Elephant Trap

Elephant Trap

Chess diagram|=
rd| |bd|qd|kd|bd| |rd|=
pd|pd|pd|nd| |pd|pd|pd|=
| | | | |nd| | |=
| | |nl| | |bl| |=
| | |pl| | | | |=
| | | | | | | |=
pl|pl| | |pl|pl|pl|pl|=
rl| | |ql|kl|bl|nl|rl|=
After 6.Nxd5??

In chess, the Elephant Trap is a faulty attempt by White to win a pawn in a popular variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined. This simple trap has snared thousands of players, generally amateurs. The earliest recorded occurrence of this trap seems to be Karl MayetDaniel Harrwitz, Berlin 1848.

:1. d4 d5:2. c4 e6:3. Nc3 Nf6:4. Bg5 Nbd7

This sequence of opening moves usually indicates that Black intends to play the Cambridge Springs Defense with 5.Nf3 c6 6.e3 Qa5, but it can also lead to the Orthodox Defense if Black plays ...Be7. (The Cambridge Springs opening had not yet been invented in 1848 when Mayet—Harrwitz was played.)

Black has set a trap; if White tries to win a pawn by

:5. cxd5 exd5:6. Nxd5??

White thinks that the black knight on f6 is pinned to the queen and cannot be moved.

Chess diagram|=
rd| |bd|bl|kd| | |rd|=
pd|pd|pd|nd| |pd|pd|pd|=
| | | | | | | |=
| | |nd| | | | |=
|bd| |pl| | | | |=
| | | | | | | |=
pl|pl| | |pl|pl|pl|pl|=
rl| | |ql|kl|bl|nl|rl|=
After 7...Bb4+

:6. ... Nxd5!:7. Bxd8 Bb4+

(See diagram.) Black regains the queen as White has only one legal move to get out of check.

:8. Qd2 Bxd2+

Harrwitz played the equally good 8...Kxd8, intending 9...Bxd2+.

:9. Kxd2 Kxd8

Black comes out a piece ahead.


*Barden, Leonard (1987). "Play Better Chess, Revised Edition". Treasure Press. p24.

External links

* [http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1242968 Elephant trap at chessgames.com]

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