The other day I got in a couple of blitz Jerome Gambits (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) at FICS (Free Internet Chess Server). The first game I shared with readers yesterday (see"Diagnosis: Misplaced Knight"). The second one, well, er, um... I guess I can say that there's "winning ugly" and "losing ugly," and it's better to win ugly...
perrypawnpusher - Lark
blitz 2 12, FICS, 2009
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+
4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5
It turned out that this game was the third time that I'd played the Jerome Gambit against Lark. Our first game continued: 5...Kf8 6.Nxc6 dxc6 7.0-0 Bd6 8.f4 g6 9.d4 Bd7 10.Nc3 Nh6 11.f5 Qh4 12.e5 Nxf5 13.exd6 cxd6 14.g4 Re8 15.gxf5 Bxf5 16.Qf3 Qxd4+ 17.Kh1 Kg7 18.Qf2 Black forfeited on time, perrypawnpusher - Lark, FICS, 2009
My second game with Lark lasted a bit longer than the first: 6...Kf8 7.Qxe5 Bd6 8.Qc3 Nf6 9.d3 Qe7 10.Bg5 h6 11.Bh4 Bc5 12.0-0 d6 13.d4 g5 14.dxc5 gxh4 15.cxd6 Qxd6 16.Nd2 Rg8 17.f4 Bh3 18.Qxh3 Qxd2 19.Rf2 Qd4 20.Qf5 Qxb2 21.Re1 Qb6 22.e5 Rg7 23.exf6 Rf7 24.Re6 Qb1+ 25.Rf1 Qxa2 26.Rfe1 Qb2 27.Qg6 Qd4+ 28.Kh1 Qxf4 29.Re7 Rxe7 30.fxe7 checkmate, perrypawnpusher - Lark, blitz FICS, 2009
A game in the current Chessworld Jerome Gambit Thematic Tournament continued: 7...Ke7 8.Qxc5+ d6 9.Qg5+ Nf6 10.d3 Qf8 11.Nc3 Be6 12.Be3 Ne5 13.h3 Kd7 14.f4 h6 15.Qg3 Nc6 16.0-0-0 Rd8 17.f5 Bf7 18.Qf3 Ne5 19.Qf2 a6 20.b3 b5 21.d4 Nc6 22.g4 Kc8 23.Qf3 b4 24.Na4 a5 25.d5 Ne5 26.Qe2 Nfd7 27.Qa6+ Kb8 28.Ba7+ Ka8 29.Bb6+ Kb8 30.Qa7+ Kc8 31.Qxc7 checkmate, stampyshortlegs - calchess10, JGTourney4, ChessWorld, 2009
8.Qxc5 Another, not-quite-completed game in the same Chessworld JG tournament has gone: 8.d4 N8e7 9.Qxc5 d6 10.Qh5 c6 11.f4 d5 12.f5 dxe4 13.fxg6 Nxg6 14.c3 Qe7 15.Bg5 Qe6 16.0-0 Kd7 17.Na3 Kc7 18.Bf4+ Kb6 19.Qc5+ Ka6 20.Nc4 b6 21.Qa3+ Kb7 22.Nd6+ Kc7 23.Nf7+ Nxf4 24.Nxh8 Ne2+ 25.Kh1 Bb7 26.Rae1 a5 27.Rxe2 Rxh8 28.Qb3 Qxb3 29.axb3 b5 30.Rf7+ Kb6 31.Rxe4 g6 32.Ree7 Bc8 33.Rxh7 stampyshortlegs - Luke Warm, JGTourney4, ChessWorld, 2009
8...N8e7 9.0-0 b6
An alternative: 9...d6 10.Qe3 Rf8 11.d4 c5 12.c3 Bd7 13.f4 Rc8 14.f5 Bxf5 15.exf5 Rxf5 16.Rxf5 Qd7 17.Rf1 cxd4 18.cxd4 Rc2 19.Nc3 Qg4 20.Qf3 Qxd4+ 21.Be3 Qe5 22.Rae1 Nh4 23.Qf7+ Kd7 24.Bf2 Qg5 25.Rxe7+ Kc6 26.Rc7 checkmate, guest6567 - guest4702, Internet Chess Club, 2004.
Or 10...Bb7 11.f4 Rf8 12.d4 d6 13.f5 Nh8 14.g4 Qd7 15.c4 Nf7 16.Nc3 Kd8 17.b3 h6 18.h4 g5 19.h5 Nc6 20.Ba3 Qe8 21.Rad1 Kd7 22.e5 Nfxe5 23.dxe5 Qxe5 24.Qd3 Rae8 25.Rde1 Qd4+ 26.Qxd4 Nxd4 27.Rxe8 Rxe8 28.Bb2 Nf3+ 29.Kf2 Nh2 30.Rg1 Bf3 31.Rg3 Bxg4 32.Rg2 Bxf5 33.Rxh2 c6 34.Kf3 Rf8 35.Kg3 Be6 36.Ne2 c5 37.Bg7 Rf1 38.Bxh6 Ra1 39.Nc3 Rg1+ 40.Kf2 g4 41.Kxg1 g3 42.Rg2 Bg4 43.Rxg3 Bxh5 44.Ne4 Kc6 45.Rg5 b5 46.Rxh5 bxc4 47.bxc4 a5 48.Bf4 a4 49.Rh6 Kb6 50.Rxd6+ Ka5 51.Bd2 checkmate, guest1730 - guest1656, Internet Chess Club, 2001
Louis Morin of the Jerome Gambit Gemeinde was the "guest" playing White in the two aforementioned games.
11.f4 d6 12.f5 Ne5 13.d4 Nc4 14.Qg3
14...Rf7 15.Nc3 Kf8 16.Bg5
I spent way too much time trying to figure out if 16.f6 worked here. It does – but I didn't play it. The line is complicated, but leads to White's advantage: 16.f6 gxf6 (not 16...Rxf6 17.Bg5 Ng6 18.Nd5 winning) 17.Bh6+ Ke8 18.Nd5 f5 19.Rae1 Kd7 20.Qb3 Nxd5 21.Qxc4 Bb7 22.exd5 a6.
It looks like 17.f6 was playable, too.
17...Bb7 18.f6 Rxf6
I guess I wasn't the only player having trouble with this position. Better was 18...gxf6, although after 19.b3 Na5 20.Bxh6+ Ke8 21.Rae1 my position is beginning to look better.
Sigh. 19.Bxh6 was the move.
19...gxf6 20.Bxh6+ Ke8 21.Qg7
Inviting another piece to the party with 21.Rf1 was stronger.
21...Kd7 22.Qg4+ Ke8 23.Qg7
Repeating the position, and considering a draw, which was silly: 23.Qh5+ Kd7 24.Qb5+ instead would have won a piece.
Now both my opponent and I seem to have been mesmerized by the clock.
Or, well, just take the gift Knight at d2...
Or, well, 25.Bxd2...
At this point my nerves got the better of me (clock ticking) and I decided to swap to an endgame where I thought I had at least drawing chances. Wrong. Plus: 26.Qe6 instead was still strong.
26...Kd7 27.Qxd8+ Rxd8 28.Re1 Nf5
29.Rxe4 Nxh6 30.Rh4 Well, my intentions are clear: play the two pawns against the Knight. At my level of play there are "drawing chances" but as they say on television, "don't try this at home, folks!"
30...Nf5 31.Rh7+ Kc6 32.c3 Re8 33.Kf2
This move and next, I would have done better to start my pawns rolling with g2-g4.
33...a5 34.b3 Rf8
35.Ke2 Re8+ 36.Kd2 Ne3 37.Rg7 Nf1+ 38.Kd3 Nxh2
Not so good (for me).
39.g4 Nf3 40.g5 Nh4 41.c4 Nf5 42.d5+ Kb7 43.Rh7 Re7 44.Rxe7 Nxe7
Things are going just as I planned – except that Black still has a won game. Lucky for me, neither one of us seemed to notice.
The win for Black comes after he busts up White's Queenside pawns and then infiltrates with his King: 45...b5 46.cxb5 Kb6 47.Kd4 Kxb5
46.Kf5 Nh4+ 47.Kf6
White has a draw here either playing tag with the Black Knight – 47.Kg4 Ng6 48.Kf5 Nh4+ 49.Kg4, etc. – repeating the position; or by advancing toward the enemy pawns with 47.Ke6, so that the ...b5 break is not good enough to win.
The text is "playing for the loss".
Of course 47...b5 wins.
48.g6 Nxg6 49.Kxg6 Kd7 50.Kf6
The position is drawn. White's King cannot make progress toward attacking Black's pawn base at c7 (as long as the Black King is dilligent), and if he is foolish enough to try entry through a3, a4 and b5, Black's King will follow him and pick off the White pawns.
Dear Readers, let this be a lesson to you: eat your vegetables, get daily exercise – and study your chess endings!
51.Kf7 cxd5 52.cxd5 b5 53.a3 Kc7 54.Ke7 b4 55.a4
55...Kb6 56.Kxd6 Ka6 57.Kc6 Ka7 58.Kc7 Ka6 59.d6 Black resigns 1-0