The Smith-Morra Gambit – Smash the Sicilian Defense in Style!
If you’re fed up of playing against booked up Sicilian players, GM Larry Christiansen has the perfect antidote: the Smith-Morra Gambit. With 1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3, White willingly gives up a pawn to develop a second knight and open the c-file.
After just a few moves, White has developed both knights, opened up the diagonals for both bishops and has the c- and d-files open, ready to be used by the queen and rook. If Black puts one foot wrong, White can overwhelm him with a terrifying swarm of pieces!
As you can imagine, the Smith-Morra Gambit isn’t an opening for passive players. When 2.d4 is bashed out, it’s war! But if your idea of fun is rapid attacking play, throwing in a few sacrifices to surprise and stun your opponent, it might just be the opening for you!
In this video, a free preview of his Attacking Chess Mega Bundle, GM Larry Christiansen looks at a game played by one of the foremost experts on the Smith-Morra Gambit, IM Marc Esserman in the Orlando Open, 2016. His victim is Super GM Loek van Wely (peak rating 2714).
On move 9, van Wely plays the natural-looking 9…Ng6. This is already a mistake – but no-one expected the devastating follow-up.
Marc sacrifices a knight to open the center, then throws in a crude f2-f4 push to open more lines. This should be easy to stop, right? 2 moves later, Esserman offers another sacrifice, this time a bishop. His GM opponent sinks into deep thought. He declines the sac and offers back some material himself, desperately trying to get his king to safety.
No chance. White hassles the enemy king with checks and major piece threats – then sacrifices another piece… and then the exchange! As Black assessed the carnage in front of him, he realized he had only one option: to tip his king over and offer his hand in resignation.
An absolutely stunning game that teaches you many of the key ideas of attacking with the Smith-Morra Gambit.
If you enjoyed this video and want to learn more of the most powerful attacks in chess, check out Larry’s full course here.
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