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Konstantin Landa vs Garry Kasparov
Clock simul (1987) (exhibition), Baku URS
Sicilian Defense: Smith-Morra Gambit. Accepted Paulsen Formation (B21)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-01-04  RisingChamp: At move 18 Landa misses Rxc6!! Which wins cleanly.White gets a tremendous attack in return for the exchange after Bxc6 Bxe5.It is difficult to see how Kaspy would have saved that.This is my one of my favourite openings and it is a pity Landa didnt finish this off.The Morra isnt half as bad as most ppl seem to think it is.
Sep-01-04  clocked: At move 19 it is even better
Oct-02-08  Zygalski: The problem for Kasparov here is that in most lines after 19.Rxc6! Bxc6 20.Bxe5 Black either has to go a piece down, quite possibly lose his queen or suffer defeat via a forced mate:

20...0-0 runs into the winning 21.Qh3 when Black must lose material just to keep from being mated. For instance:
21...Bxd5 22.exd5 f6 (critical) 23.dxe6 Be7 24.Bc2! seems to win rather easily:

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20...Rg8 21.Rc1 Rc8 (21...b4? 22.Rc5! 1-0) 22.Bd6 threat of 22...Bxd5 23.Rxc8 Bxb3 24.Bc7!

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20...Rh7 21.Bc3 b4 (only move) 22.Bxb4 Qb5 (again, only move) 23.Ba3 Rc8 then 24.Rd1 and Kasparov is in all sorts of trouble

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Jul-13-09  totololo: One of the few games that Kasparov was dominated and he still tired his oponent so that Landa in this case missed the wining move 19.Rxc6!

I think that Kasparov never liked to defend ( see his losses)... a few but significant of his thinking process..

Jul-13-09  Olavi: I wonder what game this is. Landa certainly didn't play in that championship. Perhaps a clock simul?
Sep-01-10  transpo: After 6.Bc4 e6!?, much better is 6...a6 because of tactics on f7. The White N cannot go to b5 because of the pawn on a6. Also, Black should never move ...Nf6 prior to ...a6 because of e5 by White. Once again the Black pawn on a6 prevents the standard tactical shots by White. In addition 6...e6 blocks the diagonal that the Black Bishop at c8 needs to go to g4 when White plays Qe2. Note that after Qe2 Bg4, the usual counter by White of Qb3 attacking b7 and f7 simultaneously, is NOT possible.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eric Schiller: The pawn moved to e6 at move 5 so the comment is irrelevant. And the point has little to do with f7 and more to do with preparing the thematic ...d5 break and controlling that key square. Kasparov never gets it in, preferring speculative kingside play.
Sep-01-10  transpo: <Eric Schiller> Sorry copied and pasted the wrong kibitz.

In response to your kibitz, please take a look at the following (it is free, dowloadable, or can be printed):

If after studying the above you still disagree then I suggest we play a couple of games(you play White, I will play the Black pieces, time control Game 120 minutes) after the following initial moves:

1.e4 c5
2.d4 cd4
3.c3 dc3
4.Nc3 Nc6

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eric Schiller: I stand by the analysis John Watson and I published:

[Event "Analysis"]
[Site "Moss Beach, CA (USA)"]
[Date "2005.11.10"]
[Round ""]
[White "Sicilian Defense "]
[Black "Smith-Morra Gambit "]
[Result ""]
[Eco "B21"]
[Annotator "Schiller"]
[Source ""]

1.e4 c5 2.d4
The Smith-Morra Gambit frightens some players of the ♗lack side. There is nothing to fear if you are well prepared. Here is a solid and useful system for ♗lack. White has one trick with ♘d5, but as you'll see it never works very well.^125 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 e6 This is clearly where the e-pawn belongs, since White usually uses a bishop at c4 to attack on the a2-g8 diagonal. 5.Nf3 a6 ♗lack is not aiming for an early ...b5, but is simply keeping annoying White pieces from using that square. Although White gets a small lead in development, it isn't particularly intimidating. That is not to say that this line is a "refutation" of the Smith-Morra. ♗lack gets equality, maybe a little more, but if that's the worst case scenario for White, then the opening remains fully playable. 6.Bc4 Qc7 7.Qe2 Nc6 8.O-O Bd6 This interesting concept was introduced into master praxis by John Watson in 1970. White has tried many approaches here. 9.Rd1 ( 9.Be3 Nge7 10.Rac1 O-O 11.g3 Ng6 12.a3 b5 13.Ba2 Qb8 14.b4 Bb7 15.Nd2 Be5 16.Nb3 d6 Lankey-Jellison, 1987. $15 ) ( 9.Bg5 f6 ( 9...Nge7 10.Rac1 remains ∞, but I'm not sure that ♘CO's evaluation of full with compensation is justified. O-O 11.e5 Nxe5 12.Nxe5 f6 13.Ne4 Bxe5 14.Bxe6+ dxe6 15.Rxc7 Bxc7 didn't clarify matters in Zelic-♔eglevic, 1997. ) 10.Bh4 Nge7 11.Rfd1 Ng6 12.Bg3 Bxg3 13.hxg3 O-O is given by Watson. ) ( 9.h3 Nge7 10.Be3 Ne5 11.Bb3 Nxf3+ 12.Qxf3 Nc6 13.Rac1 b5 14.Rfd1 Be5 15.Qg4 h5 16.Qe2 Bb7 $13 Christensen-Olesen, 1990. ) ( 9.Re1 b5 10.Bb3 Ne5 11.Bd2 Hardicsay-Sallay, 1972. ( 11.Nxe5 Bxe5 12.Nd5 exd5 13.exd5 d6 14.f4 f6 $15 ) Nxf3+ 12.Qxf3 Bxh2+ 13.Kh1 Be5 $17 ) ( 9.g3 Nf6 10.Rd1 h6 11.Rxd6 Qxd6 12.e5 Nxe5 13.Nxe5 O-O 14.Bf4 Qe7 15.Rd1 b5 16.Bb3 Ne8 $13 Moore-Savoy, 1977. ) ( 9.a4 Nge7 10.Be3 Ng6 11.g3 O-O 12.Nd2 ( 12.Rfd1 Be7 13.Rac1 d6 ) b6 13.f4 Be7 14.f5 ( 14.e5 d6 ) Nge5 15.Ba2 Bb7 Watson. ) ( 9.Bb3 Nge7 10.Rd1 O-O 11.Be3 Ng6 12.g3 b5 13.Rac1 Qb8 14.Nd2 Bb7 15.f4 Na5 $17 Gansvind-Stepovaia Dianchenko, 1999. ) ( 9.Nd5 ?! is an offer that can be accepted. exd5 10.exd5+ Nce7 11.Bg5 Nf6 12.Rac1 O-O -1.22 Mueller - Muellneritsch, Faaker-See (Austria) 2003 ) Nge7 10.Be3 ( 10.a4 Ng6 11.Be3 Nce5 12.Nxe5 Bxe5 13.g3 O-O 14.Rac1 Qa5 15.f4 Bxc3 16.Rxc3 Ne7 = Sugrue-Larsen, 1974. ) ( 10.Bg5 f6 11.Bh4 O-O 12.Rac1 Ng6 13.Bg3 Bf4 14.Nd5 ? ! exd5 15.exd5 Kh8 ! 16.d6 ? Qd8 17.Bxf4 Nxf4 18.Qe4 b5 -1.22 Vera - Gutierrez, Lima (♙eru) 2002. ) Ne5 ! ( 10...O-O 11.Rac1 Ng6 12.Bb3 Bf4 13.Nd5 ( 13.Na4 b5 14.Nc5 d6 15.Nd3 Bxe3 16.Qxe3 Bd7 = ♖iveiro-Gutierrez, 1996. ) exd5 14.exd5 Bxe3 15.fxe3 Nge5 16.dxc6 Nxf3+ $15 ♖izouk-♗ekker Jensen, 1992. ) ( 10...Ng6 11.g3 ( 11.Rac1 O-O 12.a3 Qb8 13.Bb6 Bc7 14.Na4 d6 15.Qd2 Rd8 16.Qg5 Bd7 $13 Sowray-Iskov, 1979. ) Nge5 ( 11...O-O 12.Rac1 f5 13.Ng5 f4 14.Qh5 h6 15.Qxg6 hxg5 16.Nd5 ! Qd8 ( 16...exd5 ? 17.Bxd5+ Kh8 18.Qh5# ) ( 16...Qb8 !$15 ) 17.Bb6 Ne5 18.Bxd8 Nxg6 19.Nb6 fxg3 20.hxg3 $16 Lees-Watson, 1970. ) 12.Nxe5 Nxe5 13.Bb3 O-O 14.f4 Ng6 15.Qf2 Be7 16.Bb6 Qb8 $13 Sylvan-Mortensen, 1994. ) ( 10...Bf4 is Watson's move, but I am not so convinced that 11.Bxf4 Qxf4 12.e5 doesn't justify White's pawn sacrifice. ) 11.Nxe5 Bxe5 12.g3 ( 12.Rac1 Nc6 13.g3 O-O 14.f4 Bxc3 15.Rxc3 b5 16.Bb3 Bb7 $45 Hanser-Grosar, 1996. ) Bxc3 ( 12...h5 13.Rac1 Qb8 14.f4 Bc7 15.a4 h4 16.Bc5 hxg3 17.hxg3 b6 18.Bxe7 Kxe7 19.Nd5+ exd5 20.exd5+ Kd8 left ♗lack cramped, but with an extra piece in Jirman-♗ibik, 1995. ) 13.bxc3 O-O 14.a4 d6 15.a5 e5 16.Qd3 Bg4 $15 ♗lack can be very happy with the position, Warzawski-Aseyev, 1991. *

Sep-01-10  transpo: So I guess it's time to have a theoretical discussion over the board.

1.e4 c5
2.d4 cd4
3.c3 dc3
4.Nc3 Nc6

It's your move.

Sep-02-10  transpo: The following kibitz was copied and pasted by mistake: <Sep-01-10 transpo: After 6.Bc4 e6!?, much better is 6...a6 because of tactics on f7. The White N cannot go to b5 because of the pawn on a6. Also, Black should never move ...Nf6 prior to ...a6 because of e5 by White. Once again the Black pawn on a6 prevents the standard tactical shots by White. In addition 6...e6 blocks the diagonal that the Black Bishop at c8 needs to go to g4 when White plays Qe2. Note that after Qe2 Bg4, the usual counter by White of Qb3 attacking b7 and f7 simultaneously, is NOT possible.>

The correct kibitz follows:

In the Smith-Morra Gambit Accepted variations move order is critical. In the game above after 5.Nf3 Black played 5...e6!?. The best response is 5...d6; and then if 6.Bc4 a6. The main problem with 5...e6!? is the it blocks the c8-h3 diagonal which Black needs open for his c8 Bishop in case White plays Qe2 to then play ...Bg4. Note that after Qe2, the usual counter to ...Bg4 Qb3 with an attack on b7 and f7 simultaneously, is NOT possible.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessNinjaMig: Sorry, Smith-Morra fans, but this game is a hoax. Not only did Landa not play in the 1988 USSR Ch, but he never played Garry Kasparov at all. Additionally, Kasparov never faced the Smith-Morra outside of a simul. No large db of mine has this score beyond move 10. No idea who submitted this game, but it ain't what it says it is by a long shot. Rxc6 is still nice though :-)
Dec-02-13  Jim Bartle: Hey, mig, great to have you here. I'll never forget my shock at reading one of your stories for the first time, about Seirawan vs Ivanchuk, 1997.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessNinjaMig: Whoops, issuing a correction to my post from earlier today. When Garry saw the actual score he remembered the game as one from a very strong clock simul, one of many he played against top Soviet juniors probably in 86 or 87, perhaps in Baku. (Landa will probably remember!) Clearly not the USSR championship of 1988, but a real game and really between Landa and Kasparov. But a simul game.

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