Thursday, October 30, 2014

Chess Is Not Life

Despite what different masters are reported to have said, it is not true that "Chess Is Life". Sometimes it appears that "life" is what keeps us busy, and occasionally from playing chess, though...

perrypawnpusher  - mnoori
blitz, FICS, 2014

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 Qf6


The is one move among many possible.

Bill Wall has played 10.d3, as in Wall,B - G3LC, 2011 (1-0, 22).

Louis Morin has show an interest in 10.d4, as in mrjoker - Igor77, Internet Chess Club, 2008 (1-0, 70), guest2199 - guest401, Internet Chess Club, 2004 (1-0, 87) and MrJoker - Melbourne, Internet Chess Club, 2011 (1-0, 13).

I've varied with 10.0-0, as in perrypawnpusher - TJPOT, blitz, FICS, 2009 (1-0, 48) and perrypawnpusher - LeiCar, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 25). 


Possibly better was 10...c6, as in perrypawnpusher - pitrisko, blitz, FICS 2011 (1-0, 28), perrypawnpusher - HGBoone, blitz, FICS, 2011 (1-0,59) and MrJoker - ZICO, Internet Chess Club, 2012 (1-0, 34).

11.0-0 N8e7 12.f4 Bd7 

In this kind of position, I usually see things differently during the game than Houdini sees afterwards. I think "tactics" and play f4-f5, "kicking" Black's Knight, hoping to chase him to e5 when I can "kick" it again with d2-d4. Houdini "thinks" "position" and chooses d2-d4 instead, suggesting that Black respond to a later f4-f5 by withdrawing his Knight to g8.

13.f5 Ne5

In all fairness, had my opponent played 13...Nf8 here instead, I would have followed up with 14.d4.

14.d4 Nc4

My opponent prefers to play actively, but 14...N5c6 was probably better, with and edge to Black.

15.Qd3 b5 

I was pretty sure during the game that Houdini would want me now to play 16.a4, but I couldn't figure out what would be wrong with Black simply defending with 16...c6. After the game Houdini showed me 17.e5 dxe5 18.Ne4!? with a sharp attack - good for you, Readers, who figured that out!

I was unhappy with the possibility of 16.a4 b4 as well, although, again, after the game Houdini said "no worries" after 17.Nb5 Bxb5 18.axb5 and White will eventually capture the pawn at b4. Well, okay...

16.b3 Nb6

After the game Houdini again pointed out that if 16...b4, White would have the familiar 17.e5 dxe5 18.Ne4!? I think I would have answered 16...b4 with 17.bxc4 bxc3 18.Qxc3 and been happy with my broad pawn center.


At this point my opponent seems to have disappeared, and Black forfeited on time. Quite likely, "life" intruded; I hope nothing bad. 

Instead, after 17...Bxb5 18.Qxb5+ Nd7 19.Bb2 White would have a comfortable game, with three pawns for his sacrificed piece, and possibly a small edge.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Almost There

Four games remain to be finished in the current Italian Game thematic tournament. From seven groups of five players each, fifteen will advance, likely to form three subsequent groups of five.

With a 6-2 record, I am sitting on the top of Group #6. djdave28 will advance along with me, joining Hywel2, deckers1066, beftahk (top rated at 2036, having scored 8-0 in the first round), alexmoore421, Reinlynx, nissk, ashutoschess (lowest rated at 1279, but having scored 8-0 in the first round), ChessTitan249, Zeddicus16, Rebecca_Wiebe, ermeel, MatthiasBerger; and either smitty67 or mathiaserdhal.

More Jerome Gambits are promised!

Sunday, October 26, 2014


Although my opponent chose one of the stronger and more complicated defenses to the Jerome Gambit in the following game, I had my chance to level things out - but missed it. After that, I was simply out-played.

perrypawnpusher - HarlemKnight
blitz, FICS, 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+

The start of a complicated, but deadly counter-attack.

9.g3 Nf3+ 10.Kf1 

For some reason I played the text (also see "Repairing A Variation" Part 1, 23 and 4), instead of 10.Kd1, with which I was 6-0, including 3 games that ended after 10...Qe7 11.Qd5 checkmate (perrypawnpusher - fortytwooz, blitz, FICS, 2010; perrypawnpusher - javistas, blitz, FICS, 2010; and perrypawnpusher - thinan, blitz, FICS, 2010).


I don't think I'll ever be as lucky as to receive the mouse-slip 10...Qh3+ as in perrypawnpusher - rjbrigs, blitz, FICS, 2011, (1-0, 10) and perrypawnpusher - inasoy, blitz, FICS, 2014 (1-0, 51) again; although stranger things have happened.

On the other hand, 10...Nh2+ was good to me in perrypawnpusher - intssed, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 12), perrypawnpusher - JTIV, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 32), perrypawnpusher - mikelars, blitz, FICS, 2011, (1-0, 12) and perrypawnpusher - jgknight, blitz, FICS, 2011 (1-0, 68).

The retreat 10...Qh6, however, did not end so nicely for me, in the nonetheless enjoyable perrypawnpusher - Temmo, JG3 thematic,, 2008 (0-1,43)

11.Qd5+ Ke7 12.Qxc5+ Kd8 13.e5

Better was 13.Kg2 as in perrypawnpusher - james042665,, 2008 (0-1, 18). 

13...Qf7 14.Kf2 b6 15.Qe3 Bb7 16.Nc3 Nh6 17.h3 Nxd2

Up until this point, Black has been doing very well, and I was surprised to discover later that he has no other games, as Black or White, in The Database. It was time to pour on the heat with 17...Nf5, or let the advanced Knight escape with 17...Ng5.


Missing my one chance - and they were not coming by very often. With 18.Bxd2 Bxh1 19.Rxh1 White would have a pawn for the exchange, and the game would be a long way from being decided.

18...Nc4 19.Qd3 Qe6

The text is okay, but 19...Nxe5 would be crushing. Black does not need to sacrifice to win, however.

20.g4 g6 21.f5

The only way to stay in the game, according to Houdini, was to make a  play against the wayward Knight with 21.Nd5, although after the exchanges 21...Qxd5 22.Qxd5 Bxd5 23.Rxd5 White would be playing with one pawn for his sacrificed piece, and Black would not have to be in any hurry getting his pieces to better squares to press his attack.

21...gxf5 22.Bxh6 fxg4 23.hxg4 Nxe5 24.Qf5 

This blunder ended it all.

24...Nxg4+ White resigned

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,, 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


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...


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.


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


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