Thursday, May 26, 2016

Is A Draw Enough For White in the Jerome Gambit?

Cruise Clip Art

Given that the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) is a "refuted" opening, should White grab the chance for a draw if he sees one? Or does this go against the whole idea of playing a wild, destabilizing and gambling opening?

Is there a point where the Gambiteer should realize that things have gotten difficult enough that he should save a half point, rather than surrender the whole thing?

The following game is an interesting example of these issues.

deriver69 - golddog2
Giuoco Piano Jerome Gambit Tournament 2016.

1e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+

4...Kxf7 5.O-O Nd4

An odd move, reminiscent of the Blackburne Shilling Gambit; but perhaps not too odd: there are 10 previous examples in The Database, and White won 6, lost 4.

6.Nxe5+ Ke7

Better was 6...Kf8 7.c3 Nc6 8.Nxc6 bxc6 9.d4 Bb6 which is about equal according to Stockfish 7.


Instead, after 7.c3 Ne6 8.d4 Bb6 Stockfish 7 says White has the advantage.

7...d6 8.Bg5+ Nf6 9.Ng4 Bxg4 10.Qxg4 Nxc2

Here we have a typical messy Jerome Gambit position. Stockfish suggests that Black should take the time to get his King out of the pin, with 11...Kf8.

11.Nc3 Nxa1 12.Rxa1

White overlooks (or ignores?) the fact that his sacrifice allows him now to draw with 12.Bxf6+ Kxf6 13.Nd5+ Kf7 14.Qf5+ Kg8 15.Qe6+ Kf8 16.Qf5+ etc. But - was he even looking for a draw?

12...c6 13.e5 dxe5 14.Re1 Bd4 15.Ne4

White continues to pressure the Knight at f6.

Black would do well to further consolidate with something like 15...Qd5. Instead, he decides to be a bit more aggressive - and this gives White an opportunity that he does not miss a second time.

15...Qb6 16.Bxf6+ gxf6 17.Qg7+ Ke6 18.Qxf6+ Kd7 19.Qg7+ Ke6 20.Qf6+ Kd7 21.Qg7+ Ke6 22.Qf6+ Kd7 23.Qg7+ Ke6 24.Qf6+ Kd7 25.Qg7+ drawn by repetition

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Sang Froid

The ongoing Jerome Gambit tournament continues to produce interesting and educational games.

Be sure to follow the games in the notes, too, for extra excitment!

golddog2 - deriver69
Giuoco Piano Jerome Gambit Tournament, 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Qh4 7.Nc3 

Sang froid. White answers Black's wild counter-attack (which leaves two pieces en prise; see "A Pie-in-the-Face Variation") with a rare, but simple developing move. Anything is worth a try in such a precarious position.

For the adventurer with White, despite what a computer player might say about the position, it is reassuring to know that in 222 games in The Database, White scored a scintillating 67%!


Instead, 7...Nd3+ was the odd idea of the coputer Milobot, in a crazy game that veered all over the place: 8.cxd3 (8.Qxd3) 8...Bf8 (8...Bxd4) 9.Qf3+ (9.Qb3+ or 9.O-O) 9...Qf6 10.Qh5+ Qg6 11.Qd5+ Ke8 12.O-O a6 13.f3 Ra7 14.Bf4 b5 15.Bxc7 Nh6 (15...Rxc7 16.Qe5+ Kd8) 16.f4 Qf7 (16...Rxc7) 17.Rae1 (17. Qe5+) 17...Qg6 (17...Rxc7) 18.f5 Qg4 $18 19.Qe5+ Be7 20.Bd6 Qxg2+ 21.Kxg2 Kf8 22.Qxe7+ Kg8 23.Qf8 checkmate, LeoJustino - MiloBot, FICS, 2012. Wow.

7...Ng4, like the text in the game, also preserves Black's advantage 8.Qf3+ (8.g3 Qf6 9.Qxg4 Bxd4 10.Nd5 Qxf2+ 11.Kd1 d6 12.Qh5+ g6 13.Qh4 Qf3+ 14.Kd2 Qxh1 15.c3 Qg2+ 16.Kd3 Be5 17.Bh6 Qh3 18.Qd8 Qxh6 19.Qxc7+ Ke8 20.Rf1 Qg7 21.Qc4 Be6 22.Nc7+ Kd7 23.Qxe6+ Kxc7 24. Rf7+ Qxf7 25.Qxf7+ Kc6 26.Qc4+ Kd7 27.Qf7+ Ne7 28.Qb3 b6 29.Qb5+ Nc6 30 b4 Rhf8 31.Qd5 Rf3+ 32.Ke2 Raf8 33.b5 Rf2+ 34.Ke1 Bxc3+ 35.Kd1 Rd2+ 36.Ke1 Rxd5+ White resigned, CoachCrupp - mathgk, FICS, 2010) 8...N8f6 9.dxc5 Nxh2 10.Qh3 Qxh3 11.gxh3 Nf3+ 12.Ke2 Nd4+ 13.Kd3 Nc6 14.a3 b6 15.Be3 Ba6+ 16.Kd2 Ne5 17.Rad1 Rhe8 18.Kc1 Nc4 19.cxb6 cxb6 20.Bf4 Nxe4 21.Nxe4 Rxe4 22.Rxd7+ Ke6 White resigned, Darthnik - picator, FICS, 2011


The wildness continued after 8.O-O with 8...Ng4 9.h3 h5 10.Qf3+ Qf6 11.hxg4 hxg4 12.Qxg4 Bxc3 13.bxc3 Qh4 14.Qf5+ Nf6 15.f3 d6 16.Qf4 Qxf4 17.Bxf4 b6 18.e5 Nd5 19.Bd2 Ba6 20.Rf2 dxe5 21.dxe5 Rae8 22.f4 g6 23.Re1 Ke6 24.g4 Rhf8 25.Kg2 Ne7 26.Kg3 Bb7 27.c4 c5 28.Bc3 Ba6 29.Re4 Rd8 30 a4 Rd1 31.Rh2 Rg1+ 32.Kf3 Bb7 33.Ke3 Rxg4 34.Rf2 Black forfeited on time in a winning position,  PLURkidIT - CEZRUN, FICS, 2007.

8...Bxc3+ 9.bxc3 Qxe4+ 10.Qe2 Qxe2+ 11.Kxe2 Ne7 

A lot of the tension has been taken out of the position, and with only a pawn for his sacrificed piece, White needs to find a way to make use of his open lines and Black's slightly unsafe King.

This time, he is not successful.

12.c4 b6 13.g4 Bb7 14.f3 Rae8 15.Bb2 Ng6 

16.Kf2 Nxe5 17.Bxe5 Rxe5 18.Rad1 d6 19.Rd3 Rhe8 20.Rf1 Re2+ 21.Kg3 Rxc2 22.Rd4 Ree2 23.h3 g5 24.f4 Re3+ 25.Rf3 Rxf3 checkmate

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Gambling With the Gambler

It is not for nothing that Gary K. Gifford coined the nickname "The Jerome Gamble" for 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+. White takes a big risk with "Jerome's Double Opening".

Defenders must be warned, however, as they were in the American Supplement to Cook's 'Synopsis'  (1885) that it is "not an attack to be trifled with".

Both players in the game below threw fortune to the wind. Each will no doubt learn from their insights and oversights.

rigidwithfear - river69
Giuoco Piano Jerome Gambit Tournament
RedHotPawn, 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+

4...Kxf7 5.d4 Nxd4 

Black's two alternatives for capture, 5...exd4 and 5...Bxd4, are stronger. Leaving the pawn at e5 open for capture gives Whites' ideas - and chances.



Feisty - and foolish. The equivalent to drawing to an inside straight.

Instead, 6...Kf8 is the safest and leaves Black with the advantage.


White does not realize his good luck. Instead, he had 7.Qg4+!? which promises good things:  7...Kxe5 (Forced; 7...Kf6 leads relentlessly to checkmate: 8.Qf4+ Nf5 9.Qxf5+ Ke7 10.Qf7+ Kd6 11.Nc3 Bxf2+ 12.Ke2 c6 13.Nc4+ Kc5 14.Kd3 Qa5 15.Qxf2+ Kb4 16.a3+ Qxa3 17.bxa3#;  there is little hope in 7...Ke7 8.Qxg7+ Kd6 9.Nf7+ Kc6 10.Nxd8+ or 7... Kd6 8.Nf7+ Ke7 9.Nxd8 Nxc2+ 10.Kd1 Bd4 11.Kxc2 d6 12.Qg3 Kxd8) 8.Bf4+ Kf6 (8...Kxe4 9.Nc3 checkmate, Darrenshome - WildErmineblitz, FICS, 2006 [1-0, 9]) 9.Bg5+ Kf7 7.Bxd8 and the Black Queen is gone, anyway.


Black is not familiar with this gambit, and so he defends. His best chance was to counterattack with 7...Qh4+ 8.g3 Qh3 and he would be better.

8.Qg4+ Ke7

Avoiding 8...Kf6 9.Qg5+ Ke6 10.f5+ Kxe5 11.Bf4+ Kxe4 12.Nc3 checkmate, similar to Darrenshome - WildErmineblitz, FICS, 2006, mentioned above.

9. Qg5+

Ouch. He had 9.Qxg7+ Ke6 10.Qf7 checkmate


The "only" move, but a saving one. Now the odds turn against the Gambler again.

10.Qxg7 dxe5 11.Qxh8 Nxc2+ 12.Ke2 Bg4+ 13.Kf1 Qd1 checkmate

Friday, May 20, 2016

Rapid Destruction

Some games in the ongoing Jerome Gambit tournament at RedHotPawn were over in an eye-blink. I present six (plus one), for completeness sake - but don't look away, as you might miss something.

Stay with me until the end, however, as the last game is a textbook lesson in tactical suddenness!

rkmmax - HikaruShindo
Giuoco Piano Jerome Gambit Tournament, 2016
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 White lost on time

rkmmax -junnujannu
Giuoco Piano Jerome Gambit Tournament, 2016
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 White lost on time

rkmmax - Dalradian
Giuoco Piano Jerome Gambit Tournament, 2016
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 White lost on time

HikaroShindo - rkmmax
Giuoco Piano Jerome Gambit Tournament, 2016
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Black lost on time

junnujannu - rkmmax
Giuoco Piano Jerome Gambit Tournament, 2016
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Black lost on time

Dalradian - rkmmax
Giuoco Piano Jerome Gambit Tournament, 2016
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Black lost on time

deriver69 - rigidwithfear
Giuoco Piano Jerome Gambit Tournament, 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.O-O d6 6.Nc3 Nf6 7.Ng5+ Kf8 8.d3 Bg4

9.Qe1 Nd4 10.Qd2 h6 11.f3 

Missing that this allows a checkmate in three moves.


Or 11...Ne2+ 12.Kh1 Ng3+ 13.hxg3 hxg5 checkmate.


Missing something.

12...Nxf3+ White resigned

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Philosophy and the Jerome Gambit

Image result for free clip art philosophy
Oh, my.

Bill Wall just sent me his latest Jerome Gambit game and I wrote back and said it was an example of "existential chess".

I was thinking about the idea of a "negative halo effect" that I had touched on in earlier posts (see "Halo Effect", "Feeling Lucky", "Kick Me" and "Dizziness Due to Success"). I mean the perception that if one starts a game with the "wrong" opening then one can be expected to continue to produce "wrong" chess and the whole game can be expected to be equally "wrong".

How dare Bill, instead, follow up with strong play, avoid missteps and win with a mating attack??

It reminds me of a quote from Justin E. H. Smith's essay "The Flight of Curiosity"
To take an interest in that false belief is not to reject the truth, but only to wish to fill out our picture of the truth with as much detail as possible, and not because of some aesthetic inclination to the baroque, but rather because false theories are an important part of the puzzle that we ... should be trying to complete: that of determining the range of ways people conceptualize the world around them.

Wall, Bill - U80, 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bxd4 7.Qxd4 d6 

White has only a pawn for his sacrificed piece. However, beyond the "theory of infinite resistance" this particular White has a lot of experience (over 400 games in The Database, for example) and if there are tricks, traps or nuances to be exploited, he will know about them or be ready to find them.

8.O-O Nf6 9.Nc3

Instead, for 9.f3 see Wall,B - Guest903719,, 2013 (1-0, 47).

The related 9.f4 was seen as far back as Jerome,A - Shinkman,W, Iowa, USA, 1874 (1/2-1/2, 42).


Recently played: 9...c6 10.f4 c5 11.Qf2 Neg4 12.Qd2 Rf8 13.h3 Nh6 14.e5 Nh5 15.g4 Ng3 16.Rf3 Qh4 17.Kg2 Bxg4 18.hxg4 Nxg4 19.Qd5+ Ke7 20.Qxb7+ Ke6 21.Qd5+ Kf5 22.Qd3+ Ke6 23.Qxd6+ Kf7 24.Qd5+ Kg6 25.Rxg3 Qh2+ 26.Kf3 Qf2+ 27.Kxg4 Rxf4+ 28.Bxf4 h5+ 29.Kh4+ Kh7 30.Qe4+ g6 31.Qxg6+ Kh8 32.Qg7 checkmate, Wall,B - Guest708676,, 2016

10.Bg5 Kg8

Black has prudently castled-by-hand and is "objectively" better.

Or 10...h6 11.Bh4 c5 (11...Be6 12.f4 was seen in Wall,B - Guest1561957,, 2014 [1-0, 25]) 12.Qd2 Be6 13.Rad1 Nc4 14.Qc1 Qb6 15.b3 Ne5 16.Bxf6 gxf6 17.f4 Ng4 18.f5 c4+ 19.Kh1 Nf2+ 20.Rxf2 Qxf2 21.fxe6+ Rxe6 22.Rf1 Qd4 23.Qxh6 Qxc3 24.Qh7+ Ke8 25.Qg8+ Kd7 26.Qxa8 cxb3 27.Qxb7+ Qc7 28.Qxc7+ Kxc7 29.cxb3 Rxe4 30.Kg1 Re6 31.h4 d5 32.h5 Kd6 33.g4 Ke7 34.Kf2 Kf7 35.Rc1 Re7 36.Kf3 d4 37.Rc6 Rd7 38.Ke2 d3+ 39.Kd2 Rd4 40.Rc7+ Kg8 41.Rxa7 Rxg4 42.Kxd3 Rh4 43.a4 Rxh5 44.a5 Rb5 45.Kc4 Rb8 46.a6 f5 47.Rb7 Ra8 48.a7 Black resigned, Wall,B - Guest5111265,, 2014. 


A rare reversal: 11.Nd5 Be6 12.Bxf6 gxf6 13.Rad1 c6 14.Nf4 Qb6 15.Qc3 Qc7 16.Rd4 c5 17.Rd2 Rad8 18.Rfd1 Qe7 19.f3 b6 20.b3 Ng6 21.Qe3 f5 22.Nxg6 hxg6 23.exf5 gxf5 24.Qh6 Qg7 25.Qxg7+ Kxg7 26.Rxd6 Rxd6 27.Rxd6 Kf6 28.c4 Ke5 29.Rd2 a6 30.Kf2 b5 31.cxb5 axb5 32.Re2+ Kf6 33.Kg3 c4 34.bxc4 bxc4 35.h4 c3 36.Rc2 Rc8 37.Kf4 Bxa2 38.Rc1 c2 39.Ke3 Bb3 40.Kd4 f4 41.Kd3 Rd8+ White resigned, Wall,B - Guest4809124,, 2013

11...Nc6 12.Qa4

Bill tried 12.Qd3 in Wall,B - Foman,, 2010 (1-0, 22)

12...Bd7 13.Rae1 h6 14.Bh4

Better than 14.Bxf6 Qxf6 15.Qb3+ Kh7.


Cute. Better, though was 14...Kh8 

15.Qb3+ Nf7 

There are plenty of complications to offer White, including: 15...Be6 16.Qa4 b5 17.Qxb5 c6 18.Qa4 Neg4 19.Qxc6 Rc8 20.Qa6 Bc4 21.Qxa7 Bxf1


Bill is not interested in either 16.Qxb7 Rb8 17.Qxa7 Rxb2 18.Nd5 Rxc2 or 16.Bxf6 Qxf6 17.Qxb7 Qd4+ 18.Kh1 Qb6. The truth lies elsewhere.


A bit of a better choice for Black is 16...Be6, when either  17.Bxf6 or 17.Qxb7 dxe5 18.fxe5 Nxe5 19.Bxf6 gxf6 would be good for him; although the draw with 17.Qa4 Bd7 18.Qb3 Be6 19.Qa4 etc might arise.

17.fxe5 Be6 18.Qa4

As Bill points out, again not 18.Qxb7 Nxe5 19.Bxf6 gxf6 20.Rf4 (20.Rd1 Qb8) 20...Rb8


Instead, 18...Nxe5 19.Rxe5 Qd7 20.Bxf6 Qxa4 21.Nxa4 gxf6 22.Rc5 c6 23.Rxf6 looks about equal. 


Not 19.Qf4 g5; nor 19.Qa3 Nxe5 nor 19. Bxf6 gxf6 20. Qh4 f5.

This Wall guy is becoming troublesome by avoiding trouble! 


This looks like either frustration or impatience.

20.exf6 gxh4 

Or 20...Rxe1 21.Bxe1 Bc6 22.Qe3


Now Bill goes from threat to threat, first threatening 22.Qxd7

21...Nd6 22.Qd3 

Threatening 23.Qg6+


Time to give some material back, but not 22...Kh8 23.Qg6 Nf5 24.Rxf5 Bxf5 25.Qg7 checkmate 


Bill gives the alternative 23.f7+ Kxf7 24.Rxf5+ Nxf5 25.Qxf5+ Kg7 26.Rd7+ Qxd7 27.Qxd7+ and White would also be better.

23...Nxf5 24.Qxf5

24...Qxd1+ 25.Nxd1 Re1+ 26.Kf2 Rxd1 27.Qg6+
Kf8 28.Qg7+ Ke8 29.Qe7 checkmate

Monday, May 16, 2016

Update: RedHotPawn Jerome Gambit Tournament

The field for the Jerome Gambit Tournament at RedHotPawn (see "New Jerome Gambit Tournament") is complete, and the games have started - in fact, almost 2/3 of them have been completed already!

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Group 4

There is an interesting mix of Jerome Gambit veterans and novices, so the play is quite interesting.

A win is worth 3 points. A draw is worth 1 point. The leader(s) of each group will advance to a final group, the winner of which will win the tournament.

Results and games will appear here.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Their Majesties' Greed

In the following game Black shows prudence in not having his King hunt for material. He defends well, until he sends his Queen off hunting, falling into a gambit trap that the first player has set. That is all White needs to take the advantage and wrap up the game.

topsoul - moisesserraramos
10 0,, 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nd4 

The Blackburne Shilling Gambit.


The Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit.

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Ke6 6.c3 Kxe5 7.cxd4+ Ke6 

Black heeds the general advice to bring his King home from the battelefield. There is too much danger in His Majesty chasing pawns.

White has a variety of options here. His pawns are important players.

8.O-O d6 9.f4 Kf7 10.Qb3+ Ke8 11.e5 dxe5 12.fxe5 Qxd4+ 13.Kh1 Qxe5

Alas, it is also dangerous for Her Majesty to chase pawns, as the rest of the game shows.

14.Qf7+ Kd8 15.Qxf8+ Qe8 16.Qxg7 Ne7 17.d3 Bf5 18.Bg5 Kd7 19.Rxf5

Even more brutal was 19.Re1

19...Qh5 20.Qxe7+ Kc6 Black resigned