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is chess in the Olympics

  There is currently no chess in the Olympiad. The Chess Olympiad is a chess competition officially organized by FIDE since 1927 and takes place in even-numbered years. Before World War II the event was occasionally held every year. There was also an unofficial Chess Olympiad series that ended in 1976. Although chess is covered in the sports sections of many newspapers around the world, it is not one of the recognized sports in the Olympic Games. However, FIDE is now a member of the International Olympic Committee and follows its rules. This means that chess could one day become an Olympic event, although most knowledgeable observers say this is unlikely. The World Chess Championship is a competition held annually by the international chess organization FIDE to determine the World Champion of chess. Both men and women are eligible to participate in this championship. The World Champion does not have to be the player with the highest Elo rating: the 2006-2007 World Champion, Vladimir Kr

5 Traps in the Sicilian Defense: Smith-Morra Gambit

When I started to learn more about chess, I was captivated by tactics and I wanted to become a really good tactician. Not only does it allow me to make bold sacrifices and cunning traps, but it also helps me to gain an advantage fairly quickly over my opponents.

I mostly played gambit openings because of this. However, that led to some complications especially when opponents were able to parry the attacks. And I would end up being in a worse position out of the opening. In any case, there are a few opening gambits out there that can become solid weapons in your arsenal. One of those is the Smith-Morra Gambit.

The Smith-Morra gambit in the Sicilian Defense is characterized by an immediate d4 push, offering it up for faster development. But it’s not just for development purposes, there are very sharp, tactical lines in this variation as well and that’s why I liked it.

I wasn’t really particularly good with the opening theory of the Sicilian Defense especially as White so whenever I faced against it, I wanted to throw my opponent off balance by going into some offbeat line or having a weird setup. So when I found out about the Smith-Morra gambit, I became ecstatic.

I’m going to present a few games that shows different traps that could be done in the Smith-Morra. However, don’t try these traps on strong players because nine times out of ten, they can easily spot these and have countermeasures in place to address them. You will find yourself in a much worse position if you are not careful. Nonetheless, these are some exciting traps in the Smith-Morra and I hope to share them with you here.

Martien G.W. de Bolster – NN, 1970

The move order for this game may be a bit different from the usual Smith-Morra but it does arrive at a position similar to it. One of the key features of this trap is the fact that Black’s f7-square is a weak point for the king and the move order is always important because of timing.

When Black recaptured White’s knight, he was thinking that it wouldn’t be a problem because he would probably just be down a pawn in an endgame. But he didn’t anticipate White’s incredible move that completely crushes him.

The move 9. Bxf7+ is game over for Black because the king has no other square to escape and he is in check therefore, he must capture the bishop at the cost of his queen. Now we see the importance of move order. If Black had captured with the pawn instead of the knight, if White does Bxf7+, it would be a blunder because Black’s queen is protected by the knight on c6. The concept of sacrificing the bishop on f2 or f7 is pretty common. You can also see it playing out in many other tactics in different openings.

Cranktorp – Maddox, 1933

In this game, Black must have been a bit overconfident that he could recover from White’s attack but ends up losing the game. Again, we see how weak the f7 point is from this game and how White makes use of a battery to force his way through the Black camp.

Black had a chance to actually protect the square if he had developed his knight before his bishop. Various other developing moves could have also been made in order to prevent this onslaught. The move Bb4 would have been good instead of Be7. That way, the queen could go to e7 and protect f7. The same is true for Bc5. Both moves are a lot better than what Black played.

Moller – Krasborg, 1987

This isn’t necessarily trap but it’s a good tactic nonetheless. It’s called removing the defender. The knight was the only piece defending the White queen and when it was taken, the queen had no more defenders. And it was being threatened by the Black queen so White has to face a decision, be a piece down or lose his queen. He opted to resign instead.

Rohit – Szabo, 2001

For this match, we see a known trap called the Siberian. It involves a few tactical concepts, making it quite a formidable trap once you fall into it. First, we have the initial threat of the queen and knight converging on the h2 square. However, since the knight is defending that square, it’s not really a threat at the moment.

That’s when the next move comes in, which is called a diversion tactic. The move Nd4 forks the queen and knight. Either he loses his queen or loses the game. What makes this tactic work is the fact that White has taken the bait the moment he played h3. From there, the trap had been sprung and White has no escape.

Diaz Alonso – Bernaldo de Quiros Lopez, 2001

Remember what I said about the f7 square being a focal point of many attacks. Well, here we see another game that shows exactly that concept being executed. I would say Black was already at a disadvantage from move 7 but it wasn’t completely lost. If Black had simply completed development and bring her king to safety, then she would have been fine. However, she made several dubious moves and quickly found herself at a crumbling position. It wasn’t long until her opponent was able to sweep out any form of counter-play and win the game.

An effective opening

The Smith-Morra may not be the best response to the Sicilian Defense but it is a very dynamic opening that brings back the initiative to White. It allows you to take control of the game from the opening if you are able to play it right. There are several tricks in the Smith-Morra line and they are very risky. But the rewards are worth the risk. If you think this is the kind of playing style you are comfortable with, there are books and other resources out there to help you learn the nuances of the opening.


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