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Is the Legal's trap still playable for black?

Legal's trap is one of the most famous opening traps. The main position is 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 d6 4.Nc3 Bg4 5.h3. But according to the lichess database, 5. ... Bh5?! is still the most common choice, both in the masters' database and the lichess database. Also, black's win rate is acceptable in the database after 5. ... Bh5?!. In the 3 masters' games, no white players went for 6.Nxe5?!, and 6.g4 is by far the most common choice in the lichess database. This can't be a coincidence. Legal's trap is so well-known that some people regard it as the most famous opening trap. One player might miss 6.Nxe5?!, but 3 masters and many good lichess players didn't go for 6.Nxe5?!. I can only draw the conclusion that 6.Nxe5?! is unsound. But why is it unsound? What is black's compensation for the pawn?

6. Nxe5 is very sound. Black has no compensation for the pawn. As for why there exist people with FIDE ratings that didn't play 6. Nxe5, I don't know. Whatever the reason is, it isn't that 6. Nxe5 isn't a strong move.

Legal's trap is absolutely horrible if black just recaptures with their knight.

I think this is a good question. And yes. Legal's trap is sound. Something you might notice is if you go through the main database in chessbase, there are games where "strong" players miss seemingly obvious tactical ideas. No real explanation why.

I once looked up someone because their son told me they had a father that made expert back in the 80's. And crazy enough he was in chessbase and when I saw the game he played an opening I played.. The one game I saw shown him play EVERY move like me except when I usually one a piece he missed it. I still have no idea how an expert missed it. Although, I will say this. Shortly after I saw that game I had a modern expert play the same thing against me, lose the piece and continue playing till he resigned. So I guess it's possible people just don't know some things, and sometimes they just miss it. Even though it seems obvious to some others. Until I saw that game.. I thought I invented that development scheme! Hahaha!!

You can't trust the Lichess database when it comes to traps.
At least not the complete database, which is full of bullet and blitz games between average players, who don't immediately recognize the trap in the heat of the moment and blitz 6. g4 out of instinct.
If you set the filter to 1800+ classical games instead, 6. Nxe5 is clearly on top.

As for why the masters didn't play 6. Nxe5, no idea.

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