Friday, November 9, 2012

Why so serious?

I recently received an email and game from Louis Morin, aka MrJoker. Playing through the game, I got very nervous after White's 4th move, but as I played on I imagined that I could hear Heath Ledger's voice as the Joker "Why so serious?"

Indeed, despite the difficulties, MrJoker wrapped up the game like it was an amusing anecdote.

Hi Rick

Perhaps my most recent game on ICC could be of interest for your blog.

MrJoker - HarryP
Internet Chess Club, 2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Nxe5?? 

Okay I am joker but not usually that much... 


Only now did I realize that I forgot to play Bxf7+ before Nxe5+.
I am getting old I guess… 

5.Qh5 Qf6 6.0-0 g6 7.Bxf7+?? 

Never too late? 


I must admit that I completely overlooked this. I thought Black had to take with the Queen or Knight. Now I have a typical Jerome gambit position… except for the fact that I am 2 full pieces down instead of “only” one. Anyway, White’s advantage is still decisive, it will only take a bit longer than usual to realize it.

8.Qe2 d6 9.Kh1 Ne7 10.c3 N5c6 11.d4 Bb6 12.Bh6 Qh4 13.Qe3 Ne5 14.Bg5 

14...Qxh2+ 15.Kxh2 Ng4+ 16.Kg3 Nxe3 17.fxe3+ Ke6 18.Rf6+ Kd7 19.Rf7 Re8 20.Nd2 c6 21.Raf1 Bd8 

22.Rxh7 Kc7 23.Rff7 Kb6 24.Bxe7 Be6 25.Bxd8+ Raxd8 26.Rxb7+ Ka6 27.Rxa7+ Kb6 28.Rhb7 checkmate

I hope you enjoyed this. But if you publish this game, tell your readers I advise them NOT to try 4.Nxe5.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Proto-Jerome Gambits? (Part 5)

As a last look at the possible influences on Alonzo Wheeler Jerome, in his creation of 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+, we take a look at the line 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Bc4 Nf6 (instead of 3...Bc5) which transposes, after 4.Nf3, to the Urusov Gambit, which is deeply covered at Michael Goeller's wonderful site.

While the 1857 analysis of the gambit by Prince Sergei Urusov may not have been available to AWJ, games like Kolisch - Paulsen, London, 1861, might have been.

It is hard to get very Jerome-ish here, after 4...Bc5, but Goeller does mention the modern game Hopf - Schintgen, Bratislava 1993, which continued 5.e5 Ng4 6.Bxf7+ (1-0, 34).

(Of course, if, instead, Black plays 4...Nc6, then after 5.0-0 Bc5 6.e5 Ng4 ["playable but rarely seen" according to coverage at] then 7.Bxf7+ would come in a Max Lange Variation of the Two Knights Defense, which is a whole 'nother thing...)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Proto-Jerome Gambits? (Part 4)

Of course, as Alonzo Wheeler Jerome was putting together his ideas on the Jerome Gambit, he might well have been influenced by the games of Joseph Henry Blackburne, whose aggression often showed up in sharp attacks like the one after 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ as we have seen before; or, a move later, here.

(A correspondence game played after Jerome passed on is still worth passing along again.)

Coming out of the move order that we have been looking at, 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Bc5 3.d4 exd4 the Lewis Gambit, reaches the same position after 4.Bxf7+, and, as the earliest example was Staunton - Cochrane, match, 1841, the line was likely available to Jerome as well. 

It is also available to Readers who would like to check out Secrets of Opening Surprises, Volume 10, edited by Jeroen Bosch, where the Lewis Gambit is examined.