I had this slow chess 45/45 match coming against an opponent who, at 1591 was some 50 points ahead of me in live standard ratings. He was playing white. I decided to have a look at his previous games, to see his general opening patterns. I realized that after 1.e4 his favorite option is Morra gambit against black’s Sicilian Defense. He had completely destroyed his last two opponents with Morra. Since my experience with Morra gambit was too little and not too pleasant either,I decided to have little study for Morra. After searching thorough internet and books I realized that almost all the material is from White’s perspective with little description on how black can counter vicious attack which follows after 1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4. Nxc3…..
Finally I found a book , written by Timothy Taylor with title ‘How to defeat Smith Morra Gambit – 6…..a6’.
So lets first see what smith Morra gambit is and what it tries to achieve. I will go through the main line only:
As you can see white is occupying the centre, ahead of development and ready to launch an vicious attack on black's kingside with f1 rooks aiming to come to e1, queen side bishop to occupy g5 and Q on e2.
What makes this gambit so lethal especially for beginners and intermediate level players that one wrong move and black will find itself defending throughout the game and with white attacking from so many quarters, it will be some task. I had even come across a video on youtube where a 1700 strength player defeated a titled player using Smith Morra.
Lets go to what should be the most effective way to counter it:
Move order is crucial in this opening and following example will show how things can go wrong unless black doesn't play precisely:
Now I will just go on to my game and how I counter it. I effectively counter this gambit and even dominated him. I eventually lost the game but not due to any positional inferiority but because of a tactical blunder. Yeah welcome to the land of Rishi... :)