Quick update...I will probably have a few over the next month.
have been playing a lot of blitz lately (2-5 games a day, with 3 0 time
controls). I have ignored opening theory (in fact I have purposefully
been playing objectively unsound, reckless openings), tactical training, and slow
games for the last few years. Other bits of life have become my highest
While I have found the Smith-Morra a fun weapon
against the Sicilian, I also got the suspicion that I was
missing lots of opportunities. Hence, on a whim, I bought the book
'Mayhem in the Morra' by Marc Esserman. It isamazing, written
by someone who loves chess, loves the opening, and takes great pains to
explain tactics and strategy at multiple levels, including word-based
explanations for people like me, to more concrete variation-crunching analysis
for those that want more meat on the bones.
I am getting a much better understanding of the main
strategic goals, but also the most common tactical themes (e.g., a
common knight sacrifice that I frankly would never have thought of on my
own). It is so clear, its enthusiasm for the game so contagious, that it makes me want to drop everything and start doing chess full time.
I had to come up with any criticisms (which I force myself to do for all reviews) it is that he is probably not
objective enough; he is something of an evangelist for the opening, and
evangelicals are usually not the most trustworthy sources. That said, in
this case it is contagious and likeable (unlike some offbeat opening
books where it is offputting, especially if the person writing it is
rated 1000 at chess.com but writes as if they have a refutation of the
Ruy Lopez). Frankly, at my crappy 1200-level blitz games, I will never find any problems with this opening.
I like to make an analogy between good chess
authors and mother birds. They do all sorts of work to get the food and
digest the material, and are kind enough to spit it back in the mouth of
those of us less able to secure our own food. This guy is like a
freaking pelican mommy shoveling chewed up fish into my cakehole. Thanks
to Marc Esserman for this great book, it truly makes me wish I had more
time for the chess sink.
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