Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing
Kenneth Smith vs Larry Evans
"Morra the Same" (game of the day Nov-18-2010)
San Antonio (1972), San Antonio, TX USA, rd 9, Nov-30
Sicilian Defense: Smith-Morra Gambit. Accepted Classical Formation (B21)  ·  0-1



explore this opening
find similar games 1 more K Smith/Evans game
PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

TIP: To flip the board (so black is on the bottom) press the "I" key on your keyboard.

PGN Viewer:  What is this?
For help with this chess viewer, please see the Olga Chess Viewer Quickstart Guide.

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-21-10  transpo: After 21.Rac1, 21...Nf3! looks like a killer shot. Because if 22.gxf3 then 22...gxf3 and 23...Rh1+!! is really a killer shot.
Nov-18-10  Phony Benoni: Definitely a case of Morra Less.

One of Smith's opponents at San Antonio played 1...e6. Bent Larsen, in the tournament book, gave the move a question mark and wrote: "Stronger is 1...c5, which wins a pawn."

Nov-18-10  RookFile: Hmm. Your comment sounds familiar.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: Simpler was 20...Rh1+ 21. Ke2 Nf3 22. Qxd6 (22. gxf3 Rh2+) Qxd6 23. Rxd6 Rxa1 24. gxf3.
Nov-18-10  tim butler: Im only a club player, but I play the Smith-Morra gambit all the time. I lose more than I win. I still like it. My condolence to GM Larry Evans and his family. The world of chess lost a great individual.
Nov-18-10  jinchausti: 1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 Cf6...

and fun is over...

Nov-18-10  shakespeare: The way down for white began with 10.Bh4 and the following destruction of his pawn structure
Nov-18-10  Petrosianic: <Im only a club player, but I play the Smith-Morra gambit all the time. I lose more than I win. I still like it.>

I bet your opponents do too.

Nov-18-10  David2009: Conforms to the old definition of a gambit "an opening in which White sacrifices a Pawn to give Black an attack".

<Petrosianic: <Im only a club player, but I play the Smith-Morra gambit all the time. I lose more than I win. I still like it.> I bet your opponents do too.> Nice!

Nov-18-10  kevin86: The opening looks like a Sicilian turned into a Danish. Sounds like good food but bad chess.
Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: As for downing gambits, I'll take unsound" over "boring" anytime, except when I'm playing.
Nov-18-10  transpo: An Almost Outright Refutation Of The Smith-Morra Gambit Accepted

How to defeat the Smith-Morra Gambit: 6...a6, IM Timothy Taylor, Chess Ent., 1993

The material in this book is well researched and analyzed. In addition to providing a well selected, although limited bibliography, Mr. Taylor thoroughly analyzes all 12 games selected to provide the reader with a clear historical perspective and easy to understand theoretical overview. All the games are analyzed from the opening thru to the endgame. A revised edition thru 2010 would only further confirm the author's assessment and conclusions about this opening. This writer, having the advantage of a present day perspective, and having read almost all publications since 1993, concurs with Timothy Taylor's incisive analysis and crystal clear assessment of the Smith-Morra Gambit Accepted Variation. It is almost an outright refutation of the Smith-Morra Gambit Accepted.

After studying this chess opening book, I now know that White has sacrificed a pawn (a material advantage for Black) for a temporary advantage in rapid development (a time advantage for White) to attack Black's position which is underdeveloped. A situation for Black which is not easily corrected without the correct plan. As IM Timothy Taylor explains, not only is the correct plan necessary, but equally important, move order is critical. The disadvantages of White's sacrifice of a pawn are of a more permanent nature. First and most important is the fact that just as in the Sicilian Defense Black has a 2 vs. 1 center pawn advantage, (i.e. Black has pawns at d7 and e7 vs. White's only pawn at e4). This is an advantage which usually endures into the endgame, not to mention that White has already sacrificed a pawn giving Black a one pawn advantage in any potential endgame if White is unable to recover the pawn with at least equality. Or should his attack fall short and fail to produce compensation for the pawn. Second, due to time constraints to exploit his temporary time advantage in development, White's plan of attack, much as in the Stonewall, is rather limited and rigid. The above, advantage vs. disadvantage summary is Mr. Taylor's general assessment of the opening.

More specifically the move order and initial moves recommended are 1.e4 c5, 2.d4 cd4, 3.c3 dc3, 4.Nc3 Nc6. And, after White's usual response 5.Nf3, Mr. Taylor writes the best response is 5...d6. White's usual continuation is 6.Bc4 to which the author strongly emphasizes throughout his book the critical response 6...a6. Mr. Taylor's analysis is a lucid explantion of why this move is critical. White's thematic moves are, Nf3,Bc4, 0-0, Qe2, (Bg5,Bf4, or Be3), R(f)d1, R(a)c1. As the reader will notice there are no pawn moves. This is due largely to the time constraints in exploiting the temporal advantage of rapid development. Time advantages are fleeting in nature and must be exploited within a few moves or they will dissapate. Pawn moves affect pawn structure and usually involve longer term plans of attack for which White has no time to spare. The last two games in the book illustrate in detail what the disadvantages are for White when he employs the pawn moves a3 and h3. Mr. Taylor recommends the Chicago Defense in both of these cases and analyzes in detail how Black is able to exploit this loss of time by White. An overarching theme in all 12 games is the elimination of White's dark square Bishop which creates a dark square color weakness for White that Black exploits primarily with his own dark square Bishop in combination with his Queen.

I use the book in my games as Black. I rarely face the Smith Morra from opponents today.

Nov-18-10  transpo: Mr. Taylor analyzes this Smith v. Evans game in his book.

The clickable above is free to copy, download, etc. the book.

Nov-18-10  CapablancaFan122: Vicious attack by GM Evans after 22..Nf3
Nov-18-10  WhiteRook48: white was in a bad position for a long time
Nov-18-10  Riverbeast: Ken Smith was a better poker player

He couldn't bluff his way out of this position....

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: I never studied the Smith-Morra gambit, my only plan OTB is "take the pawn, play ...a6, and hang on." And you know what? It seems to work just fine.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: RIP Larry M. Evans, he'll be dearly missed. He's playing chess with Bobby again.
Jul-12-11  koleos: 30)... Nf6 !
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Phony Benoni....One of Smith's opponents at San Antonio played 1...e6. Bent Larsen, in the tournament book, gave the move a question mark and wrote: "Stronger is 1...c5, which wins a pawn.">

Delicious comment, that!

Jun-30-13  Helios727: In his 1982 book on this opening, Ken Smith seems to ignore this "Evans Defense." Not very fair to his readers considering he had 10 years to try and come up with an answer to it.
Jun-30-13  DoctorD: Ken Smith's pamphlets probably lost me more games than I won, but recently when I was housecleaning, I found it difficult to get rid of some of his old pamphlets on the Morra due to the nostalgia factor. He never quite had the devoted following Diemer did, but something about those gambits inspires some sense of misguided loyalty. The one or two miniatures you win seem to compensate for several long endgame losses.
Jul-17-15  thegoodanarchist: Who is the Morra in Smith-Morra? I did not see a Morra in the player directory
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi thegoodanarchist:

Pierre Morra (1900-1969) is the 'Morra' you seek.

Not too much is known about him. He published a booklet with his opening idea in the 1950's. (I believe Ken Smith wrote half a dozen on it.)

I've often wondered why it was not picked up in the Romantic Age. Practically every other gambit was tried out then. Pawns (and pieces) were getting sacced over the board willy-nilly. Possibly because the Siclian was still a rarity in them golden days.

Morphy had a chance to play it a few times. He did play 2.d4 but after 2...cxd4 3.Nf3 never 3. c3.

The closest he came was:

Morphy vs J L Preti, 1858


Morphy vs P Journoud, 1858

He was probably happy without sacccing the pawn. Here Morphy's score is P.14 W.10 D.4 L0 v The Sicilian (though in them days the Sicilian's dynamic possibilities were not too well understood. Some thought it had potential but the great writers and teachers of the late 1800's Steinitz and Tarrasch decried it to such an extent that in the 1920's in was still being called an irregular defences to 1.e4)

It's a pity Morphy never played it because this gambit has produced some sparkling White wins and I'm sure Morphy would have delighted the crowd with a few of his own. It would have been known as the Morphy Gambit.

There again Morphy never really blazed a path in the quest for opening inovations. He was too busy teaching the world how to play Chess.

Jul-20-15  thegoodanarchist: <Sally Simpson>

Great answer. After poking around the internet I was able to find his first name on my own, but as you said, there isn't much else.

search thread:   
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>

NOTE: Create an account today to post replies and access other powerful features which are available only to registered users. Becoming a member is free, anonymous, and takes less than 1 minute! If you already have a username, then simply login login under your username now to join the discussion.

Please observe our posting guidelines:

  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, duplicate, or gibberish posts.
  3. No vitriolic or systematic personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No cyberstalking or malicious posting of negative or private information (doxing/doxxing) of members.
  6. No trolling.
  7. The use of "sock puppet" accounts to circumvent disciplinary action taken by moderators, create a false impression of consensus or support, or stage conversations, is prohibited.
  8. Do not degrade Chessgames or any of it's staff/volunteers.

Please try to maintain a semblance of civility at all times.

Blow the Whistle

See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform a moderator.

NOTE: Please keep all discussion on-topic. This forum is for this specific game only. To discuss chess or this site in general, visit the Kibitzer's Café.

Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors.
All moderator actions taken are ultimately at the sole discretion of the administration.

This game is type: CLASSICAL. Please report incorrect or missing information by submitting a correction slip to help us improve the quality of our content.

Featured in the Following Game Collections[what is this?]
mlcbrasil's favorite games
by mlcbrasil
SeamusD's favorite games
by SeamusD
nice SMG & links plus interesting player bios
from alexrawlings' favorite games by alexrawlings
Round Nine, Game #71
from San Antonio 1972 by suenteus po 147
Morra with Bg5
from Jim Black by BenedictXVI
Morra Gambit
from Anti-Sicilians by KingG
November 18: Morra the Same
from Game of the Day 2010 by Phony Benoni
Sicilian Defense: Smith-Morra Gambit. Accepted Classical Forma
from deniz baykala's favorite games by deniz baykala
Round Nine, Game #71
from San Antonio 1972 by JoseTigranTalFischer
The "Evans Defense" to the Smith-Morra Gambit
from B2 Bomber Codes Confuzzle FTB TSE by fredthebear
The "Evans Defense" to the Smith-Morra Gambit
from Battle Chess ~ Chess Masters on Winning by Reinf by fredthebear
98_B21_Morra Mayhem Gambit vs Sicily Mob || 2.f4
by whiteshark
The "Evans Defense" to the Smith-Morra Gambit
from suenteus po 147's favorite games by suenteus po 147
MKD's Sicilian Defense Black 2
by MKD
from outplayer's favorite games by trh6upsz
Morra Gambit
from Anti-Sicilians by Patca63
The "Evans Defense" to the Smith-Morra Gambit
from B2 Bomber Codes Confuzzle Fredthebear by mneuwirth
0ZeR0's Favorite Games Volume 83
by 0ZeR0

Home | About | Login | Logout | F.A.Q. | Profile | Preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | New Kibitzing | Chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | Notable Games | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | Privacy Notice | Contact Us

Copyright 2001-2023, Chessgames Services LLC