Saturday, September 15, 2012

Pay Attention

Even when facing a refuted opening such as the Jerome Gambit, Black must pay attention and remain serious until the point has been secured. If he simply "plays moves", expecting the game to win itself, he runs the risk of taking too many chances and winding up on the wrong side of a miniature.

MrJoker  - vicwill

blitz, 2 12, Internet Chess Club, 2011

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ng6 

7.Qd5+ Kf6 

This is taking a bit of an unnecessary risk.


Or the eyeblink game: 8.d4 d6 9.Bg5 checkmate, mrjoker - Taj, Internet Chess Club, 2009


Another quickie: 8...Qe7 9.Qf5 checkmate, perrypawnpusher - zsilber, blitz, FICS, 2010. 

9.Qe3 Ne5 

Another idea is 9...N8e7, e.g. 10.d4 Kf7 (10...c5 11.dxc5 Qa5+ 12.Nc3 Qxc5 13.Qf3+ Ke6 14.0-0 Ne5 15.Qh3+ Kf7 16.Qh5+ N7g6 17.Be3 Qb4 18.f4 Nc4 19.f5 Nxe3 20.fxg6+ Kg8 21.gxh7+ Rxh7 22.Qe8 checkmate, perrypawnpusher - useche, blitz, FICS, 2010) 11.0-0 Rf8 12.f4 Kg8 13.f5 Nh8 14.Nc3 c6 15.Qg3 d5 16.f6 Neg6 17.fxg7 Kxg7 18.Be3 Rxf1+ 19.Rxf1 Nf7 20.Qf3 Ng5 21.Bxg5 Qxg5 22.Qf7+ Kh6 23.exd5 cxd5 24.Nxd5 Bg4 25.Nf4 Rf8 26.Qxb7 Rxf4 27.Qxa7 Rxf1+ 28.Kxf1 Qf4+ White resigned, perrypawnpusher - wbrandl, blitz, FICS, 2011

Rybka suggests 9...Kf7

10.d4 Ng4 

Equally dismal was 10...Nc4, i.e. 11.Qg5+ Kf7 12.Qxd8 b5 13.Qxc7+ Ne7 14.a4 b4 15.Qxc4+ d5 16.exd5 Nxd5 17.Qxd5+ Be6 18.Qf3+ Ke7 19.Bg5+ Kd6 20.Nd2 Rhe8 21.Ne4+ Kd7 22.Nc5+ Kd6 23.Qf4+ Kc6 24.0-0-0 Bd5 25.Na6 Kb6 26.Qd6+ Bc6 27.Nxb4 Rac8 28.d5 Red8 29.Bxd8+ Rxd8 30.Qxd8+ Kc5 31.Nxc6 a5 32.Qxa5+ Kc4 33.Qb4 checkmate, MrJoker - ipon, Internet Chess Club, 2011.

Black needed to retreat the Knight to c6.

11.Qg5+ Kf7 12.Qxd8 Black resigned

Friday, September 14, 2012

Still Strange, Still Intriguing (Part 4)

Returning to the game MrJoker - Melbourne, blitz, 2 12, Internet Chess Club, 2012, which has so far gone 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Ke6


In an earlier game against the same opponent, MrJoker, instead, played va banque with 6.Nf7!?, and Black was immediately stupified 6...Kxf7 (best was 6...Qh4) and the second player lost in due course: 7.Qh5+ g6 8.Qxc5 Qe7 9.Qd5+ Qe6 10.Nc3 Nb4 11.Qxe6+ Kxe6 12.Kd1 a6 13.d4 b5 14.a3 Nxc2 15.Kxc2 Bb7 16.Bf4 d6 17.Rae1 Kf7 18.f3 Ne7 19.g4 Nc6 20.Be3 Na5 21.b3 Rhe8 22.Bd2 Nc6 23.Kd3 Rab8 24.h4 Na5 25.Kc2 Nc6 26.Ne2 a5 27.h5 Ne7 28.Bxa5 Black resigned, MrJoker - Melbourne, Internet Chess Club, 2011;

6.Nxc6 was seen in the fiasco perrypawnpusher - johnde, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 41); while

6.Qh5 received more good luck than it deserved in perrypawnpusher - crayongod, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 10); and 

6.f4 reached an unfortunate end in blackburne - DREWBEAR 63, JGTourney4, ChessWorld 2009 (0-1,10). 

6...Kxe5 7.Qf5+

Winning a piece and settling into a typical two-pawns-for-a-piece Jerome Gambit middle game. As we have seen in the past few days, the theoretical line is 7.d4+ Bxd4 8.Bf4+ Kf6 9.Bg5+ Kf7 10.Bxd8 winning Black's Queen for three pieces. It is not immediately apparent that White is better in this line, and there are no game examples, yet.

7...Kd6 8.Qd5+ Ke7 9.Qxc5+ d6 10.Qe3 Nf6 

11.0-0 Re8 12.d3 Kf8 13.f4 Kg8 

Melbourne has faced the Jerome Gambit before in the hands of MrJoker, and he knows the value of castling-by-hand.

14.h3 b6 15.Nc3 Ba6 


It was probably better to get the Queen off of the e-file with 16.Qf2

16...Nb4 17.Qe2 Nd7 18.a3 Nc6 19.Be3 Qh4 20.Qg2 Nc5 

21.Bf2 Qf6 22.Nd5 Qd8 23.b4 Nd7 24.c4 Bb7 

25.Rae1 Ne7 26.Ne3 Ng6 27.Bg3 c5 28.Nf5 Nf6 29.b5 a6 30.Qf2 axb5 31.e5 dxe5 32.fxe5 Nd7 33.e6 Nf6 34.Nd6 Re7 

A complicated mess has arisen.

35.Nf7 Rxa3 36.Nxd8 Black disconnected and forfeited

Black was no doubt unhappy at dropping his Queen. More troubling is that 35...Qxd3 would have given him a winning game.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Still Strange, Still Intriguing (Part 3)

My first game experience with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5 Ke6

was a bit embarassing, as I annotated perrypawnpusher - johnde, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 41) in "Stinkin' up the Chessboard".

Part of the problem was that I had forgotten all of the analysis that I had shared with Readers!

Progress on the line was summarized in early 2010 in "Looking Backwards".

My second experience with 5...Ke6 came not much later, in perrypawnpusher - crayongod, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 10), although again I forgot my preparation and played 6.Qh5. This was chronicled in "Yes! Er, no..."

White's best chance comes from the sharp 6.Qg4+!?, when 6...Kxe5 7.d4+ Bxd4 (other captures are worse, including 7...Kxd4 which leads to mate) 8.Bf4+ Kf6 9.Bg5+ Kf7 10.Bxg8 and White has an edge, as his Queen and Black's unstable King are good compensation for Black's pieces after either 10...Nxd8 or 10...Bxb2 11.Qf3+ Ke8 12.Bxc7 Bxa1 13.Na3 Nf6 14.0-0.

That should be plenty of introduction, so we shall return to MrJoker - Melbourne, ICC, 2012, in tomorrow's post.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Still Strange, Still Intriguing (Part 2)

Continuing with my historical review from earlier coverage in this blog on the following position:

At the beginning of 2010, in "Opening Reports on the New Year's Database [a fore-runner of The Database]" I reported

I re-ran the Opening Report on 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+, and noticed that White scored 74% against 5...Ke8; 67% against 5...Ke7; 53% against 5...Nxe5; 45% against 5...Kf8; and 38% against 5...Ke6.

That last statistic got me interested again in following down what I called "A Strange But Intriguing Path (Part 1)" (where I looked at the natural, but not best response, 6.Nxc6):

[5...Ke6] What an odd move! Yet, there are 10 examples in the New Year's Database, and White only scored 30% in those games. As I've noted, this bears examination.

A further look appeared in "A Strange But Intriguing Path (Part 2)"
where, in addition to the troubled 6.f4, I looked at a couple other lines for White:

Inadequate is 6.Nc4 Qf6 (6...Qh4!? 7.Qe2 Nd4 8.Qd3 Nf6 [stronger than 8...Nxc2+ 9.Qxc2 Qxf2+ 10.Kd1 Qxg2 11.Re1 Qxh2] 9.Nc3 d5 10.exd5+ Kf7 11.Ne3 Re8 12.Ne2 Rxe3 13.dxe3 Bf5) 7.Qg4+ Ke7 8.0-0 h6 9.Nc3 d5 10.Nxd5+ Black resigned, jecree - larsgoran, FICS,  2008 

Tricky is 6.d4, as the pawn is poisoned, provided that White responds to either 6...Nxd4 or 6...Bxd4 with 7.Qg4+ (7.Nf3 may draw). 

After 6.d4 Nxe5 (6...Nf6 is best met by 7.Nf3 with an edge to White) 7.dxe5 d6 (7...Kxe5? 8.Qd5+ Kf6 9.Bg5+ Kg6 10.Qf5+ Kh5 11.g4 checkmate) 8.Nc3 Black has an edge. 

In "A Strange But Intriguing Path (Part 3)" I tackled what is possibly White's strongest response to 5...Ke6:

6.Qg4+ Kxe5

If White is going to have a chance in this variation, he must sacrifice the second piece. If Black then wishes to play on, he must accept the piece.

If 6.Qg4+ Kf6, then 7.Qf5+ Ke7 8.Qf7+ Kd6 9.Nc4 checkmate. 

If 6.Qg4+ Kd6 7.Nf7+ wins.

If 6.Qg4+ Ke7 7.Qxg7+ Kd6 8.Nf7+ wins.


[to be continued]

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Still Strange, Still Intriguing (Part 1)

The following Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) game is strange enough to send me on a historical review through the posts of this blog.

MrJoker - Melbourne
blitz, 2 12, Internet Chess Club, 2011

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Ke6 

Black decides neither to capture the White Knight nor safeguard his King. 

I first touched on this move in a post four years ago in "You, too, can add to Jerome Gambit theory!":

Of course, if your opponent springs the "Theoretical Novelty" 5...Ke6 on you, you'll be prepared with 6.Qg4+ Kxe5 7.d4+ Bxd4 8.Bf4+ Kf6 9.Bg5+ Kf7 10.Bxd8 Nxd8 (or 10...Bxb2 11.Qf3+ Ke8 12.Bxc7 Bxa1 13.Nd2 – a mess, but Black's uncertain King gives White the edge) and although the position is roughly even Black may not recover from "losing" his Queen.

About a year later, 5...Ke6 was no longer a "Theoretical Novelty" as I had a game to comment upon in "Surprise!":

DREWBEAR 63's move [from blackburne - DREWBEAR 63, Jerome Gambit Thematic Tournament, ChessWorld, 2009 (0-1, 10)] comes as quite a shock – certainly it must have been played before, perhaps in the earliest days of the Jerome Gambit; but there are no games in my database with the move, no analysis, and not even a mention of it.

The game sparked some interest in the line, and I brought it back in an end-of-the year quiz for Readers, specifically "Jerome Gambit Quiz #6". After the above diagram, I challenged:

Black is being creative: he doesn't capture the Knight at e5 and he doesn't wait for White's Queen to chase him to e6, he goes there voluntarily.

What do you think of Black's idea? What are some of the benefits of the line? What are some of the difficulties that it creates?

The answers, of course, came at the end of "Jerome Gambit Quiz #7":

The main advantage of Black's idea (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Ke6) is that it might surprise White and produce a less-than-best response.

The only move that leads to White advantage is the sharp 6.Qg4+.

After 6...Kxe5 (practically forced) 7.d4+ Bxd4 8.Bf4+ Black will lose his Queen: 8...Kf6 9.Bg5+ Kf7 10.Bxd8 but he will have compensation after 10...Bxb2 11.Qf3+ Ke8 12.Nc3 Bxa1 13.Bxc7. Black has two pieces and a Rook for a Queen and a pawn, but his King's lack of safety means more, and White has the edge.

This new line will give the defender something tricky to use against the Jerome Gambit. White must be prepared.

[to be continued]

Monday, September 10, 2012

Something New In Something Old

In an old line, Black discovers something new.

Not quite new enough, however.

MrJoker  - KnickAtKnight
blitz, 2 12, Internet Chess Club, 2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Kf8 

The Sorensen Variation, based on a line recommended by Lt. Sorensen in his article on the Jerome Gambit in the Nordisk Skaktidende, May, 1877. 

The idea is simple: Black does not get greedy, seeing one extra piece as enough to win.


The Banks Variation, after Banks,P - Rees,M, Halesowen v Lucas, 2003 (1-0, 45). Pete Banks, playing the Jerome Gambit over-the-board, risked rating points and club pride with "Jerome's Double Opening."


A creative response ("what's good for the goose is good for the gander"), which only shows up in one other game in The Database. Unfortunately for KnickAtKnight, that game was played (and won) by Mr.Joker six months earlier.

It was possible for Black to return to normal Jerome Gambit lines with 6...Nxe5, as in MrJoker - Marduk, blitz, Internet Chess Club 2012 (1-0, 64).

Best for Black seems to be 6...Qe7, discovered four years ago. See "Jerome Gambit, Vlad Tepes, and... Garlic!"

7.Kxf2 Nxe5

As mentioned in the note Black's 6th move, there had already occurred: 7...Qf6+ 8.Nf3 d6 9.d3 Nd4 10.Na3 h6 11.c3 Nxf3 12.Qxf3 Qxf3+ 13.gxf3 Nf6 14.Be3 Bh3 15.Nb5 a6 16.Nd4 Ke7 17.Kg3 Bd7 18.h3 Rhf8 19.Raf1 c5 20.Ne2 Nh5+ 21.Kh4 Nf6 22.f4 Bb5 23.c4 Ba4 24.b3 Bc6 25.Rhg1 Rg8 26.f5 b5 27.Nf4 Be8 28.Ng6+ Bxg6 29.Rxg6 bxc4 30.bxc4 Rab8 31.Rfg1 Kf7 32.R6g2 a5 33.Bc1 a4 34.Bb2 Rb7 35.Bxf6 Kxf6 36.Rg6+ Ke7 37.f6+ gxf6 38.Rxg8 Rb2 39.R1g7+ Ke6 40.Re8 checkmate, MrJoker - Chicagojr, Internet Chess Club, 2012. 

8.Qxe5 Qh4+ 

Black has stalled White's attack and is counter-attacking, but he is doing so a pawn down.

9.g3 Qf6+ 10.Qf4 d6 11.d4 Ke7 12.Qxf6+ Nxf6 13.Nc3 Rf8 14.Bg5 Ke8 15.Bxf6 Rxf6+ 16.Kg2 b6 

White still does not have a raging attack: only a better center, a safer King, and an extra pawn.

17.Rhf1 Re6

Putting pressure on White's center, but exchanging the Rook with 17...Rxf1 18.Rxf1 was probably better, even if it brought the game closer to a simple endgame.

18.Nd5 Kd8

A consistent example of what might be called a "negative halo effect": the second player, having faced the ridiculous 4.Bxf7+ and the outrageous 5.Nxe5 and the preposterous 6.Qh5 shrugs off White's Knight leap as just another simple threat. Otherwise he would have realized that his "best" choice was 18...Re7, "neutralizing" the Knight by exchanging it off for his Rook right away. (Ouch)

19.Rf8+ Kd7 20.Rf7+ Ke8 21.Rxg7 c6 22.Nc7+ Kf8 Black resigned 

Things would settle down after 23.Nxe6+ Bxe6 24.Rxh7 with White ahead the exchange and three pawns.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Brilliant Sunset

MrJoker - rvcclub, blitz, ICC, 2012 
When I finally write my book on the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) I will be tempted to use the above position for the front cover.

It is from one of the recent games sent by MrJoker (Louis Morin) and it is the kind of finish that probably gave Black nightmares afterwards.

I will share the game, in time, of course, but the checkmate itself is something worth sharing.