THE PLATYPUSSY TRAP
To celebrate the 50,000th visitor to my main chess page, and my tenth win of the same game at ICC (with Black!), I've decided to give away this trap, my best. Amazing what fun it is to
win a game where you haven't played chess, but enough is enough. I'll call it the Platypussy Trap, after a handle I've used on ICC, and it happens in the Rubinstein Variation of the Spanish Four Knight's game:
White to play
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 Nd4 5.Ba4 Bc5 6.Nxe5 O-O 7.O-O This is already the losing move. White should play Nf3 or Nd3, the latter of which is the modern main line of the Rubinstein. Other move orders also occur, like 6.O-O O-O 7.Nxe5? or even 3.Bb5 Bc5 4.O-O Nf6 5.Nc3 O-O 6.Nxe5 Nd4 7.Ba4?
After 7...d6 the position of diagram 1 is reached. White has three moves, 8.Nf3, 8.Nc4 and 8.Nd3, two of which lose by force.
8.Nf3 is best. White then gets away with a rotten position, as in Lyublinski - Lilienthal, Moscow 1945: 8...Bg4 9.d3 Nd7 10.Bxd7 Qxd7 11.Be3 Nxf3+ 12.gxf3 Bh5 13.Kg2 f5 14.e5 f4 15.Bxc5 dxc5 16.Qe2 Rae8 17.Rae1 Re6 18.h3 Bg6 19.Kh2 Bf5 20.Rg1 Bxh3 21.Rg4 Bxg4 and Black won.
8.Nc4 was already analysed by Alekhine (who could tell me where? - I can only find references.) He said Black has a "strong attack" after 8...Bg4
9.Qe1 Nf3+ 10.gxf3 Bxf3 (see diagram 2.)
White to play
In fact, Black is winning, and had won as early as 1925.
White has five moves in diagram 2, which I helped Rebel to analyse:
a) 11.Ne2 Ng4 and there is nothing against the threat Qh4 (12.h3 Qh4 13.Nf4 Qg3+) Two wins for Platypussy here.
b) 11.Ne3 Ng4 12.Ng2 Qg5 13.Ne2 (13.h4 Qe5 0-1, Jakolev - Kolarov, Sofia 1953) 13...Nxf2 14.Ng3 Nd3+ etc. and Black won quickly in Steiner - Pawelczak, 1925.
c) 11.h3 Ng4 12.d4 Qh4 13.Nd2 Bh1! and Black wins
d) 11.d3 Ng4 12.Bf4 Qh4 13.Nd2 Nxh2 14.Bd7 Qxf4 and Black wins
e) 11.d4 Qc8 and now:
e1) 12.Bf4 Qh3 13.Ne3 Bxd4 14.Qd2 Be5 15.Bg3 Ng4 16.Rfe1 Nxh2 and Black mates soon
e2) 12.Ne3 Qh3 13.Bd7 (13.dxc5 Ng4 and White resigned in Banas-Lukacs, Trnava 1986) 13...Nxd7 14.Ne2 (14.dxc5 Nf6 and Ng4) 14...Ne5! (but in Lauzenigs - Simon, Germany 1995, 14...Bb6 also won: 15.Nf4 Qh4 16.Nf5 Qg4+ 17.Ng3 Bxd4 18.c3 Bb6 19.Be3 Ne5 20.h3 Qh4 21.Bxb6? Qxf4 and White resigned) 15.Nf4 Qh4 16.Neg2 Bxg2 17.Kxg2 Qg4+ 18.Kh1 Qf3+ and Bxd4, and Black has the pawn and the compensation, as Roman Dzindzichashvili used to say.
Back to diagram 1, where, apart from 8.Nf3 and 8.Nc4, White can play 8.Nd3 Strangely enough, theory seems to ignore this move. And when it
happens in practice, Black often retreats the bishop to b6, either directly or after 8...Bg4 9.Qe1. Black still has a good position then, but the surprising thing is, as I discovered (not as the first, but I did discover it) that here too, Black can win with (8.Nd3) Bg4 9.Qe1 Nf3+ 10.gxf3 Bxf3 (see diagram 3.) This is really the Platypussy trap.
White to play
White again has a sad choice.
a) After 11.Nf4, the fun move Nd5! wins immediately. In the correspondence game Yudintsev - Herrmann, 1976 and in one Platypussy game, White resigned here. In another Platypussy game, White did so after 12.Nh3 (same after Nh5) Nf4.
b) 11.Ne2 Nh5 and White can hardly move, e.g. 12.Ng3 Nxg3 13.hxg3 Qg5 and mate, or 12.Nxc5 Nf4 and mate soon.
c) 11.h3 This is the best defense, but I've never seen it played. 11...Ng4! and now:
c1) 12.Ne2 Qh4 13.Ndf4 g5 14.Bd7 gxf4 15.Bxg4 Bxg4 16.d4 (16.hxg4 f3) Bxh3 17.Nxf4 Bxd4 18.Qd1 (18.Nxh3 Qg3+ 19.Kh1 Qxh3+ 20.Kg1 Kh8 and wins) Rae8 19.Qxd4 Qg4+ 20.Kh1 Bxf1 and Black wins.
c2) 12.Nf4 Qh4 13.d4 (13.Nce2 transposes to c1) Bxd4 14.Nce2 Be5 and now the funny threat Qxh3 decides.
d) 11.Nxc5 doesn't help either; after Ng4, White is finished:
d1) 12.Bd7 Qh4 and two Whites resigned here against Platypussy.
d2) 12.d3 Qh4 13.Bf4 Qh3 and White resigned (Campanella - Geenen, Belgium 1989)
d3) 12.Qe3 A move that would hardly be played outside blitz. Platypussy won four times against it, but there is even an example from serious play: 12.Qe3 Nxe3 13.fxe3 Qg5+ 14.Kf2 Qg2+ 15.Ke1 dxc5 16.d3 Bg4 17.Rf2 Qg1+ and White resigned (Joelson - Multhopp, Columbus 1983)
© Tim Krabbé 1999
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