Youthful Smith-Morras

By Michael Goeller

I recently discovered an old chess scorebook of mine from a time when I played a lot of serious chess and it seemed like every other game I played was a Smith-Morra Gambit. I am impressed by my youthful creativity and have a sudden nostalgic desire to play the Smith-Morra again.

Game One: The Fianchetto Line

Michael Goeller (1958) - Floyd Boudreaux (2190) [B21]

Lipkin-Pfefferkorn Open/Winston Salem, NC USA (5) 1981

Going into the last round of a 1981 Grand Prix tournament, I needed only a draw to make it into the money. I should have gotten the advantage early on but missed a nice shot. I ended up finding an ingenious way of forcing a draw in the end, though, to bring home some bucks. I have my opponent's name as "Bourdeax," but after some research I think it was probably Floyd Boudreaux. I remember driving down to this North Carolina tournament with NM Scott Massey in his old Ford Mustang, playing blindfold chess along the way. I was 16-years-old at the time. I remember that the tournament was in a hotel near the middle of town, and the town was just dead that weekend with hardly a soul in sight besides us chessplayers. I remember very little else about the event, but I do remember this game very well and I'll bet I could have recreated it from memory even if I did not have the scoresheet.

1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Nxc3 Nc6 5. Nf3 g6 6. Bc4 Bg7 7. O-O Nf6 8. e5 Ng4 9. Bf4 Ngxe5 10. Nxe5 Bxe5

Not 10... Nxe5? 11. Bxe5 Bxe5 12. Qd5


11. Bxf7+ Kxf7 12. Bxe5 Nxe5 13. Qd5+ e6

I think this is all book. Not 13... Kf6 14. Ne4+ Kf5 15. g4+!


14. Qxe5

White is still down a pawn, but Black's weak dark squares, lagging development, and exposed King position give excellent compensation.


14... d5?!

I think "book" might be 14... Qf6 15. Qd6


15. Rfe1?!

I missed a big chance for an advantage, which I noticed shortly after moving the Rook: 15. Nb5! Qf6 16. Qc7+ Qe7 17. Nd6+ Kf8 18. Qc3 Qg7 19. Qf3+ Kg8 20. Rac1


15... Rf8 16. Rad1 Qf6 17. Qd6 Kg8 18. f3 a5

Still kicking myself for missing 15.Nb5, I started to take some time to fantasize and actually conceived the combination in the game. I did this by predicting my opponent's most logical next moves. Obviously, he is planning to develop his Rook by Ra6 next move, when I would probably play Qc5, and then he should play Qd8! threatening Qb6 trying to force off the Queens or win the b-pawn. I then started to look further and a little lightbulb went off. My next two moves set up a little trap and help to lure my opponent into it.


19. Qc5!? Ra6 20. Rc1!? Qd8 21. Kh1 Qb6 22. Qe7! Qb4

I also had calculated 22... Qxb2! 23. Nxd5!! Rc6! 24. Rb1 Qg7 (24... Qd4 25. Red1 Qg7) 25. Qxg7+ Kxg7 26. Nb6=.


23. Nxd5!! exd5

Black must take the Knight: 23... Qxe7? 24. Nxe7+ wins the Bishop at c8 and 23... Qd4?? 24. Rc7 mates.


24. Rc7 Qxe7 25. Rexe7 Rd8 26. Rg7+ Kf8 27. Rcf7+ Ke8 28. Re7+

Draw by perpetual check. I don't remember how much I won, but it was the first time I had ever won any money at a tournament and I was very excited about it.



Game Two: The Main Line

Michael Goeller (1953) - Mark Glickman (1940) [B21]

NJ Junior Championship/New Jersey USA 1981

1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Nxc3 Nc6

In an earlier encounter at an inter-club team match from the same scorebook, Glickman tried 4... d6 5. Bc4 e6 6. Nf3 a6 7. O-O b5 8. Bb3 Be7 9. Qe2 (9. Nd5!?) 9... Bb7 10. Rd1 Nd7 11. Bf4 Qb8 12. Rd2 Ngf6 13. Rad1 b4 14. Rxd6!! e5? (14... Nc5! is best, though I doubt anyone would see that -- and then 15. Qc4 bxc3 16. Rxe6 fxe6 17. Bxb8 Rxb8 18. Ba4+; I was expecting 14... Bxd6 15. Bxd6 Qd8 16. Nd5) 15. Rxd7!? ( easier is 15. Nxe5! Nxe5 16. Bxe5) 15... Nxd7 and now I should have played 16. Qc4! (instead, I played 16. Rxd7? exf4 17. Ba4 O-O and eventually lost in Goeller - Glickman, Westfield v West Orange Team Match 1981) 16... O-O 17. Rxd7 exf4 18. Rxe7 bxc3 19. bxc3. I remember trying to prove to my teammates after the game that 14.Rxd6!! was sound and everyone, especially masters, thought I was crazy. But Fritz backs me up if you give him long enough and help him along.


5. Nf3 d6 6. Bc4 e6 7. O-O Nf6 8. Qe2 Be7 9. Rd1 e5 10. Be3 Bg4 11. h3 Bh5 12. b4!? Qd7

12... Nxb4 13. g4!? (13. Rab1 also recovers the pawn, but I doubt that's what I had in mind) 13... Bg6 14. Nxe5.


13. Nd5!? Nxd5?!

Probably Black should play 13... Nxe4 14. b5 Na5 15. b6! O-O 16. Bb5 Nc6 17. bxa7.


14. exd5 e4 15. dxc6 bxc6

15... exf3?? 16. cxd7+


16. Qb2

I missed the cute 16. Bxf7+! Bxf7 (16... Kxf7 17. Ne5+!) 17. Ne5


16... exf3 17. Qxg7 O-O-O 18. Qh6 Bg6 19. Rac1! Kb8 20. Rc3 d5 21. Ra3

Fritz says 21. b5!


21... Bxb4 22. Rxa7 Qe6 23. Ba6?

Winning, but very difficult to see, is 23. Qg7! dxc4 24. Rdd7!! Qxd7 25. Rxd7 Rxd7 26. Qxh8+ Kb7 27. Qb2 -- I hit upon a similar idea next move.


23... Rd7?

Black had a saving move that actually wins: 23... c5! blocks the Bishop's protection of the Rook and attacks the Bishop at a6, when White is in trouble: 24. Rb7+ Ka8 25. Rxb4 cxb4 26. Bb5 Rhg8!. I have this move written in the margin, so I either saw it or we found it in the post-mortem.


24. Qg7! Re8 25. Qb2

I can hardly believe I found this amazing resource. The Queen gets back into the attack with deadly effect.


25... Rxa7

25... c5 26. Rxd7 Qxd7 27. Bxc5


26. Qxb4+ Kc7

26... Ka8 27. Bxa7


27. Bxa7

Better 27. Qb6+! but everything wins here.


27... Bc2 28. Qb6+ Kd7 29. Qb7+ Kd6 30. Bb8+ Rxb8 31. Qxb8+ Kc5 32. a3! Qe4 33. Rc1! 1-0

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Copyright © 2009 by Michael Goeller