Friday, February 27, 2015

In the Balance

Image result for free clip art balance

In the following game Philidor1792 takes on a higher-rated player, side-steps some historical pitfalls, and shows that an advanced "Jerome pawn" is the match for Black's extra piece.

Philidor1792 - Dayana2006
Russia Central Federal District vs Flyi,, 2015

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Kf8 

This defense is as old as Alonzo Wheeler Jerome's analysis in the March 1875 issue of the Dubuque Chess Journal, and appeared in a game as early as Jaeger - Jerome, correspondence, 1880, (0-1, 40).

7.Qxe5 d6 8.Qg3 Nf6 9.d3 Nh5 10.Qf3+ Qf6 11.Nd2 

Practice shows the error of 11.Qxh5?: chessmanjeff - Gardenz, FICS, 2012 (0-1, 18) and ZahariSokolov - Jiracek, FICS, 2014 (0-1, 45).

Also not recommended is 11.Be3?! Qxf3 12.gxf3 as in obviously - belgje,, 2004 (0-1, 19).

White has done better with 11.Qxf6+, e.g. destinyx - belgje,, 2004 (1-0, 80) and  raes - belgje,, 2004 (0-1, 49).


Black should not temporize with 11...Be6?, as then the capture of the Knight 12.Qxh5 is playable, i.e. 12...Qxf2+ 13.Kd1 Qxg2 14.Qf3+ Qxf3+ 15.Nxf3 as in lamacuk - tomwhufc,, 2007 (1-0, 29).

12.0-0 Kg7 13.Qxf6+ Nxf6

Philidor1792 has been comfortable taking the two extra pawns vs Black's extra piece in blitz games, where strategy is sometimes no deeper than "push the 'Jerome pawns' ". Here he works just as effectively at a slower time limit.

14.c3 Bg4 15.d4 Bb6 16.f3 Bd7 17.Nc4 h6 18.Re1 Rhe8 19.Kf2 d5 20.Nxb6 axb6 21.e5 Nh7 

22.Be3 Nf8 23.g4 Ne6 24.Kg3 g5 25.h4 Rf8 26.Rh1 Bb5 27.Rh2 Rf7 28.Rah1 Raf8 

29.Rf2 Bd3 30.hxg5 Nxg5 31.Bxg5 hxg5 32.Re1 Re8 33.Rh2 Bg6 34.a3 Rf4 35.e6 Re7 

36.Re5 Kf6 37.Rhe2 c6 38.a4 Re8 39.Re1 Rh8 40.e7 Re8 41.b4 Bc2 42.a5 bxa5 43.bxa5 Bd3 44.Rd1 Bc2 45.Rc1 Ba4 46.Rce1 Bb5 47.Re6+ Kf7 48.R6e5 Kf6 Drawn

In light of the coming repetition of position, the players agreed to split the point.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

More Errors in thinking

One of my interests in exploring the Jerome Gambit comes from observing - and occasionally provoking - "errors in thinking". Essentially, the only way White can win is if Black errs - sometime in the most fascinating of ways.

The following game is my  most recent Jerome Gambit from the Italian Game tournament (see "Yet Once Again Into The Fray"). For a while it looked like it was going to be one of my best Jeromes ever, thanks to some fun tactics - but I fell victim to my own "error in thinking", and it was all for naught...

perrypawnpusher - Hywel2, Italian Game tourney, 2015

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ng6 

7.Qd5+ Ke8 8.Qxc5 d6 9.Qe3 Nf6 10.O-O Kf7 11.f4 Re8 12.f5 Ne5 13.d4 

I have also tried 13.Nc3 in perrypawnpusher - DysonLin, blitz, FICS, 2009 (1-0, 23); perrypawnpusher - darqknight, blitz, FICS, 2011 (0-1, 63); perrypawnpusher - CorH, blitz, FICS, 2011 (1-0, 24);  and perrypawnpusher - yasserr, blitz, FICS, 2011 (1-0, 32).


Oddly, this natural move is a TN according to The Database. Instead, 13...Neg4 was seen in Vazquez,A - Carrington,W, Mexico, 2nd match 1876 (1-0, 34); Wall,B - Vijay,V,, 2010 (1-0, 22) and perrypawnpusher - whitepandora, blitz, FICS, 2011 (1-0. 64). 

14.Nc3 Kg8 15.Qd3 Kh8 16.Bg5 Qd7 17.Rae1 b6 

I am always impressed when the masters of the Jerome Gambit are able to "make something out of nothing" in their games. It is not so easy for me.

18.Bxf6 gxf6 19.Nd5 Qg7 20.Rf3 a5 21.c3 Ba6 22.Qd2 Bc4 23.Rg3 Qf7 24.Nf4 Bxa2 25.Ree3 

I am not sure what my opponent made of this move. Perhaps he thought I was still shuffling pieces.

25...Rg8 26.Ng6+!?

White has only a pawn for his sacrificed piece, but this new sac changes everything.

26...hxg6 27.Rh3+ Kg7 28.Rh7+ 

The main idea: if now 28...Kxh7, then 29.Rh3+ Kg7 30.Qh6 mate. Black, instead, gives up his Queen.

28...Kf8 29.Rxf7+ Kxf7 

Houdini gives a deep look, and evaluates the position as being equal. A couple of lines to share what it sees: 30.Qd3 (looking at the light squares on the Queenside and Black's two loose minor pieces) Ne7 31.Qb5 gxf5 32.exf5 Rae8 33.g3 c6 34.Qxb6 Nxf5 35.Qc7+ Re7 36.Rxe7+ Nxe7 37.Qxd6 a4 38.Qf4 Be6 39.d5 Bxd5 40.Qxa4; or 30.Qc2  (to trap the Bishop) a4 31.e5 Ne7 32.fxg6+ Rxg6 33.exd6 Nd5 34.Rg3 Rxg3 35.hxg3 Bb3 36.Qd3 cxd6 37.c4 Ne7 38.Qh7+ Kf8 39.Qh6+ Kf7 40.Qh7+ draw 

I wanted to take advantage of Black's loose pieces, too, before his R + B + N got coordinated and out-played my Queen.

30.fxg6+ Rxg6 31.Rh3 Rag8 32.Rh7+ R8g7 33.Rxg7+ Rxg7 34.Qd1 Be6 

 Now is the time for White to continue his escape with 35.Qh5+ Rg6 36.Qh7+ Rg7 37.Qh5+ draw, as any other line by Black would drop a minor piece to a Queen check and fork.

But - what is this?? My opponent, having played strongly the whole game, has suddenly fallen for a simple pawn fork?? What good fortune!

What an error in thinking! On my part, that is.


Allowing Black to quickly pull his game together.

35... Bg4 

I had looked at 35...Bh3, but had totally overlooked the text.

After some discouraged piece-shifting, I gave up the ghost.

36.Qe1 Ne5 37.Qe3 Bf3 38. g3 Bh5 39. h3 Nc4 40. Qf2 Bg6 41. Qe2 Ne5 42. g4 Ke7 43. Kf2 Kf8 44. Qa6 Re7 White resigned

Black's pieces are cooperating, and it is only a matter of time before they begin chopping away at White's position (starting with Pe4).

I am sure that Jerome Gambit stalwarts like blackburne, Bill Wall and Philidor1792 would find a way to prevail, even in this position, but I felt "lost" after my 35th move, and couldn't see my way out - perhaps the final "thinking error".

Monday, February 23, 2015

Jerome Gambit Joke

The FiDi Kids Chess Class page (lots of fun!) on Facebook ("The FiDi Kids Chess Class is a way for children to learn and expand on their chess knowledge.") had the following joke:

A man was walking in the park when he saw a boy playing chess with his dog. 
He declared, "Geez, that's a smart dog you have!" 
And the boy replied, "Not really, He keeps playing the Jerome Gambit."

Saturday, February 21, 2015

"New" Old Analysis - But Not Quite

I recently stumbled over Part 10 of the "Index To The Chess Openings" on page 100 of the June 27, 1891 issue of the Chess Player's Chronicle

"New" old analysis of the Jerome Gambit, I thought!

It turns out that the CPC was simply reprinting the analysis of the 1884 American Supplement to Cook's Synopsis of Chess Openings, the Supplement "containing American Inventions In the Chess Openings Together With Fresh Analysis in the Openings Since 1882; also a list of Chess Clubs in the United States and Canada",

edited by J.W. Miller. The author of the analysis was S. A. Charles of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5! [5...Kf8? 6.Nxc6 dxc6 (6...bxc6 7.d4) 7.0-0 Nf6 8.Qf3 (8.d4 Bg4 9.Qe1 Kf7) 8...Qd4 9.d3 Bg4 10.Qg3 Bd6 11.c3 +] 6.Qh5+ [6.d4 Bxd4 7.Qxd4 d6! (7...Qf6 8.Qd1 d6 9.0-0 g6 10.f4 Nc6) 8.Nc3 (8.0-0 Nf6 9.f4 Nc6) 8...Nf6 9.Bg5 h6! 10.Bxf6 Qxf6 11.0-0-0 Be6 12.Kb1 Nc4 13.Qd3 b5 14.f4 Nxb2 15.Kxb2 b4!] 6...Ke6! [6...Ng6? 7.Qd5+ Ke8 8.Qxc5 d6 9.Qc3 Nf6 10.d3] 7.Qf5+ [7.f4 d6 8.Qh3+ (8.f5+ Kd7 9.d3 Nf6 10.Qd1 Nxe4 +) 8...Ke7 9.f5 Bxf5 10.exf5 Qd7 11.d4 Bxd4 12.Qh4+ Nf6 13.Qxd4 Qxf5 +7.0-0 d6! (7...g6 8.Qh3+ K moves 9.Qc3) 8.Nc3 Nf6 9.Qd1 Nd3 (9...Kf7 10.d4 Bg4 11.f3 {11.Qd2 Bb6 12.dxe5 dxe5!} 11...Nxf3+ 12.gxf3 Bh3 +) 10.cxd3 Kf7 11.Ne2 Bb6 12.Kh1 Ng4 13.d4 Nxh2 14.Kxh2 Qh4+ 15.Kg1 Qxe4 16.d3 Qg4 17.Be3 d5 18.f3 Qe6 19.Bf2 c6 +] 7...Kd6 8.f4 [8.d4 Bxd4 9.Na3 Nc6] 8...Qf6 9.fxe5+ Qxe5 10.Qf3 Nf6 11.d3 Kc6 12.Nc3 d6 [12...d5 also looks good] 13.h3 Qh5 14.Qg3 Be6 15.Ne2 Raf8 16.Nf4 Nxe4 17.dxe4 Qe5 18.Qd3 Bf5 +

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Threat Is Greater...

Here we have another Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit game, giving an opportunity to share some speculation, and to once again ponder the aphorism that "the threat is greater than its execution".

kocanda - ETERHERE

standard, FICS, 2014

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+ Kxd4 8.d3 Bb4+ 


Both 9.Ke2!? and 9.Kf1!? are mentioned in the notes to perrypawnpusher - AdamRou, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 28) and pigsfeet - jantonacci, blitz, FICS, 2011 (1-0, 14), but do not yet appear in any games in The Database.

The ideas: 9.Ke2 Ke5 10.Qb3 and White's mate threats allow him to grab the Black Bishop on the next move; or 9.Ke2 d5 10.Bf4 and White's Queen again will soon arrive at b3.

Similar attacking plans work for White after 9.Kf1.

9... Bxc3+ 10. bxc3+ Ke5 11. f4+ 

The "Jerome pawns" look scary, but the best move for White, instead, was 11.Qh5+ as in perrypawnpusher - AdamRou, blitz, FICS, 2010. 

11...Kf6  Here Black forfeited by disconnection.

White may have a dangerous attack coming (although Houdini 3, at 25 ply, rated the position 0.00) but Black can continue to retreat his King, and declare "Show me!"

Perhaps other things were more pressing in Black's life away from the board.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


The latest game I have received from Philidor 1792 is a classic attack led by White's pawns and backed up by his pieces. There are a number of ways to respond to Black's plucky gambit, but this game again puts forth the argument for 4.Bxf7+!?

Philidor 1792  - g-chessman1518, 2015

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nd4 

The Blackburne Shilling Gambit.


The Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Ke7 6.c3 Ne6 7.d4 d6 8.Nd3 Nf6

Black's move looks natural, but it allows White a sharp blow. 


This looks like a TN according to The Database.

Instead, 9.d5!? Nc5 10.Nxc5 dxc5 11.e5 was seen in the earlier EdoTK-Jorma, FICS, 2006 (1-0, 22). Black stops the White d-pawn advance with his next move, as he should have with his previous.

9...d5 10.e5 Ng8 11.0-0 c6 12.f4 Kd7 

Black's King runs for safety.

Houdini suggests the game would be equal after 12...g6 13.g4 Bh6 14.f5 Bxc1 15.Nxc1 Nf8

13.f5 Ng5 14.Bf4 Ke8 15.g4 

Philidor 1792 mentioned 15.Qh5+ as stronger.


Instead, 15...h5!? in this odd position, according to Houdini, gives Black an edge.

Now White pushes the attack and ends the game.

16.Nd2 Nxd2 17.Bxd2 Nh6 18.e6 Be7 19.g5 Bxg5 20.Qh5+ g6 21.fxg6 hxg6 22.Qxg6+ 

Black resigned

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Silicon Defense

The Dubuque Chess Journal of July 1874 contained the following:
Note: It should be understood that Mr. Jerome claims in this New Opening "only a pleasant variation of the Giuoco Piano, which may win or lose according to the skill of the players, but which is capable of affording many new positions and opportunities for heavy blows unexpectedly."
The following game from Bill Wall, with a King hunt and (with best resistance) a checkmate in 10 moves, seems to fit the bill.

Wall,B - Guest2258681, 2015

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 7.f4 d6 

Although not given a specific title, I have begun to call this the "Annoying Defense", although I suppose, since it is the choice of several computer chess programs, I could also call it the "Silicon Defense" - but it would still be annoying.

8.fxe5 dxe5 9.Rf1 Nf6 10.Qg5 

According to The Database, this is a TN. Bill has played a half-dozen games with 10.Qh3+.


Bill suggests instead either 10...Rf8 or 10...Qd4

11.Qxg7 Nxe4 

Black's Plan: Open the d8-h4 diagonal for the Queen to fly to h4 and deliver check to White's King - But Bill gets his Queen to Black's King first. Better was 11...Be7. 


Bill points out the alternative, which seems equally effective: 12.Qg4+ Kd5 13.Qf3 (13.c4+!? Kd6 14.Qxe4) 13...Bd4

12...Kd6 13.Nc3

The position is about equal. Remember the old Jerome Gambit aphorism, however: when White equalizes, the first player is better.


Continuing with the aforementioned plan, which leads to danger. Not 13...Nxc3? 14.Rf6+; but 13...Bf2+ would give Black chances, as Bill points out: 14.Rxf2 (14.Ke2? Bg4+; 14.Kd1? Nxc3+ 15.bxc3 Bg4+) 14...Nxf2 15.b3 (15.Kxf2? Rf8)  equal game. 


Not 14.Kd1? Bg4+. 


It is all difficult now, as Bill notes - as long as White continues to find the right moves: 14...Qxh2 15.Nxe4+ Kc6 16.c4or 14...Nxc3 15.gxh4; or 14...Qg4 15.Qd5+ Ke7 16.Nxe4


Not the time to waver: 15.Kd1? Nxc3+ 16.dxc3 Bg4+; or
15.Ke2? Bg4+. 


Black throws in the "kitchen sink" as well, but calmer alternatives don't help, either: 15...Qg4 16.Nb5+ Kc5 17.Qxc7+ Kxb5 18.a4+ Kb4 19.d3; or 15...Nxc3 16.gxh4

White now checkmates his opponent's King. Can you weave the mating net?

16.Nb5+ Kc5 17.Qxc7+ Kxb5 18.a4+ Ka6 

Or 18...Kb4 19.Qc3#

19.Qd6+ b6 

Giving in faster is: 19...Ka5 20.Qc5+ Ka6 21.Qb5

20.Qd3+ Kb7 21.Qd5+ Kb8 

Or 21...Ka6 22.Qb5+ Kb7 23.Rf7+ etc. 

22.Qxe5+ Kb7 23.Rf7+ Black resigned