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Easy Chess Trap For Beginners - The Blackburne-Shilling Gambit

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1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bc4 Nd4 (Black's perspective)

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bc4 Nd4 (Black's perspective)

The Italian Opening

One of the most popupar openings in chess, especially in beginner chess, is the italian opening, it starts of as followed: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4, from here there are tons of variations to the Italian opening, in this article we're going to talk about the Blackburne-Shilling Gambit, also known as the Kostic Gambit or the Schilling-Kostic Gambit. Where black will answer with 3...Nd4.

The Trap

Now white has several options, but lets look at what we're aiming for first. What we want white to do here is 4. Nxe5, many players play the Italian opening to aim for an attack on f7, if black plays 3...Nd4 they will probably still want to try to attack f7, but since they can't play 4. Ng5 because black's queen is defending that square, white's eye will fall on e5, and if they decide to grab this 'free pawn', the fun can begin.

After white plays 4. Nxe5, black answers with 4...Qg5, now black, again, has some options, but to cover the main line first: let's say white decides to go for the fork with 5. Nxf7 (knight forks queen and rook). This will end in tears for white. I'm now quickly going to show some lines that can happen from here, there aren't that many important lines, since if white plays anything else it's going to be quite obvious to see that he's going to lose even more.

Smothered Mate

Smothered Mate

The line we are actually aiming for

What we are actually aiming for is a beautiful smothered mate with our knight on f3, it goes as followed:

5. Nxf7 Qxg2
6. Rf1 Qxe4+
7. Be2 Nf3#

If white notices this checkmate after 6...Qxe4+, his only other option is to move 7. Qe2, so whe can capture his queen with 7...Nxe2, at the same time attacking white's bishop on c4 with our queen and his bishop on c1 with our knight, both undefended pieces. And our greatest threat lies in the discovered check with Nc3+, for example if white captures our rook:

7. Qe2 Nxe2
8. Nxh8 Nc3+
9. Be2 Qxe2#

Either way we can see it's going to be a great game for black.

2 options for white, Qxc2 or Kf1

2 options for white, Qxc2 or Kf1

What if white notices his future queen loss?

If white notices he's going to lose his queen with the previous line, he might think giving up his rook would be worth it. But he has to be carefull with that, because capturing his rook isn't our only threat, let's say white thinks he's going to trade rooks and plays 6. Nxh8:

7. Bf1
(forced) Qxe4+
8. Be2
(or Qe2 followed by Nxe2)

And now our next beautiful move: 8...Nxc2+, white has 2 options now: 9. Qxc2, losing his queen after we recapture, or 9. Kf1, followed by 9. Qh1# checkmate. So he'd still lose his queen or worse.

What if white notices that future queen loss as well?

So we just played 5...Qxg2 and white doesn't want to lose his queen, but white also noticed that Qxe4+ is a problem after Qxh1+. White has some moves to prevent that from happening:

His first move isn't really an option: 6. Bf1, preventing check after Qxh1, but if we play Qxe4+ first, nothing changes, and even if he plays Qe2 and we capture his queen with Nxe2, he's still going to lose his rook.

He does have 2 better moves though: Ng5 and d3.

Ng5 line ending

Ng5 line ending

6. Ng5

After 6. Ng5 we capture white's rook on h1, white has to play Bf1 and than we play Be7, attacking his knight. Since white can't really move his knight since Qxe4+ is still a threat, his only good move really would be c3, we capture his knight, he captures our knight, than we play Qxe4+ and we're going to have a very, very good game.

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d3 line ending

d3 line ending

6. d3

After 6. d3 we capture white's rook, now his king has to move since d3 blocked his bishop. Than we play 7...Qxh2, this is still a major threat, if white captures our rook at this moment he would still lose his queen or lose the game due to 8...Qxf2+ 9.Kc3 Ne2+, here, white has to give up his queen by capturing black's knight because moving his king would end in checkmate. White's best move would be 8. Kc3, which would, again, result in a very good game for black.

But what if white prevents black from capturing g2 in the first place?

I think most of the time white won't like the idea of black's queen capturing g2 in the first place. So what could white do? White could be greedy and still capture f7, but this time with his bishop thus giving check. White could also try some other things, but we are attacking his knight, so he will most likely defend or move it.

First some simple rules to follow in this situation:

  1. Any move white does that will not prevent us from playing Qxg2 will be answered with Qxg2 (unless he does something really, really stupid like Qe2 or something like that)
  2. Any move white does that prevents capturing g2 but does not defend his knight, will be answered with Qxe5, winning his knight. From this position there are many different possibilities, but the game goes on and black's up a knight so this should be a good game.

The moves I'll talk about here are the moves that will prevent us from capturing g2 and from capturing his knight. These moves are: Bxf7+ (as mentioned above) and Ng4.

5. Bxf7+

This one is easy to explain, since we just play 5...Kd8 and the same 2 rules mentioned above still count and all the other threats we discussed are still there, some even stronger, now that white's bishop left c4.

The only different scenario we will see now is when white plays 6. Ng4, now we will play 6...Nh6, are main goal being to win a minor piece, since we're now forking his knigh and bishop. If white captures our knight, we still capture g2 with Qxg2 and we already know what comes next. If he doesn't, he can play 7. c3 or lose a piece. If he plays 7. c3 this is what we are going to do:

7. c3 Nc2+
8. Qxc2
(if his king moves we capture his rook on a1)

Now, if he doesn't defend his bishop, we capture his bishop and we're up a piece, if he defends his bishop or he moves it, he'll probably play 9. Bc4, this happens:

Bxf7 line ending after 6. Ng4

Bxf7 line ending after 6. Ng4

Best sequence for white:
10. Rf1 Ng4
11. d4 Nxh2
12. Be3 d5
13. exd5 Nxf1
14. Bxf1 Qxd5

Now black's up an exchange and should do good, yet I think this is the best possible line for white after 4. Nxe5 so we're certainly aiming for more.

Ng4 line possible ending

Ng4 line possible ending

5. Ng4

After 5. Ng4 we play a really simple 5...d5, winning a piece since we attack his bishop with our pawn and we attack his knight twice, with our queen and our bishop.

This could still bring some tricky stuff tho, if white decides to play 6. Bb5+ c6 7. Ba4 (not the best sequence for white but possible)

Now we can play 7...Bxg4 (attacking the queen) and if 8.f3 Qh4+ 9. g3 (moving his king would be a mistake) Nxf3+. This is quite a tricky situation, if white moves his king anywhere he's in some big, big trouble due to a lot of discovered threats, white's best move would be 10. Qxf3 Bxf3 11. gxh4 Bxh1 ending with doubled h pawns and a rook down.

Enough with the fun stuff, what if white doesn't play 4. Nxe5?

Okay, I have to admit something, if white doesn't play 4. Nxe5 it gives him a slight edge. However, he will probably be surprised by your move 3. Nd4 and his original plans probably won't continue so actually it's not that bad.

Some moves white might do: Nxd4, O-O, c3,... If white doesn't play Nxd4, our next move will probably be Nxf3, since he would probably be able to play Nxe5 his next move without getting into trouble. If this happens, the game goes on, we're slightly behind in development, but it's not that bad and having the chance of him playing 3. Nxe5 is totally worth it!

If white does play Nxd4, we recapture with exd4, now we have 2 options:

  1. The game goes on, white has an edge but nothing really happened.
  2. We try to give white a triple e pawn by playing d4, letting him capture with his e pawn and later on trying to make him play cxd, this could be good, if you know how to take advantage out of it, but I think it depends on taste and I personally don't really like to do this.

One last warning: if white plays O-O for example, and than follows 4...Nxf3 5. Qxf3, notice white is threatening checkmate on f7!! Be sure to prevent that with 5...Nf6 or something like that.

If you like some visual explanation with this, I have included a video from thechesswebsite below that sums up everything I've told you once more.

Thank you for reading and be sure to give me some feedback or ask for a specific trap or opening you'd like me to explain next in the comment section below!

Was this chess trap useful for you?


Jasper (author) from Belgium on May 29, 2016:

Aah thank you, that's a typo indeed.. Maybe working with black orientated illustrations wasn't such a good idea for myself either.

Ronald E Franklin from Mechanicsburg, PA on May 29, 2016:

For people using a physical board to follow you, it probably makes no difference whether your illustration is from white's or black's perspective, since you can just reorient the physical board. But I'm using an online board which is set up from white's perspective, so it's harder for me. But the real issue is your listing of the sequence of moves. Apparently that was done with black moving first on the illustration (?), which really confused me. And again, 2. Nf3 Nf6 in the paragraph doesn't match 2. Nc3 Nf6 on the illustration. Is that a typo?

Jasper (author) from Belgium on May 29, 2016:

All the illustrations are shown from black's perspective, because it's a trap for black. Was that a bad idea? If so, I'll remember that for later and maybe edit it soon.

Ronald E Franklin from Mechanicsburg, PA on May 29, 2016:

Jasper, I tried to follow the moves you lay out, but couldn't get past the first paragraph and the first illustration. The sequence in the first paragraph doesn't match the one shown with the illustration, and neither seems to match the setup on the illustration's chessboard. Or maybe I'm just not understanding how you're doing it.

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