Friday, October 24, 2014

Faster-er and Furiouser-er


My opponent and I were playing a "normal" blitz Jerome Gambit game until we each started to make our moves too quickly. Things degenerated quickly into a state where "the winner is the one who makes the next-to-last blunder". In this case, it was me

perrypawnpusher - Gryllsy
blitz, FICS, 2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 




4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+

According to The Database, Gryllsy - zagothal, blitz, FICS, 2013 continued 5.d4 Bxd4 6.Ng5+ Ke8 7.Qf3 Nf6 8.c3 Bb6 9.Be3 d6 10.Nd2 Bg4 11.Qg3 Bxe3 12.fxe3 h5 13.h3 Bd7 14.0-0 Ke7 15.Ndf3 Rf8 16.Nh4 Be6 17.Ng6+ Kd7 18.Nxf8+ Qxf8 19.Nxe6 Kxe6 20.Rf5 Qf7 21.Raf1 Rf8 22.Qf2 Ne7 23.g4 Neg8 24.g5 Nxe4 25.Rxf7 Nxf2 26.Rxf8 Ne7 27.R1xf2 Black resigned

5...Nxe5 6.Qh5+ g6 

I have a theory about this move. Some defenders push the g-pawn because is part of a defense - Blackburne's, Whistler's - that they are familiar with and are ready to play. Others do so, though, almost as a reflex, to punish White for his early Queen attack - and they figure that they will work out the rest of the defense later.

I checked The Database and found 411 games with the position after 6...g6. Of those games, 139 continued, after 7.Qxe5, with the Blackburne Defense, 7...d6. Another 52 games saw Whistler's Defense, 7...Qe7. That means that in over half of the games where 6...g6 was played, Black was either committed to an inferior defense, or to "figuring something out" - which amounted to the same thing. 

7.Qxe5 Nf6

"I'll take Door Number Three, Monty."

8.Qxc5 Re8 

Instead, Black played 8...Nxe4 in perrypawnpusher - LibertasProVita, blitz, FICS, 2009 (1-0, 45) and perrypawnpusher - ibnoe, blitz, FICS, 2012 (1-0, 16).

Also seen was 8...Qe7 in perrypawnpusher - marbleschess, blitz, FICS, 2009 (1-0, 48); and 8...d6 in perrypawnpusher - MsD, blitz, FICS, 2007 (0-1, 27), perrypawnpusher - brain50, JG3 thematic, ChessWorld.net, 2008 (1-0, 24), and perrypawnpusher - tiagorom, blitz, FICS, 2009 (1-0, 41). 

9.d3 d6 10.Qe3 Ng4 

Also played: 10...d5 in perrypawnpusher - andrecoenen, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 15) and 10...Kg7 in perrypawnpusher - Alternative, blitz, FICS, 2005 (1-0, 63).

11.Qf3+ Qf6

For historical purposes, let me point out that 11...Kg7 was Black's response in Vazquez,A - Carrington,W, Mexico, 2nd match, 1876 (1-0, 39). 

12.Qxf6+ Nxf6 

The game has lost its attack and counterattack, but White is ahead two pawns.

13.0-0 Kg7 14.Nc3 a6 15.Bg5 Ng4 16.h3



The mistakes start to creep in, small ones at first. A bit better was 16.Nd5 c6 17.Nc7 Be6 18.Nxa8 Rxa8.

16...Ne5 17.f4 Nf7 18.Bh4

Better still was 18.Nd5 Nxg5 19.Nxc7 Nxh3+ 20.Kh2 Rf8 21.Nxa8 Nxf4 but at this point I wasn't looking that deeply into the position. 

18...b5 19.Nd5 Ra7 20.Bf6+ Kg8 21.Ne7+



Missing 21.Bd4 c5 22.Nf6+ Kf8 23.Nxe8 cxd4 24.Nf6 Kg7

21...Rxe7

A gift. I had expected simply 21...Kf8 22.Nxc8 Rxc8

22.Bxe7 c5 23.Rae1?

Returning the favor. I learned to drive in New Jersey, where the two controls on the car are the gas pedal and the horn...

23...Rxe7 

The game is now roughly even, with White having an Rook and two pawns vs two pieces.

24.e5 dxe5 25.fxe5 Rxe5?

25...Nxe5 was the proper recapture, even with the risk of leaving the Knight pinned to an undefended Rook, because of a tactical shot that my opponent and I both missed. 

26.Rxe5 Nxe5 27.Re1 Nc6



Black's best here was 27...Nxd3, although he is worse after 28.Re8+ Kg7 29.Rxc8 Nxb2 30.Rxc5 Kf6.

28.c3?

My opponent and I both missed that 28.Re8+ would fork King and Bishop. 

28...Bf5 29.Re3 Kf7 30.g4 Be6 31.a3 Kf6 32.Kf2 Kg5? 

One last slip, to seal the game.

33.Rxe6 Black resigned

This game is somewhat reminiscent of the old saying "The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get."



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

WWAWJD?


Further questions continue to arise regarding the announcement (see "Jerome Gambit Book") of my plan to write a book on the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+), tentatively titled All Or Nothing! The Jerome Gambit, and sub-titled Losing, Drawing, and Even Winning with the World's Most Notorious Chess Opening.

Primary among them is


Q. Will All Or Nothing! focus only on the Jerome Gambit, or will it be a repertoire book, guiding readers on how to meet defenses other than 1...e5, like, say, 1...c5 or 1...e6 or 1...c6?


At this point I suspect that someone is trying to pull the Readers' legs, but it is probably germane to point out that years ago Jyrki Heikkinen, the creative gambiteer host of the blog "Gambits and Pieces" mentioned that he had played a Sicilian Jerome Gambit (see "Sicilian Jerome").


Certainly a "Jerome Repertoire" would feature Bc4 and Bxf7+, as well as Qh5 for White, but that is well beyond the scope of All Or Nothing!  I have no Alonzo Wheeler Jerome games or analysis to support such speculation, by the way.


In any event, it would be unwise for me to commit to a second book while the first one is in its planning stages, but I welcome thoughts from readers on such a "Jerome Repertoire".


Monday, October 20, 2014

All or Nothing! The Jerome Gambit


Questions have already come up regarding the announcement (see "Jerome Gambit Book") of my plan to write a book on the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+), tentatively titled All Or Nothing! The Jerome Gambit, and sub-titled Losing, Drawing, and Even Winning with the World's Most Notorious Chess Opening.

Q. What lines of play will be covered?


A. Starting with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+, both the Declined (4...Kf8, 4...Ke7) and Accepted (4...Kxf7) Jerome Gambit will be considered. Further, in the Accepted lines both Classical (5.Nxe5+) and Modern (5th moves other than 5.Nxe5+) will be explored.


The Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Bc5 5.Bxf7+ will be examined, both for it's "Jerome-ish" nature and the fact that it can arise from the Jerome Gambit proper (i.e. after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nc3 Nf6).


This holds true for the Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 h6 4.0-0/various Bc5 5.Bxf7+) and the Semi-Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 h6 4.0-0 Nf6 5.Nc3 Bc5 5.Bxf7+) as well.


There will be coverage of the Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nd4 4.Bxf7+, because of its relatedness, despite the fact that there is no proof that Alonzo Wheeler Jerome played the BSJG, or that Joseph Henry Blackburne played the Blackburne Shilling Gambit.


There will be at least a little coverage, for historical reasons, of the Evans Jerome Gambit 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 Bxb4 5.c3 Bc5/Ba5 6.Bxf7+, and some coverage of the unnamed 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Na5 4.Bxf7+ for completeness sake.


At this point, the many games featuring an early Bxf7+ for White, outside of the Jerome Gambit lines, will not be covered.


Q. How much History will there be?


A. The life of Alonzo Wheeler Jerome, the gambit's creator, will be presented, including his career as a soldier in the United States Colored Troops during the American Civil War, and not neglecting his civilian life as inventor and hemp farmer.


The History will not be so in depth, however, as to include minutia, such as the fact that Jennie Jerome, Wheeler's widow, remarried again shortly after his death, only to have her second husband die, as well; whereupon she married a third time, only to have this husband throw himself down a cistern; the accompanying suicide note was recovered and is available.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Jerome Gambit Book


After regular encouragement by Readers, and with the awareness that I will reach 1,950 blog posts before the end of this year, I have finally decided that it is time to commit myself to writing a book on the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+).

With a head nod to the legendary Chiam Schmendrick, the book will be titled All Or Nothing! The Jerome Gambit, and sub-titled Losing, Drawing, and Even Winning with the World's Most Notorious Chess Opening.

Aimed at the amateur and club player, the book will include history of the opening, starting with the life and games of Alonzo Wheeler Jerome. It will have plenty of analysis, both ancient and modern. Of course, none of the many refutations will be neglected - although I will include suggestions on how to address them.

There will also be hundreds of games included, to illustrate the wild and wacky play that can develop from the opening, and to give insight into why Jerome invented his gambit, and why the line continues to be re-invented by other chess-loving souls.

Readers who have their own favorite Jerome Gambit games are encouraged to send them via email for inclusion, to richardfkennedy@hotmail.com.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Natural Moves

The latest game from Bill Wall came with the following description: Here is a Jerome where my opponent tried to attack, but made errors, grabbed a pawn too greedily and lost a piece and the game.  I just played natural moves and waited for his mistakes.

Bill makes it all look simple.


Wall,B - Guest428245

PlayChess.com, 2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 




4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ng6 7.Qd5+ Kf8 8.Qxc5+ d6 9.Qc3 


Sometimes - but not always, especially in Bill's games - the Queen goes to e3.


9...Nf6


Bill points out the alternatives 9...Qg5 and 9...Qh4, looking for counter attack. Black probably didn't want to repeat White's errors of moving his Queen too often.


10.d3 Kf7


10...Qe7 was seen in Wall,B - Guest4149739, PlayChess.com, 2013 (1-0, 30); while 10...c6 was seen in Wall,B - Boris, SparkChess.com, 2012 (1-0, 32). 


11.0-0


White decides not to go pawn hunting with 11.Qb3+ Be6 12.Qxb7 Qd7. "Natural moves" and all that.


11...Re8


Black continues to castle-by-hand, although Bill points out the alternative 11...b6. 


12.f4


Houdini slightly prefers 12.Qb3+ Kf8 and then 13.f4 but I am not sure why. It suggests that Black should answer 12.f4 with 12...Kg8, and after a few more moves play ...Kh8; so perhaps the suggestion of the White Queen check is designed to keep Black's King closer to the center, at f8.


12...c6


Bill recommends that Black finish "castling" with 12...Kg8.


13.Nd2 Ng4 


Black is thinking of counter attack, but, again, should have turned his thoughts toward 13...Kg8.


14.f5 Qb6+?!

Bill offers alternatives: 14...Ne714...Nh814...Nf8;14...Nh4 15.Nc4.

15.d4

I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Black simply overlooked this reply, expecting, instead, 15.Kh1? Nf2+ 16.Rxf2 Qxf2 17.fxg6+ Kxg6.

15...N6e5

Alternatives were 15...Ne7 16.Nc4 Qd8 17.Qg3; and 15...Nf8 16.Nc4 Qd8 17.Qg3. 

16.Kh1 Nf6?


17.dxe5 dxe5

As Bill points out, not 17...Rxe5? 18.Nc4


18.Nf3 Nxe4?


Black is a pawn down, but could continue to play with either 18...Qb5 19.Re1 a5 or 18...Qc7 19.Rd1. The text is a psychological slip along the lines of thinking White can't be better, now, can he, it's got to be an even game, and capturing the pawn will make it so...


I am reminded of the old Jerome Gambit saw: once White has equalized, he has the advantage.


19.Qc4+ Kf8 20.Qxe4 Black resigned




Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Proper Way To Blunder A Piece


I was looking for a short Jerome Gambit game to share with Readers, and stumbled upon an "old colleague" - a line of play that keeps showing up, regardless of expectations.

KAVUA - wojowhiskey
standard, FICS, 2013

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


4...Kxf7 5.Ng5+ 

I was surprised to note that this line has been seen in 445 games in The Database. Amazingly, the natural response, 5...Qxg5, was seen in only 318 of those games. 

The first mention of the line on this blog was in "A Closer Look (Part I)" 2008 when I noted that
"The in-your-face 5.Ng5+ was championed by tournament winner Carlos Azcarate (see "Carlos Azcarate Topping Ninja Knights T3") to the tune of one win and four losses."

A year later, when talking about 4 more examples in "Eyeblink Chess: Crash", I wrote
"Relax, readers. This blog, and the support of the Jerome Gambit Gemeinde will help you avoid such crashes."

Alas, it was not to be. The following year "Opening Tale" featured bit of a mystery involving a player who wanted to know what to do, after losing to 5.Ng5+ (put forward by one of the Jerome Gambit Gemeinde).
"..I'm pretty bad at openings I don't know, and lower rated opponents beat me at these, here's a worst case example:"

Later on in 2010, "Death of A Variation" pointed out that
"DREWBEAR 63's only loss to date in the ongoing Jerome Gambit Thematic Tournament at ChessWorld came with the White pieces against his primary rival, Daves111, under unclear circumstances." 
[Daves111 finished first in the tournament with 21 points; DREWBEAR 63 tied for second with 17 1/2 points.]

"Theory From the Thematic Tourney (2)" in the same year presented 5 more games with the line, including 2 wins by White

To reinforce my message, I posted "Reinventing the Flat Tire" making it clear that the line was
"Outrageous, even by Jerome Gambit standards. On the surface, White hopes to exchange his Knight for Black's Bishop at c5 – but the game quickly becomes too chaotic for that."

All the games mentioned to date were played online at FICS, but during 2011, in "Relayed Deaction" I was able to post an over-the-board example of the line from the Nana Alexandria Cup, Poti, Georgia, 2009.

I posted my first PSA later, "Public Service Announcement" with 5 games.

In 2012, I pointed out that "A Mention Is Not An Endorsement".

Even as recently as this year, in "Truth Is Stranger Than - Whatever" I opined
"This move seems to throw away a piece. I much prefer that White throw away a piece, instead, with 5.Nxe5. Even the Jerome Gambit has its limits."
6.d4

This is White's "plan"...

6...Bxd4 7.Bxg5 Black resigned.

...And it worked to perfection.



Of course, it would only be fair to point out that Black's alternative, 6...Qxg2, wins crushingly.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Further Updating the Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit


Today we return to a rare line in the Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit, on behalf of HauntedKnight of FICS, who has over 230 Jerome Gambit and Jerome-related games in The Database.

HauntedKnight - keeper
blitz, FICS, 2012

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 h6


The Semi-Italian Opening.

4. O-O Bc5 5.Bxf7+ 

The Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit.

5...Kxf7 6. Nxe5+ Nxe5 7. d4 Qh4


Mentioned previously in "Updating the Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit". The move is reminiscent of what I have called a "Pie-in-the-Face Variation" in the regular Jerome Gambit: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5+ 6.d4 Qh4!?

The question here, in the Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit, is, how much does giving White a useful move (0-0) and having Black waste a move (...h6), change what is a clear plan of refutation in the Jerome Gambit proper.

8.dxe5

For starters, White gets to capture one of Black's pieces in this variation. In the regular Jerome Gambit line, of course, capturing the Knight with 7.dxe5 would lead to 7...Qxf2#. (There is actually one such game in The Database.) Capturing the Bishop with 7.dxc5 in the regular line would lead to 7...Qxe4+ (best) and White was lucky to score 28% out of 52 games in the Database.

In the current game, White's King is castled, and thus safer. Still, he should have captured the other Black piece with 8.dxc5, leading to an almost-balanced game.

Instead, this move and his following move turn Black's Bishop into a monster. In unexplored territories - remember, this is the only 7.d4 Qh4 Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit game in The Database - there are often monsters.

8...d6 9.exd6

White had to try to hang on with 9.Nc3. 

9...Bxd6 

White now fights valiantly, but to no avail.

10.f4 Nf6 11.e5 Ng4 12.h3 Bc5+ 13.Kh1 Nf2+ 14.Rxf2 Qxf2 15.Qh5+ g6 16.Qd1 

White can only annoy the Black King, and then fall back on defense.

16...Bf5 17.Qd5+ Be6 18.Qd1 Rad8 19.Nd2 Bd5 20.Qf1 Qxf1+

Black is content to simplify; perhaps it was a question of time on the clock. With 20...Qg3 he would have a checkmate in 7 moves. 

21.Nxf1 Kg7 22.Be3 Bxe3 23.Nxe3 Bc6 24.Kh2 Rhf8 25.g3 g5 26.Nf5+ Rxf5 White resigned


Despite the outcome of this game, White should not fear 7...Qh4, but go ahead and capture the Bishop with 8.dxc5, followed by development of his pieces and then the advance of his "Jerome pawns".