Ruy Lopez, Mortimer Trap

Ruy Lopez, Mortimer Trap

Ruy Lopez, Mortimer Trap

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The Mortimer Trap is a chess opening trap in the Ruy Lopez named after James Mortimer. The Mortimer Trap is a true trap in the sense that Black deliberately plays an inferior move hoping to trick White into making a mistake.

The trap begins with the moves:
1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5 Nf6
Black plays the Berlin Defense to the Ruy Lopez. Although the Berlin was much more popular in the 19th century than in the 20th, it "became the height of theory when Kramnik used it as his main defense to defeat Kasparov in their 2000 World Championship match".Nick de Firmian, Modern Chess Openings, 15th edition, Random House, 2008, p. 43. ISBN 978-0-8129-3682-7.
4. d3
White plays a quiet alternative to the more common 4.0-0, 4.d4, or 4.Nc3 (the latter would transpose to the Four Knights Game). Horowitz and Reinfeld wrote that 4.d3 is "Steinitz's move, with which he scored many spectacular successes during his long reign as World Champion."
4. ... Ne7
The Mortimer Defense, intending to reroute the knight to g6. This rare move loses time and thus is inferior to other moves, but it sets a trap.White has many acceptable replies, but the tempting capture of the black pawn on e5 is a mistake.
5. Nxe5? c6!
(See diagram.)Attacking the white bishop and threatening 6...Qa5+.If the bishop moves (6.Ba4 or 6.Bc4), Black wins a piece with 6...Qa5+, forking the white king and knight.
6. Nc4
White's best try, covering a5 and thus preventing 6...Qa5+, and...
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