How valid is this Smith-Morra Trap?


I am relatively unfamiliar with the Smith-Morra, but because I play the Sicilian as black, I should be more so.  The white player seems to play it every chance he gets. Nevertheless, he is highly aggressive, and (I believe) deviated from book enough to give me an undeserved gift. 


I posted this for several little reasons.  The common lesson of a pre-mature attack before development, most Smith-Morra traps are to white's benefit and thought I should share one that was not, and most importantly, I am curious to know if this is a "known" trap, or is it even really a trap? If he hadn't cooperated as he did, would black have still  benefitted?  The ratings are USCF and both guesses. I was up to 1838, but have recently been playing so poorly I'm scared to look. 

I feel the move: 6. Bf4 is very naive.  Normally 6. Bc4 is played.  The timing and placement of Whites dark-squared bishop is critical in the S-M Gambit.  Often White will have played: 0-0, Qe2, and Rfd1, before developing this bishop.  Chess author, Janos Flesch, has some interesting analysis with Bf4 in certain variations, however depending on circumstances, Be3/Bg5 can be played.
That looks like a fried liver attack, if so, there are some good articles about it here at


I completely agree with you and appreciate and respect your more expert input, especially the reasons for not playing 6Bf4 well beyond my "I've never seen this" or whatever I said in the move list.  I still wonder though, that if from that point on, had white played it correctly, did black play it correctly.  Was 6...d6 (which might let me later kick his bishop with e5 and recover a tempo) or even 6...a6 called for?  Such were both my immediate defensive instincts, but they were countered by my frustration (common to early S-M accepted positions) of being 2 tempos behind and wanting to get pieces out and castled quickly.  I even thought of 6...Bb4 but I think black wants to keep that bishop covering d6 and if 7.a3 he either fails to do so or loses another tempo.

I may well have played it correctly.


I truly appreciate all consideration and all input and believe in a polite and civilized world, with such in mind, I say with intent to encourage your future efforts, that this is so far removed from the fried liver, that I think you must have meant something else.

Thank you both.

donn_gee wrote: hey why did the king moved you could have covered

My analysis is in the "move list" or may be read beneath the moves. My monitor,(and probably yours) does not show this conveniently unless I either scroll up and down or key F11, a trick I only recently found to get rid of the tool bars. All 3 minor piece interventions negate his attack and he was myopic on Nc7 or d6. I played black.


I think white misplayed the opening ..


I have annotated the game you played and poetic liberty with your annotations..

please check out an example of the SMG here



I know this is a bit old, but I was just looking for Smith-Morra posts and ran across this one. Here's my comments, coming from the perspective of someone who plays this gambit as white.

4. ... e6 - Playing Nc6 first is more normal, but I don't see how this hurts you.

6. Bf4 - as mentioned elsewhere, this is a bad idea. Bc4 is the standard here for white, allowing castling and placing the bishop on its best square. The key here is that white doesn't know yet which square will be best for that c1 bishop, so it's too early to commit to putting it on f4. He's better off waiting to see where you go, then deciding where to put that bishop.

6. ... Nf6 - I don't like this for black. While white's attack may be premature, he does completely dominate the d6 square, so you should probably have dealt with that first. As black, I'd have played d6 here, expecting to meet a possible Nb5 with e5. That could very well transpose back to a main line, but perhaps with an extra tempo for black, since white's bishop has to redeploy. Actually, there are some mainlines where white plays Bf4 specifically to bait black into e5, so it could transpose back to one of those. But that's still better. I don't like the idea of 6. ... Bb4 here, as white could push his a and b pawns, forcing you to either trade away your dark squared bishop or give up the advantage of pinning his knight. Given how weak d6 is, you don't want to give up your dark squared bishop. This is why e7 is the normal spot for that bishop in this gambit.

7. Nb5 - Premature, obviously. One of the keys to this gambit is that white castles early to prevent a counter-attack before beginning his attack, which he didn't do here. Although given the chance, black should probably have gone for Bd6 here, just to block you in. If 7. Bd6 Bxd6 8. Qd6 Qe7, then white can probably play e5 or Nb5 and leave you with a cramped position after the queen trade, or else he can retreat the queen, but still dominate on d6 with those moves later. This is why I think black should have played 6. ... d6 instead of Nf6.

7. ... Bb4+ - Ugly, but effective. Again, you're leaving your d6 square weak if he blocks with his bishop and trades bishops, but the tactical situation obviously makes it work for you despite that.

8. Ke2 - Apparently, white doesn't grasp the concept of king safety. See my note on his 7th move.

8. ... O-O - Probably best, otherwise you could get a disruptive Nd6+ next move and never get to castle.

9. Nc7 - Given the situation, if he's going to desperately continue the attack, I like Bc7 better for white, followed by Bd6 after the queen moves. He still wins an exchange, but he's better off grabbing the king's rook than the queen's rook.

And the rest isn't even worth commenting on.