Traps, Tricks & Mistakes: Noah’s Ark Trap Backfired

We have seen how in the Noah’s Ark Trap, the bishop is trapped by the opponent’s chain of pawns. Capablanca had the chance to use that trap in his game against Steiner in 1929.

It is extremely improbable (but not impossible) to see it in today’s top-level tournaments. In fact, this trap appeared in one game of the prestigious Altibox Norway Chess Tournament, 2020. The rising Polish star GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda played against Norwegian GM Aryan Tari in round 7. Tari was in a desperate situation in the tournament because after six rounds, he had scored only 1,5 points. Trying to remedy his bad performance, Tari chose a sharp opening, playing the dubious and risky Schliemann variation in the Ruy Lopez. Duda took on the challenge and consciously entered into the Noah’s Ark Trap leaving his Spanish bishop trapped. However, funny enough, when Tari captured the bishop 10 moves later, Duda already was two pawns up.

Despite how threatening a trap can appear, this game shows us something. First, the importance of keeping calm and properly assessing the position. Second, implementing the first point needs some practice and that is the difference between master and beginner levels.

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