Sunday, March 4, 2012

Beyond Gloom and Doom

Imagination and sheer force of will help the Jerome Gambiteer take a "bad" or "lost" position and make something out of it. In the following game, White finds himself in deep trouble (definition: playing White in the Jerome Gambit); and focusing only on his subsequent loss would blind observers to the actual chances that he created for himself.  

HauntedKnight - Makaroni
blitz, FICS, 2011

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4

This line has advantages and disadvantages over 6.Qh5+, and, at one time, was Alonzo Wheeler Jerome's preference.

4...Bb4+ 7.c3 Qh4

At first glance it looks like Black is in a panic, throwing pieces around and leaving some en prise. As I pointed out in "Gloom and Doom", however, this is a strong counter-attack for Black.


Previous experience (including a couple of earlier games by HauntedKnight) has not been encouraging for White (8.0-0 seems "best"):

8.0-0 Nc6 9.cxb4 (9.Qf3+ Qf6 10.Qh5+ g6 11.Qd5+ Qe6 12.Qxe6+ dxe6 13.cxb4 Nxd4 14.Na3 Ne2+ 15.Kh1 Nf6 16.Re1 Nxc1 17.Raxc1 c6 18.Nc4 Rd8 19.e5 Nd5 20.Nd6+ Ke7 21.Re4 a5 22.b5 cxb5 23.Rh4 h5 24.Nxb5 Nb4 25.Nd6 Bd7 26.Nxb7 Rdc8 27.Rxc8 Rxc8 28.h3 Rc2 29.Nxa5 Rxb2 30.a3 Nd3 31.f4 Ne1 32.Nc4 Rxg2 33.Nb6 Rc2 34.Nd5+ exd5 35.f5 Nf3 White resigned, Gamin - JumpNMustangII, FICS, 2001) 9...Qxe4 10.Be3 Nf6 11.Nc3 Qf5 12.b5 (12.Qb3+ d5 13.Nb5 Ne8 14.Nc3 Be6 15.b5 Ne7 16.Rae1 Nd6 17.Qb4 Rhc8 18.Re2 Ng6 19.Rfe1 Nh4 20.f3 Kg8 21.Bf2 Nxg2 22.Kxg2 Rf8 23.Bg3 Qxf3+ 24.Kg1 Nf5 25.Rxe6 Nxg3 26.hxg3 Qxg3+ 27.Kh1 Qh4+ 28.Kg1 h6 29.R6e2 Qg3+ 30.Rg2 Qxe1+ 31.Kh2 Rf1 32.Rxg7+ Kh8 33.Rh7+ Kxh7 34.Qe7+ Qxe7 35.Kg2 Qf7 36.Kh2 Qf3 37.Nxd5 Rh1 checkmate, Deep Sjeng 1.5 - Hiarcs 9, The Jeroen Experience, 2003) 12...Nb4 13.Rc1 c6 14.a3 Nbd5 15.Qb3 Re8 16.Rce1 b6 17.h3 Bb7 18.g4 Qf3 19.g5 Ne4 20.Nxd5 cxd5 21.Qd3 Nxg5 White resigned, RevvedUp - Crafty 19.19, blitz 2 12, 2006;

8.cxb4 Qxe4+ 9.Qe2 (9.Be3 Qxg2 10.Rf1 Nf3+ 11.Ke2 d5 12.Nc3 Bg4 13.Qb3 Nxd4+ White resigned, jfhumphrey - hvutrong, FICS, 2010) 9...Qxe2+ 10.Kxe2 Nc6 11.Rd1 Nxb4 12.Na3 Nf6 13.Re1 Re8+ 14.Kf1 Rxe1+ 15.Kxe1 d5 16.Be3 Bf5 17.Nb5 c6 18.Nc3 Nc2+ 19.Ke2 Nxa1 White resigned, Teterow - geneve, FICS, 2011;

8.Qe2 Bxc3+ 9.Nxc3 Nc6 10.g3 Qe7 11.Qc4+ d5 12.Qxd5+ Be6 13.Qh5+ g6 14.Qf3+ Kg7 15.d5 Ne5 16.Qd1 Bg4 17.Qd4 Nf6 18.Bg5 Nf3+ White resigned, Maza - aqeel, FICS, 2003.

8...Qxe4+ 9.Be3

HauntedKnight has a very creative idea: let Black choke on captured material while White castles Queenside and uses open lines for his pieces.

An earlier 9.Kf1, which might be "objectively" stronger, did not fix things in HauntedKnight - hellg, FICS, 2010.

9...Qxg2 10.Rf1 Be7 11.Qh5+ g6 12.Qe2 Ke8

13.Nd2 Qxh2 14.0-0-0 Qxe5

15.Rfe1 Kd8 16.Qc4 Qg7

Black prepares for trouble.

17.Bd4 Nf6 18.Ne4 h6

White is down a piece and two pawns, but his Rooks are knocking on Black's front door, While Black's are still in the garage.


Rybka suggests preparing for a breakthrough with 19.Be5, as in 19...d6 20.Nxd6 cxd6 21.Rxd6+ Bxd6 22.Qd4 Qd7 23.Bxd6 Rf8 24.Be7+ Ke8 25.Bxf8+ Kf7 26.Re7+ Qxe7 27.Bxe7 Kxe7

analysis diagram

Both Rybka and Houdini see White as having almost equalized in this unbalanced position.

With the text, White clears the lines for his Rooks, but Black's defensive resources prove sufficient to hold off the attack.

19...Bxf6 20.Nxf6 Qxf6 21.f4

21...d6 22.Re4 Bf5 23.Red4 Qe6 24.Qb4 Qxa2 25.Qxb7

White's Queen has finally broken through, but so has Black's.

25...Qb1+ 26.Kd2 Qc2+ 27.Ke3 Re8+ 28.Kf3 Qe2+ 29.Kg3 Re3+ 30.Kh4 Qf2 checkmate

graphic by Jeff Bucchino, the King of Draws

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