rnbqk2r/p1pp1pbp/1p2p1pn/4P3/2BP4/5Q2/PPP2PPP/RNB1K1NR w KQkq - 0 1

Is the rook sacrifice intended by the black to trap white's queen or is it just a misplayed move?

  • Is this from any particular game? Jun 10, 2017 at 9:50
  • @Chessanator I play an online chess game and we can spectate matches, I just found this one there,
    – prog_SAHIL
    Jun 10, 2017 at 9:57
  • It could very well be the case that black intended to trap the queen, but that the move is just a mistake anyway, and the rook can be safely taken.
    – Scounged
    Jun 10, 2017 at 11:13
  • This is trap but very bad. Even if the rook isn't taken, it makes no sense. Better try is something like d4 g6 Bh6 in bullet as in good scenario you eat whole kingside of your opponent.
    – hoacin
    Jun 10, 2017 at 18:20

5 Answers 5


In general, it's very hard to trap a queen like that. After Qxa8 Nc6, the white queen can't escape immediately but it's not hard to devise an escape plan; with Bb5 White threatens to exchange the only defender of the a7 pawn, and at the same time winning another pawn on c6. So my conclusion is that Black's last move was a blunder.

  • 2
    Or in the "worst case" white could even play Ba6 Bxa6 Qxd8 Kxd8 winning the exchange. That said, it is possible to trap a queen sometimes, as Aronian demonstrated yesterday.
    – TMM
    Jun 11, 2017 at 17:05
  • 1
    That was more 'putting it off-side' than 'trapping', but point taken.
    – Glorfindel
    Jun 12, 2017 at 7:56

It may have been a misguided attempt to trap the queen, but since there is no immediate follow-up threat against her, she will have time to escape, in which case the sacrifice has to be considered a mistake. The queen may be out of play for a while during this extrication effort, giving Black the chance to gain in development, but that's unlikely to prove to have been sufficient compensation for the sacrifice. The recommended Bb5 move for White seems to be the quickest way to initiate the extrication.


It's a poorly played trap and definitely a blunder. White would still be up material even if the queen is lazily given up for pieces (see mainline.) However, white shouldn't be too impatient in freeing up the queen if it is decided that it should be kept (see sideline with checkmates.)

The best plan for white is probably to escape using minor pieces.

[FEN "rnbqk2r/pppp1pbp/4p1pn/4P3/2BP4/5Q2/PPP2PPP/RNB1K1NR b KQkq - 0 1"]

1...b6?? {Nf5 or Nc6 instead are playable} 2. Qxa8!+- Nc6 3.Nf3 {many other moves are playable} ( 3. Bg5?? Qxg5! 4. Qxc8+?! {Ne2 or Nd2 instead should be played} Ke7!-+ {the only move} 5. Qxc7 {Qb7 or Qa6 instead lead to the same checkmates} Qc1+!! (5... Bxe5?! 6. dxe5 {is not forced} Qc1+!) (5... Qxg2?? 6. Nd2!!+-) 6. Ke2 Nxd4+ 7. Kd3 Qxc2+ 8. Ke3 Nhf5+ 9. Kf4 {you can find two checkmate in threes from here})( 3. Bb5?! Nxd4 4. Qe4?! Nxb5 5. a4 {traps the knight}) O-O 4. O-O (4. Bb5) (4. Bg5) Qe7 5. Bb5 Ba6 6. Qxf8+ Qxf8 7. Bxa6

Black moves his/her knight to block the Queen from getting out. Then white is forced to work without a Queen or waste time trying to free her while black can make some aggressive moves without fear of the Queen being in the way. IMO it is a trap, at the expense of a rook but it buys time to make some pretty serious moves.


This rook sacrifice is a blunder. OK, you need to prove from a calculation standpoint also. Let's take the piece placement, and some basic common sense.

  • Black has two pieces developed on K-side. His best move is to castle.
  • His Q-side is static except his intentionally mistaken move b6.
  • To trap the mighty queen you need to make moves, which will consist of tempo-gaining moves, and continuously attack the Queen, which does not seem to have.
  • After Q*a8 Nc6 stops the queen's retreat. Bb5 or d5 and ed5 Bd5 attacks the knight, and then it is not clear from black how he would trap the queen. In fact there is no such way.

So in short b6 seems to be a misplayed move. You can even check this out with an engine.

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