- Series: Batsford Chess Library
- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Henry Holt & Co (P); 1st American ed edition (December 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0805035745
- ISBN-13: 978-0805035742
- Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,434,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Winning With the Smith-Morra Gambit (Batsford Chess Library) Paperback – December, 1994
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Top Customer Reviews
I recommend the Smith-Morra Gambit to anyone who plays 1. e4, is tactically inclined (positionally impaired?!), and doesn't mind a sharp struggle. And if you want to play the Smith-Morra Gambit there's no better book than Winning With The Smith-Morra Gambit. Note: Winning With The Smith-Morra Gambit is part of the Winning With... series (even though you may very well win with it.)
The Smith-Morra Gambit isn't for everyone, and consequently this book is not for everyone, however if you are failing to comprehend the complexities of the Open Sicilian, or your failing to make progress with your anti-Sicilian pet line, give the Smith-Morra Gambit a try, you'll be surprised at how many people blunder when only following common opening principles. For example, after 1. e4 c5 2. d4 cd 3. c3 dc 4. Nc3 Nc6 5. Nf3 d6 6. Bc4 e6 7. O-O Nf6 8. Qe2 Be7 9. Rd1 the natural developing move ...O-O leads to a hopelessly lost game for black after 10. e5!.
Contrary to common belief, The Smith-Mora Gambit is a sound and very dangerous weapon against the Sicilian, notwithstanding a player has to have an excellent instinct for tactics, thus I cannot recommend it to anyone less than 1700, and of course, the timid.
5 stars because it's the best representation of the Gambit (it's organization is second only to Pirc Alert, it shows tactical patterns, and it's all you need in oder to play the opening confidently.)
If you are an attack minded 1. e4 player and you like razor sharp positions in which you may be more familar than your opponent - look no further. If you like to push wood for hours and play safe, unassuming chess - forget it!
Burgess does a very nice job of explaining the ideas behind the Morra gambit in the introductory chapters - something that I wish a whole lot more opening books would emulate! The book contains a large number of master game references for study. There is even a game featuring World Champ Garry Kasparov as black (and he nearly lost against the Morra!!).
The only reason I have given this book four stars instead of the full five, is that there are some places where I feel that Burgess is a tad optimistic about whites chances. All openings have good and bad points and the Morra is no exception. However, the book sometimes stretches a bit and tries to convince you that white can hardly ever lose. (If an opening could really promise all that everyone would start to play it and the game would become obsolete).
1. One thing that an opening book can't do without is system. Though Mr. Burgess has succeeded quite well in arranging the games in his book in a logical sequence, the reader will still have to write down his own variant tree with page references if he ever wants to find his way out of the Burgessian maze.
2. An opening book is supposed to analyze both good and bad sides of a variant. It is not considered solid to attempt to sell one's stuff whatever it takes. The title of Mr. Burgess's book is too pretentious, not to say misleading. Morra gambit (who's that Smith guy, anyway?) is by far not as powerful as Mr. Burgess claims (or as his sometimes not very thorough analyses attempt to show).
On the other hand, this incapable work, unfortunately, is the best source of information on Morra gambit I have seen. (However, I've been out of the active chess life for a few years, so there might be better books available today.) That's the first reason why I can't help giving it four stars. The second reason is that Morra gambit seems to be aggressive player's most promising way of avoiding Sicilian. I have experienced devastating disasters with b4 variants and, after that, played mostly 2. c3, which is, of course, a bit to passive. A few times I have played 2. c4; however, that is not quite my style. (You really should try it, if you like closed positions!) My first results with Morra aren't too great but it looks much better than anything else.
One thing I especially liked about the book was the introductory chapter which explained the main ideas of the Morra gambit. Well done!
If you are desperate to find an aggressive way of defending yourself against the perversity called Sicilian Defense, you really should consider Morra gambit. This book will give you a good start. If you're just curious, don't waste your money on Mr. Burgess before he has gained some experience on writing chess books.