Myk Robertson writes:
“I have read your book, how to beat the Smith-Morra with 6. a6. It has helped me tremendously against that opening. There was one variation that I run into against a local player around here that I have a lot of trouble with. I was wondering what your opinion is about this. 1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 d6 6.Bc4 a6 7.0-0 Nf6 8.Bf4 (the most problematic line for me) 8…e5! as you put in your book, but after this you only give 9.Be3 and the continuation from there. My problem is when my opponent plays 9.Bg5.
In this position I feel like Ive reached a Najdorf Sicilian, with Nc6 rather than d7, and the e6 weakness vs the Fischer-Sozin Bishop on c4 and Bg5. In the Najdorf, Bc4 and Bg5 call for e6 so not to have the light square weaknesses in the center. I continue development as in your Be3 line, but white likes to chop off the knight at f6 and maintain a stranglehold on d5.
Is this something that black will have to live with for the extra pawn, or is there another move order that black can do for a stronger advantage?
Example line, 9.Bg5 Be7 10. Bxf6 Bxf6 11.h3 0-0 12.Nd5 and that knight seems to become a monster through the rest of the game.
Thank you very much for your time on this. Have a great day!”
Wolff,Patrick G – Taylor,Timothy
New York 1983
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 d6 6.Bc4 a6 7.0–0 Nf6 8.Bf4 e5 9.Be3
Dangerous is 9.Ng5 exf4 10.Nxf7 Qe7 but Black should be able to defend and round up the N—and now to your question.
After 9.Bg5 Black is a pawn up with a good Boleslavsky Wall set-up, and he’s even a tempo up on normal lines as White has played Bf4-g5. Therefore White has next to nothing for his pawn. A typical example is 9… Be7 10.h3 0–0 11.Qe2 Be6 12.Rfd1 Qc8 13.Nd5 Bxd5 14.exd5 Na7 15.Rac1 Qd7 16.Bb3 Rfc8 17.Be3 Rxc1 18.Rxc1 Rc8 19.Rxc8+ Nxc8 20.a4 Bd8 21.Qd2 Bb6 22.Bxb6 Nxb6 23.a5 Nc8 24.Bc4 Ne7 25.Qd1 g6 26.Qb3 Qc7 27.g3 Qc5 28.Nd2 Qxa5 29.Qxb7 Qxd2 30.Qxe7 Ne4 0–1 Parcerias,P -Amaral,N /Portugal 1993.
Basically Black takes off the White pieces as they come to d5 (fear no monsters—they can be exchanged!) much as I do in the main game, and then uses his solid center, c file and above all, extra pawn to win the game.
In my opinion your problem is not one of openings (if you are getting the position you note after 9… Be7) as by that time you have pretty much made it through the opening with a good position and an extra pawn! What you need is better middle game technique to utilize that advantage you have already obtained.
Perhaps you could take some lessons from a local master (or even from me via technological means) or simply study some Karpov games and see how he gradually converts material advantage to victory.
I defeat Patrick Wolff in just this manner—note how White’s control of d5 never means anything as it just leads to piece exchanges that favor Black—while I invade on the c file and finally pick off more material.
9…Be7 10.Qe2 0–0 11.Rfd1 b5 12.Bb3 Be6 13.Nd5 Bxd5 14.Bxd5 Nxd5 15.Rxd5 Rc8 16.a4 Nb4 17.Rd2 Qa5 18.b3 bxa4 19.Rxa4 Qb5 20.h3 Qb7 21.Bg5 f6 22.Bh4 Rc1+ 23.Kh2 Rfc8 24.Bg3 Rb1 25.Rb2 Rxb2 26.Qxb2 Qxe4 0–1