Esserman finished a half-point back in a six-way tie for eighth but was critical to the final standings. First he knocked off veteran Dutch GM Loek van Wely, a pre-tournament favorite, with a stunning mating attack in Round 5; then he held both Nakamura and Ramirez to draws in the ensuing rounds. He finally dropped a full point to Lenderman in the penultimate round, setting the young New Yorker on the path to his first Open title.
Today's game is another of Esserman's fine wins with the Morra against a very strong player, Alexander Ivanov. Esserman's superior theoretical knowledge shows when Ivanov loses his way in the complications and ends up in a losing endgame
Yet after a hearty late afternoon breakfast and a walk alongside the still frozen over lake, I felt the desire to play the last round, just for fun. And for me, nothing could be more fun than.....the Morra Gambit!
My tournament took flight in round three when I was paired with IM Justin Sarkar. The controversial Morra gambit appeared, and not just a pawn was sacrificed!
There is an unwritten law that I don't promote any opening book or other commercial content of other vendors on my website. I followed this law for the last 9 years, but today I had to make an exception. The book is really that good. I'm sure chess history will value the outstanding contribution to the chess community, which Marc Esserman achieved by his book.
I bought the book "Mayhem in the Morra" by Marc Esserman. It is amazing, 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.
Mayhem in the Morra offers a complete fighting repertoire for White against the Sicilian with 1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3. The Morra Gambit is a popular weapon at club level, but can it be effective at GM level? Marc Esserman believes so and he has 2700-rated scalps to back up his view.
I have spent decades rejecting the Morra gambit on the grounds of materialism, an unnecessary squandering of material in response to the Sicilian. I purchased a book by Marc Esserman, Mayhem In The Morra, to introduce a volatile option for blitz and rapid play. What I found instead was a compelling appeal by a zealot, urging a return to the true faith, romantic chess.
"Mayhem in the Morra!" is a new work by Marc Esserman and is in our view an impressive modern contribution. It is a paean to the Morra, in which White offers a pawn to those who play the Sicilian defense as Black. Esserman insists that the Morra is sound, and indeed has joined the advocates of this Gambit that have prompted the Danish grandmaster Bent Larsen to quip that the Sicilian defense just wins a pawn when faced with the Morra.
Why is the Morra Gambit so universally hated when thousands of romantic old fools still faint at the sight of a mere King’s Gambit; when Garry Kasparov is praised for digging up the ancient Evans Gambit, and when Tal, Shirov and Morozevich are still admired to no end for their uncompromising and risky opening play?
Esserman's Harvard education shows in the quality of his prose -- quite rare for a chess writer these days -- and combined with the spectacular games, it's like a one-two punch that leaves your head spinning and your brain giggling from shock and awe.
Rarely has one person had so much influence on reviving a variation long thought to be dead. Esserman has advocated the Smith-Morra for many years as a player and now he does so as a writer and theoretician with his Mayhem in the Morra.