Saturday, December 1, 2012

Half A Mind, or Mesmerized?

I cannot tell if my opponent in the following game was so dismissive of the Jerome Gambit that he hardly spent any thought at all on his moves (see "Not Worth One's Full Attention"), or if he was so overwhelmed by it that he could not. Either way, the end came quickly. 

(You could check out our earlier game, which showed what kind of creativity we could conjure up when we put both our minds to it.)

perrypawnpusher  - wertu

blitz, FICS, 2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ng6 

7.Qd5+ Ke8 8.Qxc5 d6 9.Qe3 Qe7 10.0-0 

10.Nc3 and 10.d4 are alternatives, although they all may transpose. 

10...Be6 11.f4 Kd7 

Cold-bloodedly returning a piece. Probably 11...Bc4 12.d3 Ba6 13.Nd2 Nf6 14.Nf3, which led to an equal game, was better. 

12.f5 Bc4 

Again, curous. With 12...Bxf5 13.exf5 Qxe3+ 14.dxe3 Ne5 Black could have minimized White's edge.

13.d3 Bxd3 14.cxd3 Ne5 15.d4 Ng4 

The eternal lure of attacking the Queen.

16.Qf3 N8f6 17.Nc3 h5 18.Bg5 

This is an oversight of its own, as Black now has 18...Nxh2 19.Kxh2 Ng5+ 20.Kg1 Qxg5, picking up a pawn.

After the game Rybka showed how White could complicate things, but it is not a line that I would have thought of over-the-board: 18...Nxh2 19.Qd3 Nxf1 20.e5 dxe5 21.dxe5+ Kc8 22.exf6 gxf6 23.Bf4 Rd8 24.Qxf1 Qc5+ 25.Kh2 Rd4 26.Re1 Qxf5 27.Re8+ Kd7 28.Rxa8 Rxf4 29.Qe1 Qe5 30.Qxe5 fxe5 31.Rxa7 Kc6 when Black has only a pawn for his piece.

18...Rae8 19.Rae1 c6 

He still had 19...Nxh2.





Cautious, not wanting to allow the Queen check at c5, but it was possible to survive the move: 21.e5 dxe5 22.dxe5 Qc5+ 23.Be3 and after 23...Qxe5 White has 24.Bxh6 Qxe1 25.Rxe1 Rxe1+ 26.Kf2 Re7 27.Be3 when he has a Queen and a Bishop against Black's two Rooks.

21...Qf7 22.e5 Nd5

Over- or under-thinking the move.

23.e6+ Rxe6 24.fxe6+ Qxe6 25.Rxe6 Black resigned

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Losing A Half Point / Fog of War

Scoring 95%+ with the Jerome Gambit, Bill Wall can afford to think of a draw as "losing a half-point". In the following game, his opponent clearly has had enough excitement wandering through the fog of war and goes for the repetition of position, splitting the point.

An honorable draw against Mr. Wall. An honorable draw against Jerome's "Double Gambit".

Little did Black realize that by doing so, he was losing another half point.

Wall,B - Guest2627909, 2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7  5.d4 

One of the "modern" Jerome Gambit lines, instead of the classical 5.Nxe5. For a couple of earlier posts regarding 5.d4, see here and here.

5...Bxd4 6.c3 Bb6 

Avoiding 6...Bc5 7.Qd5+ Ke8 8.Qxc5 from Wall,B - Guest1366999,, 2011 (1-0, 38)

7.Qb3+ Kf8 8.Bg5 Qe8 9.0-0 Nf6 10.Nbd2 d6 

11.a4 Qe6 12.Qc2 h6 13.Bxf6 Qxf6 14.Nc4 Be6 15.Qe2 a6 16.Nxb6 cxb6 

17.Rfd1 Rd8 18.Qe3 Bg4 19.Qxb6 Bxf3 20.gxf3 Qxf3 

21.Qxb7 Ne7 22.Re1 Nf5? 23.Qb6

23...Qg4+ 24.Kh1 Qf3+ 25.Kg1 Qg4+ 26.Kh1 Qf3+ Draw

This is all well and good, but what if on move 24 (or 26) Black had played 24...Nh4!? instead of suing for peace? Could he really afford to offer a double-Rook sacrifice?? (Did he have the time or the energy or the confidence to look for such a saving line of play?)

White's only choice would be to take one Rook with 25.Qxd8+, but after 25...Kf7 the threat of checkmate keeps him from taking the second Rook. He can try 26.Qc7+, as all but one reply allows him to constantly check as well, but 26...Ke8 is strong. There can follow 27.Qc6+ Kf8 28.Qxd6+ Kg8 and White has pretty much run out of options. He will have to go for 29.Qd8+ Kh7 30.Qxh4 and after 30...Qxh4 Black would clearly be winning.

This all seems to indicate that White should have tried 24.Kf1 instead of putting his King in the corner, although after 24...Qh3+ Black can either pursue repeated checks and a draw with 25.Ke2 Qg4+, etc. or return a piece with 25...Ke7 26.exf5 although the resulting position is likely to be eventually drawn, as well.

My guess, though, is that Guest2627909 was happy with his draw, and might even have felt fortunate to have obtained it. 

(I remember a last round game in a long-ago tournament where I had a better endgame against a higher-rated opponent. He suddenly offered a draw, pointing out that I would then be well-placed enough to collect some prize money. We shook, I took a half-dozen steps toward the Tournament Director, and then stopped... By winning the game, I suddenly realized, I would have collected even more prize money. The draw allowed my opponent to cash in, too, while a loss would have left him with nothing.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

In A Lost and Lonely Place

For all of the refutations published, here and elsewhere, the Jerome Gambit can still lead a defender into a lost and lonely place, where his King can find danger, and sometimes an ignominious and untimely death.

perrypawnpusher - ibnoe

FICS, 2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ g6 7.Qxe5 Nf6 

This move, which surrenders another piece (7...d6, the Blackburne Defense, is preferrable, and 7...Qe7, the Whistler Defense, is best) is as old as a game from a match between Mexican Champion Andres Clemente Vazquez and American William Harrington, Mexico 1876.

Either Black is unfamiliar with the Jerome Gambit (Quick! Block the Queen's check with a pawn! Yikes! Now my Rook is attacked by the Queen! Block the attack with my Knight!) or he believes that he can calm the opening by returning material, hoping to hold on in a pawn-down position.

8.Qxc5 Nxe4

In the notes to my game perrypawnpusher - brain50, JG3 thematic,, 2008 I suggested 8...Nxe4. The earliest example of that move in The Database is Toromic - Achele, FICS, 2001 (0-1, 32).

9.Qd5+ Kf6 

My game perrypawnpusher  - LibertasProVitablitz, FICS, 2009 continued 9...Kg7. In my notes (see "Sometimes a platypus has to do what a platypus has to do...") I suggested "After 10.Qxe4 Re8 11.Qe3 d5 12.0-0 Rxe3 13.dxe3 Bf5 White has Rook, a Knight and a pawn for his Queen. I think simply being a pawn up, with the text [10.0-0], is better." The same goes for 9...Kf6 10.Qxe4 in the current game.


Prudent, getting the King off of the dangerous file (10.Qxe4? Re8), but after the game Fritz 8 suggested the straight forward 10.d3, which simply wins the Knight, as it cannot move or Bg5+ would win Black's Queen.

10...Re8 11.d3 c6 

Black would like to chase away the annoying Queen before retreating his endangered Knight (11...Nd6 won't do because of 12.Bg5+). His best chance, found by Rybka after the game, shows how dangerous the position actually is: 11...Re5 12.Qb3! Nd6 13.Qc3 (pinning the Rook) Ke6 14.Bf4 Rf5 15.Re1+ Kf7 16.Bh6! Rf6 17.Bg5. During the game I was looking at 11...Re5 12.Qd4, immediately pinning the Rook, but 12...c5, while still good for White, would have led to messy positions.

12.Qd4+ Kf5 

Black does not "believe" in the attack, and wants at least a pawn back for the piece. Instead, he allows the Rook to be pinned after all.

13.dxe4+ Rxe4

14.Qd3 d5 15.f3 Ke5 16.fxe4 Black resigned

Sunday, November 25, 2012

An Inoffensive Defense

Wall,B - Guest1443273, 2012

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ g6 7.Qxe5 Bxf2+ 

I have referred to this as a "calming variation" in the "Nothing Happened" post a couple of years ago. Although it is similar in a way to the "anti-Bill Wall gambit," I don't think that Bill has seen this particular move in any of his games, but remember - he has The Database, and there are 70 examples there.

8.Kxf2 Qh4+ 9.Kf1 TN 9...Qf6+ 10.Qxf6+ Nxf6 

The wild, madcap attack from the Jerome Gambit has been cancelled. Black, however, is simply a pawn down, and he is still a long way from the possible drawing chances of a Bishops-of-opposite-colors endgame.

11.Nc3 c6 12.e5 Nh5 13.Ne4 Ke6 14.Ng5+ Ke7 15.d4 Rf8+ 16.Ke1 h6 17.Ne4 g5 

Not only does White's Knight eye d6 and f6, we can see the foreboding (for Black) situation of the light-squared Bishop on c8 blocking the Rook at a8, a common behind-in-development feature in "reduced" Jerome Gambits.

18.Bd2 b6 19.Bb4+ c5 20.Nxc5!? bxc5 21.Bxc5+ Ke8 22.Bxf8 Kxf8 

White has three pawns and a Rook against a Knight and Bishop. The pesky "Jerome pawns" quickly go to work.

23.h4 g4 24.Rf1+ Kg7 25.c4 Ba6 26.b3 Rd8 27.d5 Re8 28.e6 

At first glance this looks like White is simply tossing a pawn, but he has a different idea.

28...dxe6 29.d6 Rd8 30.Rd1 Ng3 31.Rf4 h5 32.c5 Nf5? 

Black needed to get the Bishop on the defensive a4-e8 diagonal with 32...Bb5.

33.Ra4 Bb7?  

Allowing a nice finish.

34.Rxa7 Rd7 35.Rxb7! Rxb7 36.c6 Black resigned