The other day I was thinking about my old, old chess computer, the Fidelity "Chess Challenger 7" from the late 1970s / early 1980s.
Back then, playing my first "chess computer," even set at the fastest time setting, I had to actually think about my moves or I would get into trouble.
That was well before I had discovered the Jerome Gambit, however.
So I decided to put the old CC7 to the test!
Rick - Chess Challenger 7
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6
We're out of Chess Challenger 7's opening book, and Blackburne's move 6...g6 followed by Whistler's Defense 7.Qxe5 Qe7 is probably too long for the computer to calculate.
7.Qf5+ Kd6 8.f4
I held my breath. Modern calculating machines can jump on 8...Qh4+ these days, and even work out the later Queen sacrifice to crush White. They also can see the safety in returning material with 8...Qf6.
A new move, a "Theoretical Novelty" that is actually a "Theoretical Lemon." But – don't go away. There are some interesting ideas behind this move, surprising for such and old machine. The game is not over.
9.Qd5+ Ke7 10.Qxc5+ Nd6 11.e5 Nf6
Hey! Give the old machine some props, huh? It's going to lose a piece, and developing like this doesn't change that situation – it just gives Black more development.
Again, CC7 is content to let me capture whichever Knight I please, and plans a counter-attack!
Great-grandchild Rybka suggests a tougher line: 12... b6 13. Qa3 (I can affort to "ignore" the capture for now, too) 13... Re8 14. Nc3 Bb7 15. d3 Kf8 16. exd6 c5 17.f5 a6 18. Bg5 Qb8 19. Rad1 Qxd6. (analysis diagram) White has an edge, sure, but the computer would live to fight on.
13. Nc3 g5
Never say die!
Still, Black's best try, leading to a relatively stable position two pawns down, was 13... b6 14. exd6+ cxd6 15. Re1+ Kd8 16. Qxd6
This move is good enough to win, although Rybka prefers 14. Qxc7 Nde8 15. exf6+ Kf8 16. Qd8 Qe6 17. fxg5 as stronger.
Short-sighted, or greedy? This makes matters worse.
If I'm going to point out Chess Challenger 7's failings, I might as well point out mine: Rybka calculates checkmate: 15. Qe5+ Kg6 16. fxg5 Qe6 17. Rf6+ Kh5 18.Rh6+ Qxh6 19. gxh6+ Kg6 20. Qxh8 c5 21. d4 cxd4 22. Qg8+ Kf6 23. Bg5+ Kf5 24.Rf1+ Kg4 25. Rf4+ Kh5 26. Rh4#
Shortening the pain, which would have continued a bit longer after 15... Kg6 16. Qe5 Qd8 17. Rf6+ Kg718. Rxd6+ Kg8 19. Rf6 c6 20. Nd5 Qxf6 21. gxf6 Kf7 22. Qe7+ Kg6 23. g4 Kg5 24.d4+ Kh4 25. Qd6 Kxg4 26. Qf4+ Kh3 27. Qg3#
16. Qe5+ Kg6 17. Qf6+ Kh5 18. Qh6+Kg4 19. h3+ Kg3 20. Ne2 checkmate
graphic by Jeff Bucchino, "The Wizard of Draws"