Saturday, November 17, 2012

We must know what we're doing...

Did you look over the games from Thursday's post?

Did you actually play the moves from Bill Wall's games out in your head or on a board?

Did you wind up asking yourself: What was Black thinking??

White plays 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 and before he can even think of sacrificing his Bishop with 4.Bxf7+ he sacrifices his Knight instead with 4.Nxe5.

Does Black say "Yippee! Gimme! Gimme!ThankYouVeryMuch!" and take the piece? No, he does not. He looks the gift horse in the mouth and plays 4...Nh6


Next time around, the Bill's new opponent does take the Knight, but only after he sacrifices a piece of his own with 4...Bxf2+ 5.Kxf2 Nxe5.


If these were over-the-board games, we might be accusing Bill of witchcraft  or would that be warlockcraft ?

Every time I tell Bill that it's risky to play such a refuted opening as the Jerome Gambit, he reminds me that it is only risky if the opponent knows the refutation.

Sometimes, instead, the opponent figures that the Jerome Gambiteer must know what he's doing – why else would someone sacrifice a piece, except if it were strong ? –  and so bails out of the refutation, just in case.

With almost 1600 posts, this blog is many things, but most peculiarly an ongoing study of what must be considered errors in problem-solving.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Never Say "Never"

After introducing the mangled-Jerome-Gambit line 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Nxe5 from a game by MrJoker in "Why So Serious?", with a caution not to try out White's move (premature in the Jerome), I almost immediately had to post Bill Wall's interest in investigating where angels fear to tread, so to speak (see "Relatively Speaking").

Who could be surprised by the following email I just received?

(I love working on this blog!)

After Joker recommended not to play 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Nxe5, I decided 
to take the challenge and play it. I am glad to see that there are 130 games of this variation 
in the ChessBase Big Database 2012. Here are two more to add to the collection.
Wall - Guest2075193,, Nov 10, 2012
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Nxe5 (instead of Jerome's move with 4.Bxf7!?) 4...Nh6 
(most common and better is 5.Nxe5) 5.Qh5 (may be a new move. Previously played has 
been 5.Ng4) 5...O-O? (doesn't look good. Best seems 5...Qf6, threatening 6...Qxf2+) 
6.Nxc6 Bxf2+ (6...bxc6 7.Qxc5) 7.Kxf2 dxc6 (now Black threatens 8...Qd4+ and 9...Qxc4)8.d3 Bg4 
(perhaps 8...Ng4+) 9.Qc5 Qh4+ 10.Kf1 (or 10.g3) 10...Kh8? 11.Bg5 Qh5 
12.Be7 Rfe8 13.Qxh5 Bxh5 14.Bg5 Ng8 15.Nd2 b5 16.Bb3 h6 17.Bf4 Re7 18.h3 g5 
19.Be3 a5 20.g4 Bg6 21.a4 Kh7 22.h4 and Black resigned 1-0
Wall - Guest2095477,, Nov 10, 2012
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Nxe5 Bxf2+ 5.Kxf2 Nxe5 6.Be2 Qf6+ (perhaps a 
new move. 6...Qh4+ has been played in the past) 7.Kg1 Ne7 (perhaps 7...c5 or 7...Nc6) 
8.d4 N5g6 9.Nc3 c6? (9...O-O) 10.e5 Qh4?? (White now traps the queen. Perhaps 
10...Nxe5 11.dxe5 Qxe5. Not 10...Qf5? 11.Bg4. 10...Qe6 11.Ne4 looks good for White) 
11.g3 Qh3 12.Bg4 and Black resigned 1-0

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Relatively Speaking

No sooner had I posted a game by MrJoker (a player with years of experience with the Jerome Gambit) giving a warning not to follow up 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 with 4.Nxe5, than I received an email from Bill Wall (another very successful Jerome Gambiteer), wondering if the move should be avoided, after all...

It took me a while to understand his point, at which time I cracked up laughing.

There are 33 possible moves that White can play in this Italian Game position. On a blog that has examined and championed the arguably 28th worst* of those choices, I had been skeptical about someone talking a look at the 27th worst move!

A lot of 4th moves for White are "playable" in this position if they are compared against Alonzo Wheeler Jerome's favorite, rather than against the "best" move.

Readers might want to uncover the 5 moves "objectively" worse than 4.Bxf7+.

(*-ratings of moves is by Rybka 3, to the depth of 15 ply)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Act Hastily, Repent at Leisure

perrypawnpusher - joseluizlopez, blitz, FICS, 2012

In a recent Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) I was generally out-played by my opponent, and, for some reason, decided that I should take refuge in a pawn-down endgame – which you can see, from the above position from the game, turned out to be not a very successful strategy.

I played on because my opponent was short of time, and I foolishly hoped that his flag would fall before my King did.

To speed things up, I had been using the "pre-move" function at FICS, where you can chose your next move while your opponent is thinking, and the computer will immediately execute it as soon as it is your turn. Save seconds, put on the pressure...

In certain circumstances, that can be an effective tactic, but look what happened in this game: 


This has to be a mouse slip for 49...Qb4

Black throws his Queen away and – lucky for him – his King's good position allows him to sheepishly draw.

But, I looked on in horror, as I had never imagined that my opponent would have come up with this blunder, and I had already pre-moved something different...


And I was checkmated a few moves later.