Friday, February 16, 2007

The Mortimer Trap

chess diagramBlack to play and win after 5.Nxe5?

I have posted an article on The Mortimer Trap (arising after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 Ne7!?), which is not well known among amateurs mostly because it has practically disappeared from the books after many years of disuse. With the resurgence of interest in the Berlin Variation of the Ruy Lopez, however, it is again seen occasionally even at the master level. I have played the line myself as Black on ICC and in casual games, catching a few opponents in the trap after 5.Nxe5? (see diagram above). I like it because it reminds me of my favorite lines of the Nimzovich (part of my Knightmare Repertoire), where the Knight often transfers to g6. Some recent published analysis and games (see the bibliography at the end of my article) inspired me to write up my own analysis of the critical lines, which will benefit players of both Black and White.


Devin C said...

I actucally always play this line with black; I think Ne7 followed by Ng6 is a very comfortable way to handle the d3 Berlin.

Of course the trap is c6!, with the threat of Qa5+ if the bishop moves.

Devin C said...

I wonder if 5.Nxe5 c6 6.Nxf7 is playable (although it looks objectively lost), with some artifical similarity to the cochrane gambit.

Usually though, I see something like 5.Nxe5 c6 6.Ba4 Qa5+ 7.Nc3 Qxe5 8.f4 when white has nice central control, but only one pawn for the piece (the line in the above paragraph nets an extra pawn). The pressure offered by t
this center never seems enough to make me uncomfortable though.