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Zahar Efimenko vs Alexander Sergeyevich Cherniaev
2nd Coventry Chess International (2005), Coventry ENG, rd 3, Mar-25
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense (C65)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Today's Game of the Day for 6/17/2012 inspired me to search for other games with the trappy 4...Ne7. It seems to be a pretty bad move, as this game indicates, in which White resorts to the same sacrificial attack seen in J N Berger vs P Gaspary, 1889. Black always seems to run into trouble on the a2-g8 diagonal.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <An Englishman> 4...Ne7 is the Mortimer Trap,, named for James Mortimer, a perennial rabbit who had a very long chess career. True to form, he lost thrice with his trap at the great London 1883 tournament, apparently where he introduced the trap. However, others did better with it at the same tournament - Zukertort (the tournament winner) drawing Englisch with it while Ranken (later the co-author of <Chess Openings Ancient and Modern>) won a game with it in the concurrent minor tournament. Incidentally, I have a post regarding Mortimer and his connection to Paul Morphy at

Opening Explorer shows that the Mortimer Trap hasn't done too well, though it is good for the occasional 5-move win, J G Nicholson vs T Spanton, 2007. But see R C Griffith vs NN, 1888. The winner of the latter game later became the co-author of Modern Chess Openings.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: For more on Mortimer's Trap, see Edward Winter's article at He says that Griffith denied ever winning the game I cited above.
Premium Chessgames Member
  centralfiles: <FSR> I use it regularly and have good results coming out of the opening with it. I don't think the whitewashing we see in CG database (+23 -6 =8 with top 3 moves) reflects Blacks actual chances It's probably just a very poor sample. If white just plays naturally Black gets comfortable positions that are easy to play.
Premium Chessgames Member
  centralfiles: This game seems to have been played very well. Looks like Efimenko might have prepared the line, though cherniev defends well. Whites moves starting with 5.Nc3 all seem part of a coherent plan to bust ..Ne7. White will forgo castling force a hole at g5 and play against f7 immiedately, then sac Knight and Bb5+. Black having no real options other than ...c6 and ...Ng6 has no real way to avoid whites plan. 10.Nxd5!! had to have been planned all along or else white has nothing.
Premium Chessgames Member
  centralfiles: However before we close the book on ...Ne7
What about 9...b5! Bb3 cxd5

click for larger view

Now white will no longer be able to play Bb5+ making the knight sac less attractive. Though Black gets shakier pawns and probably a slightly worse endgame in some lines.

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