for him in the past and, therefore, he decided to play differently.

The best trap in the Queen's Gambit, Alekhine - Rubinstein
The best trap in the Queen’s Gambit, Alekhine – Rubinstein

Rubinstein Falls for the Same Trap, Again!

Therefore, this time, instead of playing h6, like he did previously followed by Nh5, Rubinstein decided to play in the center. He played Ne4, putting the knight there. White decided to retreat the bishop to f4, and Black played pawn to f5, fixing their strong knight on e4, and thinking that this time is definitely going to be much better for them.

But, all of a sudden, Nxd5 came anyway, and it turns out that Black still fell into the exact same trap! After cxd5, there’s still Bc7, winning the queen once again.

Akiba Rubinstein, a top chess player of the past
Akiba Rubinstein, a top chess player of the past

Funny Story of Rubinstein Trap?

Now, the fun thing about this trap is that it was named Rubinstein Trap. Funnily enough, named after the victim of the trap not the guy who delivered the trap. I’m not really sure who and why decided to do it that way, but maybe somebody wanted to humiliate Rubinstein. I don’t really know. If you know the story, leave it on the comments below. Anyway, funnily enough, it is called Rubinstein Trap even though who suffered so badly from this trap was Rubinstein himself.

How Can You Set This Trap?

Now let me show you specifically how you can get to the position to deliver the Rubinstein Trap. By the way, the Rubinstein Trap, obviously, is just one of the traps possible in the Queen’s Gambit. If you want to know other, I’ve got a video called the 5 Best Chess Opening Traps in the Queen’s Gambit.

So, you play the very classical moves of the Queen’s Gambit and you may play the white moves in different order. The move order is not critical. At some point, you’ll need to trade pawns on d5, then you just finalize your development, something like this, then you play Bd3. Black usually plays c6, so that from here the pawn protects the pawn on d5. It also, somewhat, prevents the white knight from jumping potentially to b5. It’s a standard move.

Play the Provocative Qc2

Here you need to castle. Castling is really important, by the way. Black goes Re8, as it’s also one of the main lines here; and, in this position, I suggest that you play Qc2, even though Rc1 is possible as well. Because, as you can see in these traps, it’s just important for White to have one of their heavy pieces along the c-file, which is going to be opened in the future. Qc2 is a bit more provocative. In this way, you’re putting the battery against Black’s pawn on h7, somewhat provoking Black to start reacting.

How to setup the best trap in the Queen's Gambit
How to setup the best trap in the Queen’s Gambit

Very often, Black will play h6 and, after you respond with Bf4, very often your opponents will think: “Hey I can keep chasing this bishop by playing Nh5, and now, this bishop has nowhere to retreat”. Your opponent thinks that he’s winning your bishop. But, in fact, here comes Nxd5! The same trap which we’ve been analyzing. After the pawn takes the knight, he plays Bc7 and, all of a sudden, Black realizes that they are losing here.

Tactical Quiz for You

Here comes a little tactical quiz for you. In this position, it is White to move, and it’s actually the position from one of the games which we analyzed before. The one between Alexander Alekhine, playing White against Rubinstein.

At the end of the day, they came to this position, and now your task is to find the winning move for White right here.

Alekhine vs Rubinstein (Final position)

Of course, if you can find the answer, please write it down in the comments below.

The BEST Opening Trap in the Queen’s Gambit (Video lesson)

Below, you can study this trap in trap, the best you can set in the Queen’s Gambit!


On the other hand, if you wish to improve your chances beyond opening traps, then you may also attend my FREE Masterclass “The Best Way to Improve at Chess INSTANTLY“, where I hand hold you and show you the ways that are used by my students to achieve a great improvement at chess, so you can hopefully become the next success story.

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

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