Chess Openings: Traps And Zaps (Fireside Chess Library) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $16.99
  • Save: $4.11 (24%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Acceptable | Details
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: Fast Shipping - Safe and Secure Bubble Mailer!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Chess Openings: Traps And Zaps (Fireside Chess Library) Paperback – April 15, 1989


See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$12.88
$6.13 $0.01
Year-End%20Deals%20in%20Books

Frequently Bought Together

Chess Openings: Traps And Zaps (Fireside Chess Library) + More Chess Openings: Traps and Zaps 2 (Fireside Chess Library) + Pandolfini's Endgame Course: Basic Endgame Concepts Explained by America's Leading Chess Teacher (Fireside Chess Library)
Price for all three: $43.47

Buy the selected items together
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Product Details

  • Series: Fireside Chess Library
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; 9th Printing edition (April 15, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671656902
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671656904
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #303,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Bruce Pandolfini is the author of eight instructional chess books, including Bobby Fischer's Outrageous Chess Moves, Principles of the New Chess, Pandolfini's Endgame Course, Russian Chess, The ABC's of Chess, Let's Play Chess, Kasparov's Winning Chess Tactics, and One-Move Chess by the Champions. He is also editor of the distinguished anthologies, The Best of Chess Life, Volumes I and II. Perhaps the most experienced chess teacher in North America, and the Executive Director of the Manhattan Chess Club, Bruce Pandolfini lives in New York City.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

CHAPTER 1

The Early d2-d4 Complex

Center Game

Danish Gambit

Goring Gambit

Scotch Gambit

Scotch Game


The openings of Chapter 1 are characterized by an early advance of White's d-pawn to d4, which pries open the center while also opening lines for rapid deployment of the pieces. For the developing student, this group of openings is an excellent training ground in tactics and active piece play.

In the Center Game (1. e4 e5 2. d4 exd4 3. Qxd4) White contents himself with knocking out the e5-pawn, Black's foothold in the center. White then regains this pawn by capturing on d4 with his Queen. Such an early Queen move is theoretically a liability, and after 3....Nc6, White indeed must back the Queen out of the center, losing time. Despite this drawback, the Center Game offers White reasonably good chances, and Black must play energetically in midcourt to secure equality.

The Danish Gambit (1. e4 e5. 2. d4 exd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Bc4 cxb2 5. Bxb2) is an entirely different kettle of fish. Here, White sacrifices two pawns to accelerate development. This is not a humble opening, and if White fails to generate sufficient attacking possibilities, he will will simply be two pawns down with no compensation. Black, lacking development, must defend carefully. Rather than clinging too greedily to his extra pawns, he should return one or both of them to mobilize his forces. Otherwise, White's attack becomes irresistible.

The Goring Gambit (1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. c3) is closely related to the Danish Gambit, with the accent again on expeditious development. Here, White generally restricts himself to sacrificing only one pawn, thus minimizing much of the risk entailed in the Danish. Black, in theory, ought to be able to grab the pawn and endure White's attack. In practice, however, it's not so easy to keep White off his back.

The Scotch Gambit (1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Bc4) resembles the Goring Gambit, with the sacrifice of a single pawn for speedy development. Exactly what constitutes a Scotch Gambit is not so clear to the casual player. In practice, this opening almost always transposes into other openings: Two Knights Defense, Max Lange Attack, Giuoco Piano, and even the Goring Gambit. It is often perceived as a transitional opening leading to a complex of related openings. One might play it to disguise one's true intentions.

The Scotch Game (1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4) is White's attempt to enjoy the benefits of the Center Game without incurring its disadvantage: the premature exposure of White's Queen. With a pawn on e4 and a Knight on d4, White has the makings of a powerfully centralized game, and Black must conscientiously combine development and counterattack before White consolidates these assests into a concrete, permanent advantage. In theory, Black can pound away at squares e4 and d4, shaking White's grip on the center and ultimately achieving the freeing advance of his Queen-pawn from d7 to d5. This spirited thrust will allow Black to enter the middlegame on an even keel.

1

IN-BETWEEN MOVE

Center Game


1. e4 e5

2. d4 exd4

3. Qxd4 Nf6

4. Bg5 Be7

5. e5?

Scenario:
White wants to attack the f6-Knight, but he overlooked 5....Nc6, assailing White's Queen and e-pawn. There are three safe squares for the Queen that also defend the pawn: c3, e3, and f4. If 6. Qc3, then 6....Bb4 pins White's Queen to its King. If 6. Qe3, then 6....Ng4 7. Qe4 (or 7. Bxe7 Qxe7 8. Qe4 Ngxe5) 7....Ngxe5 gains the e5-pawn. And if 6. Qf4, then 6....Nh5 7. Qf3 (or 7. Bxe7 Qxe7 wins the e-pawn next move) 7....Bxg5 8. Qxh5 Bc1 9.Nd2 Bxb2 10. Rb1 Bxe5 puts Black two pawns ahead.

Interpretation: White's second move, d2-d4, is designed to take control of the center, but the plan could backfire. White's Queen can be sucked into the central zone prematurely, after which it is subject to harassment from Black's developing army. Instead of the unprepared advance 5.e5, White should have brought out his b1-Knight, defending his e4-pawn. Afterward, he may be able to castle Queenside. Don't start attacking if you can't follow through with muscle. First build your game by rapid development. Then feast on your opponent's targets and weaknesses. Moreover, don't rely too much on the Queen. Before bringing it out, develop a couple of minor pieces.

2

PIN

Center Game


1. e4 e5

2. d4 exd4

3. Qxd4 Nc6

4. Qa4 Nf6

5. Nc3 d5

6. Bg5 dxe4

7. Nxe4 Qe7

8. 0-0-0 Qxe4

Scenario:
Black's Queen seems protected by his f6-Knight, but not forever. White disrupts with 9. Rd8+!. Black's c6-Knight can't take White's Rook because it's pinned to Black's King by White's Queen. If 9....Kxd8 (or 9....Ke7 10. Qxe4+) 10. Qxe4, then Black's f6-Knight, now in a pin, cannot take the Queen back. Black says goodbye to his Queen.

Interpretation: If your King is still uncastled, avoid opening the center, giving your opponent some access to your fettered monarch. And at the very least, don't initiate risky captures that aid the enemy's attack. Black gauged that his Queen was adequately guarded by the f6-Knight after 8....Qxe4, but he neglected to consider what White's Rook check could do. Before inaugurating a combination or sequence of moves, try to evaluate the consequences of all your opponent's reasonable checks. They could force you to change your plans completely.

3

IN-BETWEEN MOVE

Center Game


1. e4 e5

2. d4 exd4

3. Qxd4 Nc6

4. Qe3 g6

5. Nc3 Bg7

6. Nd5 Nge7

7. Ne2 d6

8. Bd2 Bxb2

9. Bc3 Bxa1

Scenario:
Black probably expects White to take his dark-square Bishop, which has grabbed White's Rook, but life isn't always tit for tat. Rather than capture on a1, White's rude Knight intercedes with a check, 10. Nf6+. After the obligatory 10....Kf8, White ends Black's torment with 11. Qh6 mate.

Interpretation: When you've flanked your King's Bishop, you probably can't exchange it away without incurring Kingside weaknesses. Especially vulnerable are the squares traveled by the Bishop -- for Black, the dark squares. The f6 and h6 squares are already weakened here by the g7-pawn's early advance. Once Black's dark-square Bishop also is shut out, those squares become indefensible. That's why it's prudent to think hard before exchanging the flanked King's Bishop, even if it wins a pawn. If you can get away with it, fine; but here, White actually wins by exploiting the undefended f6 with a Knight and also the abandoned h6 with his Queen. Be chary about early, impulsive pawn moves since they usually bring on enemy attack. As Marcus Aurelius put it, "What is not good for the swarm is not good for the bee."

4

MATING ATTACK

Center Game


1. e4 e5

2. d4 exd4

3. Qxd4 Nc6

4. Qe3 Bb4+

5. c3 Ba5

6. Bc4 Nge7

7. Qg3 0-0

8. h4 Ng6

Scenario:
Black has castled into a furious assault. No prisoners are taken after 9. h5, driving away Black's Kingside shelter. If the g6Knight flees to e7, then 10. Bh6 capitalizes on a debilitating pin. So Black continues 9....Nge5, when 10. Bg5! pushes Black's Queen to a meaningless square, 10....Qe8, making it impossible for that piece to lend defense from f6. And here came more surprises, for 11. Bf6 g6 12. hxg6 Nxg6 is refuted by 13. Qxg6+! hxg6 14. Rh8 mate.

Interpretation: Black's troubles were manifold. Though tactically the early b4-Bishop check works out fine, it weakens Black's Kingside, especially the square g7. In the final position, White's dark-square Bishop runs roughshod over g7 and h8, made possible by Black's aloof dark-square Bishop placement. The King-Knight's defensive abilities are also not so good from square e7. It would have been more enterprising to develop this piece to f6. Black, too, castles into a powerful attack force spearheaded by the h-pawn. Moving it up, White introduces his h1-Rook with deadly effect. Near the end, White's c4-Bishop holds the key, for it pins Black's f7 pawn, preventing it from capturing on g6. It's amazing that Black lasts even fourteen moves.

5

FORK

Center Game


1. e4 e5

2. d4 exd4

3. Oxd4 Nc6

4. Qe3 Nf6

5. Bc4 Ne5

6. Bb3 Bb4+

7. c3 Bc5

8. Qg3?

Scenario:
Black lays a trap, and White falls into it. White's Queen is history after 8....Bxf2+!, forking White's King and Queen. No matter what White answers, his Queen goes: (A) 9.Qxf2 Nd3+, Knight-forking White's King and Queen; (B) 9. Kxf2 Nxe4+, again Knight-forking White's royal pair.

Interpretation: White bought a couple of bad raps here. First, he should have answered Black's fourth-move b4-Bishop check by 5. Bd2. It's usual to respond to a premature check by the KingBishop by blocking with a pawn. That compels the Bishop to move again to save itself, which causes your opponent to waste a turn. So White naturally responded with 7.c2-c3. This mechanical move weakened the d3 square, leaving it without pawn protection. In one of the winning lines, Black's e5-Knight exploits this square. White could have avoided loss of his Queen even after that, however, for there was no need to play 8.Qe3-g3. The simple retreat 4. Qe3-e2 would have averted disaster. One might play White's final blunder, 8. Qe3-g3, because it is natural to move the Queen aggressively, since its great power is always uppermost in the mind. But in the opening, the Queen's value actually makes it a liability. Bring it out early and your opponent can attack it and force you to waste time saving it. Don't develop the Queen early without a good reason.

6

REMOVING THE GUARD

Center Game


1. e4 e5

2. d4 exd4

3. Qxd4 Nc6

4. Qe3 Nf6

5. Nc3 Be7

6. Bd2 d5

7. exd5 Nb4

8. 0-0-0 Nfxd5

9. Nxd5 Nxa2+

Scenario:
White's move, 10. Kb1, is forced, but it wins. Black has to save his threatened a2-Knight, 10....Qxd5, but after 11. b3 Nb4, White flings an unexpected shock at his adversary: 12. Qxe7+! Kxe7 13. Bxb4+ Ke6 14. Bc4. In the end, White stays a piece ahead.

Interpretation: Black got terribly greedy while his King was in the center, where White's S.W.A.T team could get at it. Knight-pawns and Rook-pawns tend to bring on a hullabaloo. Too often, taking them means putting your pieces out of play, wasting time, and pushing your King out on a high wire. Black was doing fine until he got sidetracked by White's a2-pawn. But a simple recapture on d5 restores his excellent chances.

7

TRAPPED PIECE

Center Gambit


1. e4 e5

2. d4 exd4

3. Bc4 Qh4

4. Qe2 Bb4+

5. c3 dxc3

6. bxc3 Bc5

7. Nf3 Qh5

Scenario:
Black's Queen wobbles on the board's edge -- an area where her mobility is restricted. White tackles her poor position with a series of troublesome threats. The starting move is 8. g4!. Black can try to save his Queen in several ways: (A) 8....Qg6 9. Ne5, and after Black's Queen moves, White's Knight takes on f7 and then on h8; (B) 8....Qxg4 9. Bxf7+ Kf8 (if instead 9....Kxf7, then 10. Ne5+ forks King and Queen) 10. Rgl Qh3 11. Rg3, and Black's Queen falls; (C) 8....Qh3 9. Bxf7+ Kf8 10. Rgl, followed by 11. Rg3, again trapping and winning Black's Queen.

Interpretation: inexperienced players are prone to early Queen sorties. They get it out there for impractical reasons. in the opening, the odds are a developed Queen will become a liability instead of a strength, so often the Queen is best left well enough alone on its home square in the early stages. Naturally, this rule like any other has limitations and exceptions. Black's third move, Qd8-h4, though respectable, suggests that Black does not understand how to use his Queen. His real error came at move 7, when his Queen treaded into no-man's-land. Had he played Qh4-e7 instead, the chances in the position would have been about even. In the opening, don't bring out your Queen early without clear and specific reasons. Try to develop your minor pieces first. As an old West Fourth Street (New York) park player used to say, "The Queen is a symphony. Play your preludes first."

8

MATING ATTACK

Center Gambit


1. e4 e5

2. d4 exd4

3. Nf3 Bb4+

4. c3 dxc3

5. bxc3 Bc5

6. Bc4 d5

7. Bxd5 Of6

8. Bg5 Qg6

Scenario:
Black has put his head into the lion's mouth and the jaws are about to close. After 9. Bxf7+! Kf8 (getting mated by 9....Qxf7 10. Qd8 and losing the Queen by 9....Kxf7 10. Ne5+ are not particularly appealing to Black either) 10. Qd8+ Kxf7 11. Ne5+ Ke6, White has the convenient 12. Qd5 mate.

Interpretation: Black did some questionable things and White answered with a mating attack. Black's Bishop-check on move 3 was not lucrative, since the piece had to move again after it was attacked. Better to get out the King-Knight first instead of the KingBishop (remember, Knights before Bishops). And why budge the Queen on move 7? Even though it would not greatly improve his game, Black should have developed his g8-Knight instead. The Queen should be handled like fine china. It must receive careful development. You may think the Queen is the one piece you know how to use, but you're probably wrong. How can you understand the Queen when the pieces that truly constitute the Queen's power -- the Rook and Bishop -- escape your notice? Chess is pure reason; you can't get anywhere without reason in chess. "As it isn't, it ain't. That's logic," said Tweedledee in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.

9
MATING ATTACK

Danish Gambit


1. el ebb

2. dx exd4

3. cb dxc3

4. Bc4 Bb4

5. bxc3 Be7?

Scenario:
Black's last move, 5....Be7, is a bleating mistake, for he could not afford to block the e7 square because his Queen might have had needed access to protect f7. White forces a winning game by 6. Qd5, when Black can't defend f7 with 6....Nh6, for White merely captures the h6-Knight with his cl-Bishop; and Black can't recapture on h6 because mate at f7 would still be menaced. Black can avoid mate, 6....d6, but after 7. Qxf7+ Kd7 8. Qf5m+ Ke8 (the blunder 8....Kc6 permits 9. Qb5 mate) 9. Bf7+ Kf8 10. Be6+ Nf6 11. Bxc8, White is a piece ahead.

Interpretation: If you have extra material, sometimes you can give some of or all of it back and end up with an equal or better position. When your opponent takes back your material, he must cede at least one move to do that. If you can build your game while he's capturing, you should wrest away the initiative. If the position is reasonable, at the very least you will blunt his attack. Black might have taken some of the sting out of White's assault if he had essayed 4....d7-d5. That gives back a pawn, but in exchange Black opens the c8-Bishop's diagonal and forces White to block d5 with either the c4-Bishop or the e4-pawn. White could also capture on d5 with his Queen, but that leads to a Queen trade, which is frowned upon when one is materially behind.

10

DOUBLE ATTACK

Danish Gambit


1. e4 e5

2. d4 exd4

3. c3 dxc3

4. Bc4 cxb2

5. Bxb2 Bb4+

6. Kf1 Nf6

7. e5 d5

8. Bb5+ Bd7

Scenario:
Black didn't peer far enough ahead. He saw that on 9. Bxd7+ he has 9....Nxd7, saving his Knight. He also perceived that 9. exf6 enables him to strike back with 9....Bxb5+. What he didn't see, however, was White's remote Queen roundabout 9. Qa4!. This shot defends the b5-Bishop while placing two of Black's pieces, the b4-Bishop and f6-Knight, under the gun. Black must lose at least a piece.

Interpretation: Black's fifth move, 5....Bb4+, was not the best. After sidestepping this Bishop-check, 6. Kf1, Black was confronted with problems. He needed to defend his g-pawn, secure his b4-Bishop out there by itself, and develop his game more. He should have returned the extra pawns to establish a dynamically balanced position. Instead of the risky 5....Bb4+, Black should have inserted the counterthrust 5....d7-d5. After 6. Bxd5, he could play 6....Nf6. If White didn't react vigorously from here (6. Bxf7+), Black could even have gotten the upperhand. Use your advantages. If you have material in exchange for your opponent's attack, don't be afraid to surrender the material to come away with the initiative. In the opening, the ability to attack generally outweighs the extra pawn. It's often the other way around in the endgame, but you don't get that far if you're mated in ten moves. "You cannot find a medicine for life when once a man is dead" -- Ibycus.

11

SKEWER

Danish Gambit


1. e4 e5

2. d4 exd4

3. c3 dxc3

4. Bc4 cxb2

5. Bxb2 Bb4+

6. Kf1 Nf6

7. e5 d5

8. Bb5+ Nd7

Scenario:
Black is temporarily two pawns ahead but it's White's move, a critical reality here for the second player. After 9. Qg4, White double-attacks the g7-pawn and b4-Bishop. Black could guard both by 9....Bf8, though 10. e6! fxe6 11. Qh5+ Ke7 (he could also lose handily with 11....g6 12. Qh3 Rg8 13. Qxe6+, followed by capturing the Rook on g8) 12. Ba3+ c5 13. Bxc5+! Nxc5 14. Qg5+ skewers King and Queen, picking up Black's Queen on the next move.

Interpretation: White is too well developed for Black to get away unscathed if he tries to hold the gambited material this way. Best for Black is 8....c6. White's ninth move, Qdl-g4, is an attempt to refute Black's fifth move, Bishop's check Bf8-b4+. White's Queen sally attacks both points made vulnerable by Black's Bishop move: the g7-pawn and the b4-Bishop itself. With White's Queen and two Bishops bearing down on Black's naked King's position, a deadly attack is inevitable. You can't neglect development and the King's safety in the opening. Avoid pointless checks as you would a bad habit -- which is what they are.

12

SAVING BY CAPTURING

Danish Gambit


1. e4 e5

2. d4 exd4

3. c3 dxc3

4. Bc4 cxb2

5. Bxb2 Nf6

6. e5 Qe7

7. Qe2 d5

Scenario:
White wins a piece forthwith: 8. exf6, attacking Black's Queen. If Black answers 8....gxf6, then White has a free move to ply his c4-Bishop to safety, leaving him a piece up. And if Black responds 8....Qxe2+, looking to capture White's c4-Bishop after trading Queens, White disappoints him by taking Black's Queen, then on e2, with his c4-Bishop, thus getting the Bishop out of trouble. Black winds up a piece down.

Interpretation: In chess, forces and circumstances that prevail on one move may vary with the next. Black thought he could save himself by first exchanging Queens and then capturing his booty, the c4-Bishop, not realizing that the very action that wins the Bishop -- the Queen trade -- provides the means for that Bishop's salvation. From move to move, you have to approach the resulting position as if seeing it for the first time, even though you envisioned the outcome on the previous move. What you previewed may bear little relation to reality. "There is many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip" -- ancient proverb.

13

MATING ATTACK

Danish Gambit


1. e4 e5

2. d4 exd4

3. c3 dxc3

4. Bc4 cxb2

5. Bxb2 Nf6

6. Nc3 Bb4

7. Ne2 Nxe4

8. 0-0 Nxc3

9. Nxc3 Bxc3

10. Bxc3 0-0

Scenario:
Black has grabbed one pawn too many, and now White's position is a honed attacking machine. Mate happens after 11. Qg4 g6 12. Qd4. Since Black's f7-pawn is pinned by White's c4-Bishop, Black cannot block out White's Queen and Bishop battery along the a1-h8 diagonal. Mate follows shortly on either g7 or h8.

Interpretation: The best way to break White's mounting assault in this line is to sacrifice a pawn or two back, as in the line 5....d5 6. Bxd5 Nf6 7. Bxf7+ Kxf7 8. Qxd8 Bb4+ 9. Qd2 Qxd2+ 10. Nxd2. The position is then materially even, with Black having more pawns on the Queenside and White having more on the Kingside. Essentially, the asymmetrical position has achieved dynamic balance, and both players have a chance to win. Sometimes having an extra pawn or two means being able to surrender the additional material at your opponent's expense in position. Afterward, the situation may be materially even, but you might have the better game. For example, you may come away with the initiative, especially if your opponent has to sacrifice a few moves to win back the material he sacrificed earlier.

14

FORK

Danish Gambit


1. e4 e5

2. d4 exd4

3. c3 dxc3

4. Bc4 cxb2

5. Bxb2 d5

6. Bxd5 Nf6

7. Nc3 Nxd5

8. Nxd5 c6?

Scenario:
Black's last pawn push is deceptively playable. After 9. Nf6!+ gxf6 10. Qxd8+ Kxd8 11. Bxf6+, White wins the h8-Rook next move, putting him an exchange up (White would have a Rook for a minor piece). A mistake is 9....Ke7, for real trouble brews with 10. Ba3+ Ke6 11. Qg4+ Kxf6 12. e5+ Kxe5 13. Nf3+ Kf6 14. Qg5+, when 14....Ke6 15. Qe5+ Kd7 16. 0-0-0+ Bd6 17. Qxd6+ Ke8 18. Qxd8 is mate.

Interpretation: Black reasons the pressure on his game would lessen after trading his f6-Knight for White's light-square Bishop. When under attack, the principle suggests trading pieces to reduce the power of the enemy's assault force. Superficially consistent with this is the advance 8....c7-c6. Black hopes to drive back White's d5-Knight and then reduce his opponent's threats considerably by trading Queen for Queen along the d-file. Unfortunately, White is able to sacrifice his Knight with a gain of time, enabling a Queen-trade to take place under conditions more favorable for White than Black anticipated. Black thereby lacks time to waste on pawn moves. Instead of 8....c7-c6, he should develop a new piece, say 8....Nb8-c6, which will also defend his Queen, though White can still attack afterward. If you accept an opening gambit, you might have to skate on thin ice to survive to a middlegame.

15

SKEWER

Danish Gambit


1. e4 e5

2. d4 exd4

3. c3 dxc3

4. Bc4 cxb2

5. Bxb2 d6

6. Nf3 Bg4

7. Bxf7+ Kxf7

8. Ne5+ Ke8

9. Nxg4 Nf6

Scenario:
Black can kiss this game good-bye. After 10. Nxf6+ gxf6 11. Qh5+ Ke7 (or 11....Kd7 12. Qf5+, and White devastates on the next move with Bb2xf6) 12. Bxf6+! Kxf6 13. Qh4+, White forces Black's King off the h4-d8 diagonal, skewering the opposing Queen.

Interpretation: Black really does himself wrong in this example. He grabs a couple of pawns while sacrificing development, and instead of giving a pawn or two back to complete his own development and blunt White's attack, he tries the premature Bishop sortie 6....Bc8-g4. The principle is "Knights before Bishops," meaning that one should generally activate at least one Knight before moving a Bishop. Of course this guideline cannot be followed rigidly, and some opening systems do break this principle without incurring problems, but it is still something to heed. By violating the principle here, Black postpones the chance to castle Kingside, and that earns him real trouble. Once White's Queen checks at h5, Black is clearly losing.

16

DEFLECTION

Danish Gambit


1. e4 e5

2. d4 exd4

3. c3 dxc3

4. Nxc3 Bb4

5. Qd4 Nc6

6. Qxg7 Qf6

7. e5 Ne4

Scenario:
Black has found a way to save his h8-Rook -- temporarily. After 7. Bh6!, Black has two unsatisfactory captures of the h6-Bishop. Both 7....Qxh6 8. Qxh8 as well as 7....Nxh6 8. Qxf6 win big material for White. So Black continues 7....d6, where-upon White garners a piece by 8. Qxf6 Nxf6 9. Bg7, forking Black's f6-Knight and h8-Bishop.

Interpretation: Normally, one doesn't act wisely bringing one's Queen out early, but after Black's premature Bishop development, 4....Bb4, White's Queen counter 5. Qd4 assails the b4-Bishop and the g7-pawn it abandoned. That g7 square proved to be Black's bête noire, for both White's Queen and dark-square Bishop later on enjoyed occupying it. Black played 4....Bf8-b4 hoping to trade pieces, which is the recommended course of action when ahead in material. Thus, on move 5, Black should exchange his Bishop for the c3-Knight. But all exchanges must be reasonable, and certainly not made in violation of principle. The guideline is "Knights before Bishops." Thus, better than moving his dark-square Bishop, Black should centralize his Knight, Nb8-c6. Such a move would also prevent White's Queen from utilizing the center, avoiding and nullifying the possibility of White's winning tactic.

17

FORK

Goring Gambit


1. e4 e5

2. Nf3 Nc6

3. d4 exd4

4. c3 dxc3

5. Nxc3 Bb4

6. Bc4 Nf6

Scenario:
Just when Black thought he had significant pressure against White's c3, he finds that his opponent forces the win of material. After 8. Qd5, Black must -- and he can't -- satisfactorily deal with the mate threat at f7 and somehow save his unprotected and menaced e4-Knight. It's not in the chess pieces, and White gains the e4-Knight.

Interpretation: Black's 5....Bb4 is somewhat ambitious, since White has a considerable initiative at that point. Black might have played more conservatively with 5....d7-d6, opening the light. square Bishop's diagonal and guarding against and ef-e5 push. Black courted further trouble by playing 6....Ng8-f6. His final move, 7....Nf6-e4?, just loses a piece without compensation. He had to play 7....d7-d5. The best way to refute a gambit is rapid, purposeful counterdevelopment. Development for development's sake will not do it.

18

FORK

Goring Gambit


1. e4 e5

2. Nf3 Nc6

3. d4 exd4

4. c3 dxc3

5. Nxc3 Bc5

6. Bc4 d6

7. Qb3 Qd7

8. Nd5 Na5

Scenario:
Black's last move may look good, for it double-attacks White's Queen and c4-Bishop. But Black has two vulnerable points: the unguarded a5-Knight and g7-pawn. White answers 9. Qc3!, menacing both captures. Black must save his Knight, 9....Nxc4, but rather than recapture, White plunders the Kingside with 10. Qxg7. After 10....Qg4 11. Qxh8 Qxg2 12. Qxg8+! Qxg8 13. Nf6+, White soon emerges the exchange ahead.

Interpretation: Black plays 8....Na5, wishing to trade pieces, for he is a pawn ahead. When up material, do exchange pieces to emphasize your advantage and to reduce the possibility of counterattack. The fewer pieces your opponent has, the harder it is for him to develop attacking compensation. The reasoning in playing 8....Na5 is sound, but it places a Knight on an undefended square on the edge. And Black has an additional weakness at g7, which is no longer guarded by the dark-square Bishop, now outside the pawn chain at c5. Black's real error is that he's not ready for hand-to-hand combat; he's too undeveloped. Don't get into heavy fighting until your King is safe and your pieces are ready for action. The counterattack could kill you. "Then the Grasshopper knew it is best to prepare for days of necessity" -- Aesop.

19

KING HUNT

Scotch Gambit


1. e4 e5

2. Nf3 Nc6

3. d4 exd4

4. Bc4 Na5?

5. Bxf7+ Kxf7

6. Ne5+ Ke6

7. Qxd4 Nc6?

Scenario:
How many moves can Black afford to waste in an opening? He's moved his c6-Knight three times to be where it could get after one move. Black's King has had it: 8. Qd5+ Kf6 9. Qf7+ Kxe5 10. Bf4+ Kxe4 11. Nc3+ Kd4 12. Qd5 mate.

Interpretation: Black's Knight-jaunts on moves 4 and 7 ceded two important tempi to his opponent. At least Black could have stopped White's menaced d5-Queen check by 7....c7-c6 or 7....Ng8-f6. Kings shouldn't lead the charge in any kind of war. In chess, once a King is separated from its supporting forces, mate is almost always inevitable. "They are no kings, though they possess the crown" -- Daniel Defoe.

20

MULTIPLE ATTACK

Scotch Gambit


1. e4 e5

2. Nf3 Nc6

3. d4 exd4

4. Bc4 Bc5

5. Ng5 Nh6

6. Qh5 Ne5?

Scenario:
White sacrifices a pawn to speed development. Black has as many pieces out as White, but they are not all as well disposed: two lined up on the 5th rank and the other on the edge at h6. White pierces Black's veneer with 7. Ne6!0, when 7....dxe6 8. Qxe5 points out Black's disarray and attendant helplessness. White then threatens to capture on c5, g7, and h6 -- any of which would put White a piece ahead. There is no defense to all three forays.

Interpretation: On his sixth move, instead of defending with a Knight already in play, moving it a second time, Black would better have brought out a new piece. He should have defended f7 by 6....Qe7, which includes an element of counterplay against White's e4-pawn as well. Time is so critical in the opening that you absolutely cannot waste a single move. Unless the position dictates otherwise, try to transport a different piece on each move, to increase the potential of your entire corps. It takes little to swing the pendulum one way or the other, and an extra developed piece might provide the push.

21

SKEWER

Scotch Gambit


1. e4 e5

2. Nf3 Nc6

3. d4 exd4

4. Bc4 Bc5

5. 0-0 Nge7

6. Ng5 d5

7. exd5 Ne5?

8. Bb3 h6

9. Ne4 Bb6

10. h3 NxdS?

Scenario:
White is already securely positioned: he is castled and not immediately endangered. The center of the board is clear of pawns. Because Black's King is uncastled and his pieces loose and flimsily placed, White's initiative spells disaster for him. The winning move is 11. Qh5!, garnering a piece. If Black's eS-Knight moves, his d5-Knight could be double-attacked and captured. He can't protect the e5-Knight with his f-pawn because White's Queen pins it to its King. If Black's Queen guards the e5-Knight from e7, then the d5-Knight hangs to White's b3-Bishop. Bye-bye, piece.

Interpretation: Moving Black's King-Knight to e7 meant the f7 square would be difficult to guard. This later gave White the chance for a decisive coup. Note that Black couldn't have safely castled on move 6. White then would gain advantage by moving his Queen to h5, or by exchanging Bishop and Knight for Rook and pawn on the t7 square. After the last capture, White's Queen forks Black's King at f7 and his cS-Bishop, ensuring superiority. It was a serious error for Black to put his Knight on e7. If he had tried to follow with 7....Nxd5, then 8. Qf3 would give White a tremendous attack.

22

UNPIN

Scotch Gambit


1. e4 e5

2. Nf3 Nc6

3. d4 exd4

4. Bc4 Bc5

5. 0-0 d6

6. Ng5 Ne5

7. Bb3 h6

8. Qh5 Qf6

9. f4

Scenario:
White has ignored Black's possible discovered check along the a7-gl diagonal. He also may think his g5-Knight is not endangered because Black's h-pawn -- the unit attacking it -- is pinned and not so free to capture. White has evaluated wrongly: 9....d3+ 10. Kh1 g6 (now Black's Queen' defends the h8-Rook) 11. Qd1 hxg5 12. fxe5 (to regain his lost piece) 12....Rxh2+! 13. Kxh2 Qh8+ 14. Kg3 Qh4+ 15. Kf3 Qg4 mate.

Interpretation: White overreacted. Just because Black protected f7 on move 6 with a piece already out, instead of bringing out a new piece by 6....Nh6, doesn't mean he necessarily has violated basic opening principles. Moving the c6-Knight again didn't really lose time because White has to waste a move in turn to save his c4Bishop. Opening principles are helpful aids, but not always absolutes. If chess teachers seem to present them as categoricals, it's only because their fine points are misty. When are they to be followed and when transgressed? Learning how to apply such guidelines is a real art. "Logical consequences are the beacons of wise men" -- Thomas Huxley.

23

MATING ATTACK

Scotch Game


1. e4 e5

2. Nf3 Nc6

3. d4 exd4

4. Nxd4 Nge7

5. Nc3 g6

6. Bg5 Bg7

7. Nd5 Bxd4

Scenario:
Right now, Black's vulnerable dark squares are barely held up by the d4-Bishop, but nothing lasts forever. After 8. Qxd4! 0-0 (8....Nxd4 9. Nf6+ Kf8 10. Bh6 mate) 9. Nf6+ Kh8 10. Ng4+ Nxd4 11. Bf6+ Kg8 12. Nh6, Black is mated.

Interpretation: Black hopped his g8-Knight to e7 rather than f6 to keep open the h8-al diagonal for his clark-square Bishop. This gave White a freer hand in the center, and pressured Black at once by 6. Bg5 and 7. Nd5. After White sacrificed his Queen for Black's dark-square Bishop, Black's position dismantled, even with his King castled. White's attack proceeded unabated on the dark squares. In the final position, White has taken full advantage of Black's dark-square weaknesses, occupying f6 with a Bishop and h6 with a Knight. Black would have been more sagelike to have developed his King's Bishop along the f8-a3 diagonal, through the center. By posting it on the flank as he did, he weakened his position and wasted time.

24

PROMOTION

Scotch Game


1. e4 e5

2. Nf3 Nc6

3. d4 exd4

4. Nxd4 Be7

5. Bc4 Nf6

6. 0-0 Nxd4

7. Qxd4 d6

8. f4 b6

9. e5 d5

10. Bb5+ Bd7

Scenario:
Black thinks he has trick up his sleeve, but first he loses his shirt: 11. exf6+ Bc5 (Black was counting on this pin to salvage the game) 12. Re1+ Kf8 13. fxg7+ Kg8 14. gxh8/Q, and Black goes down to mate. He could have been mated just as well on the final move if White had promoted to a Rook instead of a Queen.

Interpretation: You can't neglect development, waste time, or make moves that fuel your opponent's attack in the opening and expect to survive. Black's fourth move, Bf8-e7, is passive but OK, though he later moves the piece again. Black's sixth move, Nc6xd4, moves the Queen-Knight for the second time and is a positional blunder. It doesn't lose material but it lures the White Queen to a powerful central square invulnerable to a shoo-in. Rather than castling on his eighth move, Black plays a totally unnecessary pawn move, b7-b6, guarding c5 and hoping that White doesn't see the possibility of later moving the e7-Bishop to c5, pinning White's Queen. Finally, Black's d6-d5 ninth move, a wild Queen-pawn exercise for the second time, loses a piece. Time is what counts in the opening. Don't waste it. "You can ask me for anything you like, except time" -- Napoleon Bonaparte.

25

TRAPPED PIECE

Scotch Game


1. e4 e5

2. Nf3 Nc6

3. d4 exd4

4. Nxd4 Qh4

5. Nc3 Nf6

6. Nf5 Qh5

Scenario:
If you're going to bring out your Queen early, you better be prepared for the consequences. Black's most powerful piece is in hot water after 7. Be2, for the retreat 7....Qg6 drops the Queen to 8. Nh4. So Black must cede a piece, 7....Ng4 8. Bxg4, to extricate his Queen.

Interpretation: Black's fifth move is a blatant error. Better was 5....Bf8-b4, pinning the c3-Knight and threatening 6....Qxe4+. The actual move he uses to attack the e4-pawn, Ng8-f6, is milk-toasty enough to give White a chance to grab the offensive with Nd4-f5, which quickly assails the adventurous Black Queen. The f6-Knight poses another difficulty: it blocks the Queen's h4-d8 diagonal retreat. The moral of the story is, if you must walk on the wild side and violate a principle, you'd better play perfectly thereafter. There's no more room for mistakes in this game. The player on the other side probably "never overlooks a mistake, or makes the smallest allowance for ignorance," as Thomas Huxley tells us.

26

MATING ATTACK

Scotch Game


1. e4 e5

2. Nf3 Nc6

3. d4 exd4

4. Nxd4 Qh4

5. Nb5 Bc5

6. Qf3 Nf6

7. Nxc7+ Kd8

8. Nxa8 Re8

9. Bd3 Nxe4

10. 0-0

Scenario:
White has won Black's a8-Rook, but the rest of his ship is sinking swiftly. He has no useful retort to 10....Nxf2, which threatens discovery mayhem. If 11. Rxf2, then 11....Re1+ 12. Bf1 Nd4 13. Qxf7 Ne2+ 14. Kh1 Rxf1+ 15. Rxf1 Ng3 is mate. (Black could reverse the pattern by first playing 14....Ng3+, when 15 Kg1 Rxf1 is also mate.)

Interpretation: This is funny. Black brings out his Queen early but White has to pay for it. That's partly because it's White who has expended time gaining material while neglecting development and King's position. After Black's eighth move, Rh8-e8, Black has five developed pieces to White's two. Moreover, though Black has moved his King, it's actually White's that is the more endangered King, even after castling. All this is easy to understand. White won the a8-Rook, but his g1-Knight needed five moves to get to a8. What chessplayer could recover from that much time loss in an opening? The extra Rook means nothing if you get mated. "I wasted time, and now doth time waste me" -- King Richard II, William Shakespeare.

27

MATING ATTACK

Scotch Game


1. e4 e5

2. Nf3 Nc6

3. d4 exd4

4. Nxd4 Bc5

5. c3 Nf6

6. Bg5 0-0

7. Bc4 Qe7

8. 0-0 Qxe4

9. Bxf6 gxf6

10. Bd3 Qh4

Scenario:
Black grabs a pawn with his Queen, and now the Queen goes. After 11. Nf5 Qg5 12. h4 Qf4 (12....Qg6 drops the lady to 13. Ne7+) 13. g3, Black's Queen is practically homeless. If she abandons control of g4, say by 13....Qe5, then 14. Qg4+ mates next move at g7. Black must dump his Queen to thwart mate.

Interpretation: It's the same old story, the fight for the love glory of pilfering a pawn with a Queen. Except this battle almost always ends badly. When Black wins the e4-pawn, 8....Qxe4, he allows White to mess up his Kingside by 9. Bxf6 gxf6. With the g-file leading clearly to Black's King available to White's Queen, and with White's d3-Bishop and d4-Knight ready to join in, Black's poor Queen plops. The business of the opening is to mobilize the forces, not to hunt pawns; to ensure your King's position, usually by castling; and to build a playable middlegame. Mavericks who avoid these steps, choosing to propel the Queen outward at the start for an onslaught on enemy pawns, had better try some magic spells if they want to get away with it.

28

IN-BETWEEN MOVE

Scotch Game


1. e4 e5

2. Nf3 Nc6

3. d4 exd4

4. Nxd4 Bc5

5. Be3 Qf6

6. c3 Qg6

7. Qe2 Nf6

Scenario:
What's happening? Doesn't White win a piece by capturing on c6, uncovering an attack to Black's c5-Bishop? But wait; Black has a zwischenzug, saving the Bishop -- or does it? After 8. Nxc6 Bxe3, White has his own in-between move: 9. Ne5. No matter how Black deals with the attack on his Queen, White emerges a piece ahead.

Interpretation: In most exchange situations, the second player responds to his opponent's capture by immediately capturing back -- piece for piece, pawn for pawn, and so on. If you don't take back, your opponent extricates his capturing unit, and you've gained whatever was captured for nothing. The principle is to get at least as much in value as what you give up. Sometimes, however, you may delay recapturing if you can play another move that forces your opponent into a controlled response. After he answers your compelling in-between move, you may then have the time to complete the postponed recapture. The problem sets in when your in-between move isn't really effective and your opponent can save his endangered unit with a gain of time. You might just come away with an empty bag.

23

PIN

Scotch Game


1. e4 e5

2. Nf3 Nc6

3. d4 exd4

4. Nxd4 Bc5

5. Be3 Qf6

6. c3 Qg6

7. Qe2 Qxe4?

Scenario:
White's win starts with a capture and a discovery: 8. Nxc6, unveiling a discovered attack to the c5-Bishop. If Black then plucks away White's c6-Knight, White captures Black's cS-Bishop for nothing. Black could play a desperado, 8....Bxe3, trying to get equal value for his dark-square Bishop before capturing White's c6-Knight, except for a problem: White can let Black's dark-square Bishop sit on e3 for at least one extra move after it captures there because it's pinned to his Queen by White's Queen. Black can't move the Bishop without losing his Queen. So White continues 9. Nd4 and probably collects Black's dark-square Bishop next move.

Interpretation: Black makes three moves with his Queen, the last a blunder of sheer greed. In the opening, the emphasis should be on moving the central pawns, developing minor pieces, castling early, and working toward a safe but playable middlegame position of dynamic possibilities. On occasion, pawn-hunting with your Queen will sniff out bait, but it does absolutely nothing to nurture your opening position. To filch a pawn with your Queen, you usually have to make a three-move investment: one move to bring it out, one to capture the pawn, and one to bring your Queen back to everyday life. If you can expend that much time and get away with it you're lucky.

30

DISCOVERY

Scotch Game


1. e4 e5

2. Nf3 Nc6

3. d4 exd4

4. Nxd4 Bc5

5. Be3 Qf6

6. c3 Nge7

7. Nd2? Nxd4

8. e5 Qxe5?

Scenario:
Black has really overlooked something. He doesn't see that 9. cxd4 Bxd4 10. Nc4 attacks Black's Queen while also adding a second menace to Black's d4-Bishop. The Knight's movement from d2 to c4 has unveiled the file-power of White's Queen. Black loses his dark-square Bishop.

Interpretation: With correct play, White should lose a pawn in this variation, since moving his Knight from b1 to d2 weakens White's control over d4. After 8. e5, Black should eschew 8....Qxe5? in favor of 8....Nc2+. White takes the intruding Knight, 9. Qxc2, which allows Black to capture the King-pawn, 9....Qf6xe5. With deliberate play, Black should retain his additional pawn and derive advantage, but Black fell asleep at the board. He blissfully captured the e5-pawn, possibly never considering White's reason for the sacrifice. It he had, he might have realized that White's e4-e5 advance was not a sacrifice but rather a trap. Caveat emptor -- Let the buyer beware!

31

DISCOVERY

Scotch Game


1. e4 e5

2. Nf3 Nc6

3. d4 exd4

4. Nxd4 Nf6

5. Bg5 Be7

6. Nf5 d5

7. exd5 Ne5

8. Nxe7 Qxe7

9. Bxf6

Scenario:
White has just captured a Knight on f6 and is threatening Black's Queen. Surely Black must recapture on f6, but Black need not agree, for 9....Nf3 is double check and mate. If White tries to answer the checks by capturing either of Black's attacking pieces -- his Queen or his Knight -- he remains in check from the other one.

Interpretation: Don't take your opponent for granted. Perfunctory responses will not work. Even on "obvious" recaptures, or moves that seem practically forced, you still must step carefully to make sure you're not falling into a trap. White plays this opening far too automatically. He pins Black's f6-Knight, but he really shouldn't be developing his Queen's Bishop so early. Better to move out the Queen's Knight, instead. He attacks g7 and the e7-Bishop by jumping his Knight to f5, but in the opening he really shouldn't be moving the same piece so many times (three times and then a fourth move later). He would spend his time better to get out new pieces, to mobilize his entire army. It was unnecessary to capture on f6, when instead he could have saved himself by developing his King-Bishop to e2, screening the e-file, and preparing to remove his King from the center by castling. No one can survive all those wrong turns. "Wrong cannot right the wrongs that wrong hath done" -- John Oxenham [William Arthur Dunkerley]

32

MATING ATTACK

arScotch Game


1. e4 e5

2. Nf3 Nc6

3. d4 exd4

4. Nxd4 Nf6

5. Nc3 Bb4

6. Nxc6 bxc6

7. Bd3 0-0

8. 0-0 d5

9. e5 Ng4

10. f4

Scenario:
The last move, 10. f2-f4, irreparably damages White's game. He has no satisfactory answer to 10....Qh4, threatening mate at h2. So White has to reply 11. h3, but 11....Bc5+ 12. Kh1 Qg3 is bad news to White. If 13. hxg4, to stop mate at h2, then 13....Qb4 is mate. White must give up his Queen, 13. Qxg4 Bxg4, to ward off imminent mate.

Interpretation: A less risky move 9 for White would have been to trade e-pawn for d-pawn. Instead, he pushes the precarious 9. e4-e5, further separating his e-pawn from supporting forces. Once the venturesome pawn is attacked, 9....Nf6-g4, White had better protect it with his Queen-Bishop, 10. Bc1-f4. But pushing the f-pawn, 10. f2-f4?, to defend the e-pawn can only lose. The resulting weaknesses along the a7-g1 diagonal and to the square g3 bring White's sudden demise. Pushing the f-pawn is sometimes desirable in that it either supports a Kingside attack or clears a path in front of the f1 (f8 for Black) castled Rook. Negative to this advance is its exposure of the g1-a7 (a2-g8 for Black) diagonal to a Bishop or Queen check. Be certain about all pawn moves. You can't take them back. "Nor all your piety nor wit shall lure it back to cancel half a line..." -- Edward Fitzgerald, Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám.

Copyright © 1989 by Bruce Pandolfini

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Personally I found this book to be of very little help in improving my chess game.
x0apits@music.stlawu.edu
Pandolfini gives really unlikely positions where your opponent would have had to commit a string of gross blunders, and then asks you to find the 'winning move'.
ian cunliffe
At least 90% of chess books don't teach you anything and were just thrown together to make money.
Jason Enochs

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

114 of 120 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on September 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
The idea of chess traps books is absolutely great!!! You don't want to memorize a bunch of traps, you don't want to make "inferior" moves to set up a trap only to find your opponent sees through it and you end up with a rotten sitiuation. But learning tactics by seeing what is going on "before" the tactical trap and being able to avoid them and be able to execute them, as "sound" tactics considering both the tactics and positional situation is important.

Now you ask: why then just two stars for this book? Why does'n't this book tell you about the moves before the trap? It is limited to just one trap per page by design. And, the learning of the openings, explaining the ideas behind the opening moves is just not covered, when it could be. I would like my book to not just give a bunch of moves, then boom... a trap!!! - following a move with a ?? (but what should have been played? - simply not covered most of the time). This book lacks detail when it could have that. So, make each trap two pages! What a much better book that would be.

Also, this book is just plaged with errors in analysis and typos. To point just how fast it starts look at DIAGRAM 1. I was asking where the Black Knight on "f6" went - it disapeared from the board!! There should be a Knight on "f6" - how could a typo starting with the first diagram be missed? Then that leads you to wonder about the rest of the book.

I just got this book and now wonder: is there a book on chess traps that is well rounded as far as the openings it covers, explains the ideas behind moves before the traps, and is accurate? This one misses in all of these respects.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
54 of 56 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on September 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
For starts I would like to say that CHESS OPENINGS: Traps and Zaps is one of two books you need by the same author before you get all the openings covered. This book only covers double king pawn openings, which in my opinion do have some of the most important opening tactics to learn from.

For a second point learning tactics in the opening is important. Learning the "typical" types of tactics that you will come across in the openings you use is an important part of learning the "ideas behind your openings". A CHESS TRAP book should assist you in learning your openings better and improving your tactics. The purpose of using a book on traps is not to learn to set up cheapo tricks that will get you into trouble if your opponent sees through it, but to learn how to avoid traps and to learn solid tactics.

Here is the main problem with CHESS OPENINGS: Traps and Zaps (including the second volume): It provides little analysis and often none at all before the trap (tactic) is reached. Then even after the trap (tactic) the analysis is still lacking in quantity and quality. Don't you find it irritating when a question mark is given to move, but it doesn't tell you why the move is bad, and it doesn't tell you what should have been done? As part of the learning process wouldn't you like a little information on the opening itself - though this isn't the main job of a Traps Book a few notes along the way would take little space.

The author FORCES each trap to fit onto one page with one diagram. I personally would prefer more diagrams. But, often an opening trap/tactic cannot be done justice by requiring it to all fit onto one page.

Now will a good opening trap book be helpful in improving your knowledge of tactics and openings?
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
48 of 50 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on September 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
Something is really lacking out there. A good book that covers in detail the ideas behind the most important themes found in chess traps. A book with a good number of diagrams that uses learning the opening with good quality accurate analysis.

This book, though ok, doesn't fit the bill - nor as of this date have I found such a book (Chernev's Winning Chess Traps is outdated and has limited explanations and lots of mistakes).

Pandolfini's attempt to fill the void here has mostly failed. Not enough explanation along with this being more of "here is the positions and solve it". You can get that from many simple tactics books.

However, nontheless this book does have its good points. It provides practical trap problems that occur in real games - a few forgivable inaccuracies and typos - but that is ok!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
47 of 49 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on September 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
If you learn chess traps from the prospective of not trying to set up cheapo traps by using inferior moves then you are on the right track. Traps will teach you the tactical parts of the openings and help you learn the openings.

I was rather diapointed when there were moves that were played that were very weak and the book doesn't tell you why or show you what should have been done. There is little analysis in the book, and when it is given it is usually well into the game where the trap is being used - too late to know how to avoid it and where did the player go wrong and why is not covered!

There are some serious mistakes in the analysis in several traps. There one good point - there are a lot of traps covered, but you are largely on your own to figure things out.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
56 of 60 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
I just discovered you need to buy both "Chess Openings: Traps and Zaps" both number one and two to get all of the traps in both 1e4 and 1d4 openings covered. Then I found almost nothing is said about the moves before the trap, most often not where the blundering player went wrong, and even worse, what should have been done!

I think a book on traps should show cover the moves from the beinning to the end of the trap! That is telling you where someone went wrong and then what was correct in its place.

Another problem is lets say a trap happens on move 7 and then all of the same moves are used but the trap then happens on move 12, an entire page is taken up for each. Why not show within one or two pages both? It just uses up more space that is paid for with paper.

The only book I have found that takes my suggestions is "Winning Chess Traps for Juniors". It only has 64 traps shown, but has hundreds of traps when you add the traps on the side variations shown, and is all in one book instead of taking up two books.

I have bought all of the Opening Chess Traps Books. I also like "101 Opening Traps" to get a lot of 1 d4 openings not covered in any of the other books (so if you are a 1 d4 player then I also reocmment this trap book even if it doesn't cover ideas before the actual trap like I have suggested).

Learning Openings should be done by understanding the ideas behind the moves. Not set up "cheap traps", not "memorizing" moves. So books on traps should serve four purposes,

1. Learn the tactics in the openings you want to play.

2. Learn tactics and see how they are set up and used in the first place.

3. Learn when you can use a trap.

4. Learn when to avoid a trap.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?