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I have read that 3... d3 takes the "teeth" out of the Smith-Morra but others have said that Smith knew about this move and that 4. c4 is the appropriate response. Unfortunately, I don't understand the idea behind playing c4. I see that black has moved the same pawn three times and has nothing else developed and that white has two pawns developed to the 4th rank but I'm not sure how white should continue and what his goals should be.
The idea is to get a so called Maroczy Bind. You have a very strong grip on the d5-square preventing Black from playing in the center. Especially with a Nc3 ( and e4-pawn) this can be very effective. It is a theme that occurs a lot in the Sicilian.
Thank you! That's exactly the information I was looking for. :)
Do you play the Morra often Dave ? If so , what do you think of it compared to other SI-lines ? I played it a lot in the 1980's and only encountered 3. .. d3 once.
I'm only just learning it so I really can't say. I've only started to seriously play and study chess in the past year or so and I still have a lot to learn in general. I understand basic chess principles and I know at least the first few moves of most of the common openings and how to respond to them but I often struggle with knowing when to push my pawns and how to take advantage of weaknesses in my opponent's structure. I seem to have plateaued around 1450 and haven't improved much in a while. I blunder a lot too. lol
i have a friend who played the smith morra up to master but he said he used so much time on it to keep it working he might just as well have played the open sicilian
Well, the Morra is one of White's sharpest weapons against the SI and it is very tactical. The main thing for White is to develop fast , castle early and put the Queen on e2 and the rooks on d1 and e1. Then you start your attack , even saccing more material to keep it going. Black will have a hard time getting his King into savety and is walking the rope. It is not an opening for the fainthearted , you'll be on the edge of your seat throughout the game.
I love an exciting game. :)
I plan to keep playing it and learn it better. The first time I ever saw it as black I didn't know what it was and I was swiftly defeated.
Dave , if you want , we can play a friendly (unrated) Morra-game where I will be Black.
Anyway , I want to show you the only game I had facing 3. .. d3 , the declined Morra.
That sounds great! Thank you for sharing your game as well. Your annotations were helpful. :)
My rating isn't high enough to send you a challenge.
I'll add you to my friends list. Feel free to send me a challenge at your convenience.
3. ...d3?! is bad, and white is able to get an advantage against that quite easily. A Maroczy set-up with pawns on e4 and c4 is the way to go, and black's game is simply not good.
From my experience, the Smith-Morra - more often than not - gives white excellent chances. One great advantage of the smith - morra is that it your opponent is almost certainly being forced to play more of 'white's' game.
Yeah I'm sure White can get an edge in these lines. I doubt the advantage is "large" since the bishop on d3 is misplaced and there's a bit less control over d4.
Pretty much a matter of taste. Someone who's playing as Black the Accelerated Dragon would be very happy with 3...d3, since the resulting Maroczy binds are much more comfortable than the regular ones. But of course you must have good understanding of the resulting, strategically complex positions.
In IM Marc Esserman's book, the chapter about 3. ...d3?! is named:
3...dxc3 and white should think about equalizing after move 3 ! just play 2.Nf3 3.d4 (or 3.c3 sometimes) instead
This does not prove anything. Esserman projects only the bright side of his choices, and in some cases (e.g. the lines he suggests against 3...Nf6) white's claimed advantage exists only in his imagination.
Regarding 3...d3, his proof consists of some BLITZ games he has played on ICC. Are they enough for you?
I got Mayhem in the Morra for Christmas, and while I think it is a wonderfully enthusiastic book and a work of love (and in many cases, a quality theoretical piece), his answers in some other cases are either lacking or not especially objective about white's chances (although to be fair, one could write a completely separate book on 1. e4 c5 2. d4 cd4 3. c3 Nf6).
I used to play the Morra a lot in 1990-2000 when I was a member of the local chessclub. I bought and read some books about it. There was theory of course , but not as well developed as today.
I think today , if Black knows what he is doing , White can hope for a draw at max in the Morra-accepted. Refusing the gambit with 3. .. d3 gives White some edge in my opinion.
On my level , I think it is surely playable. Black will have a hard time and so will White. One mistake is often enough to tip the balance but finishing the game often needs some skills.