(2) Smith-Morra Gambit - 4...e6 5.Nf3 a6 6.Bc4 b5 [B21]
7.Bb3 Bb7 8.0-0! b4 9.Nd5! is critical
[Moldovan & Deep Rybka 3]

B21 Sicilian Defense Smith-Morra Gambit

1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 e6 5.Nf3 a6 6.Bc4 b5 7.Bb3 Bb7 8.0-0!
[8.a3 & 8.Qe2 give Black an advantage : - 8.a3 d6 9.0-0 Nf6 10.Qe2 Nbd7 11.Rd1 Be7 12.Bf4 Qb8 13.Rac1 0-0 14.Ba2 A novelty suggested by Burgess, in Nunn's Chess Openings (Everyman 1999) aka NCO 14...Rd8 15.Bb1 Nf8=/+ Christian - O'Connell : USATE, Parsippany 2010; - 8.Qe2 d6 (or 8...Ne7=/+ ) 9.0-0 Nd7 10.Rd1 (10.Nd4 Ngf6 (10...Nc5 is safer.) 11.a3 (11.Bxe6? fxe6 12.Nxe6 Spain - Civin : Wanganui 2005 12...Qc8-/+ ) 11...Nc5 12.Bc2 e5=/+ Behlert - Roos : Bad Wiessee 2001) 10...Ngf6 (10...b4 11.Na4 (11.Nd5? exd5 12.exd5+ Be7-/+ Torres - Oliveri : correspondence 2000 & Ask - Bisby : Gausdal 2003) 11...Ngf6=/+ Kappler - Andruet : French Championship, Clermont-Ferrand 1985 (-/+ NCO)) 11.Bf4 b4 12.Nd5 (12.Na4 Nxe4=/+ ) 12...exd5 13.exd5+ Be7 14.Bxd6 Kf8=/+ ]


[ Nunn's Chess Openings (Everyman 1999) claims this refutation attempt is -/+, goes no further & doesn't give any alternatives. But, it should be noted that 8...d6 can be met by 9.Ng5! TN; & 8...Nc6 is most popular.]

This piece-sac, which was introduced in W. Stephan, Jr. - G. Johnson : correspondence 1989 (via the move-order 7...b4 8.Nd5!? Bb7 9.0-0), will determine the Smith-Morra's viability. If it doesn't hold-up, the opening is dubious. [Previously, giving up a 2nd P with 9.Na4?! Bxe4 10.Ng5=/+ (Hugot - Tartakower : French Championship, Paris 1953) was played.]

9...exd5 10.exd5
[10.Re1!? Bc5N (10...d6?? Van Dyck - Hoeksema : Gent 2006 11.Ba4+ Nd7 12.e5+- ) 11.Ng5 Qb6 12.exd5+ Kf8 13.Ne4 d6 14.Nxc5 dxc5 15.d6 Qc6 16.f3 Nd7 17.Ba4 Qc8 18.a3 Bc6 19.axb4 Bxa4 20.Qxa4 Ngf6=/+ ]

10...Bd6 11.Re1+ Kf8 12.Qd4 a5
[12...Nf6? 13.Nh4!+/- was discussed in Esserman's lecture.]

13.Bg5 Nf6
[13...f6 14.Bf4 Bxf4 (14...Ra6? 15.Re2+/- Ne7? 16.Rae1 Nc8 17.Bh6!!+- Jenull - Sakai : correspondence, Chessfriend.com 2003) 15.Qxf4 Na6 16.Qd6+ Kf7[] 17.Nd4 ]

[14.Nd2 /\ Ne4 is an option.]

14...Na6 15.Rae1 Bc5
[15...a4!? 16.Bc4[] (16.Bxa4? Nc7 17.Qb6 Ra6 18.Qxb7 Rxa4=/+ ) 16...Bc5 17.Bxf6[] Qxf6[] 18.Ne5 Kg8! 19.Qd3! (19.Qg4 h5[] 20.Qxd7[] Bc8[] 21.Qe8+[] (21.Qxa4? Nc7=/+ ) 21...Kh7[] 22.Qxf7[] (22.Qxa4? Bf5 23.d6 Bxd6 24.Nxf7 Rhf8=/+ ) 22...Qxf7 23.Nxf7 Rf8 24.d6[] (24.Ng5+ Kh6-/+ ) 24...Ra7 (or 24...Bf5 25.Rd2 ) 25.Re7 Rxe7 26.dxe7 Re8 27.Ng5+[] Kh8 28.Nf7+[] 1/2-1/2) 19...g6[] 20.d6 Kg7[] 21.Nxd7[] Qf4[] 22.g3[] Qxd6[] 23.Nxc5[] Qxc5[] 24.Re7[] Rhd8[] 25.Rxf7+[] Kh8[] 26.Qe2 ; 15...Nc5!? 16.Bc4 (16.Re8+ Nxe8 17.Bxd8 Rxd8=/+ 18.Nh4 Nxb3 19.axb3 Rc8 20.Nf5 Bc5 21.Rxe8+[] Kxe8 22.Qxg7[] Bf8 23.Qe5+[] Kd8[] 24.Qf6+[] Ke8[] 25.Qe5+[] 1/2-1/2) 16...h6 17.Re8+ Nxe8 18.Bxd8 Rxd8 19.Nh4 Kg8 20.Nf5 Bf8 21.d6 ]

16.Bxf6 gxf6
[16...Qxf6 17.Ne5+/= Jenull - Baumann : correspondence, Chessfriend.com 2003]

17.Qh4 a4 18.Qh6+ Kg8 19.Re4 f5 20.Re8+ Qxe8 21.Rxe8+ Rxe8 22.Bxa4
Analysis by Deep Rybka 3 in April 2010. Epilogue 12/31/2010: 2 1/2 weeks of Smith-Morra investigation was enough for me. I still think the gambit is unsound but have no real interest in finding a bust. If that's your aim, try double-checking the analysis of moves 10-16 with Fire 1.31, Rybka 4 or the latest HIARCS version. Other engines aren't to be trusted. *