Smith-Morra Gambit [B21]
Tony Oliver from Canberra, Australia wants to know if it is safe to take the pawn in the Smith-Morra Gambit? The answer of course is yes and no. If Black takes the gambit pawn he must be prepared to with stand a sustained onslaught where White has lots of tactical chances. On the hand the only real to test a gambit is to steal the pawn and then hang on as long as possible.
The game Carr - Plaskett is an example of what can go right for White in the main line. However, there are plenty of alternatives possible and these are examined.
A faulty move order is bad news for Black in Brunner - Lopez and White gives a good demonstration of how to handle the position.
A strong grandmaster playing Black is always worth watching and Hardarson - Hjartarson does not disappoint. Black follows the main line and does enough to fend off the attack before seizing a tactical opportunity.
Star game of the month
The star game of the month is Solberg - Van der Weide where the action takes place in a C3 Sicilian. After 1 e4 c5 2 c3 b6 3 d4 Bb7 4 d5 Nf6 5 Bd3 and now 5...c4:
Black plays energetically and eventually wins.
The Rossolimo 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 and now 3...a6?! [B30]
At club level the standard mistake is to try and oust the bishop by attacking it.
In fact, it merely loses a move because White is happy to exchange pieces on c6 in order to double the c-pawns.
Dumont - Fucs is a recent example and shows White building up a decent space advantage on the kingside.
In Handke - Becking Black also takes back on c6 with the d-pawn:
but against a top level opponent walks into a fierce attack by White.
The question of what to if Black plays 4...bxc6 is looked at in the game Erwich - Den Heeten.
White manages to spring a clever trap and quickly wins.
Svetushhkin - Chahine shows how Black can withstand the crisis in the opening and then steadily create a decent position despite a blunder costing the game.
I welcome e-mails and games from subscribers, and you can always write on the Anti-Sicilians Forum.