Sicilian Defence Traps: [Magnus smith, Siberian]

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One of the most sharp openings in chess is the Sicilian Defense. No wonder, there are some nasty traps in this opening system. In this article, you’ll see 3 of them.

Along with that, you’ll also see what you should do to avoid falling into them.

1 – The Magnus Smith Trap

This trap is named after the player Magnus Smith. It occurs from the Sicilian Classical Sozin Variation.

White plays

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6

This is the Classical Sicilian.

6. Bc4

And this is known as the Sozin Variation.


This is a mistake. Black should continue with 6…e6, which is the best move.

7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5!

White gets an advantage after playing this move. You might wonder

that the e5 pawn is free, can’t Black capture it? This is where the trap lies


A huge blunder. Now White wins the queen with a spectacular sacrifice.

9.Bxf7+! Kxf7 10.Qxd8.

White’s a queen up.

How to avoid falling into the trap?

To avoid this trap, Black should play 6…e6, instead of 6…g6. That’s the main continuation. WIth …e6, Black blocks the c4-bishop from attacking the f7-pawn. As a result, White’s e5 move will not be effective.

2 – Siberian Trap

This trap occurs from the Smith Morra Gambit. Where does the fancy name come from? It comes from a Siberian player named Boris Schipkov, who used it successfully with the Black pieces.

1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3

This is the Smith Morra Gambit Variation in the Sicilian. White sacrifices a pawn to develop their pieces fast and open up lines. Not very popular, but it can be dangerous if Black isn’t careful

3…dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Bc4 Qc7 7.O-O Nf6 8.Qe2 Ng4

With this move, Black sets a cunning trap. They are eyeing the h2-square…


White blunders and falls right into the trap.


A stunning blow. The knight on f3 is overloaded and White is forced to give up their queen. If the knight captures with


Thenthey get checkmated after


After deflecting the f3-knight, the control over h2-square is lost. Subtle yet nasty!

On the other hand, instead of 10.Nxd4, if White moves away their queen with 10.Qd1, they’ll fall into the checkmate after 10…Nxf3+ 11.Qxf3 Qh2#

To avoid the mate, White could try playing 10.hxg4, but then they lose the queen with 10…Nxe2+.

How to avoid falling into the trap?

On the 8th move, White should understand Black’s intention. Once White understands that Black is eyeing the h2-square, it is important to cut the Queen’s access to it.

How can this be achieved?

Instead of blundering with 9.h3, White should play


The access is cut-off. The position is playable.

3 Fischer Trap

Saving the best for last! Don’t know whether to call this a trap or a world champion’s classic. It is short, sweet and instructive, named after the famous Bobby Fischer.

He played it against another strong American player Samuel Reshevsky.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6

This is known as the Accelerated Dragon in the Sicilian Defense.

5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bc4 O-O 8.Bb3

White cleverly defends their c4-bishop instead of castling. They are preparing for Black to make a mistake, which is exactly what happens!


This is a bad move. This is where the difference of the b3-bishop’s placement becomes clear.

On b3, the bishop is solidly protected. White can now forget about it and play more active moves elsewhere. 

Had it been on c4, it would have no protection and would be forced to move if attacked. 

After 8…Na5, comes the central thrust

9.e5! Ne8

Another option for Black is to play 9…Nxb3. However after 10.exf6 Nxa1 11.fxg7 Nxc2+ 12.Qxc2 Kxg7 13.O-O White has 2 pieces for the rook, which is considered to be a solid advantage under normal circumstances.

In the mainline, thunder strikes! Once after…

10.Bxf7+! Kxf7

And the second time after


Note that 10… Rxf7 is also met by the same 11th move.

White sacrifices two pieces, leaving Black helpless. If Black captures on e6 with


They lose their queen after


This is what happened in Fischer – Reshevsky. The world champion went on to win the game with ease.

And if they capture with the king on the 11th move, they get checkmated after 11…Kxe6 12.Qd5+ Kf5 13.g4+ Kxg4 14.Rg1+ Kh5 15.Qd1+ Kh4 16.Qg4#

How to avoid falling into the trap?

On the 8th move, Black shouldn’t play 8…Na5. In theory, the best move is the simple 8…d6, which stops White’s e5 and opens up the c8-bishop.


We hope these Sicilian traps were instructive as much as they were entertaining. Which one was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.

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