14 April 2019

Smith-Morra Sideline

In my online blitz junk, I often play an extreme version of the Smith-Morra Gambit that takes an idea from the Danish Gambit, offering a second pawn for rapid mobilization. It is unsound. The opening is for blitz only. The regular Smith-Morra, however, can be useful in standard rated over-the-board play and even in correspondence.

Black can decline White's sacrifice in the Smith-Morra Gambit. In a blitz game last night, my opponent did that. The game proved testing for a line that had been mostly successful for me.

Stripes,J. (1997) -- Internet Opponent (2042) [B21]
Live Chess Chess.com, 13.04.2019

1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 d3!?

Black's idea seems to point out that the pawn is not well-placed on c3.

White to move


My innovation, played 18 times with 14 wins and 4 losses. Although I cannot claim to be the first who has played it.

4.Bxd3 is the normal move.


I have not seen this move often, but in retrospect, it seems the best way to make the argument that White's line of play may be poorly thought out.



5...Qxd5 6.Qxd3 Nf6 7.Nf3 Nc6

White to move


8.Qxd5 Nxd5 9.Bc4 Nb6 10.Bb3 Bf5 11.Be3 e6 12.Nbd2 Bd6 13.0–0–0 0–0 was drawn in 45 moves, Papp,C (2128) -- Tamas,G (2164), Hungary 1999.

8...Bf5 9.Qxd5 Nxd5 10.Nc4 e6 11.Ne3 Bc5

White to move

The engine has the game as equal and both players are making top choices. Nonetheless, White seems to lag in the mobilization of his pieces, which also lack coordination. White's king is also more vulnerable.

White's position is much more difficult to play than Black's. In blitz, that alone can be decisive.


12.Nxf5 is still roughly equal.


Black has a better game.



13...0–0 14.0–0–0 d4 15.c4 d3

Black has the upper hand.

White to move

16.b3 Ba3+ 17.Kb1 Rfd8 18.h3 h5 19.Nh4

19.g3 Be4 20.Bg2 Nd4 21.Rhf1

19...Be4 20.Rg1?


Black to move

20...Bc5–+ 21.Rh1 Nb4





Black lets White back into the game.

White to move


23.Nxf5 Re8 (23...Bxf5 24.Re5 and White has an edge) 24.Rxe4 Rxe4 25.a3 Nc2 26.Bxd3=

23...Nc2 24.Rd1


24...Na3+ 25.Kb2 b5 26.cxb5



White to move

27.Ne5? White collapses.


27...Bd4+ 28.Kb1 Na3+ 29.Kc1 Rac8+ 0–1

White struggled the whole game to mobilize his pieces without success. Black, meanwhile, was able to consistency apply pressure. White eventually collapsed from the pressure. Despite my nearly 75% scoring percentage with 4.f4, the line cannot be recommended.

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