Saturday, July 7, 2012

Sailing Off the Edge of the World

I would guess that everyone who plays the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) has a particular defense that they would rather not face. That is funny, in a way, because the Jerome is a "refuted" opening, and therefore every defense should be uncomfortable...

Still, it was fun to see Philidor1792 in the following game take on the one defense that I worry about the most, played by a computer this time, at that, and wrestle it to the ground for a split point.

A computer can not make sense of the Jerome Gambit? Now, that's a surprise!

Philidor1792 - Computer (Crafty)

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+ 

The storm clouds gather.

9.g3 Nf3+ 10.Kd1 Ne7 


A couple of alternatives from The Database:

11.Qxc5+ Kxc5 12.gxh4 d5 13.e5 Bg4 14.d4+ Nxd4+ 15.Kd2 Nf3+ 16.Ke3 d4+ 17.Kf2 Nxh4 18.Nd2 Raf8 19.Kg3 h5 20.Kxh4 Nf5+ 21.Kg5 Rh6 22.h3 Be2 23.Ne4+ Kd5 24.Nf2 Re8 25.Re1 Ree6 26.c4+ Bxc4 White forfeited on time, fehim - vshamis, FICS, 2008;

11.Qe5+ Nxe5 12.fxe5+ Kxe5 13.gxh4 Kxe4 14.d4 Kxd4 15.Nd2 Rf8 16.Nb3+ Kd5 17.c4+ Kxc4 18.Bg5 Bd6 19.Rc1+ Kd5 20.Re1 Nf5 21.Rc3 Bb4 22.Rd3+ Kc4 23.Re4+ Kxd3 24.Rxb4 Ne3+ 25.Bxe3 Rf1 checkmate, ionman - mscp, FICS, 2005. 


Instead, 11...Kd5 12.Qd3+ 1-0  was the imaginary "R.F."-"Nibs" telephone chess game of 1899. 

12.Qe4+ d5 13.exd6+ 

Or 13.Qxf3 Bg4 14.gxh4 Bxf3+ 15.Ke1 Bxh1 16.c3 Bg1 17.d4 Bxh2 18.Kf2 Rhf8 19.Na3 Be4 20.b4 Ng6 21.c4 Nxf4 22.cxd5+ Nxd5+ 23.Ke2 Nxb4 24.Ke3 Bd5 25.Bd2 Nxa2 26.Nc2 Rf4 27.Kd3 Rxh4 28.Rxa2 Rh3+ 29.Ke2 Bxa2 30.Nb4+ Kb6 31.Nxa2 Bg1 32.Nc3 Bxd4 33.Nd5+ Kc6 34.Ne7+ Kd7 35.Nf5 Bxe5 White resigned, Siggus - mscp, FICS, 2007.


The key. Otherwise: 13...Kxd6 14.gxh4 Bg4 15.Qa4 Ng1+ 16.Ke1 Bf3 17.d4 Bxh1 18.dxc5+ Ke6 19.Nc3 Rhd8 20.Be3 Nh3 21.Kf1 Nf5 22.Re1 Bc6 23.Qc4+ Kf6 24.Ne4+ Bxe4 25.Qxe4 Re8 26.Bd4+ Nxd4 27.Qxd4+ Kg6 28.Qd3+ Kf6 29.Qxh3 Rxe1+ 30.Kxe1 Re8+ 31.Kf2 Re4 32.Kf3 Rc4 33.c3 Rxc5 34.Qg4 Rb5 35.b4 Rf5 36.Qg1 c5 37.bxc5 a5 38.Qd4+ Kf7 39.Qd7+ Kf6 40.Qxb7 g6 41.c6 Rc5 42.c7 Rxc3+ 43.Ke2 Kf5 44.c8Q+ Rxc8 45.Qxc8+ Kxf4 46.Qe6 a4 47.a3 h5 48.h3 Kg3 49.Ke3 Kxh4 50.Qf6+ g5 51.Kf3 Kxh3 52.Qxg5 h4 53.Qg2 checkmate, ionman - mscp, FICS, 2005.

Hmmmm.... That's the second game where ionman faced this defense 7 years ago. I need to catch up with him... 

14.gxh4 Bg4 15.Qa4+ b5 16.Qa6+ Nb6 17.h3

Varying from 17.c4 Nd4+ 18.Ke1 Rhe8+ 19.Kf2 Nf5+ 20.Kf1 Bh3 checkmate,  abhailey - peonconorejas,, 2008, the first "real" game where I saw this particular defense. I was convinced four years ago that the Queen sacrifice was discovered with the help of a computer (The Database, with earlier games, was not available until January 1, 2010.) 

17...Bh5 18.c3 Nd4+ 19.Ke1 Nc2+ 20.Kf1 Rhe8 21.d4 Bxd6 22.d5+ Kd7 23.Qxb5+ Kd8 24.Rg1 g6 

In this chaotic position, Black is better.

25.Qc6 Nxa1 26.Na3 Re7 27.f5 Rd7 28.Nc4 Rb8 29.Bg5+ Kc8 30.Nxb6+ Rxb6 31.Qa8+ Rb8 32.Qxa7 Rf7 33.Qa6+ Rb7 34.Kg2 Rxf5 

35.Rxa1 Bf3+ 36.Kf1 Bxd5+ 37.Ke2 Be6 38.b3 Re5+ 39.Kd2 Bxh3 40.Re1 Rxe1 41.Kxe1 Kb8 

42.Qc6 Rb6 43.Qe8+ Kb7 44.Qf7 Bf5 45.Qxh7 Ra6 46.a4 Bg3+ 47.Kd2 Re6 48.Be3 Be1+ 49.Kxe1 Rxe3+ 50.Kf2 Rxc3 51.Qf7 Rc2+ 52.Kg3 Rc3+ 53.Kf4 Rh3 54.Kg5 Rg3+ 55.Kf6 Be4 56.Qc4 Rg4 

57.h5 gxh5 58.Qb5+ Ka7 59.Qxh5 Rg6+ 60.Ke5 Bc2 61.Kd4 Rd6+ 62.Kc3 Rc6+ 63.Kb2 Bd3 64.Qd5 Rd6 65.Qc5+ Kb8 66.b4 Kc8 

67.b5 Kd7 68.a5 Be4 69.a6 Rd1 70.a7 Rb1+ 71.Ka2 Rd1 72.Qf8 Bd5+ 73.Kb2 Rd2+ 74.Kc3 Ra2 75.Qc5 Bb7 76.b6 cxb6 77.Qxb6 Bd5 

78.Kd4 Bc6 79.Ke5 Re2+ 80.Kf6 Re6+ 81.Kg5 Re5+ 82.Kf4 Re4+ 83.Kf5 Re8 84.Qb8 Rc8 85.Ke5 Re8+ 86.Kd4 Ba8 87.Kc5 Rc8+ 88.Kb6 Rc6+ 89.Kb5 Rc8 Draw

Friday, July 6, 2012

Follow your friends...

There is an old saying, a caution about the risks of walking in the footsteps of bad companions, "Follow your friends to Hell, and your reward will be a place there with them."

While I find the members of the Jerome Gambit Gemeinde to be great company, we all suffer from the same, dangerous affliction that can sometimes be lethal: playing the Jerome Gambit.

Philidor1792 - NN
casual game, 2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 7.Qf5+ Kd6 8.f4 

A quick look at The Database shows that there are 170 games that reached this position, and White scored 60%. This far more reflects the practical play of the Jerome Gambit than it does any objective evaluation of the situation on the board.


A new move, as far as I can tell. When you are two pieces up, as Black is, you can simply give one back, and remain with the advantage.

White must now stir up some mischief, or be doomed.

9.Qxe5 Nf6 10.d4 d6 11.d5+ Kb6 12.Qc3 Qe8 

White's King is in more trouble than Black's.

13.Qb3+ Ka6 14.Nc3 Nxe4 15.Qc4+ b5 16.Qxe4 Qxe4+ 17.Nxe4 Re8 White resigned

Improvements for White? I'll have to get back to you on that...

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Having finished yet another endgame in one of my two Italian Game tournaments at (my next move would have been 70...c1/Q checkmate, had not my opponent resigned), I started my final game with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4, only to see 3...Nf6, a perfectly good move, but one sliding away from the Jerome Gambit... I have hopes for 3.Nc3 Bc5 4.Bxf7+, but, otherwise, I will have to wait for the second round of the other tournament to see if I can improve on my 3-1 record with the Worst Chess Opening Ever.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Just Makin' Moves

The following game, my most recent Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit, is the kind of encounter where I made a move, then my opponent made a move, then I made a move... Afterward, Rybka criticized most of them. It's a lazy game.

perrypawnpusher - zimmernazl
blitz, FICS, 2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nd4 

The Blackburne Shilling Gambit.


The Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit.

4...Ke7 5.Bxg8

Of course, it is also possible to retreat the Bishop with 5.Bc4 as in perrypawnpusher - zadox, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 14),  perrypawnpusher - PlatinumKnight, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 9); and perrypawnpusher - vlas, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 84); or with 5.Bb3 as in perrypawnpusher - Roetman, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 12).


More routine is 5...Rxg8 as in perrypawnpusher - TheProducer, blitz, FICS, 2009 (1-0, 16) and perrypawnpusher - issamica, blitz, FICS, 2011 (1-0, 8).

Downright strange was 5...Ke8 6.Nxe5 (6.Bb3) Qg5 7.Nf3 Qxg2 8.Nxd4 Qxh1+ 9.Ke2 Qxd1+ 10.Kxd1 Rxg8 as in perrypawnpusher - zadox, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 29).

6.Qxf3 Rxg8 7.Nc3 g6 

Or 7...d6 like in perrypawnpusher - zadox, blitz, FICS, 2011 (1-0, 49).

8.d4 Ke8 9.Be3

At this point I realized that I was just making moves, and so decided to focus on development and King safety, trusting that my extra pawn and my opponent's unsafe King would decide the game.

9...Bb4 10.0-0 Bxc3 11.bxc3 exd4 12.cxd4 Rf8 13.Qe2 d6 14.f4 

In the "Jerome pawns" we trust.

14...b6 15.e5 dxe5 16.fxe5 Bb7 17.Rxf8+ Kxf8 18.Rf1+ Kg7 19.Qf2 Qe7 20.c3 Ba6 21.Qf6+ Qxf6 22.Rxf6 Rf8  23.Rxf8 

A little to routine. With 23.Bh6+ I could have won the exchange and made the endgame easier.

23...Kxf8 24.Kf2 Ke7 25.Kg3 Bb7 26.h4 c5 27.dxc5 bxc5 28.Bxc5+ Ke6 29.Bxa7 Kf5 30.Bd4 Black resigned

My guess is that my opponent resigned here when he noticed that he was just making moves here, too, and could have played 29...Kxe5, instead. It would have made a difference.

I was willing to go into the notoriously drawish Bishops-of-opposite-colors endgame, and 3 pawns up, I think White would win; but 2 pawns up, I think Black had a draw...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A High Level of Danger

The Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit frequently leads to positions with a high level of danger. 

For example, the Black Knight that has thematically leaped to d4 often goes on to c2, where sometimes it captures the White Rook at a1 with advantage; sometimes it captures the White Rook at a1 causing a disadvantage; and sometimes the White King walks over and captures it before it can get to a1.

Too, there are the lines where Black's King grabs material in the center of the board, then creeps away. Or not. 

jorgemlfranco - FoldZero
blitz, FICS, 2012

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Nf3 Nd4 4.Bxf7+ 

The Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit.

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Ke6 6.c3 Kxe5 


Varying from the recommended 7.cxd4+, when Black then does best to head his King homeward with 7...Ke6 with a balanced game.


Grabbing material is not as wise as heading the King homeward with 7...Ke6.

An earlier game, featuring 7...Kxf4, illustrated similar dangers, although the play could have been improved in different places 8.Rf1+ (8.0-0+) 8...Ke5 9.cxd4+ Kxd4 (9...Ke6) 10.Qa4+ (10.Rf5) 10...Ke5 11.d4+ Ke6 12.Qb3+ Kd6 (12...d5) 13.Qd5+ Ke7 Black resigned, drakorg - borodin, FICS, 2002.


Likewise, grabbing material. 

White could keep an edge by focusing on the enemy King, as Rybka suggests: 8.Qh5 Nc2+ 9.Kd1 g5 10.Qf3+ Kf5 11.fxg5+ Kg6 12.Rf1 Qe8 13.Kxc2 d6 when White's pawns and attack are adequate compensation for the sacrificed piece.


More material = more risk. This is a complicated line!

Another uneven instructive tale: 8...Kxd4 9.0–0 Bc5 (9...Nf6) 10.Kh1 (10.Nc3) 10...Qh4 (10...Be7) 11.Qa4+ Kd5 12.Nc3+ Kd6 13.d4 (13.Qe4) 13...Bb6 14.Bd2 (14.Qb4+) 14...Nf6 (14...Ke6) 15.Qb4+ Ke6 (15...c5) 16.Rae1+ Kf7 17.Qc4+ (17.Qe7+) 17...Kg6 (17...Kf8) 18.f5+ Kh5 19.Ne2 d5 20.Qd3 Ne4 21.Nf4+ Kg4 22.Qf3+ Kxf5 23.Ng6+ Kxg6 24.Qf7 checkmate, richiehill - steadylooking, FICS, 2011

Rybka prefers 8...Nf6 9.0-0 Kf5.

9.Rf1+ Kg5 10.d3+ Kg6 11.Qg4+ Black resigned

Monday, July 2, 2012

An Unfriendly Friendly

The following game, between Philidor 1792 and a friend, starts out like any friendly game. White plays the Jerome Gambit, and Black does his best to fashion a suitable defense. 

Then, things become violent...

Philidor 1792 - NN

friendly game, 2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Bc5 5.Bxf7+ 

The Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit.

5...Kxf7 6.Nxe5+ Nxe5 7.d4 

Black's Knight at f6 rules out any 7.Qh5+ lines, but it also eliminates 7...Qh4 as a response to the text.

7...Bxd4 8.Qxd4 d6 

9.Bg5 Re8 10.0-0-0 Kg8 

White has castled Queenside while Black has castled-by-hand.

Black has the advantage, but White has the advantage (from experience) of knowing where the weak points might develop in the defense.

11.f4 Nc6 12.Qf2 Bg4 13.Rd3 Qc8 

Black reinforces his Bishop, but removes support from his Knight. That is enough to move the advantage to the first player.

14.Bxf6 gxf6 15.Qh4 

Here comes trouble.

15...Rf8 16.Rg3 h5 17.h3 Kf7 18.hxg4 hxg4 19.Nd5 

Sealing the enemy King's fate.

19...Qd8 20.Qh5+ Ke6 21.Qf5+ Kf7 22.Rh7+ Ke8 23.Qe6+ Ne7 24.Rxe7+ Qxe7 25.Qxe7 checkmate

Sunday, July 1, 2012

What well known gambits are unsound?

It is fun to start the day off reading a new discussion at with the title of today's post, "What well known gambits are unsound?"

The original poster started off with the Latvian Gambit and the Albin Counter Gambit.

The very first responder chimed in with the Jerome Gambit!

As I've posted before, P.T. Barnum (a contemporary of Alonzo Wheeler Jerome) liked to say that “there’s no such thing as bad press, as long as they spell your name right.”