Thursday, May 28, 2015

Smashing Sicilian Defence Smith-Morra

Ray Haines and Ed Sawyer lived 150 miles apart along the New Brunswick, Canada border. I had the privilege of visiting each of their homes. In a sharp Sicilian Defence Smith-Morra Gambit Ray Haines notches an impressive quick win. I added new notes in 2015 using chess engines. In their 1975 Bangor Daily News weekly Chess column tournament directors George Cunningham and Gerry Dullea wrote this:

"In a postal game against inter-county rival Ed Sawyer, 1974 champion of Washington County, Ray makes victory look easy again as he employs one of his favorite attacks, the Smith-Morra line of the Sicilian. Tim Sawyer to whom we are indebted for these games and his comments on them, says Ray has demonstrated several beautiful forced wins from the key position after White's 11th move. He also notes Black's slow development. Ed sees that his queen is no protection for the knight after all because taking the rook leaves him on the painful end of a king-queen fork by the White knight. Our thanks go to Ray for creating these brief beauties and to Tim for being thoughtful enough to share them."

Haines - Ed Sawyer, corr Maine, 1974 begins 1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 d6 6.Bc4 a6 7.0-0 Nf6 [7...e6 8.Qe2=] 8.Bg5!? [8.Bf4= Komodo, Stockfish] 8...e6 9.Qe2 h6! [40 years ago I thought this was a mistake, but since then it has become the top move. 9...Be7 10.Rfd1 Qc7 11.Rac1 0-0 12.Bb3=] 10.Bf4! e5 [10...g5!=/+ Stockfish] 11.Rfd1!? exf4 [11...Bd7 12.Be3=] 12.e5 Nxe5? [12...Qe7 13.exf6 Qxe2 14.Bxe2 gxf6= Black has an extra pawn among his ugly islands.] 13.Nxe5 Qe7 14.Bxf7+ Kd8 15.Rxd6+!? Kc7? 16.Rxf6! 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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