Monday, January 23, 2017

Play What You Know; Know What You Play

I wonder if White's opponent in the following game expected to catch him by surprise by playing a wild counter gambit? If so, then perhaps he was taken aback by the "Jerome treatment" of the opening. We have seen this kind of thing before. As the notes show, Bill Wall plays what he knows.

Wall, Bill - Takra, 2016 

 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nd4 

The Backburne Shilling Gambit.

4. Bxf7+ 

The Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit.

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Ke8 6.Qh5+ g6

7.Nxg6 hxg6 


7...Nf6 8.Qe5+ Ne6 9.Nxh8 Bg7 10.O-O Qe7 11.f4 Ng4 12.Qh5+ Black resigned, Wall,B - DSLC, FICS, 2013

7...Qf6 8.Nxh8+ Kd8 9.Nf7+ Ke7 10.d3 Nxc2+ 11.Kd1 Qxf2 12.Bg5+ Nf6 13.Nd2 Nxa1 14.e5 Bg7 15.Bxf6+ Bxf6 16.exf6+ Qxf6 17.Re1+ Kf8 18.Ng5 d6 19.Re8+ Black resigned, Wall,B - Sharkia,A., 2010

7...Nxc2+ 8.Kd1 Nf6 (8...Nxa1 9.Nxh8+ Ke7 10.Qe5 checkmate, Wall,B - Apple69,, 2010) 9.Qe5+ Be7 10.Nxe7 Qxe7 11.Qxe7+ Kxe7 12.Kxc2 Nxe4 13.Re1 d5 14.d3 Bf5 15.f3 Black resigned, Wall,B - Schlier,A,, 2010.

8.Qxg6+ Ke7 9.Qg5+ Ke8 

9...Nf6 10.Qc5+ Kf7 (10...d6 11.Qxd4 d5 12.e5 Ne4 13.d3 b6 14.dxe4 c6 15.Bg5+ Black resigned, Wall, Bill - Guest5170841,, 2015) 11.Qxd4 Qe8 12.Nc3 c5 13.Qe3 Qe5 14.h3 Bh6 15.Qf3 Qf4 16.Qe2 d6 17.d4 Qh4 18.Bxh6 Qxh6 19.dxc5 dxc5 20.e5 Nh5 21.Qc4+ Be6 22.Qxc5 Black resigned, Wall,B - NN,, 2016.

10.Qe5+ Be7 

10...Ne6 11.Qxh8 Qg5 12.O-O Nf4 13.g3 d6 (13...Ne2+ 14.Kg2 Nf4+ 15.Kh1 Qg4 16.f3 Black resigned, Wall,B - Creel,A,, 201014.Nc3 Nh6 15.d3 Ne2+ 16.Nxe2 Black resigned, Wall,B - Amoex,, 2013

11.Qxh8 Black resigned

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Jerome Gambit Rematch

The following rematch (see "Jerome Gambit: More Pie, Please ") shows Black, once again, ready for his opponent's Jerome Gambit.

Alas, he does not appear to have been completely ready for his opponent.

Wall, Bill - PassCapture, 2016

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bb4+

We have seen this line before, most recently in Wall, Bill - NN, 2016 (1-0, 18). It is one of a number of ways that Black returns one of the two sacrificed pieces.

7.c3 Bxc3+ 8.bxc3 Ng6 

As I have previously written:
The Knight... could also go the other way, although Bill has some experience with that plan as well: 8...Nc6 9.d5 (9.O-O Qf6 10.e5 Qg6 11.Qf3+ Ke8 12.Nb5 Kd8 13.Qf8+ Qe8 14.Qxe8+ Kxe8 15.Nxc7+ Ke7 16.Nxa8 Nxd4 17.Bg5+ Ke6 18.Nc7+ Kxe5 19.Rae1+ Kd6 20.Bf4+ Kc6 21.Rc1+ Kb6 22.Nd5+ Kb5 23.Rxc8 Ne6 24.a4+ Kxa4 25.Ra1+ Kb3 26.Be5 Black resigned, Wall,B-Caynaboos, FICS. 20119...Ne5 10.f4 Ng6 11.h4 Nxh4 12.Qh5+ g6 13.Qxh4 Qxh4+ 14.Rxh4 Nf6 15.e5 Ne8 16.Be3 c6 17.O-O-O d6 18.e6+ Ke7 19.g4 Nf6 20.f5 gxf5 21.gxf5 cxd5 22.Bg5 a6 23.Nxd5+ Kf8 24.Bxf6 Rg8 25.Rxh7 b5 26.Be7+ Ke8 27.Nf6 checkmate, Wall,B - ChessFlower,, 2012.
9.e5 Qe7 10.O-O Nh6 11.Bxh6 gxh6 

This exchange is often a good idea, weakening Black's King's position and creating targets for White's Queen.

12.f4 d6 13.f5 Nh4 14.Qh5+ Kf8 15.f6 Qe6

The pesky "Jerome pawns" (backed by the Rook) work well with the White Queen.

16.Qxh6+ Ke8 17.f7+ Kd7 18.Qxh4 Rf8 19.Rf6 Qe7 

(It is useful, once again, to point out how Black's light-squared Bishop remains on its home square, and, in turn, Black's Queenside Rook. White's development rules the day.)

20.Na3 dxe5 21.dxe5 Qxa3 22.Rd1+ Black resigned

Checkmate comes quickly after 22...Qd6 23.Rfxd6+ cxd6 24.Qf6.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Jerome Gambit: A Reasonable Line

The Jerome Gambit is full of "reasonable" lines of play for Black, and the defender has to be aware - is it a playable reasonable line, or an unplayable reasonable line; and then, more importantly, what comes next?

Wall, Bill - TenAndOnly10, 2016

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bb6

This seems like a reasonable move, although not frequently played in comparison with other lines. It shows up in 111 games in The Database, where Black scores 50%. (Compare that to the 1,528 games with the same moves up until 6.d4, where Black scores 48%.)

Of course, any chance of catching Bill by suprise is likely to be small.

7.dxe5 d6


7...Qh4 8.Qf3+ Ke8 9.Nc3 Ne7 (9...Bxf2+ 10.Qxf2 Qxf2+ 11.Kxf2 Nh6 12.Nd5 Ng4+ 13.Kg3 Kd8 14.Bg5+ Nf6 15.exf6 h6 16.fxg7+ Ke8 17.gxh8=Q+ Kf7 18.Rhf1+ Kg6 19.Qxh6 checkmate, Wall,B - Shillam,, 2016) 10.g3 Qh3 11.Be3 d6 12.Bxb6 cxb6 13.exd6 Ng6 14.Nd5 Qd7 15.Nc7+ Kd8 16.Nxa8 Qxd6 17.Rd1 Ne5 18.Rxd6+ Ke7 19.Qc3 Kxd6 20.Qd4+ Ke6 21.Nc7+ Kf7 22.Qxe5 Rd8 23.Nb5 Bg4 24.Qf4+ Kg8 25.Qxg4 a6 26.Qe6+ Kh8 27.Nd6 Rb8 28.Nf7+ Kg8 29.Nh6+ Kh8 30.Qg8+ Rxg8 31.Nf7 checkmate, Wall,B - Itboss,, 2016

7...Qe7 8.Qf3+ Ke8 9.Nc3 Qxe5 10.O-O Nf6 11.Bf4 Qh5 12.Qg3 d6 13.Qxg7 Rf8 14.Nd5 Qf7 15.Bh6 Nxd5 16.Qxf8+ Qxf8 17.Bxf8 Kxf8 18.exd5 Bf5 19.c3 Re8 20.Rfe1 Be4 21.Rad1 Kf7 22.Kf1 Re5 23.f3 Bg6 24.Rxe5 dxe5 25.Ke2 e4 26.b4 exf3+ 27.Kxf3 Bh5+ 28.g4 Bg6 29.c4 a6 30.d6 cxd6 31.Rxd6 Bb1 32.Rxb6 Bxa2 33.Rxb7+ Ke6 34.Rb6+ Kd7 35.c5 Black resigned, Wall,B - NN,, 2016.

8.O-O Be6 9.Qf3+ Ke8 10.Nc3 a6 11.Be3 dxe5

For now White has only one pawn for his sacrificed piece, but Black's uneasy King comes close to making up the rest of the compensation.

12.Qh5+ Bf7 13.Qxe5+ Qe7 14.Qxg7 Qf6

15.Bh6 Bd4 16.e5 Qg6

This move allows White's pieces to become troublesome - enough so that Stockfish 8 suggests instead that Black give back the exchange with 16...Qxh6 17.Qxh8 Rd8 and then exchange some more pieces, e.g. 18.Ne4 Qg6 19.c3 Qxe4 20.cxd4 Bd5 21.Qg7 Ne7 22.Rfe1 Qg6 23.Qxg6+ hxg6 where White only has an edge.

17.Qf8+ Kd7 18. Qxa8 Qxh6

Black returns the exchange in his own way. The difference is that he is not now as equipped to protect his King.

19.Rfd1 c5 20.Qxb7+ Ke8 21.Qb8+ Ke7 22.Ne2 Bh5

23.Nxd4 Bxd1

A final slip.

24.Nf5+ Black resigned

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Quick Jerome Gambit Lesson

Bill Wall has encouraged others to play the Jerome Gambit. The following game is between a friend of his - a teacher - in St. Paul and a student. It is a good example of a stronger player giving "Jerome Gambit odds" and the game is good source material for understanding about attack and defense.

teacher - student
Minnesota, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

White will offer a couple of pieces. Can Black defend?

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ng6 

A common, reasonable defense - Black removes one piece from the line of fire, and returns the other, a time-honored recipe for dealing with a gambit. White has to be pleased, however, as Black has side-stepped some of the sharper, more challenging defenses.

7.Qd5+ Kf6

Stockfish 8 sees this move (at 30 ply) as about 1/4 pawn worse than the top alternatives, 7...Kf8 and 7...Ke8; but the text allows a certain amount of mischief to wander in - starting with White's next move.


A stranger to the Jerome has to wonder - why is White again refraining from capturing the Bishop?

The piece is doomed, whether it sits or moves. White is giving some misdirection: the open c1-g5 diagonal is the reason behind his play.

8...Bb4+ 9.c3 Ba5

The Bishop is safe - but the King is not. Necessary was for the monarch to retreat along the d8-h4 diagonal, when the worried-about piece will fall after all.

10.Bg5 checkmate

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Jerome Gambit: The Improved Fork Trick

Next to the "I have never seen this before!" reaction of some players defending against the Jerome Gambit, the "Oh, this looks familiar!" has to be an equally frequent response. There is always the risk, however, of moving too quickly and falling into an "improved" Fork Trick, as Bill Wall shows in the following game. 

Wall, Bill - Vicher, 2016

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bd6

This position has a resemblance to that of the "fork trick", and that may be the reason Black opted to move the Bishop where he did. However, the placement of his King makes for a significant difference in the play White can develop.

7.dxe5 Bxe5

As planned, but transforming a roughly equal position to one definitely better for White. (Omigosh! How did that happen?? Black had a won position after 5 moves!)

8.Qd5+ Kf6

Yes, Bill has been here before: 8...Kf8 9.Qxe5 d6 (9...Qe7 10.Qf4+ Nf6 11.Nc3 d6 12.O-O Qe5 13.Qxe5 dxe5 14.f4 exf4 15.Bxf4 Ne8 16.Bd6+ Kg8 17.Rf8 checkmate, Wall,B - Guest539122,, 2015) 10.Qd4 (10.Qb5 Nf6 11.Nc3 c6 12.Qd3 Be6 13.Bg5 h6 14.Bh4 g5 15.Bg3 Ke7 16.O-O-O Ne8 17.f4 g4 18.Bh4+ Nf6 19.e5 dxe5 20.Qg6 Qf8 21.fxe5 Black resigned, Wall,B - NN,, 2016) 10...Nf6 11.O-O c5 12.Qd3 Bd7 13.Bf4 a6 14.Bxd6+ Kf7 15.e5 Bb5 16.c4 Black resigned, Wall,B - Guest5856753,, 2016.

9.f4 Qe7

Or 9...c6 10.Qxe5+ Kf7 11.O-O Qe7 12.Nc3 d6 13.Qh5+ g6 14.Qe2 Nf6 15.e5 Nd5 16.Nxd5 cxd5 17.Qb5 dxe5 18.fxe5+ Kg7 19.Qxd5 Re8 20.c3 Qxe5 21.Qf7+ Kh8 22.Bg5 Qxg5 23.Qxe8+
Kg7 24.Qf8 checkmate, Wall,B - Neilson,C, Melbourne, FL, 2016.

Or 9...Bd6 10.Qg5+ Kf7 11.Qxd8 Black resigned, Wall,B - NN,, 2016.

10.fxe5+ Qxe5

11.Rf1+ Kg6 12.Qf7 checkmate

Friday, January 13, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Cliff Hardy Revealed!

I recently received an email from "Cliff Hardy" that contained a significant "reveal" as well as an entertaining Jerome Gambit game. The following notes are his, except for some minor ones by me, in blue. Enjoy!

An epiphany on Epiphany OR Batman* vs the "Visual Bat"

Hi Rick,

I had an epiphany on Epiphany!

The epiphany was to play the Jerome Gambit on the 6th of January, the date of Epiphany - the day of the year dedicated to the Christian feast celebrating the manifestation of the divine nature of Jesus to the Gentiles, as represented by the Wise Men.

I don't really mind whether I am referred to as my Bruce Wayne-like name of Kevin Sheldrick or my Batman-like alter ego "Cliff Hardy", since I now have played a Jerome Gambit in a tournament game and have been told by the arbiters that all games from this tournament will be published on the internetski at some point - in other words, my secret identity is out!

All analysis below is with Stockfish.

Sheldrick, Kevin - Bhat, Vishal
Australian Open, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5

I now spent about a minute on my fourth move and found it extraordinarily difficult to play my planned 4.Bxf7+. This hesitation largely being due to a battle raging inside of me of conflicting thoughts of doubt and fear of playing the Jerome, giving rise to a soliloquy, going something like this:

Me (to my brain): "This is one of the most prestigious chess tournaments in Australia - don't take on f7!"


My brain (to me): "DON'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!"

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+

Surprisingly, this move was, by now, very easy for me to physically play. I guess it's kind of like trying to go into a cold swimming pool. At first you may be terrified to even dip your toe into it, but if you can put aside the fear and just jump in, you can then adjust to it rather easily.

5...Nxe5 6.Qh5+

Fellow participant, Tony Fereday, in the post-mortem exclaimed, around this point in the game, "I wonder what he was thinking!", in reference to my opponent.


Better 6...Ke6

7.Qd5+ Ke8 8.Qxc5 d6 9.Qe3 Nf6

This position is as old - fittingly - as Charlick - Mann, correspondence, Australia, 1881 (1-0, 72). The Database has 163 games with the position, with White scoring 70%. Mind you, beside this one, only one other game (by Guido de Bouver of Flanders, Belgium) is an over-the-board encounter. - Rick 

10.O-O Ng4 

Better 10...Kf7

11.Qg3 h5?! 

Better 11...Nf6 


12.d4 is best, which would allow the bishop on c1 to cover f4 and prevent the knight on g6 from going there, where it may assist black to launch a kingside attack.

12...h4 13.Qb3

Having made queen moves for almost half of the total moves played (6 out of 13 moves), it was apparent that I had been violating a few established chess opening principles so far in the game.


A brilliant sacrifice!

An improvement over the play of the only other game in The Database to reach this position: 13...N4e5 14.f4 Nc6 15.Nc3 Qf6 16.d3 Qd4+ 17.Kh1 Nf8 18.Nd5 Kd8 Black resigned, perrypawnpusher - Riversider, FICS, 2010 - Rick 


Oops! The cautious 14.Kh1! may help white to hope to defend against the vicious black assault on the white king.


A miscalculation in a bafflingly complex position - 14...Qg5! actually leads to a thumping black kingside attack e.g. 15.f3 h3 16.g3 h2+ 17.Kh1 Ne2

15.g3 h2+ 16.Kh1 Bxg4 17.gxf4

White has defended well, and is a pawn and a piece ahead. Things are still scary for him, but Black has only one move to keep the advantage. - Rick


An inaccuracy - 17...Qh4! 18.f3 Bh3 

18.Re1 Qh4 19.Qg3 Qh5 20.d4 Black resigned

Eerily, as I went strolling in the moonlight one night (I think it
was the night immediately after I had just played this game), a large visual bat (or flying fox, as they are referred to in Brisbane) emerged from a nearby tree above my head and flew away, silhouetted magestically against the night sky but, oddly, I didn't fully comprehend the ominousness of that until days

The final position is still quite complicated, but White should be okay. If need be, he can return some material to settle things down further (i.e. Re3 with the idea of sacrificing the exchange on h3 while exchanging Queens) - and he always has his "Jerome pawns"! Black may have realized at this point that he could save his energy for the next round. 

However dubious the honor, Kevin seems to have grasped the title of "strongest player to use the Jerome Gambit in serious over-the-board play". Well done! - Rick

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Jerome Gambit: That's Not All

Chessfriend Yury Bukayev was disappointed that Grandmaster Jon Speelman, in his ChessBaseNews "Agony" column coverage of two of my Jerome Gambit games (e.g. the Jerome Gambit is "balderdash in the highest sense") failed to mention other opening lines covered in this blog.

Indeed, the GM probably did not discover the post "Opening Innovation Resource", for example, or read and check out the links in "An Email Discussion", or do a site search here for "Bukayev gambit".

With Yury's encouragement I have added the subtitle "(risky/nonrisky lines, tactics & psychology for fast, exciting play)" to this blog's heading.

I would like to share a poem he sent, as well.

Study WEAK Jerome gambits
For a magic playing blitz! 
Study STRONG Jerome gambits -
You'll beat Carlsen, Hou, "Fritz"!