Thursday, July 26, 2012

Which One Wins?

A standard defensive theme in Jerome Gambit games is that of Black exchanging Queens and heading for the endgame, where the second player plans to show that his extra piece is worth more than White's extra pawns. While this might be an optimal strategy in classically-timed games between masters, at lower skill levels, especially in quick games, it can lead to a win for the player who is more comfortable (or more bold) in the resulting positions.

Play over the following game quickly. Which would you rather have, the extra piece or the extra pawns?

Philidor1792" - NN 

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Kf8 7.Qxe5 Qe7 8.Qxe7+ Kxe7 9.c3 Kf7 10.d4 Be7 11.Bf4 Nf6 12.Nd2 d6 13.e5 dxe5 14.dxe5 Nd5 15.Bg3 Bg5 16.Nf3 Bf4 17.Rd1 Bxg3 18.hxg3 Nb6 19.Rh5 Bg4 20.Rh4 Bxf3 21.gxf3 h6 22.Rhd4 Ke7 23.f4 Rad8 24.Rxd8 Rxd8 25.Rxd8 Kxd8 26.Kd2 Kd7 27.b3 Ke6 28.c4 g6 29.Kd3 Nd7 30.Ke4 Nc5+ 31.Kd4 b6 32.b4 Nd7 33.Ke4 Nb8 34.g4 Nc6 35.f5+ gxf5+ 36.gxf5+ Ke7 37.a3 h5 38.f6+ Ke6 39.f4 h4 40.Kf3 Nd4+ 41.Kg4 Nf5 42.b5 Ne3+ 43.Kxh4 Nxc4 44.Kh5 Kf7 45.Kg5 Nxa3 46.e6+ Kxe6 47.Kg6 Nxb5 48.f5+ Kd5 49.f7 Black resigned

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Missing Element Redux

Not too long ago I posted a Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit game where White missed the opportunity for an early win, as he was not familiar with (or did not figure out) a tactical series that led to checkmate. As repetition is a part of learning, here is another example of a game missing that particular "element", although White was victorious this time, anyhow.

RattyMouse - zlatanibra
blitz, FICS, 2012

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Nf3 Nd4 

The Blackburne Shilling Gambit.


The Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit.

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Ke8 6.Qh5+ Ke7 7.Qf7+ Kd6 8.f4 

Here we go: 8.Nc4+ Kc5 9.Qd5+ Kb4 10.a3+ Ka4 11.Nc3 checkmate.


Missing the defensive 8...c5 


This is good, but at the "cost" of missing 9.Qd5#

9...Kc6 10.Qd5 checkmate

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

New to the Jerome Gambit Gemeinde

I hope that you enjoyed yesterday's game. I have brought back the same contestants for a second Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit, played on the same day. Mvskoke has played over a dozen Jerome Gambits this year, and they all are interesting.

Mvskoke - trss
blitz, FICS, 2012

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

5...Kxf7 6.Nxe5+ Nxe5 7.d4 Bxd4 8.Qxd4 d6 


More aggressive than yesterday's 9.0-0, although they could transpose.


In another outing, play continued 9...Neg4 10.0-0 Qe7 11.h3 Nh6 12.e5 Nd7 13.Nd5 Qh4 14.Nxc7 Nf5 15.e6+ Kg6 16.Qd1 Ne3 17.Qd3+ Nf5 18.exd7 Bxd7 19.Nxa8 Kf6 20.Bd2 a6 21.Nc7 Bc6 22.Bc3+ Kg6 23.Rae1 Bd7 24.Nd5 Kh6 25.Rf3 Bb5 26.Qxf5 g6 27.Qg5+ Qxg5 28.fxg5+ Kh5 29.b3 Bc6 30.Nf4+ Kh4 31.g3+ Kxg5 32.Ne6+ Kh5 33.g4+ Kh4 34.Rf7 Re8 35.Rxh7+ Kg3 36.Bd2 Bd5 37.Bf4+ Kf3 38.Nd4+ Kxf4 39.Rxe8 g5 40.Nf5 Kf3 41.Re3+ Kf4 42.Rd7 b5 43.Rxd6 b4 44.Rxd5 a5 45.Red3 a4 46.R5d4+ Ke5 47.Re3+ Kf6 48.Rd6+ Kf7 49.Re7+ Black forfeited on time.Mvskoke - ClaytonBigsby, FICS, 2012 

10.Qc4+ Be6 11.Qb5 Nd4 

A tough game followed 11...Rb8, i.e., 12.f5 Bd7 13.Qc4+ Kf8 14.Bg5 Ne5 15.Qe2 c6 16.0-0 Kf7 17.h3 Re8 18.g4 Kg8 19.Bh4 Rf8 20.Bf2 c5 21.g5 Ne8 22.h4 a6 23.Rad1 Qc7 24.Nd5 Qd8 25.Bg3 Nc7 26.f6 Nxd5 27.Bxe5 dxe5 28.Rxd5 Qc7 29.f7+ Rxf7 30.Rxf7 Kxf7 31.Qf3+ Kg8 32.Qc3 Re8 33.h5 b6 34.b4 Bc6 35.Rd1 cxb4 36.Qc4+ Kh8 37.h6 Rc8 38.Qe6 Bxe4 39.Rd6 Qc5+ 40.Kh2 Qf2+ 41.Kh3 Bf5+ White resigned, Mvskoke - malick, FICS, 2012 

12.Qd3 b5

This is a difficult move to understand. Perhaps it is a mouse slip?

13.Qxd4 c5 14.Qd1 b4 15.Nd5 Nxe4 

Black should have been thinking about the vulnerability of his opponent's King, and tried 15...Bxd5 16.exd5 Re8+. Now the advantage shifts to White, and he works to increase it.

16.0-0 Bf5 17.Ne3 Qf6

This does not save the endangered Bishop.

18.Qd5+ Qe6 19.Qxf5+ Qxf5 20.Nxf5 Ke6 

White's extra piece is enough for the full point.

21.Nxg7+ Kd5 22.f5 Rhg8 23.Ne6 Rac8 24.Bh6 Rg4 25.Rae1 Rcg8 26.Nf4+ Ke5 27.f6 Kd4 28.f7 Rxf4  Black resigned

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sometimes People Don't Think Like Computers

I like to consult with a computer program when I prepare games for posting on this blog. Often Rybka or Houdini point out tactical oversights. Sometimes, though, they make recommendations that are terribly esoteric, like in the following game, and I am forced to conclude, once again, that sometimes people don't think like computers...

Mvskoke - trss
blitz, FICS, 2012

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

The Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit.

5...Kxf7 6.Nxe5+ Nxe5 7.d4 Bxd4 8.Qxd4 d6 

9.0-0 Nc6 10.Qa4 

Something new. Instead, 10.Qd3 would have transposed, after 10...Re8 11.Bg5, to the recent perrypawnpusher - JoseSoza,, 2012 (0-1, 34)

10...Re8 11.Bg5 h6 12.f4 hxg5 13.fxg5 Kg8 14.gxf6 gxf6

According to Rybka, this leads to a slight edge for White. The computer recommends 14...Ne5 and a complicated follow up for a small edge for Black. 

15.Nd5 Rf8 16.Qb3 Be6 17.Qg3+ Kh7 

Stepping into the open is very dangerous. 

Rybka's recommendation leaves Black with a Rook and two minor pieces for his Queen and a couple of pawns, which is unclear: 17...Kf7 18.Rxf6+ Qxf6 19.Nxf6 Kxf6 20.Rf1+ Ke7 21.Qg5+ Ke8 22.Rxf8+ Kxf8 23.Qf6+ Bf7 24.Qh8+ Bg8 25.h4 Re8 26.Qh6+ Ke7 27.Qg5+ Kf7 28.Qf5+ Ke7 29.h5 Be6 30.Qf4 Rg8 31.h6.

I am not surprised that Black did not see this "escape". I don't think that regular club players think that way.

18.Rf4 f5 19.Rh4+ Qxh4 20.Qxh4+ Kg6 21.Nxc7 fxe4

22.Nxa8 Rxa8 23.Rf1 Bf5 24.g4 Black resigned

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Practical Chances

Sometimes the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) will lead to a position where White, while still objectively worse, finds it easier to wage an attack, while Black struggles to put up sufficient defense. These practical chances can make the Jerome a fun opening to play. 

shugart - chingching
blitz, FICS, 2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 

This move was originally Alonzo Wheeler Jerome's preference over 6.Qh5+.

6...Bb4+ 7.c3 Bxc3+ 8.bxc3 

Stronger is 8.Nxc3 as in  blackburne - Baron wd von Blanc, heart pirate, ChessWorld JG6, 2011 (1-0, 48) and Wall,B - Caynaboos, FICS, 2011 (1-0, 26)

8...Nc4 9.Qh5+ Kf8 

The alternative, 9...g6 10.Qd5+ Black resigned, HauntedKnight - OneNoTrump, FICS,2011, speaks for itself. 

10.Qc5+ Nd6 11.e5 Qe7 12.0-0 Ne8 

An interesting position. With an extra piece for a pawn, Black has to be better; but, at least at the club level, White has central control and a safer King for compensation that gives him practical chances. Add to that the fact that attacking is often easier than defending and it is not hard to see that the second player falters in this game.

13.Qc4 Qf7 14.Ba3+ Ne7 15.Qe2 g6 16.Nd2 Kg7 17.Ne4 Rf8 

Black has completed castling-by-hand and might very well feel secure, but his last move allows an interesting tactical shot.


Development and protection of the central pawn mass. Instead, the pesky 18.Ng5 would show that Black's Knight at e7 is not sufficiently protected. Further, the Black Queen can get into trouble herself, as Rybka shows: 18...Qd5 19.c4!? Qxd4 20.e6!? dxe6 21.Bb2 

18...Kg8 19.f4 Nd5 20.Qd3

It was probably okay to grab the exchange with 20.Bxf8.

20...Nxf4 21.Nf6+ Nxf6 22.Rxf4 


Offering the exchange one move too long. Instead, Rybka suggested wandering toward the drawish Bishops-of-opposite-colors endgame with: 22...d6 23.Rxf6 Qxa2 24.Rxf8+ Kxf8 25.Qf3+ Kg8 26.exd6 Be6 27.d5 Bd7 28.c4 Rf8 29.Qg3 cxd6 30.Bxd6 Re8 31.Rc1 Bf5 32.Qf2 Qxf2+ 33.Kxf2 a5 

23.Bxf8 Kxf8 24.Rxf6+ Qxf6 25.exf6 Black resigned