ForumHelpSearchMy ProfileSite InfoGuests InfoRepertoireLinks
This month's update concentrates on two gambit approaches for White, neither of which stands up to close scrutiny in my view, yet they are still being played very frequently indeed!
Perhaps this is an emotional thing; the romantics in the audience will applaud 2 b4 or 2 d4, but I wonder if they would be so keen if Black takes the pawn and strolls to victory as he has done in many recent games.

Download PGN of July '07 Anti-Sicilian games

Wing Gambit [B20]

1 e4 c5 2 b4:

I was amazed to see Nigel Davies recommending the Wing Gambit in a book for club players; his approach seems entirely based on bluff! What was good for Frank Marshall, Saveilly Tartakower and Alexander Alekhine, is no good today, with so much information to hand.

So in Game One, we see an immediate deviation by White with 3 Nf3:

presumably trying to escape the difficulties of the main lines after 3 a3. Brodsky finds a simple solution for Black and after 9...0-0 is much better.

To try to appear balanced, I show a White win in Game Two where Black gives him a little too much rope. Even so, had Koller found 12...e5!:

White would not have enjoyed so much fun.

Game Three features the interesting 3...b3!:

a move I like very much, Black returns the pawn immediately, weakening the white structure.

Then to Game Four where Black calls the bluff and takes on a3, a move not even mentioned by Davies! Shirazi doesn't even look like getting compensation as White, and after 12..Nc5 has a clear disadvantage:

You will have formed the impression that I don't like the Wing Gambit. You are right!

Morra Gambit [B21]

1 e4 c5 2 d4 cxd4 3 c3:

The Morra Gambit has a better reputation, having acquired a substantial body of theory in many of the main lines. Yet these same main lines are certainly better for Black if he knows them thoroughly; it is lack of knowledge which is the usual stumbling block, in which case there are numerous tactical pitfalls to avoid.

To demonstrate the dangers, look at Game Five, where veteran GM Martinovic gets crushed! The fun starts with 11 Nd5 after which Black has to calculate or die:

One cannot play these positions on instinct.

Game Six shows a very good system for Black in my view with 6...a6!:

I don't really see how White can gain compensation here.

Game Seven also points a finger at the Gambit, where the so-called Siberian Trap Variation comes into play. We follow a sharp path with 12 exd6:

and now I recommend 12...0-0! Check out the notes to this one!

Then finally to Game Eight and some very effective play from Irina Krush, who for once seems to know more about the Morra than the Morra Gambiteer! Her 14..Qe8! is excellent:

At present the Morra Gambit looks dubious to me. Why give up a pawn like this when one can play so many other good lines?

I hope you enjoy the contents. Andrew

Please post you queries on the Anti-Sicilians Forum, or subscribers can write to me at if you have any questions or queries.