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, 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,, 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,, 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 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, 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,, 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.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Voice of Wreckage and Ruin

Many people play the Jerome Gambit for a very simple, straight-forward reason: it is fun. Imagine how much enjoyment Bill experienced in the following game, where he delivers wreckage and ruin upon the enemy King.

Wall, Bill - Guest3157671, 2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ng6 7.Qxc5

Of course, 7.Qd5+, "the nudge", is also played by Bill: 

Wall,B - Quack,, 2010 (1-0, 22)
Wall, B - Vijay, V,, 2010, (1-0, 22)
Wall,B - LC,, 2010 (1-0, 20)
Wall,B - guest154187,, 2012 (1-0, 22)
Wall,B - Boris, 2012 (1-0, 32)
Wall,B - Guest4149739,, 2013 (1-0, 30)
Wall, B - guest3797656,, 2013 (1-0, 40)
Wall, B - guest392045,, 2013 (1-0, 33)
Wall,B - Guest198654,, 2013 (1-0, 21)
Wall, B - Guest428245,, 2014 (1-0,20)  

7...d6 8.Qd5+ 

Ah, "Nudge 2.0", another Wall specialty.


Or 8...Ke8 as in Wall,B - Seven11,, 2008 (1-0, 51)

Or 8...Kf8 as in Wall,B - Chung,J, 2010 (1-0, 25).

Or 8...Be6 as in Wall, B - CheckMe,, 2010 (1-0, 23) and Wall,B - Guest249301,, 2013 (1-0, 30).


Or 9.d3 as in Wall,B - Guest4395, Internet, 2001 (1-0, 18). 

9... Nf6

10.Qg5 Be6

Despite the awkward  placement of his King, Black is feeling comfortable with his lead in development. All he has to do is take care of that pesky White Queen, and it will be smooth sailing, he reassures himself.

11.f4 Bf7 12.d4

Indeed, and how can White expect to prevail when he is only moving his Queen and his pawns? (Ah, the eternal Jerome Gambit question!)

12...h6 13.Qg3

Bill suggests 13.Qb5 and 13.Qf5 as alternate possibilities.


It looks risky for Black, but Bill's suggestion of 13...Nxe4 14.Qe1 d5 15.f5 Nf8 has merit. 

14.f5 Nf8 

This position reminds me of the kind of thing that my old "Chess Challenger 7" computer used to do - leave its King in the center of the board, surround it by pieces, and consider the position to be good. Often it would continue with the advance of a Rook pawn.


Of course, Bill advances his "Jerome pawns" and plans to open up the center to get at the enemy King.


Things are already dire for the defender, as Bill points out: 15...Nh5 16.Qh4+ Nf6 17.Bxh6 and 15...Nd5 16.Qxg7.

16.dxe5 Nd5

Or, fast and furious, any of the following: 16...Nh5 17.Qa3+ Kd7 18.Rd1+ or 16...Qd4+ 17.Be3 or 16...Ne4 17.Qh4+ Kd7 18.Qxe4

17.Qxg7 Nd7 18.e6

18...N7f6 19.exf7 Rf8 20.Re1+ Kd6 

21.c4 Nb6 22.Rd1+ Kc5 23.Rxd8 Raxd8 24.Be3+ 

As the loss of Black's Queen is not enough to cause him to strike his colors, Bill brings out some more pieces to enforce checkmate. Bill also notes that 24.Qxf6 leads to mate as well. 

24...Kxc4 25.Na3+ Kd3 26.Bxh6 Ne4 27. Rd1+ Ke2 28. Qg4 checkmate

Sunday, November 9, 2014

BSJG: Move-by-Move

The following game - another recent one from - allows a closer look at an interesting, more-positional variation of an otherwise wild, attacking opening.

mr_kill - syiedan86
Team match,, 2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nd4

The Blackburne Shilling Gambit.

There are a number of ways to safely meet the BSG, including 4.Nxd4, 4.0-0, 4.d3 and 4.c3. Black wants to see 4.Nxe5?!, so he can respond with the thematic 4...Qg5!?


The Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit. As a Jerome Gambit fan, I like the move. Also, it has been good to me - I have scored 91% in 41 games. (The Database* contains 4,452 BSJG games;White scores 56%.)

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

This move shows up 398 times in The Database, scoring 55% for White. The major alternative is 6.Qh5+, which appears in 1,376 games, and with which White scores 61%.

Houdini 3 shows a slight preference for the text move, which doesn't surprise me, as 100% of my games contain the alternative.


This move appears in 157 games, while the alternate retreat, 6...Nc6, appears 92 times. The challenging 6...Qg5 appears in 95 games. All score the same, plus or minus a percentage point or two.


Here Houdini shows a slight preference for 7.Qh5+, leading to an even game.

7...d6 8.Nd3 Nf6 

This is a balanced position. (It must be remembered that Black cannot castle, as he has moved his King.)

A couple of ideas for White now include 9.Nd2, seen in the game GmCooper - Mazetov, lightning, FICS, 2001 (1-0, 28); and 9.d5 Nc5 10.Nxc5 dxc5 11.O-O, which is the choice of chess engines Houdini, Rybka and Stockfish.

9.e5 dxe5 10.Nxe5 Bd6 11.Qe2

Stronger might be 11.f4


In this tense position, White inexplicably dropped a piece, and the game was over.

12.Bg5 Nxg5 White resigned

[*A word about statistics. In any database devoted to a particular opening, the success of the line will be inflated, as partisans and publishers tend to show off successes, not abject failures. I have corrected for this somewhat, in that about 90% of the games in The Database are drawn from play at FICS, over a 12-year period - all the wins, losses and draws in each particular opening. Statistics in The Database, thus, largely reflect the results of "average" club players in an "average" online game environment.]