21 Terrific Chess Traps: The Best Chess Tricks and Traps

When playing a chess game, it is important to know about all of the different chess tricks and traps that exist. Traps are primarily ensconced in opening theory whereby the all-important early advantage can be gained. Indeed, some chess traps will result in quick victories if your opponent does not see what is coming and falls for them. So what are chess traps?

Chess traps are a series of moves whereby you fool your opponents into making a move or moves that create exposure in their defense upon which you can pounce and deliver a decisive attack, usually early in the game resulting in a significant material gain or even checkmate.

This post has a list of the most popular tricks and traps you can learn in chess and then delves a little deeper into examples, for when playing both white or black and where to start with easy chess traps for beginners, including queens gambit variations through to more advanced methods and books on chess traps to study.

Which is the best chess trap in chess

My personal favourite chess trap is the Légal Trap from way back in chess history. Using a very early queen sacrifice in the opening, few opponents can believe their eyes and are blinded by the opportunity and therein lies the trap.

Many player will have their favourite go-to trap from the opening, if available,

List of 21 Chess Traps

  • Légal Trap
  • Lasker Trap
  • Budapest Trap
  • Bobby Fischer Trap
  • Queen Amidala Trap
  • Englund Gambit Trap
  • Birds Eye View Trap
  • Siberian Trap
  • Cambridge Springs
  • Halosar Trap based on Blackmar Diemer Gambit
  • Monticelli Trap from the Bogo-Indian defense
  • Kieninger Trap from the Budapest gambit
  • Marshall Trap: Petrovs defense
  • Würzburger Trap

Traps for the Queens Gambit

  • Elephant trap:
  • Rubinstein Trap:

Traps for Ruy Lopez

  • Mortimer Trap
  • Noah’s Ark Trap
  • Tarrasch Trap
  • Fishing Pole Trap

Sicilian Defence Traps

  • Magnus Smith Trap
  • Siberian Trap

Difference between a chess trick and a chess trap

I’m not so sure there is a great difference in so much as the terms tricks can be used for a trap, (To trick someone perhaps), although a trick can also be a certain skill someone has learned, so this could be a tactic or strategy perhaps.

Chess opening tricks or traps, those listed on this page are going to be a great addition to your chess skills armory, if you can memorise them and identify when to play them.

Difference between a decoy and a chess trap

Now we come to the difference between a decoy and a trap and this one is a little more simple to explain.

A chess trap will involve a short term strategy or tactic to gain material advantage whereas a decoy is a single piece move, used to encourage or fool your opponent into giving up a single piece of material by mistake. Indeed, a decoy is a trap in itself.

How do you trap someone in chess

Trapping an opponent in chess is about making moves with a goal of material gain your opponent can either not identify, or once underway, can not defend on the chess board.

Some traps can be the most devastating attacks you can play in chess and many will lead to immediate resignation and a victory for you at the chess club, or against a friend.

How many types of chess traps are there

There are dozens of traps to be played in the game of chess. Dozens are named, many others will not be identified or recorded. In a game with innumerable potential moves, there will be potentially hundreds of different traps.

Chess Traps are not for Beginners (Arguably)

The interesting thing about chess traps, is the minute you start trying to play them as a beginner, you get caught out and for you know it are in a position of certain defeat, scrambling for safety and to hold on to what’s left.

My advice for absolute beginners at chess, is to learn a few openings and get used to vying for control of the centre of the board before saying to try to lay traps for your opponent.

The problem with traps for beginners is that whilst you remain totally focussed on the moves required for your trap, the moment you opponent plays an unexpected move that is not in the list of moves you learned from these traps, you are suddenly in no-mans land.

Is the Queen’s Gambit a trap

The Queen’s Gambit is not a trap in itself, it is well known as an opening when offering a pawn to your opponent for positional play. So in a way it might be considered a trap, but it is what comes after that can be deemed a trap rather than the gambit itself.

Counter The Queens Gambit

This is for black players when offered the queens gambit to which you can Albin Counter gambit and create a devastating trap. it can not be explained any better, or with more detail or variations than a look at yet another quality explanation from chess expert GothamChess on youTube

Queen’s gambit accepted trap

The classic queens gambit 1. d4, d5, 2. c4 opening is an accepted Queen’s gambit when black accepts with dxc4.

we then have white 3. e3 freeing the kings bishop, and attacking the capturing black pawn on d4.

Black has a couple of choices with the pawn on c4 and could back up with b5 but in doing so Loses a tempo

White now continues the attack with a4 attacking the pawn again, and black, under the early cosh, defends with c6, although let’s consider here that white captures 5. axb5 and it makes no sense for black to recapture as to do so leave the black rook on a8 totally exposed. In any case, black captures cxb5, and it can only be Qf3

This moves attacks the rook on a8, the only defence is Nc6, which leads to Qxc6+ checking the King and forking with the Rook

White has a serious advantage already.

How to Avoid Chess Traps

As a beginner you will find it very difficult to avoid chess traps an opponent may have up their sleeve (There are hundreds), but it is arguably more important to be able to defend against tricks and traps than to be able to execute them.

You will be keen to learn opening traps to try to win games quickly. Everyone want to learn and play the Scholars Mate sooner than any other.

The ultimate trap and checkmate in just 4 moves, nothing says you are a great chess player more than scholar’s mate. Or maybe not! Kanding Scholars Mate replies on your opponent making a series of mistakes, you just need to spot them. Great if you pull it off, not so great if you fall for it!

Whilst winning a game quickly from a trap leaves a good feeling of superiority and dominance, it also leave you open to the prepared and patient player, who knows how to counter and leave you floundering.

So in some ways, it is preferable to know how to avoid traps than how to set them in your early playing days.

The best defense will identify that a trap is being laid, and thus avoid it.

Books on Chess Traps

Whilst you can find almost any information your are seeking about chess online, there is still very much a place for books when it comes to chess study. There are some chess traps books that you can find on amazon.com that will be worth a read!

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