Smith-Morra Gambit: Scheveningen Formation


I recently acquired “Mayhem in the Morra”, Esserman’s book about the Smith-Morra GambitAnd barely finished with chapter 2 (Scheveningen variation) I couldn’t wait to finish the rest of the book before opening a first game. Luckily for me, my opponent elected to play the only variation I was already slightly familiar with, the Scheveningen Formation.

So here’s my battle plan:

  • Offer my opponent a free pawn and develop as quickly as possible
  • Aim most of my soldiers at the Black queen in order to win on tempo, force my opponent into an inferior position or even catch that queen if she doesn’t manage to bunker in somewhere safe
  • Open the board and conquer some attacking lines, even at the cost of a minor piece or exchange sacrifice
  • Cash in my advantage and finish the game

     Here’s the full game with annotations. Make sure to also check the Tal-Neibult game that diverts from mine in move 11. Although Tal didn’t see 11.Bb5+! (the key move in my game), his way of finishing the game is some brilliant and aesthetically pleasing work.

Conclusion: This was my first decent encounter with the Smith-Morra Gambit, but I’m definitely sold on it. It’s a fun and dynamic opening which guarantees you a fair share of action on the board. I for one am looking forward to my next game, curious to see what surprises the Taylor Defence, Siberian Trap or Chicago Variation will bring – I’ll keep you posted!