An old "trap" by Mario Monticelli

I'm in a big hurry this evening, so I will be quite short. Last month I bought "The lost Olympiad - Stockholm 1937" at LCC, as I already wrote in a previous post. There I've found out some interesting games played by the Italian team (Castaldi, Napolitano, Rosselli, Staldi, Riello) and, wondering why Mario Monticelli was not part of it, I discovered on the web the "Monticelli trap" in the Bogo-Indian defence (ECO code: E11). Probably many of you already know it. For those who don't, here is it.

Monticelli-Prokes, Budapest 1926
1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4 Bb4+ 4. Bd2 Bxd2+ 5. Qxd2 b6 6. g3 Bb7 7. Bg2 O-O 8. Nc3 Ne4 9. Qc2 Nxc3 10. Ng5 Ne4 11. Bxe4 Bxe4 12. Qxe4 Qxg5 13. Qxa8 Qa5+ 14. Kf1 Qa6 15. Qe4 Qxc4 16. b3 Qb4 17. Qd3 c5 18. dxc5 Qxc5 19. Kg2 f5 20. Rac1 Qa3 21. Rc2 d5 22. Rc7 Qd6 23. Rhc1 Nd7 24. R1c6 Qe7 25. Rxa7 f4 26. Rcc7 fxg3 27. hxg3 Qf7 28. f3 Rd8 29. Rxd7 1-0

Experts once claimed this trap was irrefutable, but José Raúl Capablanca showed it is not, when he drew two games against Max Euwe in their Amsterdam match in 1931.

Euwe-Capablanca, Amsterdam 1931 (8)
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Bb7 5.Bg2 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Bxd2+ 7.Qxd2 0–0 8.Nc3 Ne4 9.Qc2 Nxc3 10.Ng5 Ne4
White can also play 10...Qxg5; after 11.Bxb7 he has 11...Nxe2 with some compensation for the exchange, e.g.: 11...Nxe2 12. Qxe2 Nc6 13. Bxa8 Rxa8 14. Qd3 Qa5+, etc. That's why White plays 9.Qd3 and not 9.Qc2 nowadays (here after 11...Nxe2 12.Bxa8 Black can't take on d4).
11.Bxe4 Bxe4 12.Qxe4 Qxg5 13.Qxa8 Nc6 14.Qb7 Nxd4 15.Rd1 Qe5
15... c5 was played in the 10th game of the match: 16.e3 Nc2+ 17.Kd2 Qf5 18.Qg2 Nb4 19.e4 Qf6 20.Kc1 Nxa2+ 21.Kb1 Nb4 22.Rxd7 Nc6 23.f4 e5 24.Rhd1 Nd4 25.Rxa7 exf4 26.gxf4 Qxf4 27.Re1 Nf3 28.Re2 Nd4 29.Re1 and a draw was agreed.
16.e3 Nc2+ 17.Ke2 d5 18.Rd2 Qxb2 19.cxd5 Qb5+ 20.Kf3 Nb4 21.Rc1 Qa5 22.d6 cxd6 23.Rc8 g6 24.Rxf8+ Kxf8 25.Qc8+ Ke7 26.Qc7+ Kf6 27.Qc3+ Ke7 28.Qc7+ Kf6 29.Qd8+ Kg7 30.Qxd6 Nxa2 31.Qd4+ e5 32.Qd5 Qxd5+ 33.Rxd5 e4+ 34.Kf4 Nb4 35.Rb5 Nd3+ 36.Kxe4 Nxf2+ 37.Kd4 f5 38.Rb2 Ng4 39.h3 Nf6 40.Rc2 Ne4 41.g4 Kf6 42.gxf5 Kxf5 43.Rc7 Ng5 44.Rxa7 h5 45.Ra3 Nf3+ 46.Kd3 Ng1 47.Kd2 g5 48.Rb3 h4 49.Rxb6 Nxh3 50.Ke2 g4 51.Rb5+ Ke4 52.Rb4+ Kf5 53.Kf1 Kg5 54.Rb5+ Kg6 55.Rb4 Kh5 56.Rb5+ Ng5 0.5-0.5

After seeing these games I wouldn't have ever thought that I could have found similar ones played in recent times...

Van der Sterren-Korchnoj, Antwerp 1994
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Bxd2+ 6. Qxd2 Bb7 7. Bg2 O-O 8. Nc3 Ne4 9. Qd3 Nxc3 10. Ng5 Ne4 11. Bxe4 Bxe4 12. Qxe4 Qxg5 13. Qxa8 Nc6 14. Qb7 Nxd4 15. O-O Nxe2+ 16. Kh1 Qc5 17. Qe4 Nd4 18. Rad1 e5 19. Qd5 c6 20. Qxd7 Qxc4 21. Qxa7 h5 22. Qxb6 Qe2 23. f3 Re8 24. Rde1 Qc4 25. Qa5 h4 26. gxh4 f5 27. Rf2 c5 28. Qc7 Ne6 29. Qxe5 Qxh4 30. Rfe2 1-0

And the following year in the same town...

Novikov - Christiansen, Antwerp 1995
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Bxd2+ 6.Qxd2 Bb7 7.Bg2 0–0 8.Nc3 Ne4 9.Qd3 Nxc3 10.Ng5 Ne4 11.Bxe4 Bxe4 12.Qxe4 Qxg5 13.Qxa8 Nc6 14.Qb7 Nxd4 15.Rd1 Qe5 16.e3 Nc2+ 17.Ke2 d5 18.Rd2 Qe4 19.Rc1 Nxe3 20.fxe3 Qg2+ 21.Kd1 Qh1+ 22.Kc2 Qe4+ 23.Rd3 Qxc4+ 24.Rc3 Qe4+ 25.Kb3 c5 26.a3 h6 27.Ka2 Qa4 28.Rf1 Qb5 29.Rf2 a5 30.g4 a4 31.Qc7 d4 32.exd4 cxd4 33.Qc4 Qe5 34.Rd3 Rd8 35.Qxa4 Qe4 36.Rfd2 e5 37.h3 Qd5+ 38.Qb3 g6 39.Kb1 b5 40.Qb4 Rc8 41.Qe7 Qe4 42.Qd7 Rc6 43.Ka2 Rf6 44.Qe8+ 1–0

Many other games have been played with this variation, many will be (perhaps) in the future. Monticelli had a nice idea, anyway :-)
Speaking about Italian players, Fabiano Caruana took his revenge on Italian champion Michele Godena today in Palau, Sardinia. Last December Godena beat Caruana in a blitz play off to take the national title, now the 14 y.o. IM seems ready to become the youngest Italian #1 ever. Icelandic IM Hedinn Steingrimsson has 7/8 and still leads by a half point over Romanian GM Mihail Marin, Italian IM Lyca Shytaj, Scottish IM Jacob Aagaard and Caruana himself. Tomorrow's round will be decisive, as Steingrimsson faces the #1 ranked player, Scottish GM Jonathan Rowson, who is on 6. Official site: http://asd.caissa.it/portomannu/.

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