How to Avoid Traps


‘A player of average strength asked us how to avoid traps in the opening. We gave him four rules:

  1. Move nothing beyond the fourth/fifth rank till all your pieces are developed (except a pawn, if it hits a piece or takes something).
  2. When Black, develop your f8 bishop at e7.
  3. Avoid h3/h6 or a3/a6 unless it hits a piece.
  4. Castle as early as possible (first making sure the enemy hasn’t a quick mating attack starting with Bxh2+/Bxh7+).

. . .  Once your development is completed, forget the rules. No rules will enable you to beat a better player. But they can show you how to avoid trouble in the early stages.

Cecil Purdy

The Search for Chess Perfection II
(Davenport: Thinkers’ Press, 2006), p.113



More Purdy wisdom

Chess and War

Logic and Romance



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