Friday, July 19, 2013

Strike While The Iron Is Hot

My most recent two Jerome Gambit games seem to illustrate the two classes of battle that I get enmeshed in. 

Sometimes my opponent plays well, and there comes a time when I need to act decisively - or lose the game.

Sometimes the game has a multitude of complex alternatives - and the player who misses out on the last one drops the point.

First, and example of the first.

perrypawnpusher - BeeFiftyTwo
blitz, FICS, 2013

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

The Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit.

5...Kxf7 6.Nxe5+ Nxe5 7.d4 Bxd4 8.Qxd4 d6 9.0-0 h6

Transposing to the Semi-Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit.

10.f4 Nc6 11.Qd3 Re8 

I have reached this position 15 times before and each time played 12.Bd2, scoring 70%, which is about my result for the IFKJG, but not as good as my result in the S-IFKJG.

For some reason, I decided to try something different.

12.b3 Kg8 13.Bb2 Bg4 14.h3 Bh5 15.Rae1 Bf7 16.Nd5 Nxd5 17.exd5 Nb4 

With only a pawn for my sacrificed piece, I needed some "cooperation" from my opponent, and here it is. The iron is hot.

If you had told me that Houdini now recommends 18.Qg3 Bg6 19.Qxg6 with advantage to White, I would not have argued (although I might have chuckled). I had looked at 18.Qg3, and was not afraid of Black returning a piece - I expected that instead he would play the logical follow-up to his Bishop maneuver, 18...g6.

In my calculations I missed the fact that 19.Qc3 would then be crushing - actually forcing a checkmate in no more than 8 moves!

18.Qc3 Qf6 

The difference: had I first forced ...g7-g6, this would not have been playable.

19.Qxf6 gxf6 20.a3 Nxd5 21.c4 Ne3 22.Rf3 Nf5 23.Rxe8+ Rxe8 24.Bxf6 Re3 25.Kf2 Rxf3+ 26.Kxf3 d5 

White's situation is not hopeless - my opponent was becoming short on time. A slim hope.


Probably better was 27.c5

27...Nd6 28.c5 Nb5 29.a4 Na3 30.g5 hxg5 31.fxg5 Nc2 32.Ke2 d4 33.Kd3 Bxb3 34.Bxd4 Nxd4 35.Kxd4 Bxa4

At this point my only hope was the clock, but it was not to be. My opponent moved quickly on his 2-second increment... The rest of the game would only be relevant if I had won on time. Maybe not even then.

36.h4 Be8 37.Kc4 a6 38.Kb4 Kg7 39.h5 Bxh5 40.c6 b6 41.Kc4 Bf3 42.Kb4 Bxc6 43.Kc4 Kg6 44.Kb4 Kxg5 45.Kc4 Kf5 46.Kb4 Ke5 47.Kc4 a5 48.Kb3 b5 49.Kc3 Bd5 50.Kb2 b4 51.Kb1 a4 52.Kb2 a3+ 53.Kb1 b3 54.Ka1 b2+ 55.Kb1 Be4+ 56.Ka2 b1Q+ 57.Kxa3 Bd5 58.Ka4 c6 59.Ka5 Qb5 checkmate

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Stepping Out of the Ring (temporarily)

I'm always up for a Jerome Gambit, if my opponent allows it.

Well - almost always. Sometimes my patience falters.

But that doesn't mean that I can't still play cheesy chess.

perrypawnpusher  - kanidonara
blitz, FICS, 2013

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 h6

Side-stepping the Jerome Gambit for the Semi-Italian Opening.


Hoping for 4...Bc5 and a chance at the Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit.

4...Nf6 5.Nc3

Okay. Looking for 5...Bc5 and the ability to play the Semi-Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit.


My opponent holds off on his ...Bc5. I've fussed about this before, in "Are We There Yet?"


Giving up on the Jerome Gambit.

Previously I prevaricated with 6.a3 and then my opponents allowed me my wish by playing ...Bc5: perrypawnpusher - cinamon, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 28); and perrypawnpusher - Olito, blitz, FICS, 2011 (0-1, 35).

I also "passed" with 6.d3, getting a chance to sacrifice my Bishop as well, in perrypawnpusher - tschup, blitz, FICS, 2010 (0-1, 18)

Bill Wall played 6.a4 and scored with 6...Bd6 7.Bxf7+ Kxf7 8.Qe2 Re8 9.Qc4+ Kf8 10.Nh4 Ne7 11.d3 b6 12.f4 a5 13.fxe5 Bxe5 14.d4 d5 15.exd5 Bd6 16.Bxh6 gxh6 17.Rxf6+ Kg7 18.Raf1 Ba6 19.Nb5 Be5 20.dxe5 Qxd5 21.Qg4+ Kh7 22.Rf7+ Kh8 23.Qg7 checkmate, Wall,B - Kamyar,K,, 2011.

6...exd4 7.Nxd4 Bc5 


I suppose that I could have still tried 8.Bxf7+, (although there are no examples in The Database) but I wanted to play this not-very-deep "trappy" move, as it was easy to guess my opponent's routine response.


Routine, but trouble.

9.Nxc6 bxc6 10.Bxc5

My opponent resigned a few moves later.

Here are a couple of similar examples, by long-time Jerome Gambit Gemeinde member PlatinumKnight.

PlatinumKnight - strawks
blitz, FICS, 2005
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 h6 4.d4 exd4 5.Nxd4 Bc5 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.Bxc5 Nxe4 9.Bxf7+ Kxf7 10.Qf3+ Nf6 11.Bd4 Qe7+ 12.Kd1 Re8 13.Qb3+ d5 14.Nd2 Qe2+ 15.Kc1 Qe1+ 16.Rxe1 Rxe1 checkmate

PlatinumKnight - warehouse
blitz, FICS, 2005
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 h6 4.d4 exd4 5.Nxd4 Bc5 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bxf7+ Kxf7 8.Nxc6 Bxe3 9.Nxd8+ Rxd8 10.0-0 Bg5 11.e5 Ng8 12.Qf3+ Ke6 13.Re1 c6 14.Nc3 b5 15.Ne4 Ne7 16.Nxg5+ hxg5 17.Qg4+ Kd5 18.Qxg5 g6 19.Rad1+ Kc5 20.e6+ Kb6 21.Qxe7 a5 22.Qxd8+ Kc5 23.e7 Bb7 24.Qxd7 Bc8 25.Qc7 Bf5 26.Re5+ Kb4 27.c3+ Ka4 28.Qxc6 Rb8 29.Rd4 checkmate

Monday, July 15, 2013

Riddle Me This, Fat Man

The following game can be looked at as a series of riddles posed to the "hero" (that would be me, I guess) on his way to an unexpected victory - isn't that the only kind of win for White that comes in the Jerome Gambit?

Sadly (for him), my opponent could not solve his own final riddle...

I have given game references for early in the play, to see how to deal with riddle #1 (7...Qe7, the Jerome Defense to the Jerome Gambit, by the way) and riddle #2 (9...Nh6), but after that you are largely on your own - as I was.

perrypawnpusher - Kleini

blitz, FICS, 2013

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Kf8 7.Qxe5 Qe7 8.Qf4+

I would rather not exchange Queens at this point.


The alternative 8...Nf6 is as old as two Jaeger,D - Jerome,A correspondence games from 1880, wins for Black in 14 and 40 moves.

At a faster time control, I have been more successful: perrypawnpusher - ERICOLSON, blitz, FICS, 2007 (1-0, 33);  

perrypawnpusher - frencheng, blitz, FICS, 2010 (½-½ , 31); perrypawnpusher - jonathankochems, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 39); and perrypawnpusher - Chesssafety,, 2012 (1-0, 25). 


Not 9.Qxc7? Qxf2+ 10.Kd1 d6


An interesting novelty of questionable value. 

Previously seen have been 9...d6 in Wall,B - Guest340293,, 2012 (1-0, 41), perrypawnpusher - JoseSoza,, 2012 (0-1, 37), and Wall,B - Josti,, 2013 (1-0, 26); and 9...Bd6 in perrypawnpusher - molerat, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 23). 

10.Nc3 d6 11.Nd5 Qf7 12.0-0 c6 


Houdini 3's solution to the riddle of this position is 13.d4!? The silicon superstar sees White drawing by repetition after 13...cxd5 14.dxc5 dxe4 (14...dxc5 15.Bxh6 gxh6 16.Qd6+ Kg7 17.Qg3+ etc.) 15.Bxh6 gxh6 16.Qxd6+ (16.f3!? is an interesting attempt for more, e.g. 16...e3 17.Rfe1 Bf5 18.Rxe3 Qf6 19.Qf4 Rg8 20.cxd6 ) Kg7 17.Qg3+ Qg6 18.Qc7+ Qf7 19.Qg3+, etc.

It's all  a bit over my head. Okay, more than "a bit". 

13...Be6 14.d3

Again, 14.d4!? seems to be the key to the position, 14...Bb4 15.a3 Bxc3 16.Qxd6+ Qe7 17.Qf4+ Kg8 18.bxc3 and Black's edge is minimal.



By now the alternative (according to Houdini 3) should be predictable: 15.d4!? Bb4 16.a3 Bxc3 17.Qxd6+ Kg8 18.bxc3 Nf7 with a small edge to Black.


White has two pawns for his sacrificed piece. 

The Knight escapade that I started with my next move was a bad idea, and led to a lost position. I should have moved the piece to the Kingside with 15...Ne2.

16.Na4 Bd4 17.c3 Bf6 18.b3 b5 19.Nb2 Bxc3

20.Rb1 Ke7 21.Nd1 Bd4 22.Ne3 Ng4 23.h3 Nxe3 24.fxe3 Be5 25.d4 Bg3 26.Rf3 Bh4 

Black's two Bishops are scary. He just has to be careful, and he can bring home the point.

Of course, that was true 20 moves ago, too.

27.Ba3 Rhf8 28.Rbf1 a5 

I don't blame you if you didn't shout "He should have exchanged Rooks before playing that move!" I didn't realize that it was that critical, either.


Exchanging Rooks, too, here is supposed to be stronger, according to Houdini 3. I was just glad to have a shot at bringing the game closer to equal.


Wow. Surprised by my move, my opponent stumbles hard. That's blitz for you.

Instead, after 29...Kxd6 30.Rxf8 Ra7!? Houdini 3 believes Black's two Bishops balance out White's Rook and two extra pawns. Play would remain tricky, but if White can collect and/or exchange some pawns, he should be able to split the point.

30.Rxf8+ Black resigned