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Lev Milman vs Jaan Ehlvest
New York Masters 53rd (2003), rd 1, Apr-22
Sicilian Defense: Smith-Morra Gambit (B21)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-04-10  Atking: Typical of this gambit Morra: pawn doesn't matter much as the attack.

I'm afraid that this beautiful miniature (21.Nf5! with 2 mates in g7 and h7) is wrong from the start with the move order 6...Nf6 as now, 7.0-0 Nxe4!(Nth?) White got compensation for one pawn but I doubt for two...

Oct-04-10  transpo: In the Smith-Morra Gambit Accepted variations move order is critical. In the game above after 5.Nf3 Black played 5...e6!?. The best response is 5...d6; and then if 6.Bc4 a6. The main problem with 5...e6!? is that it blocks the c8-h3 diagonal which Black needs open for his c8 Bishop in case White plays Qe2 to then play ...Bg4. Note that after Qe2, the usual counter to ...Bg4 Qb3 with an attack on b7 and f7 simultaneously, is NOT possible. 6...Qc7 just exposes the Black Queen to White's main thematic moves of Rfd1 and Rac1.

In the game after 7.0-0 Black plays 7...Nf6. Black should never play ...Nf6 prior to playing ...a6 as it exposes him to attacks beginning with e5 against f7 and c7 because ...a6 has not been played denying any White piece access to b5, especially the White Knight at c3. When White does not have access to b5 his attack is stopped dead in its tracks.

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  FSR: Black was playing for the Siberian Trap (8.Qe2 Ng4! 9.h3?? Nd4! and wins, e.g. G Rohit vs K Szabo, 2001), but obviously it didn't work out well for him after White deviated. Despite this debacle, the database still shows a plus score for Black in the line White played here. Opening Explorer
Mar-04-15  saintdufus: The move 9.e5!, which gambits a second pawn, is (I believe) the brainchild of Morra wizard IM Marc Esserman, who was Lev Milman's teacher at the time this game was played.

In his book *Mayhem in the Morra!*, Esserman relates that he correctly predicted Ehlvest's opening choice and suggested 9.e5 to Milman.

The idea behind 9.e5 is to gain time by harassing the queen: 9...Ne5 10.Ne5 Qe5 11.Re1 and White rapidly develops an attack while Black lags behind.

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