XX Beginner Chess Opening Traps for White & Black


Quick overview:

  • Opening traps are moves that attempt to trick your opponent into a sense of safety but have an underlying threat. They can be highly effective if employed correctly or if your opponent is unaware of them.
  • Some traps rely on dubious strategies and if your opponent does not fall for them can leave you worse off. However, there are traps that even if your opponent does not fall for them will still leave you with a good position.
  • It is important to study traps in the openings you play to be aware of them. Additionally, employing the principle of prophylaxis, or asking what your opponent’s intentions are and trying to stop them, will help you stop traps in their tracks.

Introduction to Chess Opening Traps

Chess opening traps are one of the trickiest things for beginners to navigate once they start studying the opening principles and opening theory.

Some of these tricks arise from unsound openings, meant to distract you and put a quick win past you. These are easy to refute once you have been burned by them.

Others, however, are complex setups from well-established and sound openings, it is important to be on the watch out for them.

In this article, we look at traps in common openings beginners should be aware of and how to avoid them by using prophylaxis.

Scotch Gambit Trap

The Scotch Gambit is a powerful attacking gambit arising from the Scotch Game.

The gambit arises after the moves 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4

Here White decides to develop their kingside and let Black have the pawn. If Black tries to hold onto the pawn with 4….Bc5 white will play 5.c3, and things can get messy if Black is not careful.