Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing

Marc Esserman vs Vadim Martirosov
"That's a Morra!" (game of the day Nov-06-2012)
Harvard Open (2008) (blitz), Harvard University, rd 3, Oct-11
Sicilian Defense: Smith-Morra Gambit. Accepted Kan Formation (B21)  ·  1-0



Click Here to play Guess-the-Move
Given 22 times; par: 33 [what's this?]

explore this opening
find similar games 173 more games of M Esserman
sac: 13.Ne6 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

TIP: Premium members can suggest a game for Guess-the-Move with the Guess-the-Move Suggestion Queue.

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

Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-03-12  notyetagm: Game Collection: THE UNDERRATED REMOVAL OF THE GUARD -- Heisman

M Esserman vs V Martirosov, 2008 20 ♖c1-c7!.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: These are also Morras: M Esserman vs J Sarkar, 2008 M Esserman vs Van Wely, 2011 Esserman is a complete tactical maniac. He almost makes the Morra look sound.
Nov-06-12  waustad: There is a whole lot to like in this attack!
Nov-06-12  waustad: Very nice pun too, but I don't need a big pizza pie in the eye.
Nov-06-12  Abdel Irada: ∞

<When an eel hits your arm
And does you lots of harm,
That's ... a moray!>

Nov-06-12  Abdel Irada: <He almost makes the Morra look sound.>

I'm not altogether sure it isn't.

This isn't merely personal experience, although I have had good results with the gambit, even against strong opposition.

Garry Kasparov barely escaped with a draw when Jol Lautier played it against him — and Lautier would have won if he'd seen one more sacrifice.

Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: After 21...Rf7 22. e8=Q+ Nxe8 23. Rxf7 Qxf7 24. Bxf7+ Kxf7, black has ♗+♘+♘+♙ vs. ♕.
Nov-06-12  Abdel Irada: <al wazir>: That's a creative defense, but White has 22. Rxf6!, Qxe7; 23. Rxf7, Qxf7; 24. Bxf7, Kxf7; 25. Qxd6, and Black has only two pieces for the queen, one of which will soon fall to a fork.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <Abdel Irada: <He almost makes the Morra look sound.>

I'm not altogether sure it isn't.>

Me neither. Esserman makes the interesting observation that Short claims the Morra is unsound, but plays the King's Gambit himself. Esserman doesn't understand how the King's Gambit, wherein White trashes his own kingside, can be sound, while the Morra is unsound. He has a point.

Nov-06-12  newzild: <FSR> It is possible to believe that an opening is unsound and to play it anyway, especially if it leads to complicated positions.

I always avoid the Morra by playing 3...Nf6, transposing into lines of the c3 Sicilian that are mostly harmless for Black.

As for White's performance in this game, it's very impressive indeed. The maneouvre Ra8-a7-d7 appears to waste too much time.

Does anyone know if the rook lift is book?

Nov-06-12  Abdel Irada: <newzild>: Yes. It's called the Chicago Variation. It's intended to neutralize the pressure on the d-file that constitutes part of White's compensation for the pawn.

This, incidentally, was one of Black's problems: The Chicago isn't really a good test of the Morra's soundness. Esserman's attack was particularly audacious, but combinations directed at e6 are fairly common in this system.

There *is* a defense to the Morra that really does threaten to refute it, but I'm not about to reveal it. :-D

Nov-06-12  newzild: <Abdel Irada> Thanks for your informative response.

I have no doubt that there is indeed a very testing defence, and I'm curious to know what it is, but to be honest I would probably stick with 3...Nf6 anyway because my book-bashing days are well behind me.

Nov-06-12  5hrsolver: Nice attack. Sometimes everything just works.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Jeremy Silman has a good discussion in his review of Langrock's book, which before Esserman's book was the best book ever written on the gambit: But don't play the Finegold Defense.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White ends ahead a queen for a pair of horses.

White's last move is close to the strongest possible move. Here it is (old Style)

PxQ(Q)dbl ch/mate-a simple example oon a board:

click for larger view

Nov-06-12  BarcelonaFirenze: What happens if black doesn't take the knight on move 13 (for example Qc8)?
Nov-06-12  JohnBoy: <Abdel> - Where do you come by "Chicago" for the rook lift? This was shown to me by Defirmian, in about '78, as a way to dissuade white from e5 in many lines. He claimed to have invented it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <Abdel> didn't make up the name. A number of Chicago players (at one point I probably could have named them) advocated the line, and it is called that in Langrock and Esserman's books.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: It's true that DeFirmian did play the ...Ra7-d7 defense in J Frankle vs DeFirmian, 1980, which is the earliest game with it that I see in's database. He got crushed horribly.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: It's true that DeFirmian did play the ...Ra7-d7 defense in J Frankle vs DeFirmian, 1980, which is the earliest game with it that I see in's database. He got crushed horribly. I don't know if it qualifies as a true "Chicago" defense, which normally involves the knight going to f6 before the rook maneuver. DeFirmian left his knight on g8 and played Qf6. It worked out as badly as it sounds.
Nov-07-12  hedgeh0g: A very nice game, but I have to say I'm partial to the "mainline" defence for Black (Nc6, d6, e6, Be7, Nf6, etc.). White gets the initiative, Black gets a pawn and my feeling is the position is dynamically balanced (although careful play from Black is required).
Oct-29-19  rodantero: "al wazir: After 21...Rf7 22. e8=Q+ Nxe8 23. Rxf7 Qxf7 24. Bxf7+ Kxf7, black has ♗+♘+♘+♙ vs. ♕."

After 21...Rf7 22. Rxf6 black is lost... Qxe7 23. Rxf7 Qxf7 24. Bxf7+ Kxf7 25. Qxd6

NOTE: You need to pick a username and password to post a reply. Getting your account takes less than a minute, is totally anonymous, and 100% free—plus, it entitles you to features otherwise unavailable. Pick your username now and join the chessgames community!
If you already have an account, you should login now.
Please observe our posting guidelines:
  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, profane, raunchy, or disgusting language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, duplicate or nonsense posts.
  3. No malicious personal attacks, including cyber stalking, systematic antagonism, or gratuitous name-calling of any member Iincludinfgall Admin and Owners or any of their family, friends, associates, or business interests. If you think someone is an idiot, then provide evidence that their reasoning is invalid and/or idiotic, instead of just calling them an idiot. It's a subtle but important distinction, even in political discussions.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No malicious posting of or linking to personal, private, and/or negative information (aka "doxing" or "doxxing") about any member, (including all Admin and Owners) or any of their family, friends, associates, or business interests. This includes all media: text, images, video, audio, or otherwise. Such actions will result in severe sanctions for any violators.
  6. NO TROLLING. Admin and Owners know it when they see it, and sanctions for any trolls will be significant.
  7. Any off-topic posts which distract from the primary topic of discussion are subject to removal.
  8. The use of "sock puppet" accounts to circumvent disciplinary action taken by Moderators is expressly prohibited.
  9. The use of "sock puppet" accounts in an attempt to undermine any side of a debate—or to create a false impression of consensus or support—is prohibited.
  10. All decisions with respect to deleting posts, and any subsequent discipline, are final, and occur at the sole discretion of the Moderators, Admin, and Owners.
  11. 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: Keep all discussion on the topic of this page. This forum is for this specific game and nothing else. If you want to discuss chess in general, or this site, 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 at the sole discretion of the Admin and Owners—who will strive to act fairly and consistently at all times.

This game is type: BLITZ. 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?]
Vadim plays ...Nf6 too early?
from Tactical Games by TornadoOfSouls
PGoes' favorite games
by PGoes
smithmorra by M.Esserman as white
by JeanJacques
Windy City Defence unwound
from Morra Mayhem by Buckle1851
by notyetagm
November 6: That's a Morra!
from Game of the Day 2012 by Phony Benoni
Morra gambit
from shakespeare's favorite games by shakespeare
from 71_My_Alekhine's_Block by whiteshark
My Chess Process
by Six66timesGenius
from Brrilant ideas by gourab.dewan
There is a whole lot to like about this attack!
from yFredthebear's Roundhouse RUUK Manuevers I by fredthebear
There is a whole lot to like about this attack!
from Trapped Units, Sacs -- Phasing Out by fredthebear
There is a whole lot to like about this attack!
from yDiagonals Attack: Bs Highway, Battery, Crossfir by trh6upsz
shakman's favorite games - 2
by shakman
Morra gambit
by shakespeare
Gambit86's favorite games (2)
by Gambit86

home | about | login | logout | F.A.Q. | your 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 2001-2019, Chessgames Services LLC