Beating a GM with the Morra Gambit!

The Morra Gambit is hugely popular at amateur level despite being regarded by "theory" as insufficient compensation for a pawn.

Grandmasters aren't supposed to lose against the Morra Gambit, but GM Viesturs Meijers (Elo 2479) of Latvia lost to Andreas Weber (Elo 1862) of Germany in the first round of a 7-round Swiss Open at the Bad Zwesten Chess Festival.  Long live the Morra!

Because of the loss, GM Viesturs Meijers continued to play much weaker players than himself for the rest of the event and eventually took first place with a score of 6/7!

Game via TWIC.


  • 4 years ago


    This is a well known trap in the Smith Morra. It does not make sense for a grandmaster or anyone to delibertly lose his first game so he can be paired with weaker players.  It is an urban chess legend...

    What if  someone else had scored all wins and 1 draw? 

    If you think about it--nobody is going to delibertly lose a game so as to be paired down.

  • 4 years ago


    This is perhaps the most famous trap in the Smith Morra, up to par with the Siberian trap (for black.) I can't believe a GM would fall for this. The highest rated player that has let me play this was an 1800.

    This is not a good representation of how the Morra should be played against GMs. I am sure that the player playing White's pieces did not even think until move 13, because that is all opening theory lines that any Morra player knows by heart.

    The highest player I have beaten with the Morra was a 2130 (USCF), and this was after very positional play. Tactics have no place (at least not in the beginning) in a true Morra, the idea is a complete domination of the position.

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  • 4 years ago


    @SonofPearl: Thanks for the info. I thought the reference was to the line 1.f4 f5 2.e4. I don't suppose there is any analogous 'Round Robin Gambit'. But I still don't understand why a GM was paired with a Class A player in the first place. Wasn't there anybody there that was at least over 2100? Especially in the first round..... I could understand later in the tournament, when maybe all the high-rated players get knocked out by some fluke. But early on there should have been stiffer competition....... Anyway, nice win for Weber. I'm not trying to detract from his achievement, just puzzled by the lop-sided pairing.

  • 4 years ago


    Allowing e5 by white is a huge blunder in the SM. After d6, Black has little choice but to soon follow with e5, and then the game is drawn (Black's extra pawn isn't enough due to positional weaknesses).

  • 4 years ago


    The "Swiss Gambit'" is when a player deliberately loses in the first round of a Swiss competition in order to benefit from easier pairings in the following rounds. I'm not saying he did that here, but it was certainly beneficial to him in the end.

  • 4 years ago


    Was this a rapid or blitz game? I cant believe a GM made some of these moves? Hope for us all if he did ;)

  • 4 years ago


    Maybe he played so-called "Swiss gambit".

    EDIT: Have just seen you both already talked about Swiss gambit. Haha, nice one! :)

  • 4 years ago


    @IM squarology: I love the Swiss Gambit! I'm not sure how this qualifies, though, except maybe that black loses. The Swiss I know is a sideline of Bird's opening, but doesn't have a very good reputation. I think it went out of fashion about the same time as the gramophone. The Smith-Morra, on the other hand, never seems to go away, regardless of it's theoretically insufficient compensation. Anyway, why was Meijers paired with a player rated so much lower?

  • 4 years ago

    IM Squarology

    Weber played the Morra Gambit and Meijers played the Swiss Gambit... Weber won the battle but Meijers ended up winning the war Laughing

    And great game by Andreas.

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