Friday, 10 February 2017

A successful sortie

As flagged yesterday, today involved a trip to the Lifeline Bookfair in Canberra. In some years there are very slim pickings but this year wasn't bad. I was able to grab about 6 decent books, while a couple of other collectors picked up a similar amount.
There were a number of 'historical' books, including Botvinnik's book on the 1941 Absolute Championship of the USSR, and the tournament book from the 1972 San Antonio Tournament (Karpov's first big overseas success). And I also located a copy of The Batsford Guide to Chess Openings by Barden and Harding, which was the first real opening book I owned. My original copy (which was autographed by young IM's Rogers and Johansen in 1983) disappeared a number of years back, so it was good to finally track down a replacement.
Flipping through the San Antonio book I saw the late Ken Smith was one of the participants. He was well known for his advocacy of the Morra Gambit (or Smith-Morra as he called it), and he played it whenever he could. However his results with it were poor, leading Larsen to annotate "1.e4 e6(?) Stronger is 1. ... c5, which wins a pawn (Smith always plays the Morra Gambit, in this tournament with disastrous results)". Probably the best (or worst) example of this, was his game against Mecking late in the tournament. Having sat at the bottom of the tournament throughout, he decided to throw everything into the attack, but just ended up resigning.

Smith,Kenneth R (2395) - Mecking,Henrique (2570) [B21]
San Antonio San Antonio, 1972

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