Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Jerome Gambit: More Unreality?

My early years of research into the Jerome Gambit had spots of sloppiness, which I have since regretted - most often, not recording the source of the games that I discovered.

For example, consider the following game

[Event "England"]
[Site "England"]
[Date "1880.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Halpern, Jacob C"]
[Black "Von Scheve, Theodor"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C50"]
[PlyCount "28"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ g6 7.Qxe5 d6 8.Qxh8 Qh4 9.O-O Nf6 10.c3 Ng4 11.h3 Bxf2+ 12.Kh1 Bf5 13.Qxa8 Qxh3+ 14.gxh3 Bxe4# 0-1

It should leap out at you that this is the same as Amateur - Blackburne, London, 1884.

Supposedly played 4 years before the "original".

Is this another bogus game created by database publishers, or the product of a "junk base", or even a chess "joke" that caught on?

Alas, I will have to research my research to know...

Monday, April 23, 2018

Jerome Gambit History: Real?

I recently emailed a contact at McFarland and Co., publishers of some very fine chess books

I have a question: Is there a way for me to contact the authors of the forthcoming  Neumann, Hirschfeld and Suhle19th Century Berlin Chess Biographies with 711 Games ?  
I understand that it might not be possible directly, and I don't need any of their actual emails. Would it be possible for someone at McFarland to forward an email? 
It is certainly not a matter of great import. I have been investigating the outrageous Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) for almost two decades, and have puzzled over the following game, the source of which, alas, my notes to not reveal: 
[Event "London ENG"][Site "London ENG"][Date "1880.??.??"][Round "99"][White "Amateur"][Black "Neumann, Guestav R.L"][Result "0-1"][ECO "C50"][PlyCount "28"][EventDate "1880.??.??"]1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. Bxf7+ Kxf7 5. Nxe5+ Nxe5 6. Qh5+ g6 7. Qxe5 d6 8. Qxh8 Qh4 9. O-O Nf6 10. b3 Ng4 11. h3 Bxf2+ 12. Kh1 Bf5 13. Qxa8 Qxh3+ 14. gxh3 Bxe4# 0-1 
I suspect the game is specious, for a number of reasons: 
- Except for the move 10.b3, the game, including the Queen sacrifice, is identical to Amateur - Blackburne, London, frequently given as also played in 1880 (the actual date is 1884), and the most infamous of Jerome Gambit games. (Blackburne's opponent had played 10.c3.) 
- Neumann was alive in 1880 (he died the next year) but, according to Wikipedia (not always the best source, I know) "severe mental illness stopped him playing after 1872" 
- Commercial chess database producers have had a habit of salting their collections with occasional bogus games, in order to identify any mass copying of their intellectual property; and this game has an ersatz feel about it 
Still, it would be nice to have a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" from an authority. 
Thank you, very much.

I will let Readers know what responses I receive.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Wild Irishman's Gambit.

Bill Wall recently sent me a tantalizing reference to a Jerome Gambit game likely played in 1916 in Portland, Oregon - one I had been previously unaware of. It can be found in the pages of The Chess News (v.11, Jan -May 1916) - found on the Chess Archaeology site.

I am unfamiliar with the name the Boston players had attached to the opening. It is hard not to suspect that the editor of the "Games and Analysis" column, John F. Barry, was up to something...

Amateur - Blacklane1916
Ten years ago Boston players when in lighter vein indulged their fancy in the Wild Irishman's Gambit. Apparently it has just reached the Pacific coast. Score from the Portland Oregonian.
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ g6 7.Qxe5 d6 8.Qxh8 Qh4 9.O-O Nf6 10.c3 Ng4 11.h3 Bxf2+ 12.Kh1 Bf5 13.Qxa8 Qxh3+ 14.gxh3 Bxe4 checkmate

A brilliant finish, precisely reminiscent of Amateur - Blackburne, London, 1884!

Still, I very much appreciate the leads, and will search for more Jerome Gambits in the Pacific northwest around the time of 1916; as well as more "Wild Irishman's Gambits" in the Boston area circa 1906.

Readers who have any relevant games or analysis are encouraged to contribute.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Jerome Gambit: Education in Defense

I recently received an email and a game from Chris Torres, who occasionally shares his experiences with the Jerome Gambit. (See "More Musings", "More Useful Junk", "Always Be Ready to Deliver Checkmate" and "Jerome Gambit: Advance in the Center, Attack on the Kingside, Checkmate on the Queenside".)

In the game below, Chris shows that the Jerome Gambit can be an educational tool for students to practice their defensive skills. I have added diagrams and a final comment.

I thought you might enjoy this Jerome Gambit miniature played against a young student in our regular Monday night school chess team meeting. Keep up the good work on your blog!

Chris Torres - Student
MSJE Chess Team, Fremont, Ca, 2018

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ng6 

7.Qd5+ Kf8 8.Qxc5+ N8e7 

9.f4 Kg8 10.O-O h6 11.f5 Nf8 12.d4 d6 

13.Qc4+ Kh7 14.f6 gxf6 15.Qf7 checkmate

A very educational game! Black wisely takes care to move his King to a safer place on the wing. He later falls victim to avoiding an "automatic" move (13...d5, even after having played 12...d6, would have better met the Queen check) and then playing an "automatic" one (14...gxf6 lets in the enemy Queen). I suspect, like The Who, he "won't get fooled again!" - Rick

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

What does Alpha Zero's win over Stockfish mean for chess?

At the end of a reasonable online discussion at Quora about "What does Alpha Zero's win over Stockfish mean for chess?" I found the following post - I don't quite know what Mr. Gordon is saying, but I love his last sentence...

Ray Gordon
It ushers in a golden age where Alekhine-style positional sacrifices are not as refuted as we had once thought, and that the horizon effect is alive and well for Stockfish at least. I think it's a golden age of chess where even a beginner gets an instant reality check about their ability, unlike the past, where someone who "beat their friends" thought they were international strength. With shorter time controls, the execution of existing theory will replace the creation of new theory. AlphaZero has also shown there is an entire level of sacrifice above what anyone has ever conceived, and that it's actually sound. Would love to see what it does with the Jerome Gambit.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Jerome Gambit: Lost Games (Part 2)

Image result for free clip art discovery

As I discovered recently, a few of my older games that have escaped scrutiny on this blog, so I am sharing them.

The following game is as quiet as expected after Black's 7th and 8th moves.

AlonzoJerome - adroit
5 5 blitz, ICC, 2011

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ g6 7.Qxe5 Bxf2+ 

The line we have been examining
Instead of offering a Rook with the Blackburne Defense, 7...d6!?, or preparing a wicked counterattack with Whistler's Defense, 7...Qe7!?, my opponent plays what I have elsewhere referred to as an "inoffensive defense" (see "An Inoffensive Defense") and a "calming defense" (see "Nothing Happened").

8.Kxf2 Qf6+ 9.Qxf6+ Nxf6 10.Nc3 d6 

11.d3 Bd7 12.Bg5 Ng4+ 13.Ke2 h6 14.Rhf1+ Kg7 15.Bf4 g5 16.Bg3 h5 17.h3 h4 18.Be1 Ne5 


Tempting. Perhaps 19.Nd5 c6 20.Ne3 Rhf8 21.Bc3 was better. 

19...Ng6 20.Bd2 g4 21.hxg4 Bxg4+ 22.Kd3 Rhf8


After the game Stockfish 8 recommended 23.Nb5, to be met by 23...Bd7 24.c4 (Not 24.Nxc7 Rxf1 25.Rxf1 Rc8 and the Knight can't withdraw because of  26...Bb5+) 24...Bxb5 25.cxb5 with an advantage to White. 

23...c6 24.Ne3 Bd7 25.Nf5+ Black resigned

The pawn at d6 will fall, and being down two is enough for my opponent.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Jerome Gambit: Lost Games (Part 1)

Recently, I discovered a few of my older games that have escaped being posted on this blog, so I am sharing them - it just seems fair to those who also risk the Jerome.

The following game has some of my typical tactical oversights (perhaps this is why the game got "lost"), ending when my opponent decided the future was not very bright for him. 

perrypawnpusher - Conspicuous
blitz, FICS, 2011

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ g6 7.Qxe5 Bxf2+ 

This is the line we have been looking at. There is a bit of psychology in the counter-sacrifice.

8.Kxf2 Qf6+ 9.Qxf6+ Nxf6 10.Nc3 Re8 

As noted before, better is 10...d5 11.exd5 Rd8

11.d3 c6 12.Rf1 Kg7 13.Kg1 Rf8 14.Bg5 Nh5

Kicking the Bishop with 14...h6 was better. 


I decided on the exchange-Rooks-and-then-check-with-a-Rook tactic, when I should have seen 15.Bh6+! Kxh6 16. Rxf8 winning the exchange.

15...Kxf8 16.Rf1+ Kg7 17.g4 h6 


Planning on exchanging pieces and breaking up the pawns on Black's Kingside. Instead, 18.Be3! would simply win the Knight, e.g. 18...Nf6 19.Bd4 etc.

18...g5 19.gxh5 gxh4 20.Rf4 h3 

Black would have done better to ignore the pawn and focus on development, 20...d6 21.Rxh4 Be6.

21.Rg4+ Kf6 22.Rg6+ Black resigned

The pawn on h6 is a goner, and the one on h3 may soon follow. My opponent apprently had better things to do with his time than to wait for the inevitible advance of my h pawns.