Chess Openings

Here’s a great way to explore openings and see the name of each one:


Legal Trap

legal trapThe legal trap is a chess trap in the Italian opening. Traps are fun to look at because they lead to a checkmate in a way you may not have expected. You can see the moves in the picture that lead up to this check mate and there’s a great video on this from the chess website.

If you want to see the moves played I’ve also included a gif file below which animates the moves.

Essentially white opens with the Italian and if black plays the Philidor defence and then moves the black bishop to g4 pinning the knight then the trap is unleased.


Magnus Carlsen launches Play Magnus

A few days ago (25th February 2014 to be precise) Magnus Carlsen launched his new chess app called Play Magnus with a corresponding website at This goes along with his new YouTube channel at where his first free training video has just been released.

The app is pretty clever and allows you to play against a Magnus computer with different age ratings. The whole idea is that you register, play and potentially win a chess to play against Magnus in a secret location next year. There are some free videos but you have to upgrade in the app to be allowed to enter the competition and you have to purchase some videos. Shame you have to upgrade to no ads to enter the competition but apart from that it’s very well done.

So what do you think and what age can you beat Magnus at?

Giuoco Piano

Italian Bc5 in response from black develops a piece and attacks f2 which is the weakness in white’s game so is a good move.

Nf6 would have been the Two Knights defence and playing that attacks the e4 pawn. In that sense Nf6 provides some tempo to black as white has to consider how to defend the e4 pawn. Nf6 is probably more logical in that sense so would be seen by players who haven’t studied the Italian game.

Giuoco Piano means the quiet game because down this line there is less exchange and competition for the centre and instead each side continues steadily with development. However it does contain some more aggressive lines so as long as you avoid the Giuoco Pianissimo (Very Quiet Game) you still have opportunities to have a good game. ItalianYou will find some pretty scathing commentary on the Giuoco Pianissimo as it leads to pretty much gridlock but beginners will often find themselves in that position. The Giuoco Pianissimo also makes it difficult to beat players who might not be as strong as you because everything is so defensive.

You can see that the obvious next move for White is c3 as this prepares d4 or c4 to attack the Bishop on c5. Black can prevent this with Nf6 which is really the only next option as this attacks the e4 pawn and forces White to consider how to defend it instead of playing b4 or d4 which White would want to play. But we’ll cover that in the next post!

Here’s a nice little video showing a game that uses this position: