The Légal Trap

The chess position above is an example where the Légal Trap can be played. This is named after Sire Légal (1702-1792), a French chess player whose full name was François Antoine de Legall de Kermeur. It is White’s move and the first move of the trap seems like a monumental blunder. It is f3xe5, which exposes White’s queen and the knight moved.

Can you see the trap?

1 … g4xd1 2 c4xf7+ e8e7 3 c3d5 checkmate.

Even if Black sees the trap and plays 1 ……. d6xe5, White can reply with d1xg5 and is a pawn up.

4 Responses to “The Légal Trap”

  1. I must be being even more stupid than usual (and I am also very much a complete beginner at chess) but after c4 x f7, why can black not play K x B ? Incidentally, after visiting Doha recently, my wife has become addicted to Dama (“Turkish Draughts”) and I am staggered at how difficult the game is to play. It is OK against a computer, where you will be told which forced move you must make, but against an experienced human I am certain that a beginner would fail to spot the forced move (which is a maximal sequential capture) time and time again …

  2. Oops, I meant “after P x Kt”, of course. Can’t cope with this algebraic notation; far too opaque.

  3. John Maidment says:

    Philip,

    Black can play that, as I said in the solution:
    1 ………… g4xd1
    2 c4xf7+ e8e7
    3 c3d5 checkmate
    Even if Black sees the trap and plays 1 ……. d6xe5, White can reply with d1xg5 and is a pawn up.

    d6xe5 = P x Kt
    d1xg5 = QxB

    Update:

    Ah, I think I misunderstood. After white: NxP (on e5), black: BxQ, white BxP(on f7) black is in check and can only move the King to e7 because the B is protected by the N on e5. Then N to d5 completes the mate.

  4. John Maidment says:

    Philip,

    Thanks for the info on Dama. I shall look into that.

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