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  1. Standard member adam warlock
    Baby Gauss
    27 Nov '07 13:45
    This is was played between me and Squelch and it was a fun game. I had a few ideas on this line and tried to see if they could work. This wasn't the normal Morra gambit in the sense that not too many fireworks were used by both players. Anyway here are my thoughts on this game and any help and/or discussion are expected and welcommed.

    Game 4010788

    [Event "Challenge"]
    [Site "http://www.chessatwork.com"]
    [Date "2007.09.08"]
    [Round "?"]
    [White "Squelchbelch"]
    [Black "adam warlock"]
    [Result "0-1"]
    [WhiteElo "0"]
    [BlackElo "0"]
    [ECO "B21"]
    [TimeControl "0"]

    1. e4 c5
    {
    The Sicilian Defence. An assymetric, ready to fight response to 1.
    e4. Black says: I'm going to attack on the queenside so do your worst at the
    king side. By this early loss of symmetry on re-establishing the equilibrium
    black is not fighting for coming out of the opening with equal chances, black
    is indeed fighting for coming off the opening on top.
    }
    2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Nxc3
    {
    The best way to refute a gambit is to accept it so we got ourselves
    the Smith-Morra Gambit accepted. White gives way one pawn for a quicker
    development and strong attack. Right now it may not seem like it but with the
    c and the d file semiopen and both center pawns out of the way seems can get
    real messy for black. Bishops are free to roam the board and soon enough both
    rooks will be ideally posted. This seems to be an uphill battle for black
    but as a regular sicilian player I really want to grab any chance I get to
    study this and bot get stomped if I ever get to face this gambit whiule
    playing OTB. Enough with this yadda yadda and on with the game.
    }
    4... e6
    {
    I think
    that nowadays the most popular way for black to play is 4. ... d6 but I
    prefer this way. One thing that I've learned in the pre-study of this gambit
    is the importance of the dark squares so I think that the sooner black
    contest them the better.
    }
    5. Nf3 Nc6 6. Bc4 a6
    {
    Untill now this all standar
    commom knowledge of the gambit. Don't play either side of this gambit untill
    you know this. Particularly 6. ... a6!
    }
    7. O-O Nge7
    {
    Inviting the pin
    }
    8. Bg5 f6 9. Be3 Ng6
    {
    On my pre-study of I've seens many of black set ups and this
    was the one that suited me best. All that play this gambit are aware of the
    consequences of the e5 pawn push by white. I really think this a resource to
    fear on white's arsenal so I adopted this formation. Now I've taken control
    of e5 and the pawn pusk lost all (well it lost a lot of it anyway, I'm just
    patting my back!) of his sting.
    }
    10. Bb3
    {
    And at this point Squelch got the
    best of me. No game in my database had this move by white so I think that is
    safe to say that at this point we started playing our chess.
    }
    10... Be7
    {
    Iim
    sorry to say this but I totally missed Squelch's next move and lasting
    cramping effect it would have on my position. But move was also kinda forced
    due to the central position of my king. I feared the quick attack and thought
    that maybe I should get the monarch on a cozy little spot and take him away
    from the action.
    10. ... b5 {Instead I could have played this move and
    taken away the a-4 square from the knight and went with the plan behind the
    6. ... a6 move. Let's see how things could have happened.} 11. Qe2 Be7 12.
    Rfd1 O-O 13. Rac1 {So now white has completed his normal development and
    black's king is safe too. And on top of that black has a free ready to flow
    position. That and the extra pawn should have done it for me but I lost this
    chance. Anyway this is jsut the line I'm seeing maybe white had better moves
    and that's why I annotated my actual tenth move with a ?! instead of a ?}
    }
    11. Na4
    {
    Already taken advantage of my not so energetic move. Chess this days
    is getting so ruthless!
    }
    11... O-O
    {
    Making room for the queen.
    }
    12. Nb6 Rb8
    {
    And
    this what I meant when I talked about a cramped position. No b5 push. A
    bishop that is going to get exchanged by a white sooner or later and also
    gaining some somewhat weak central pawns that will reveal themselves later
    on.
    }
    13. Qe2 f5
    {
    Trying to free up something on my position. My queen side
    counterplay has been smothered so maybe white can be nice and open up the
    f-file for me. And I'm also threatening to harrass the dark square bishop on
    my next move and take him from that real nice square.
    }
    14. Rfd1 Qe8
    {
    Queen on
    a light square and out of the d-pawn's back. Tactical shot may appear at e6
    with white's bishop so I ran for it. I am greedy and like to hang on to my
    munched pawns int he opening!
    }
    15. e5
    {
    Interesting move. This keeps the
    f-file closed for both players but allows me to harass the bishop and
    pseudo-free my self on the queen side. But it sure is best that allowing me
    to take the pawn or taking my pawn and allowing me to open up a file.
    15.
    exf5 Rxf5 16. Bc2 Rf8 {A cheeky position that diserves some further
    analysis.}
    }
    15... f4 16. Nxc8 Rxc8
    {
    16. ... fxe3 17. Nxe7+ Qxe7 18. Qxe3 {And bye
    bye gambited pawn! So this line didn't look very attractive to me.}
    }
    17. Bb6 Bd8 18. Bxd8 Rxd8
    {
    Still no queen behind my pityful d-pawn!
    }
    19. Rac1 Qe7
    {
    At
    this point b5 is out of sight. I wnated to keep two defenders on my knight
    and at this tage of the game I see that move only as tempo wasting. White has
    enough initiative on him as it is. I was reaaly depressed with my position
    and at this stage I started analysing as a mad man. My two central pawns
    should have been my greatest assets at this stage but they are so weak and
    just waitnig for tactics to happen. My f-pawn and white's e-pawn are both
    bones on the other's guy throat but I feel that Squelch's bone is choking me
    more that I am choking him. I could have moved my king to h-8 in order to
    run away from tactics at e-6 but I would be giving a free tempo for white. So
    I really didn't like my chances.
    }
    20. Qe4
    {
    At first I didn't see white's
    point in this move. But in a few moves it would hit me like a hard early
    morning slap.
    }
    20... Nh4
    {
    Since I'm a pawn up and got my hands all tied up let just
    invite Squelch to trade off a fiew pieces and loosen the knot around my
    throat.
    }
    21. Nxh4 Qxh4 22. Rc3
    {
    And like a slap The revelation of Qe4 came
    to me. The dreaded rook lift. A tactic that is very easy to miss. White now
    threatens Rh3 with rook and queen hitting on h7; and Rd3 doubling on the file
    and making a mockery of my pathetic d-pawn. Each option very nasty and
    unfortunately for me only one threat could have been parried.
    }
    22... Qh5
    {
    So I
    decided to parry the h7 bust and live in the misery of a rook battery on the
    d-file.
    }
    23. Rh3
    {
    Doubling on the d-file was better for white in my
    option. Now the initiative will slowly swing to my side of the board and the
    future is turning sunny to me.
    23. Rcd3 {Doubling on the file and tying me
    up. Now I feel like I have no good move o make and white can regain his pawns
    while having a superior position.} b5 {For instance this natural looking
    move.} 24. Rxd7 {Taking the e-pawn support} Rfe8 25. f3 {Threatening R1d6!}
    Nb8
    }
    23... Qf5
    {
    And the queens have to be exchanged or white will be two pawns
    down. I dont think a lkot of people would like to go to an endgame with that
    onus.
    }
    24. Qxf5 Rxf5 25. Bc2
    {
    Still hitting on h-7
    }
    25... Rxe5
    {
    And now my central
    pawns breath. Particularly the d-pawn that gets to be a passed pawn. And with
    my major pieces that would really tie down white's forces.
    }
    26. Bxh7+ Kf7
    {
    Now the white bishop needs to retreat but on d3 he blocks the rook. On c2 it
    allows me to win time. On b1 he becomes useless.
    }
    27. Rf3
    {
    With this move
    white regains his gambited pawn but hands over his bishop. This move made me
    remember of Fischer's blunder against Spassky. I had a possible line analysed
    but what I saw did seem to be better for me that for white and I'll show it
    in the following variations.
    27. Bd3 Nb4 28. Bc4 Rf5 29. a3 Nc6 30. Bd3 Rf6
    {Nice position for black}
    27. Bc2 Re2 28. Rc1 Rf8 29. Kf1 Re5
    27. Bb1
    Re2 28. b3 e5 {And this too seems to be favourable to black. In all of this
    variations my plan would be trying to cause the rooks exchange and go for
    minor pieces and pawn endgame with me having the extra pawn or even better
    going for a king and panws endgame.}
    }
    27... g6
    {
    Trapping the bishop.
    }
    28. Rxf4+ Kg7 29. Rh4
    {
    This move seems to hold on the bishop but what it really does is
    to condemn that rook to passivity. But what else to do?
    }
    29... Rd5
    {
    This what I
    like to do when I have a material advantage. To simplify things and get the
    rythm of the game dictated by me. Letting me rule ove the file was
    unthinkable so Whithe had to take my rook. Downsides of my move: Three
    connected passed pawns on my king side. Gulp. Even with an extra piece things
    would be very hard for me.
    }
    30. Rxd5 exd5 31. f4
    {
    And white resigns. I think
    Squelch could hanged on for a while more and best for him would be the move
    on the variation. Anyway it was a fun game were the momentum swung from one
    side to the other and some less accurates moves were played by each side but
    a great learning experience for the both of us. At least with was for me.
    31. Bxg6 Kxg6 {Down a piece but with three connected passed pawns and things
    get really sticky for my side. Any missplayed move I think that it is safe to
    say that Squelch could win this.}
    }
    0-1
  2. 27 Nov '07 17:41
    Originally posted by adam warlock
    This is was played between me and Squelch and it was a fun game. I had a few ideas on this line and tried to see if they could work. This wasn't the normal Morra gambit in the sense that not too many fireworks were used by both players. Anyway here are my thoughts on this game and any help and/or discussion are expected and welcommed.

    [gid]4010788[/g ...[text shortened]... e to
    say that Squelch could win this.}
    }
    0-1
    I recommend 8...h6!
  3. Standard member adam warlock
    Baby Gauss
    27 Nov '07 17:50
    Originally posted by Northern Lad
    I recommend 8...h6!
    What if 9.Bh4? My darksquare bishop isn't going nowhere no time soon I think...
    And have you anything to say about the annotation. I'm trying to learn how to analyse games so any help on that would be very much appreciated.
  4. 27 Nov '07 18:18
    Firstly, well played.
    At no point in the game did I feel like I had any prolonged attacking pressure.

    I think the key point of the game was 18.Bxd8? which simplifies too quickly & loses the B pair. Looking at it now, 18.Bc5 looks like it's crying-out to be played & keeps my position alive. My play deadened it!

    After exchanging so much material off (23.Rh3? seems an ill-concieved plan now) & making a terrible hash of tying my Rh3 & Bh7 up, the game could have continued but it would have been a painfully slow death.

    I can't really see any improvements for you (no significant ones anyway) & you beat me in my own backyard openings-wise, after having played 35 SMG's here & won 26 & drawn 3.

    Once again - very well played
  5. 27 Nov '07 18:20
    Originally posted by adam warlock
    What if 9.Bh4? My darksquare bishop isn't going nowhere no time soon I think...
    And have you anything to say about the annotation. I'm trying to learn how to analyse games so any help on that would be very much appreciated.
    The bishop is less well placed on h4 than g5, because it can't easily return to e3, which may turn out to be the best square for the bishop. Also h6 is a less weakening move than f6.
    I might also add that I played this way as white in my last ever Morra Gambit 20 years ago against a strong Soviet GM, who played 8...h6!. I got stuffed and the post mortem wasn't much fun either, as after every move I tried came a couple of swift moves in reply and the grim refrain "nye kompensatsiya za peshku" (or something like that)!
  6. Standard member adam warlock
    Baby Gauss
    27 Nov '07 18:25
    Originally posted by Northern Lad
    The bishop is less well placed on h4 than g5, because it can't easily return to e3, which may turn out to be the best square for the bishop. Also h6 is a less weakening move than f6.
    I might also add that I played this way as white in my last ever Morra Gambit 20 years ago against a strong Soviet GM, who played 8...h6!. I got stuffed and the post morte ...[text shortened]... moves in reply and the grim refrain "nye kompensatsiya za peshku" (or something like that)!
    Very interesting indeed. I'll try to see games with your line then and see if I can understand the ideas behind that move. The thing is that in my mind I was thinking that h6 is more weakening than my move. Thanks a lot!
  7. Standard member adam warlock
    Baby Gauss
    27 Nov '07 18:36
    Originally posted by Squelchbelch
    Firstly, well played.
    At no point in the game did I feel like I had any prolonged attacking pressure.

    I think the key point of the game was 18.Bxd8? which simplifies too quickly & loses the B pair. Looking at it now, 18.Bc5 looks like it's crying-out to be played & keeps my position alive. My play deadened it!

    After exchanging so much material ...[text shortened]... se, after having played 35 SMG's here & won 26 & drawn 3.

    Once again - very well played
    Once again thanks for the compliments and for giving me a game!
    your improvement on move 18 completly bypassed me and I'll try to analyse it tomorrow but looking at it quickly I think I would have played Be7 or Rf7 but both seem a little bit awkward for me.

    I just think that on my part 10. ... b5 could have been better. Castling seems to be pretty delayable and that way I would avoid my cramped position on the queenside.

    I think I'll do some more pre-study of some openings cause it really seems to work.
  8. 27 Nov '07 18:41 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by adam warlock
    Very interesting indeed. I'll try to see games with your line then and see if I can understand the ideas behind that move. The thing is that in my mind I was thinking that h6 is more weakening than my move. Thanks a lot!
    In the above game (after 8...f6), I think white chose the wrong plan. He should on move 10 or 11 have played Nd4 with the idea of following it up with Qe2 (or Qh5 immediately if propitious), Rad1, f4, and Qh5 with a strong attack. The f6 move is now shown clearly to be a weakness.
  9. Standard member Dragon Fire
    Lord of all beasts
    27 Nov '07 18:59 / 6 edits
    Originally posted by adam warlock
    What if 9.Bh4? My darksquare bishop isn't going nowhere no time soon I think...
    And have you anything to say about the annotation. I'm trying to learn how to analyse games so any help on that would be very much appreciated.
    8. ... h6 is given by Palkovi in his book "Morra Gambit" when follows:
    9. Be3 is the recommended retreat keeping the B on its best diagonal. There follows:
    9. ... Ng6;
    10. Nd4! .. Be7;
    11. f4 .. 0-0;
    12. Bb3 .. b5;
    13. Qh5 .. NXd4, etc (Palkovi suggests 13. Bb7!?) in the game Zelic v MI.-Cebalo 1995 Portoroz 1-0.

    8. ... f6 is given by Palkovi as "the most frequent and best"
    9. Be3 .. Ng6;
    10. Nd4 (not Qe2?! which is a mistake in this set up).
    10. ... Be7;
    11. f4 .. 0-0;
    12. f5 .. Nge5;
    13. Bb3 .. Na5! (returning the pawn with counter play). In this line blacks ... b5 has not been played.

    After 8. ... f6; 9. Be3 .. b5 is the most common, when follows:
    10. Bb3 .. Ng6;
    11. Nd4 with plenty of options for both sides.

    In his book "The Modern Morra Gambit" by Hannes Langrock he quotes the position after 8. ... f6; 9. Be3 as scoring an impressive 60% for black and gives 8. ... f6 as "the most popular version" with
    9. Be3 .. b5;
    10. Bb3 .. Ng6;
    11. Nd4 .. NXd4;
    12. BXd4 (previously) thought to be the strongest line, but now
    12. QXd4 leaves white very active and with a strong centralised queen preserving options.

    He does mention the game V.Zakharov - A. Gusev where black plays 8. ... f6. There follows
    9. Be3 .. b5;
    10. Bb3 .. Ng6;
    11. Nd5!? when Zakharov went on to win.

    and the game F.Roeder v W.Pesch which continued
    9. ... Ng6 (an attempt to avoid the Knight sacrifice in the preceeding game)
    10. Bb3!? .. Be7;
    11. Nd4 .. b5;
    12. NXc6!? when white again went on to win.
  10. 28 Nov '07 11:35 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by Dragon Fire
    8. ... h6 is given by [b]Palkovi in his book "Morra Gambit" when follows:
    9. Be3 is the recommended retreat keeping the B on its best diagonal. There follows:
    9. ... Ng6;
    10. Nd4! .. Be7;
    11. f4 .. 0-0;
    12. Bb3 .. b5;
    13. Qh5 .. NXd4, etc (Palkovi suggests 13. Bb7!?) in the game Zelic v MI.-Cebalo 1995 Portoroz 1-0.

    8. ... f6 is given by Pa ng game)
    10. Bb3!? .. Be7;
    11. Nd4 .. b5;
    12. NXc6!? when white again went on to win.[/b]
    Black's plan looks wrong to me in the Zelic-Cebalo game quoted. Black should be trying to exchange material; after all he is a pawn up! One idea is 10...Nge5 followed by Nxd4 and Nc6, with possibly Na5, b5 and Qc7 to come, so as to be able to counter a white f4 with Bc5 exchanging more material.
  11. Standard member adam warlock
    Baby Gauss
    28 Nov '07 14:24
    Originally posted by Northern Lad
    In the above game (after 8...f6), I think white chose the wrong plan. He should on move 10 or 11 have played Nd4 with the idea of following it up with Qe2 (or Qh5 immediately if propitious), Rad1, f4, and Qh5 with a strong attack. The f6 move is now shown clearly to be a weakness.
    Hmm. In the post below Dragon Fire seems to be quoting a the plan you gave for 8. ... f6 as a refutation for 8. ... h6. I have to look at this posts more carefuly when I have more time.
  12. Standard member adam warlock
    Baby Gauss
    28 Nov '07 14:31
    Originally posted by Dragon Fire
    8. ... h6 is given by [b]Palkovi in his book "Morra Gambit" when follows:
    9. Be3 is the recommended retreat keeping the B on its best diagonal. There follows:
    9. ... Ng6;
    10. Nd4! .. Be7;
    11. f4 .. 0-0;
    12. Bb3 .. b5;
    13. Qh5 .. NXd4, etc (Palkovi suggests 13. Bb7!?) in the game Zelic v MI.-Cebalo 1995 Portoroz 1-0.

    8. ... f6 is given by Pa ...[text shortened]... ng game)
    10. Bb3!? .. Be7;
    11. Nd4 .. b5;
    12. NXc6!? when white again went on to win.[/b]
    This is very intersting! In my CM8K database the line that appears more often is f6 too and black wins a lot on it. The only book I have on the Morra-Gambit is one by Timothy Taylor and he advocates 5. ... d6. I prefer 5 . ...e6 and my set up for the reasons I gave in the annotation. But I really need to have more time to look at all of this more carefuly
  13. 28 Nov '07 17:11
    Originally posted by adam warlock
    Hmm. In the post below Dragon Fire seems to be quoting a the plan you gave for 8. ... f6 as a refutation for 8. ... h6. I have to look at this posts more carefuly when I have more time.
    Yes, but the point I'm making is that it doesn't work against 8...h6 if black plays as I suggest. I know that 8...f6 is the normal move, but I believe 8...h6 to be stronger for the reasons I give.
  14. Standard member Yuga
    Renaissance
    29 Nov '07 03:24
    Originally posted by Northern Lad
    In the above game (after 8...f6), I think white chose the wrong plan. He should on move 10 or 11 have played Nd4 with the idea of following it up with Qe2 (or Qh5 immediately if propitious), Rad1, f4, and Qh5 with a strong attack. The f6 move is now shown clearly to be a weakness.
    8…f6 Be3 b5 Bb7. White to move. Find a promising line for white.



    After …f6, Black plays moves like b5/Bb7/Na5/Nec6/Be7 and white doesn’t have sufficient compensation for the pawn. If, as is possible in some lines, Qh5+ g6 Qh6, Black plays Bf8-g7 followed by castling.

    I don’t think that the threats you noted are quick enough; i.e. the mistake is in 9…Ng6 not …f6. I like the idea of 9…Ng6 - freeing the dark squared bishop and covering e5 – however it is bad because of the threats you outlined (particularly, I think the idea of f4-f5 could be strong for white with the knight on g6; however, it is not when the knight is not g6).

    Of course, h6 is fine too and white will not have sufficient compensation for the pawn but if the threats you mentioned are illusory it will not technically be quite as strong (although objectively the same result).

    Anyway, Bc4 is wrong when d6 or f6 has not already been played as the bishop is ineffectual on the a2-g8 diagonal as e6 is sufficiently protected.

    I know there is lot of theory in the Smith-Morra, so I apologize if I am presumptuous.
  15. Standard member Dragon Fire
    Lord of all beasts
    29 Nov '07 08:21
    Originally posted by Yuga
    8…f6 Be3 b5 Bb7. White to move. Find a promising line for white.

    [fen]r2qkb1r/1b1pn1pp/p1n1pp2/1p6/4P3/1BN1BN2/PP3PPP/R2Q1RK1 w kq - 0 11[/fen]
    As given above by me there follows:

    10. .. Ng6;
    11. Nd4 .. NXd4;
    12. BXd4 (previously) thought to be the strongest line, but now
    12. QXd4 leaves white very active and with a strong centralised queen preserving options.