Legal’s Trap in chess

Legal’s Trap in chess

Legal’s Trap also known as Legal’s Mate often arises in shown or similar positions. In this example it works like an opening trap for Philidor’s Defense. White pseudo-sacrifices the queen and mates by 3 minor pieces.
The trap is named after Sire de Légal (1702-1792) who was a French player, or Joseph Henry Blackburne (1841-1924), who was a British master and one of the world’s strongest players in the latter part of the 19th century. Main Line:

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bc4 Nc6 4. Nc3 Bg4 5. h3 Bh5 6. Nxe5 Bxd1 7. Bxf7+ Ke7 8. Nd5#

When the Legal’s Trap doesn’t work?

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. Bc4 Bg4

The Legal’s trap does NOT work in this position. The reason is black knight on c6. Now, if white plays
5.Nxe5? Black still cannot capture the queen (or the same mate, as shown above, would be developed), but instead black can take the knight 5…Nxe5 protecting the bishop at the same time. White loses material.

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Updated 12.22.2023


Bryan, if knight takes bishop on c4, then Q b5 check, recapturing knight on next move
Whenever I play Nfxe5, my opponent starts thinking that there's something wrong and do not kills my Queen and goes with Ncxe5. What can I do?
Bryan, if 6)...Nc6 x Ne5 then 7)Q x Bh5 N x Bc4 8) Qb4+! winning the knight.
It seduced me.......impressive !!
Aloke Chakraborty:
Black can avoid the trap by eliminating the knight in move no.5
Well, yeah if Black captures after h3 we get kind of a balanced game.
Tommy Tan:
[b]Actually,When white play h3,black should just simply capture the Knight on f3 so that black will not fall into the legal's mate but white is a little better as bishop is very important in the opening,middlegame or even endgame! :D :lol: :-) ;-) 8) :-* :P :roll: By Tommy Tan, Singapore!National Rating:1541 International Rating:1625
Tommy Tan:
The Legal's Mate ROX!
I can see the source of your confusion, Bryan. However, after 6.Ne5 white is fine by playing 6...Qxh5 7.Nxc4 Qb5+ winning the piece back. White is a good pawn up here. ;-)
I see but why not just take knight with c6 knight and it is two for one, with you gaining bishop on c4. not sure how this is advantageous