Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Difference Between "OK" and "KO"

The title of this blog post says it all.

Wall, Bill - Guest2474397
PlayChess.com, 2014

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

4.O-O Bc5 5.Bxf7+ Kxf7 6.Nxe5+ Nxe5 7.d4

Probably a bit stronger than 7.Qh5+, but Bill has played that, too: Wall,B  -  Guest473534, PlayChess.com, 2001, (1-0, 21); Wall,B - Castro,S, Chess.com, 2010 (1-0, 23); Wall,B - Foman, Chess.com 2010 (1-0, 16); Wall,B - Merdiyev,F, Chess.com, 2010 (1-0, 17); Wall,B - Ratebabb, Chess.com, 2010 (1-0, 28); and Wall,B - Dad88, PlayChess.com, 2014, (1-0, 34).

7...Bxd4 8.Qxd4 d6 9.f4 Nc6 10.Qd5+ Be6 11.Qd3 Ke7 12.Bd2 Nf6 13.Nc3

Except for his centralized King, Black is doing OK. Now, however, he is tempted to waste time to harass the White Queen. If he lets White open the position, he risks a KO [knock out]. 

13...Nb4 14.Qg3 Rg8 15.e5 dxe5 16.Rad1 exf4


White's attack is well worth the sacrificed piece.


Houdini suggests returning material while bringing Black's King to safety with 17...Qe8 18.Bxc7 Kf7 19.Qh4 Qc6 20.Bd6 Kg6 21.Qxb4 Rgd8 22.Qf4 Kh7, but I don't think Bill's opponent thought he was in that much trouble.

18.Bxc7 Nfd5

This leads to a bad end. Bill suggests 18...a5, which he would have answered with 19.Nb5.


The text is winning, although Bill points out that both 19.Rxd5!? and 19.Nxd5+!? would lead to checkmate.

19...Kd7 20.Bxb4 Qc6

Of course, if 20...Kc6 21.Qd6#

21.Nxd5 Bxd5 22.Rf7+ 

Punches are raining down on the Black King, and the end is near.

22...Kc8 23.Rxd5 Qxd5 24.Qc7 checkmate

This is the kind of game that Alonzo Wheeler Jerome was thinking of when he invented his gambit!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Echoes of the Jerome Gambit

Even when I can not play the Jerome Gambit, I can sometimes find echoes of it in the play of the game.

perrypawnpusher - TheAlbatros 

5 12 blitz FICS, 2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nh6 

Wow. That certainly is one way of saying "No. Jerome. Gambit." I mentioned the move on this blog about 5 years ago. Recently, I was astonished to find that the online ChessBase database has 330 games with this position.

The oldest example of the line that I could find, at the online ChessCube site, is Frazer - Taubenhaus, Paris, 1888: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nh6 4.d4 Bd6 5.Bg5 f6 6.Bxh6 gxh6 7.Nxe5 fxe5 8.Qh5+ Kf8 9.Qf7 checkmate. Echoes, here, of Damiano's Defense.

The most recent example I turned up is Heverson Silva Pereira - Erika Figuei Toledo Martins, Juiz de Fora op Juiz de Fora (3), 27.09.20141.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nh6 4.d3 g5 5.Bxg5 f6 6.Be3 b6 7.Qd2 Rg8 8.Bxh6 Bxh6 9.Qxh6 d6 10.Bxg8 Ne7 11.Qxh7 Nxg8 12.Qxg8+ Ke7 13.Qg7+ Ke8 14.Nc3 Bd7 15.Nd5 Rc8 16.Nxf6+ Qxf6 17.Qxf6 Rd8 18.Ng5 b5 19.Qf7 checkmate. Odd.


I was not surprised to see that Bill Wall had faced the line before:

4.0-0 Bc5 5.Bxf7+ Nxf7 6.d3 0-0 7.Nc3 Nd4 (7...d6 8.Nd2 Nh6 9.Nb3 Bg4 10.Qd2 Qh4 11.Nxc5 dxc5 12.f3 Be6 13.b3 Qf6 14.Rb1 a5 15.a3 Qg6 16.Rb2 Ra6 17.Qe3 Bh3 18.Rf2 Ne7 19.Kh1 Raf6 20.gxh3 Qh5 21.Qg5 g6 22.Qxh6 Black resigned, Wall,B - Chair, Chess.com 2010) 8.Na4 Nxf3+ 9.Qxf3 Bd4 10.c3 Bb6 11.Qg3 d5 12.b3 dxe4 13.dxe4 Ba5 14.Ba3 Re8 15.Rad1 Qe7 16.Bxe7 Black resigned, Wall,B - Jag, Chess.com 2010

4.d3 Bc5 5.Bxh6 gxh6 6.Bxf7+ Kxf7 7.Nc3 Qf6 8.Nd5 Qd6 9.Nh4 b6 10.Qf3+ Ke8 11.Nf5 Qg6 12.Nxc7+ Kd8 13.Nxa8 Bb7 14.Nxb6 Bxb6 15.0-0-0 d5 16.d4 Bxd4 17.exd5 Bxb2+ 18.Kxb2 Nd4 19.Nxd4 exd4 20.Qf4 Qb6+ 21.Ka1 Kd7 22.Rb1 Qa6 23.Qg4+ Kd6 24.Qe6+ Kc5 25.Qe7+ Black resigned, Wall,B - Alexaantic, Chess.com, 2010.


My one game with the line continued 4...Nxd4 5.Nxe5 Qf6 6.Qxd4 d6 7.Nf3 Qxd4 8.Nxd4 Be6 9.Bxe6 fxe6 10.Nxe6 Kd7 11.Nxf8+ Rhxf8 12.Nc3 c6 13.Be3 Ng4 14.0-0 h5 15.Bg5 b5 16.Rad1 a5 17.f3 Ne5 18.f4 Nc4 19.f5 Nxb2 20.Rd4 b4 21.Nd1 c5 22.Rd5 Nc4 23.Ne3 Nxe3 24.Bxe3 a4 25.Bxc5 Ra6 26.Rfd1 Kc8 27.Rxd6 Rxd6 28.Rxd6 Re8 29.Rd4 h4 30.Bxb4 Rg8 31.Ba3 g6 32.fxg6 Rxg6 33.Rxa4 h3 34.g3 Rc6 35.Ra8+ Kb7 36.Rh8 Ra6 37.Bb4 Rxa2 38.Rxh3 Rxc2 39.e5 Rb2 40.Bd6 Kc6 41.g4 Rb1+ 42.Kg2 Rb2+ 43.Kg3 Rb3+ 44.Kh4 Rb7 45.g5 Rh7+ 46.Kg4 Kd5 47.Rxh7 Black resigned, perrypawnpusher - Xasquete, blitz, FICS, 2009.

Black does not have to take White's d-pawn. For example, 4...Bd6 5.Bg5 f6 6.Bxh6 gxh6 7.Nxe5 fxe5. 8.Qh5+ Kf8 9.Qf7 checkmate, from Wall,B - Kerazag, Internet 1996 (and Frazer - Taubenhaus, Paris, 1888)

5.Nxd4 Bc5 6.Nxc6 bxc6

The two "Italian Bishops" give an echo of the Jerome Gambit - if only that Knight were not on h6...

7.Bxh6 gxh6

Interestingly enough, Black has a better defense in 7...Qh4!? with his own threat of checkmate. White can keep an edge with 8.Bxf7+ Kxf7 9.Qf3+ Kg6 10.Bf4.


This is an improvement over 8.Qh5 of  Patrick Gregoire - Gauthier Lille, Loire-ch op 2005, which continued  Qf6 9.0-0 Bb7 10.Qxc5 Qxb2 11.Nc3 d6 12.Qd4 d5 13.Qxh8+ Ke7 14.Nxd5+ cxd5 15.Qxb2 Bc8 16.Bxd5 Bb7 17.Qxb7 Rd8 18.Qxc7+ Rd7 19.Qe5+ Kd8 20.Rab1 Kc8 21.Rb8 checkmate

8...Kxf7 9.Qh5+ Kg7 10.Qxc5 

Down a pawn, with an exposed King, my opponent resigned a few moves later.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Deja Vu

If more people read this blog, I would lose more games. As it is, my opponent in the following game missed out on a chance to spring an interesting trap on me. (No, I'm not going to call it the "Kennedy Defense in the Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit".)

perrypawnpusher - Entangle
blitz, FICS, 2014

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

The Semi-Italian Opening.

4.0-0 Bc5 5.Bxf7+ 

The Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit.

5...Kxf7 6.Nxe5+ Nxe5 7.Qh5+ g6 8.Qxe5 

The addition of ...h7-h6 and 0-0 to the regular Jerome Gambit position renders 8...d6, as in the Blackburne Defense, and 8...Qe7, as in Whistler's Defense, ineffective.

As discussed in "I have a win, but it will take time..." and "By the Numbers", Black's best move now is 8...Bf8!? (introduced in these blog pages 4 1/2 years ago), as 9.Qxh8 would then be an error because the Queen would be trapped, and ultimately won, with 9...Bg7.

The Database has yet to see one example of this defense.


Black rightfully does not want to lose the Rook, but this move returns the second sacrificed piece.

9.Qxc5 d6 10.Qe3 Re8 

Or 10...Ng4 as in perrypawnpusher - islanderchess, blitz, FICS, 2008 (1-0, 46); or 10...Qe8 as in perrypawnpusher - wadada, blitz, FICS, 2009 (1-0, 19).

11.d3 b6 12.Nc3

White could have played 12.Qxh6, but the h-file is not the one that I want opened.

12...g5 13.f4


13...Kg8 14.fxg5 Ng4 15.Qf4 Rf8 16.Qxf8+ Qxf8 17.Rxf8+ Kxf8 18.gxh6

Not only is Black down a handful of pawns, he is running short on time on the clock.

18...c6 19.h3 Nf6 20.Bg5 Nd7 21.Rf1+ Kg8 22.Be7 d5 23.exd5 cxd5 24.Nxd5 Ne5 Black resigned

I had plenty of time left on my clock, and when I sunk into a think to work out my next few moves, my opponent gave up the ghost.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Black is Better - Until He is Worse

Behind the following game is a lot of experience that each player has had in the Jerome Gambit and similar lines. My opponent shows that he has learned his lessons well. Only a couple of late slips deprive him of the benefits of this knowledge.

perrypawnpusher - JohnGHughes

blitz, FICS, 2014

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

The Semi-Italian Opening.

Twice last year my opponent played 3...Na5 and was stung hard by 4.Bxf7+ - in Bholashankar - JohnGHughes, FICS, 2013 (1-0, 9) and dentistkbz - JohnGHughes, FICS, 2013 (1-0, 10).

On the other hand, two years ago he won a regular Jerome Gambit -  JohnGHughes - CAPNATDO, FICS, 2012 (1-0, 10) - and split a couple of Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambits - JohnGHughes - ShinyLeprechaun, FICS, 2012 (0-1, 28) and JohnGHughes - grewal, FICS, 2012 (1-0, 19); so perhaps this is why he tacks to the Semi-Italian.


I discovered after our game that my opponent had stumbled twice in the past against 4.Bxf7+ - codh - JohnGHughes, FICS, 2012 (1-0, 19) and PapaDessalines - JohnGHughes, FICS, 2013 (1-0, 35) - but that line is too wild for me (says the Jerome Gambit player...).


Again, Black sidesteps 4...Na5 5.Bxf7+, having learned his lesson in ipadnov - JohnGHughes, FICS, 2013 (1-0, 16). 


The Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit.

5...Kxf7 6.Nxe5+ Nxe5 7.Qh5+ Kf8 

I have had more experience with 7...Ke6.

8.Qxe5 d6

Again, my experience is greater with 8...Bd6. I am being led away from my preparation.

9.Qg3 Nf6 10.d3 Be6 11.Be3 Kf7 12.f4

This is not the only pawn move available, as I could have tried 12.d4!? Bb6 13.Nc3 Kg8. I have a habit of choosing the f-pawn over the d-pawn.

12...Bxe3+ 13.Qxe3 Re8 

A move away from completing castling-by-hand, with better development, Black maintains his advantage.

White has to mobilize his "Jerome pawns" and press his attack against the King.

14.f5 Bd7 15.Nc3

An alternative plan was 15.Nd2 Kg8 16.Rae1. 

15...Kg8 16.h3

At this point Black focuses on White's pinned e-pawn. He sees that 16...Bxf5 would be answered by 16...Rxf5, but why not attack the e-pawn again, as it will be unable to capture anything itself?

16...d5 17.e5

Because of the pin on the e-pawn, Black can answer this advance with 17...c6, protecting his d-pawn, before repositioning his Knight. Instead, he forgets that advancing the pawn will leave it without protection.

17...d4 18.Qxd4

Now, after 18...Nh7, White has probably equalized, with three healthy pawns for the sacrificed piece. Instead, Black moves his Knight to h5, where, in some lines, it will be vulnerable.

18...Nh5 19.f6 gxf6 

A tougher defense follows 19...Be6, since the Bishop can go to f7 in some lines to protect the Knight, for example 20.Qf2 Rf8 21.Qh4 Bf7, when 22.g4 will be answered by 22...g5!? Instead, White would regain the piece and maintain an edge with 22.e6.

If White takes his Queen to h4 directly after 19...Be6, then Black answers 20.Qh4 with 20...Bf7, when 21.Rae1 is answered by 21...g5!?

Of course, all of this is easier to figure out when the clock is not ticking in a blitz game!

20.exf6 Rf8 21.Qd5+ Black resigned

After capturing the Knight and surrendering the f-pawn, White will be two pawns up, with continued pressure on the enemy King.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Wow! That Was Fast!

Oh my! The way my opponent treated my recent Jerome Gambit (see"A Challenge!") you would have thought that it was a refuted opening. Oh, wait a minute - it is!

Black disposed of me in short order. Well done!

perrypawnpusher - 1zscha2014
GameKnot.com, 2014

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 7.Qf5+ Kd6 8.f4 Qh4+ 9.g3 Qf6

We reached this position quickly, through a series of conditional moves that my opponent set up. Humorously, it is from perrypawnpusher - Buddy_Thompson, Italian Game Thematic Tournament, Chess.com, 2014 (0-1, 27). In that game my opponent was 300 rating points higher than me, not 1zscha2014's "mere" +200 points.


An idea of Bill Wall's, from Wall,B - Marani,G, Chess.com, 2011, (1-0, 28).


Bill's opponent tried 10...g6. The text is an improvement.

11.fxe5+ Qxe5 12.Qe2 Nf6 13.d3 Ke7 14.c3 Qh5 15.e5

It might have been better to have played 15.Qxh5 followed by 16.d4, but, of course, Black would still have the advantage. 

15...Qxe2+ 16.Kxe2 Nd5 17.Bg5+ Ke8 18.Nd2

At this point I was pleased to see my pieces developing quickly, and I even anticipated the upcoming piece exchange. My evaluation of the position that occurred was faulty, however.

18...h6 19.Ne4 hxg5 20.Nxc5 d6! 

Wisely offering a pawn (which can easily be recovered) to also improve his development. As long as Black's Queenside remains undeveloped, White will have time to protect his exposed h-pawn and possibly double Rooks on the f-file.

21.exd6 b6 22.Ne4 

After the game Houdini suggested returning the pawn to exchange off Black's Bishop, 22.d7+ Bxd7 23.Nxd7 Kxd7 24.Raf1 

22...Bg4+ 23.Kd2 Bf3 White resigned

Like sand running through an hourglass, White's game promises to slip away, move-by-move: i.e. 24.Rhf1 Rxh2+ 25.Rf2 Rxf2 26.Nxf2 Kd7 27.Ne4 Bxe4 28.dxe4 Nf6 29.e5 - alas, the "Jerome pawns" have no future - 29...Ng4 30.Re1 Re8. After the e5/d6 pair disappear, Black would simply be a piece ahead in a relatively uncomplicated position.

Excellent game, 1zscha2014!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Challenge!

In recent posts I have been sharing Jerome Gambit and related games played at GameKnot.com. I recently received the following message there.

izscha2014: I've seen your Jerome Blog and I can't believe this is a sound opening, altough it certainly is fun Do you want to try ?

With a record of 46 wins, 1 loss and 7 draws, izscha2014 is rated 200 points higher than me.

Of course I accepted. After all, what was there to lose? A refuted opening??

I went to GameKnot.com, and played


I met with several condtional moves, and we were off!

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

I will share the game when it is completed.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

And Another Thing...

We return to the Jerome Gambit treatment of the Blackburne Shilling Gambit to make a point. Even when you come out of the opening with an advantage, it pays to be alert to danger.

majorminor - JavyCT
standard, FICS, 2013

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nd4 4.Bxf7+

The Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit. 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Ke8 6.c3 Qg5

This line was mentioned in the notes of the recent post featuring mr_kill - syiedan86, Team match, GameKnot.com, 2014, and was last covered in the post "Go Ahead and Do Your Worst!".

At first glance it looks like Black has gotten to play the thematic BSG Queen move after all. True - but not necessarily to his advantage.

7.cxd4 Qxg2 8.Qf3

majorminor, who has about 50 games in The Database, finds the proper response to Black's Queen sortie. He has recovered his sacrificed piece, and will be a pawn up, with an edge.

In all fairness, though, there is disappointment to be shared. Black does not have his expected wild counterplay, and White does not have his crazed attack on the King. Still, a pawn is a pawn, even if it is doubled.

8...Qxf3 9.Nxf3 

9...Bb4 10.a3 Ba5 11.Rg1 d6 12.b4 Bb6 13.Rxg7 Nf6

Black has enough counterplay and tricks up his sleeve that White must remain diligent.

For example, if White now shores up his center with 14.d3, Black has 14...Bg4, which attacks the f3 Knight and threatens to lock in the g7 Rook. After 15.Nbd2 Kf8 16.Rg5 h6 17.Rg6 Kf7 18.Nh4 Bxd4 19.Ra2 Rag8 20.Rxg8 Rxg8 White has finally eliminated the problem, at the expense of a pawn.

The move White chooses instead has its own issues.  

14.e5 dxe5 15. Nxe5 Bxd4 

Here, losing a piece, White forfeited on time.