The Siberian Trap

In a correspondence game I was preparing an opening line as it was appearing to become a Smith-Morra variation in the Sicilian. But alas! – the game soon changed into an Advance French/Alapin hybrid.


So, my dear chess friends, here is what I was studying.




The Siberian Trap is a good counter-attack in the Smith-Morra. You won’t find it in too many opening books, but it’s there!


The opening line begins as 1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Bc4 Qc7!, and Black has his counterplay. But is it sound? Any good? Well, apparently, it is!


Here are some games and analysis for your consideration.


First of all, to reach the gambit proper, White continues with 7.O-O Nf6 8.Qe2 (a reasonable move). And now Black strikes back with 8…Ng4!


White can respond with 9.h3?, but this is bad, because of 9…Nd4! 10.hxg4 Nxe2+ 11.Bxe2 a6 12.Rd1 b5 and Black won soon in the game, Alekseev-Schipkov, Burevestnik Russian Ch., Krasnodar 1983. [Analysis by Boris Schipkov.]


Another bad move for White is 9.Bb3?. which led to a quick loss after 9…Nd4! (Kolenbet-Schipkov, Siberian & Far East Ch., Khabarovsk, 1987). At least now know where the name of this trap comes from!


Let’s look at some other games.


Ligoure (2240)–Milesi (2030)
Cannes, 1990
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Bc4 e6 6.Nf3 Qc7 7.O-O Nf6 8.Re1?! (The critical theoretical line is 8.Nb5 Qb8 9.e5!) 8…d6 9.Bf4 Ne5?! (9…a6 was preferable.) 10.Bb5+ Nfd7?! (> 10…Bd7) 11.Rc1 Qb8 12.Nd5!
12…exd5 13.Nxe5 (Even more powerful was 13.Bxe5! dxe5 14.Rxc8+! Qxc8 15.Nxe5 +-) 13…dxe5 14.Bxe5! Qxe5 15.exd5 Kd8 16.Rxe5 Nxe5 17.f4 Bg4 18.Qe1 Nd7 19.h3 a6 20.Bxd7 Bxd7 21.Qa5+ +- Ke7 22.Re1+ Kf6 23.Qb6+ Kf5 24.Re5+ 1-0


Joe Blitzsein-M. Manik
Los Angeles, 1993
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Bc4 Qc7 7.Qe2 Nf6 8.e5 Ng4 9.Bf4 f6 10.Nd5 Qa5+ 11.Bd2 Qd8 12.exf6 Nxf6 13.Nxf6+ Qxf6 14.Bc3 Bb4 15.Bxb4 Nxb4 16.O-O O-O 17.Rfd1 d5 18.a3 Nc6 19.Bb5 Bd7 20.Bxc6 Bxc6 21.Ne5 Rad8 22.Rac1 Ba4 23.Rd4 Bb5 24.Qe3 Rc8 25.Rxc8 Rxc8 26.h3 Qe7 27.Rf4 Qc5 28.Qg3 Rf8 29.Rxf8+ Qxf8 30.Qb3 Qc5 31.Qf3 Qc1+ 32.Kh2 Qc7 33.Qf4 Be8 34.Ng6 Qxf4+ 35.Nxf4 Kf7 36.Kg3 Kf6 37.Kf3 d4 38.Ke4 Bc6+ 39.Kd3 e5 40.Nh5+ Kg6 41.g4 Bg2 42.f4 Bxh3 43.fxe5 Bxg4 44.Nf4+ Kf5 45.Ng2 Kxe5 46.b4 g5 47.a4 h5 0-1


Italian Ch., 1993
[This game actually made it into CCY #10/79. Analysis by Lotti]
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Bc4 Qc7 7.O-O Nf6 8.Bg5! Ne5 9.Bb3 Be7 10.Rc1 Qa5?! (10…Nxf3+! 11.Qxf3 +/=) 11.Nxe5 Qxe5 12.f4 Qc5+ 13.Kh1 Qb6 14.e5 Ng8 15.Ne4 h6 16.Bxe7 1-0 [16…Nxe7 (16…Kxe7 17.Qd6+ Qxd6 18.Nxd6 +-) 17.Nd6+ Kf8 18.Nxc8 Rxc8 19.Rxc8+ Nxc8 20.Qxd7 Ne7 21.Rc1 g6 22.Rc7 Qb4 23.h3 +-]


British Ch., 1996
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 e6 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.Bc4 Qc7 7.O-O a6 8.Be3 h6 9.Re1 Ne5 10.Nxe5 Qxe5 11.Nd5 exd5 12.exd5 Be7 13.Bc5 Qf4 14.Bxe7 Nxe7 15.d6 Qxc4 16.Rxe7+ Kf8 17.Qf3 g6 18.Qf6 Rg8 19.Re8+ 1-0


Hamburg, 2002
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.c3 dxc3 5.Nxc3 e6 6.Bc4 Qc7 7.Qe2 a6 8.O-O b5?! (In combination with …Qc7 this often proves too risky.) 9.Bb3 Bb7 10.Rd1 d6 11.Bf4 Ne5?! 12.Rac1 Bc6?! (12…Nxf3+ 13.Qxf3) 13.Nd4 Ne7 14.Bxe5 dxe5 15.Ndxb5! axb5 16.Nxb5 +- Bxb5 17.Qxb5+ Nc6 18.Rxc6 Rb8!?
19.Rxe6mate 1-0


Milman (2356)-GM Ehlvest (2587)
New York Masters, 2003
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Bc4 Qc7 7.O-O Nf6 8.Nb5 Qb8 9.e5! Ng4 10.Nd6+?! (> 10.Bf4) 10…Bxd6 11.exd6 b5 12.Bb3 O-O 13.h3 Nf6 14.Re1 a5 15.Bg5 a4 16.Bxf6 gxf6 17.Bc2 Nb4 18.Bb1 Nd5 19.Nh4 Qxd6 20.Qg4+ Kh8

21.Nf5! 1-0


Sami Al Atarji-GM Todorovic (2540)
Belgrade Trophy, Nov. 24 2004
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Bc4 Qc7 7.O-O Nf6 8.Qe2 Ng4 9.g3 (Now this is White’s most common reply. A fianchetto makes it harder to attack the kingside. In most positions.) 9…a6 10.Nd5 Qd8 (Maybe Black can survive after 10…exd5 11.exd5+ Ne7 12.d6 Qxd6 13.Bf4, but why risk it?) 11.h3 Nge5 12.Bf4 d6 13.Ne3 Nxf3+ 14.Qxf3 g5! 0-1


Kobernat (2030)-GM Wojtkiewicz (2610)
Governor’s Cup
South Dakota, 2005
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Bc4 Qc7 7.O-O Nf6 8.h3 a6 9.Qe2 d6 10.Be3 Be7 11.Rac1 O-O 12.Nd4 Bd7 13.f4 b5 14.Nxc6 Qxc6 15.Bd3 Qb7 16.e5 dxe5 17.fxe5 Nd5 18.Nxd5 exd5 19.Qh5 g6 20.Qh6 Rac8 21.Rce1 Bc5?? (Black should have played 21…Qc7 22.Bd4 Bc5, and would have eventually won.) 22.Bxc5 Rxc5 23.e6! Bc6 24.e7 Re8 25.Rxf7 1-0


Leigh Hunt (1964)-Nisha Deolalkikar (1719)
La Palma, CA, 2008
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 e6 5.Bc4 Qc7 6.Qe2 a6 7.Nf3 Nc6 8.Bb3 (Safeguarding the Bishop) 8…g6? (The move …e6 is usually played so Black’s bishop can move to either e7 or b4. Playing …g6 in this position, in conjunction to …e6, creates catastrophic weaknesses along the dark squares.) 9.Bg5! (White immediately takes advantage of the situation.) 9…Bg7 10.Rc1 f6?! (Further weakening Black’s kingside.) 11.Be3 (White is practically winning.) 11…b5 12.Nd5 exd5 13.exd5 Nge7 14.dxc6 dxc6 15.Bc5 Bg4 16.O-O Kf8 (Black might have tried 16.O-O-O, hoping for 17.Bxe7? Rde8!, and while he is not winning, he is not being mated.) 17.Rfe1 Re8 18.Rcd1 h5 19.h3 Bxf3 20.Qe6 Bd5
21.Rxd5! (Threatening 22.Rd7. Meanwhile, White’s rook and two bishops are all en prise, but none of them can be taken because of mate on the next move.) 1-0


Jozsef Visloczki-Tibor Barabas (2097)
Hungarian Team Ch. 2, Mar. 27 2011
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.c3 dxc3 5.Nxc3 Nc6 6.Bc4 Qc7 7.O-O Nf6 8.Qe2 Ng4 9.g3 a6 10.Rd1? Bc5 (Already, Black has a definite advantage.) 11.Rf1 O-O 12.Bf4 d6 13.Rad1 b5 14.Bb3 h6 15.h4 Nge5 16.Nxe5 dxe5 17.Be3 Nd4 18.Bxd4 exd4 19.Nb1 a5 20.Rc1 Qb6 21.Qh5 Bd6 22.Nd2 Bb7 23.Bc2 Bxg3! 24.Bd3 Bf4 25.Rc2 e5 26.Kh1 f5 27.Rg1 Bxd2 28.Rg6 Rf6 0-1

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