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A good trap should arouse no suspicion. When playing the move that offers your opponent the opportunity to dig his own grave, it should look the most natural thing in the world, flowing from the demands of the position. One may add to the illusion with a small sigh or twitch of feigned discomfort, but overacting can give the game away.

The diagram position, from the game Rubinstein-Spielmann, San Sebastian 1912, is a fine example of a good trap that deserved its success. Akiba Rubinstein, a profound player and as mild and inoffensive a grandmaster as ever pushed a pawn, was caught by one of the game's greatest tacticians.

White has just played Rd3, attacking the d-pawn and leaving Black with a difficult choice. 1 . . . Rd8 would give White time for Qxa5, while 1 . . . Rd7 would surrender some of Black's pressure on the f-file. After 2. b4, White would take the initiative.

These considerations make Speelman's move, 1 . . . Qc5, completely natural. White must then have analysed 2. b4 axb4 3. axb4 Qe5 (forced if Black is to defend d6) 4. Qxe5 dxe5 5. b5 Be8. Black then has some chances to switch his rooks to attack on the c-file and bring the bishop out to g6. The position is in White's favour after 6. Bh3 or 6. Rd6, but not enough to arouse suspicion.


So Rubinstein played 2. b4. What happened next? There are two variations: one is three moves deep, the other ends at move 10, with White unable to stop mate. (Answer tomorrow.)