Smith-Morra Gambit

The Smith-Morra Gambit, or simply the Morra Gambit, is a White gambit against the Sicilian Defence (Anti-Sicilian Opening). The moves go “1.e4 c5, 2.d4!?”.

Diagram: Smith-Morra Gambit

White will usually offer the “c3” pawn, at which point Black can accept or decline the gambit.

Diagram: Smith-Morra Gambit

Transposition to c3 Sicilian: Black can decline the Morra Gambit by transposing it into one of the main lines of the c3 Sicilian. Black simply plays “..d5” instead of “dxc3”.

Transposition to Franco-Benoni: Black can convert a Morra Gambit into an unusual line called the “Franco-Benoni Defence” by playing “2..e6” (instead of “2.cxd4”). The Franco-Benoni will then usually further transpose and become an Old Benoni or a French Defence by transposition.

White Alternatives to 3.c3: “3.Nf3”: White can delay the move “c3” rather than immediately enforcing the gambit, via the “Morra Gambit Deferred”. If White plays “3.Nf3” then a transposition to any of the other lines of the Sicilian Defence is likely (e.g. Black plays d6, e6, or Nc6, or g6, then White plays Nxd4). Maybe White could then play “4.c3” having avoided the transposition to the “c3 Sicilian” in a “Delayed Smith-Morra Gambit”?

White Alternatives to 3.c3: “3.Qxd4”: Sicilian Center Game. White could simply take the pawn with the Queen, which looks similar to a Center Game, which is poorly regarded. In theory, White could play something like “3.Qxd4 Nc6, 4.Qa4!?”. At least it would be a surprise opening!

Other Anti-Sicilian Openings include: