Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Chess Trap: The Blackburne-Shilling Gambit

One of the traps that is the most commonly seen is the Blackburne-Shilling Gambit. Legend says that the famous English master Joseph Henry Blackburne used to play it against amateurs in money games, thus the name. The main variation if the opponent falls for the trap ends up in a very nice looking smother's mate:

What makes this trap so easy to fall into is that the moves which are mistakes seem to be logical, but in fact are blunders. In most situations you would jump at the chance to take a free pawn or fork a queen or rook. When I was in second grade,  I was playing in the Washington State Elementary Chess Championships. I was undefeated going into the final round, and was facing a higher rated opponent. With the championships on the line and a trophy at stake, I did the logical ploy: play this trap.

The trap itself can be "refuted" in quite a few ways: 4. c3, 4. Nxd4, 4. 0-0...
But if you like playing tricky opening variations, or don't mind potentially playing a bit down position-wise, then you might want to try this trap against unsuspecting opponents.

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