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A simple Morra combination

A friend of mine had the following position quite recently in a team match:

After a long think he played 12.Bb5+, got a worse position and eventually managed to trick his opponent and win. As I walked by the board I saw a simple combination. Is this because I am a great tactician? Probably not. I am the typesetter at Quality Chess and therefore typeset Marc Esserman’s book, Mayhem in the Morra, and probably just recognised the tactic subconsciously.

White wins with either 12.Nxe5 or 12.Bxe5, with the same moves to follow after 12…dxe5: 13.Nb5! Qb8 14.Nc7+! and White wins either the queen or the exchange as well as ruining Black’s coordination. In both cases White wins.

Looking at the database I also noticed that someone played 12.Nd5 here and won the game after 12…Nxd5? was played. Instead 12…exd5! 13.Bb5+ Nc6! would favour Black.

By the way, we won the team match 5.5-0.5. I obviously made the only draw…

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  1. k.r.
    December 29th, 2014 at 17:13 | #1

    I managed to see it. Thanks to you Jacob! Own your books and working hard with calculation book recently. Spent 20 hours on first 100 exercises. 67% correct solved exercises till today. 2100 playrr but miss evalvation of tests if its ok result or not. Your books are really hard but very enjoyable. What is minimum you think somebody has to reach in % to make progress with your books with my elo?

  2. An Ordinary Chessplayer
    December 29th, 2014 at 21:08 | #2

    Clearly white in the game also knew there was “something”, he just found the wrong thing. No doubt black’s last move was 11…Ne5(!!!). Players at all levels leave many points on the board, Carlsen leaves points for the likes of Anand and Caruana; I and black in this game leave points for the likes of Esserman and your friend.

    It almost makes me want to buy Marc’s book. But, I have always felt that the real problem with the Morra is that it has so much theory, if I am going to play that sharply I might as well play a main line. The King’s Gambit has the same issue, not the most economical repertoire choice. However I did buy John’s book — I was in zugzwang.

  3. Jacob Aagaard
    December 29th, 2014 at 22:52 | #3

    @k.r.
    The work will help, no matter your strength. That said, 2000+ is a minimum requirement for this series; maybe with exception of Positional Play…

  4. solomon kennedy
    March 8th, 2015 at 20:34 | #4

    I disagree with ordinary chessplayer, I think the gambits are far more economical for any player who wants to improve his tactical sight. Mr. Aagard I have been reading your book excelling at chess and you have me looking at why I have failed at times when I should be moving forward. the best idea you have given me is writing down my strengths and weaknesses and examining them and then organizing my negatives into a study program to improve. if I had a coach like you I may well have become a world class player possibly a World Champion!!!! please keep writing

  5. Jacob Aagaard
    March 9th, 2015 at 14:02 | #5

    @solomon kennedy
    Sadly there are no World Champions among my very talented students, so probably this is too much 🙂

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