Sunday, August 9, 2009

Opening Trap

At the highest levels of chess it seldom happens, but at other levels players may often fall victim to an opening trap. In the following game played between Canadians Serge Lemieux and Dimitri Feoktistov in 2001, Serge Lemieux was the victim. The game was so short that he resigned after only six moves. The moves are as follows:

1. d4 d5
2. c4 e6

Lemieux plays the Queen's Gambit. He offers Feoktistov his c-pawn because he wants to play e4 on his third move to increase his control of the centre. If black plays dxc on his second move, this opening is known as the Queen's Gambit Accepted. However, if black declines the pawn as in this game, we have the Queen's Gambit Declined.

3. Nc3 Nf6
4. Bg5 Nbd7

With his fourth move, white pins black's knight because if the knight moves, white can capture the queen. Black opts to defend the king knight with his queen knight.

5. cxd exd
6. Nxd5 Nxd5

After the exchange of pawns, white plays Nxd5 with the belief that he has won a pawn. He does not expect black to play Nxd5 because to do so is to expose the black queen to capture. To his complete surprise, black sacrifices his queen. Realizing that black has a superior position, white resigns.

If white plays Bxd8 on his seventh move, black plays Bb4+. The only way white can reply to the check is with Qd2. Then black plays Bxd2+. White must recapture with Kxd2 but then black plays Kxd8 and he is ahead in material.

White's sixth move is a blunder. Because he must lose his queen after 7. Bb4+, the capture of the d-pawn by the knight on the sixth move is premature. To prevent the loss of the queen to the check by the bishop, white can play moves such as a3 or Nf3 on his sixth move.

This game features a well-known opening trap that can be very successful against an unsuspecting opponent. In this trap, the queen sacrifice is only temporary because black later regains the queen with a material advantage.

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