Smith-Morra Undone: Smith-Evans San Antonio 1972

Mar 21, 2011, 11:01 AM |

Let's continue on the theme of gambits that shouldn't be played against strong Grandmasters.  In 1972, Ken Smith prepared his analysis of what was then called the Morra Gambit against the Sicilian Defense and tried against world class players. Of course the results were disastrous.

This particular matchup is iconic in many ways, however.  You have the brash gambler in Ken Smith taking on the shrewd risk manager in Larry Evans. At another level, you have the boss (Ken Smith, publisher of Chess Digest) taking on his employee, (Larry Evans, prolific author and contributor). 

There are other ways that you could describe this matchup, but the main importance of this game is how the practitioner (Ken Smith) of a semi-sound gambit is systematically dismantled with solid and logical play by Larry Evans.

Some have called this game a refutation of the Smith-Morra gambit. I'm not sure of that.  I do think that White has some chances, and can probably hold a draw down the stretch.