Is the Smith-Morra Gambit a good idea for regular play?

poucin wrote:
logozar a écrit :

@nighteyes1234 6.Bc4 is the only critical move according to theory.

why not 6.Bf4? This is the move after 5...e6.>>>

It doesn't give white an advantage and it commits the Bc1 too early.



rterhart wrote:

I have been playing the Smith-Morra for a while now, both here and OTB. I generally like it because it seems to take most Black players out of their comfort zone.

There is one big drawback for me though: Smith-Morra sacrifices a pawn in exchange for rapid development and the early initiative. This means you have to retain the initiative and attack after the opening. I find it hard to get the timing and the means of attack right, especially if my opponent defends correctly (i.e. makes no obvious blunders). I tend to get into trouble after ill advised attacks based on the idea: I am a pawn down, I have to do something. 

I have bought Marc Esserman's book Mayhem in the Morra. It is certainly worth buying if you want to continue playing the Morra.

Esserman swears it's playable at GM level, and the book has a lot of matches that seem to prove his point. There may be many reasons for you or anyone else to abandon the Morra, but 'not playable at a serious level' is not one of them.

The Morra gambit is ok I used to play it OTB, there was of course a famous game by Fischers second Larry Evans who played the famous killer line, without going into too much detail this is available to view on Youtube! the reason I stopped playing it OTB was you either ran into the Alpin after ...d5 or even worse was Black can simply go into it and return the pawn as follows: 1.e4,C5 2.d4,cxd4 3.Nf3,Nc6 4.c3, d3! 5.Bxd3,d6 with options of a classical type setup or modern type with ...g6 Etc., one may say what's in it for black giving back the pawn with 4.d3 the idea is to not allow the open C file I believe this rarely seen line was used by Larsen.


No. White is down 0.3 points. 


Most sources consider it about level. Roughly, white gains 2 1/2 tempi for a pawn where a pawn is normally thought of as equivalent to 3 tempi in the opening.


just food for thought: Nakamura drew in Moscow with the same line 2 times, because opponet refused to give up a pawn for equal position.

Grischuk beat him out of the tournament, because he gave up the pawn.

Playing the SMG, you better know what to do, but it can be a deadly weappon for unprepared players.


I've actually had more losses than wins in the Smith-Morra so I stopped playing itnervous.pngcry.pngevil.pngmeh.pngmeh.pngfrustrated.png


FM MagnutssCarleson wrote:
IM poucin wrote:

At your level (and even mine), u can play almost everything.

Play what u like.

Smith Morra gambit is not refuted : see at high level, most transpose into Alapin with 1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 Nf6.

@logozar found the refutation objectively

I've published this refutation here.



"US Chess is running a contest: can you bust the bust?

Send your counter-efforts to US Chess Digital Editor John Hartmann ( on or before August 15th. We will publish the best responses to Logozar’s claims, and give Logozar a chance to respond as well. Two prizes – one from US Chess Sales, and one from Chessable – will be awarded those submitting the best analysis.

Whirl up those engines and make a pot of coffee. It’s time to get to work, people." — John Hartmann


Most of gambits are unsound in today technology with massive computer analysis that can go beyond depth 50.

Busted is unsound media claim in exaggeration. Yes, white will end up with one pawn deficit if black can play accurately.

Because chess is an extremely drawish game with big margin of error. One pawn advantage is not generally gauranteed for the win for the advantage side. Almost all endgame in symmetrical structure with one pawn advantage end as draw unless the advantage side can control the pawn promoting square. I saw smith morgan and similar unsound gambits in TCEC, white is still able to get a draw with one pawn material deficit.

P.S, my personal feeling is any one pawn handicap in starting position with 31 men Tablebase is still draw ( unless it is not "f" pawn or "g" pawn handicap). :)