The Fishing Pole Trap is one of the easiest traps for white to fall for. Many times, grandmasters have lost to club players at the hands of the fishing pole. If a player is not familiar with the fishing pole the number of ways to hang themselves are sometimes too great and the game can end quickly.
1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5 Nf6
4. O-O Ng4 (looking for white to play h3)
5. h3 h5
The Fishing Pole stems from the Berlin Defense when white responds with the most common main line move of 4. 0-0. After white castles, black has an interesting move of Ng4. This looks like an odd move because the knight has moved twice in the beginning which is usually not a good thing. The knight is also exposed on the other side of the board and looks to be very vulnerable.
White’s most logical play is to kick the knight out with h3, gaining a tempo and forcing the knight to dance around the board even more. What white doesn’t realize is that black is not going to move his knight and instead will play h5, supporting his knight and baiting white to capture. The problem for white is that if he does capture the knight the game will be lost. Black can capture with his pawn on g4, then bring his queen to h4 and there is nothing that white can do. The game will end shortly in defeat. Even if white tries to develop some of his other pieces, if he ends up taking the knight, the game will end up very bad for white. The great thing about the trap is that if it does not work out, black can simply bring his knight back to a safe square and does not lose much as far as position and development. The possibility of an easy win is usually worth taking a shot with the fishing pole.
Watch the video below to watch a detailed explanation and extended lines.