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Pratt's Trap

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(Kostics' Trap Modified for Two Knights Offense)

White: Dave Wolford
Black: John P. Pratt
Date: 8 Feb 1977
Location: Hill Air Force Base, Utah









Dave wasn't present to see the Kostics' Trap which I had used previously. Besides, Dave always opened with both knights rather than Giuoco Piano required for Kostics Trap. So before our tournament game, I sat up a night and designed a modification to the Kostics' Trap to use on him. I was fortunate that he played it exactly as I designed it.

Another lesson here is to be familiar with several openings. And don't be predictable. I would never have even taken the time to design this trap if I had ever seen him open with anything other than the Two Knights offense. He was totally predictable and it led to his downfall as he played the game exactly as I designed it for him.

1. e2-e4, e7-e5. 
2. Ng1-f3, Nb8-c6. 
3. Nb1-c3, Bf8-c5. So far we have a very traditional two-knight opening.
4. Bf1-c4, Nc6-d4. So here is the bait! It looks like Black forgot to guard his pawn.
5. Nf3xe5, Qd8-g5. Hooray, he took the bait. And the queen move doesn't look too scary.
6. Ne5xf7, Qg5xg2. White now see he could lose his rook and the game!
7. Rh1-f1, d7-d6. White's move is mostly forced, but then Black lulls him back to sleep.
8. Nf7xh8, Bc8-g4! White's greed causes him to ignore defense and development!
9. Nc3-e2, Nd4-f3 mate. White never saw it coming because he was focused elsewhere.

Another successful option I had planned is 9. Bc4-e2, Bg4xe2; 10. Nc3xe2, Nd4-f3 mate. When I played it, I thought White can save himself by moving 9. f2-f3 which gives his king breathing room, but it would look like a poor move because the obvious response is Bg4xf3 which appears to simply lose White a pawn. So I was betting that Dave wouldn't try it. And he didn't!

Recently Sam Sloan pointed out that a better response to 9. f2-f3 would be Nd4xf3+ which forces 10. Rf1xf3 (unless Queen forfeited). After 10. . . . Bg4xf3, white plays either 11. Nc3-e2 or Bc4-e2 and then black wins with Qg2-f2 mate.

Then someone made a video of this game, found on here on my website in .flv format here, in .mp4 format here, or on youtube (called "Pratt Trap"). The video points out other even better options. After 9. f2-f3 Nd4xf3+; 10 Rf1xf3, then Black plays 10. ... Qg2-g1+. Then if White plays 11. Ke1-e2 then 11. ... Qg1-f2 mate and if 11. Rf3-f1 then 11 ... Bc5-f2 mate! So it was even better than I had thought. Thanks guys!