Saturday, August 10, 2013

Near Miss

A couple of years ago I suggested the George J. Dougherty Club, with special membership for those chess players who had suffered the ignominity of losing to the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) - like Mr. Dougherty, who was the first one to face Alonzo Wheeler Jerome's gambit, and the first one to fall to it.

In light of my most recent Jerome Gambit, I was thinking of suggesting a "club" for those who play the Jerome, and who lose spectacularly with it. Then I thought again, and realized that the oft-refuted opening is supposed to fail gloriously for White, so such a club would "honor" more of "dog bites man" than "man bites dog."

Still, the following game is likely to cause members of the Jerome Gambit Gemeinde to howl... 

perrypawnpusher - darkwight
blitz, FICS, 2013

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 Ne5 

Certainly a provocative move, now, or a move or two later.


The Database shows a couple of alternatives: 10.d4 Ng4 11.Qg3 N8f6 12.f3 Qe7 13.0-0 Nh6 14.Nc3 Bd7 15.Bg5 Nf7 16.Nd5 Qd8 17.Bxf6 gxf6 18.Qg7 Be6 19.Nxf6+ Ke7 20.b3 Qf8 21.Qxf8+ Raxf8 22.Nh5 Ng5 23.h4 Nf7 24.Nf4 Bc8 25.Nd5+ Kd8 26.c4 c6 27.Nc3 Nh6 28.g4 Bxg4 29.fxg4 Nxg4 30.Rxf8+ Rxf8 31.Rf1 Rg8 32.Rf4 Ne5+ 33.Kf1 Nd3 34.Rf7 Kc8 35.Rxh7 Rf8+ 36.Ke2 Nf4+ 37.Kf3 Nd5+ 38.Kg4 Nxc3 39.e5 dxe5 40.dxe5 Ne4 41.h5 a5 42.h6 Nc5 43.Kg5 Ne4+ 44.Kg6 Rg8+ 45.Kf7 Rd8 46.Rg7 Rd7+ 47.Kg6 Black resigned, MrJoker - DanK28, Internet Chess Club, 2011; and

10.f4 as in perrypawnpusher - GabrielChime, blitz, FICS, 2009 (1-0, 21). 


Less aggressive were: 10...h6 11.d4 Nc6 12.f4 Nge7 13.Bd2 a6 14.d5 Nb8 15.c4 Bd7 16.Bc3 Rg8 17.Rf3 Black resigned, MrJoker - Melbourne, Internet Chess Club 2011; and

10...Nf6 as in perrypawnpusher - mikelars, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 26).

11.d4 Ng4 12.Qf4 N8f6 13.h3 Nh5 14.Qf3 Rf8 15.Qe2 Nf4

Black has whipped up an initiative, and his 4 attacking pieces are really looking scary. For some reason, I didn't think that my opponent could play his last move, and it caused me some surprise - followed by panic.


I was totally embarrassed after the game to realize that 16.Bxf4 was perfectly playable here, and White can continue to defend, e.g. 16...Rxf4 17.Nc3 Nxf2 (retreating the Knight allows White to fork the Rook and Queen with g2-g3) 18.Rxf2 Rxf2 19.Qxf2 Qxf2+ 20.Kxf2 and White is a pawn up.

16...Bd7 17.Qxb7  

Now Black concludes his attack.

17...Nxh3+ 18.gxh3 Nxf2 


The right move was 18...Rxf2!, when 19.Qxa8+ Kf7 20.Qd5+ Kf8 21.Qa8+ Be8 22.Qxe8+ Kxe8 23.Be3 Qg3+ 24.Kh1 Rh2 is checkmate.


19.Qxa8+ Ke7 20.Qxf8+ Kxf8 21.Rxf2+ 

Now White has two Rooks, a Knight and a pawn for his Queen, and should win - if he avoids time trouble.

21...Kg8 22.Bf4 Bxh3 23.Nc3 Qg4+ 24.Kh2 Qd7

Both of us were bothered by the ticking clock. I was trying not to get checkmated before I got my troops assembled, and my opponent was trying to create as much mischief as possible. Neither one of us were at our best for the rest of the game.

25.Bg3 h5 26.Rg1 g5 27.e5 h4

Advancing pawns against the enemy King is fun, but this overlooks something essential.

28.Bxh4 dxe5 29.Rxg5+ Kh7 30.Rg3 exd4 31.Rxh3 Qd6+ 

A final slip.

32.Bg3+ Black resigned

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Wrecking Ball

When Black, in this game, passes up going Kingside with his monarch to find safety for later going Queenside, he might have been wary of the mangled quotation: Do not ask for whom the wrecking ball tolls, it tolls for thee...

Wall, Bill - Guest1151077, 2013

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.Qa5

Adding yet another position that the Queen goes to on Bill's behalf. See "Spicy!"

9...Nf6 10.O-O 

The only other example of this 9.Qa5 line in The Database saw 10.d3 b6 11.Qc3 Bb7 12.O-O c5 13.f4 Rf8 14.f5 Ne5 15.Bf4 Nh5 16.Bxe5 dxe5 17.Qxe5+ Qe7 18.Qc3 Rd8 19.Nd2 Nf6 20.Nf3 Nd7 21.h4 Nf6 22.Ng5 Bc8 23.a4 h6 24.Nf3 Bb7 25.Ne5 Qd6 26.a5 Qd4+ 27.Qxd4 Rxd4 28.axb6 axb6 29.Ra7 Bxe4 30.dxe4 Rxe4 31.Ra8+ Ke7 32.Ng6+ Kd6 33.Rxf8 Re2 34.c4 Rxb2 35.Rd1+ Kc6 36.Ne5+ Kc7 37.Rf7+ Kc8 38.Nc6 Black resigned,  AsceticKingK9 - mckenna215, ChessWorld JG6, 2011

10...Rf8 11.d4 Nxe4

Greedy. Continuing to castle-by-hand with 11... Kf7 was indicated. Oddly enough, Black will choose later to castle-by-hand on the Queenside. 

12.Re1 Ne7

Calmly giving up the wayward Knight. Bill and Houdini 3 suggest two ways to look for counter-play and get something for the material: 12...d5 13.f3 c6 14.Qxd8+ Kxd8 15.fxe4 dxe4 16.Nc3; or 12...Qh4 13.g3 Qf6 14.Rxe4+ Kf7 15.Bg5 Qf5 16.Qxf5+ Bxf5 17.Re1.

13.Rxe4 Bf5 14.Re3  

White is a pawn up, and has the safer King.


Wisely looking to King safety. 14...Bxc2 would be answered by 15.Na3.

15.Nc3 Nc6 16.Qa4 Kc8 

17.d5 Ne7 18.Bd2 Ng6 19.Rae1 Bd7 20. Qd4 Rf7 

White is improving the placement of his pieces, while Black seems to be doing the opposite.

21.Ne4 Qh4 22.Rc3 

Threatening 23.Nxd6+. Now it is Black's Queen who will feel misplaced.

22...Kb8 23.Bg5 Qg4 24.f3 Qf5 25.Qc4 Bc8 

26.Nxd6 cxd6 27.Re8 Black resigned

Checkmate is inescapable: 27...a5 28.Rxc8+ Qxc8 29.Qxc8+ Ka7 30.Be3+ b6 31.Rc7+ Rxc7 32.Qxc7+ Ka6 33.Qxb6#.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Who's the "Expert"?

The following game made me wonder, who knows the Jerome Gambit better, him or me? The outcome was surely suggestive!

perrypawnpusher - vz721

Italian Game thematic,, 2013

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 

7.Qf5+ Kd6 8.f4 Qf6 9.fxe5+ Qxe5 10.Qf3 Nf6 11.d3

I have sometimes referred to this as the "optical illusion" variation (see here and here for starters) because of the number of times in blitz play that my opponents have relaxed and allowed me to pin their Queen to their King.

In the April 1874 issue of the Dubuque Chess Journal, Alonzo Wheeler Jerome wrote that 11.d3 compelled either King or Queen to move as White threatens Bf4; or Black can play ...g5

He was referring to the game Jerome - Shinkman, Iowa, 1874, which appeared in the July 1874 issue of the DCJ, and indeed, the game continued 11...Ke7 12.Nc3 g5; although after White's 21st move he wrote "and Mr. Shinkman announced loss of the Queen or mate in six moves." Ouch.

11...Ke7 12.Nc3 d6 13.Bf4 

So far, following Jerome - Brownson, Iowa, 1875, (1-0, 43).


An interesting improvement on Brownson's 13...Qe6, which allowed Jerome to play 14.0-0-0 and then meet 14...Qg4 with 15.Qf1. White doesn't have a great position, but he keeps the Queens on the board.

14.0-0-0 Qxf3 15.gxf3 Be6 16.d4 Bb4 

At first I was happy with my pawn center. It grabs space, and threatens to advance, feeding an attack on the King. However, I decided to "hold" the center, instead, and my pawn chain became frozen - and my opponent started hammering it.

17.d5 Bf7 18.Nb5 Kd7 19.Nd4 Rae8 20.Nf5 Rhg8

21.h4 Bg6 22.Nd4 Nh5 23.Bh2 Bc5 24.Rhe1 Bxd4 25.Rxd4 Rgf8 

All the "dynamic" aspects of the pawn center have been removed.

26.Rd3 Nf4 27.Rd2 Bh5 28.Re3 Ng6 29.Rf2 Nxh4 White resigned

I might have been able to get 30.f4 in here, but that was about as mobile as my center was going to get. It looked like nothing more than suffering to me, so I turned my  attention to my remaining games.

Very nicely played, Vlad! 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Pawns! The Pawns!

I smiled as I played over this game, and I have to admit to imagining hearing violin music in the background - the kind in the movies that is used to heighten the tension, bit-by-bit... Or - was that the music from "Jaws"?

Or, as Tattoo might have said, "The pawns! The pawns!"

Very funny how the pawns advance to the center - and just sit there. Black does not believe in them, he takes swipes at them, he even thinks at the end that they have abandoned their Knight - but he can't keep his eyes off of them.

Neither could I.

Fun game, killer ending.

Nice game, Mr. Roarke.

(Or should I have said "I think we're going to need a bigger chess board"?)

Wall,B - Guest348906, 2013

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ng6 

7.Qd5+ Ke8 8.Qxc5 N8e7 9.0-0

Bill has also played 9.Nc3, e.g. 9...b6 10.Qh5 d6 11.f4 Kd7 12.f5 Nf8 13.Qg4 Kc6 14.Qxg7 Nd7 15.f6 Qg8 16.0-0 Qxg7 17.fxg7 Rg8 18.Rf7 Ng6 19.Nd5 Re8 20.d4 Ba6 21.Nb4+ Kb5 22.Bd2 Re7 23.b3 Nc5 24.c4+ Ka5 25.Nd5 checkmate, Wall,B - Andr,T,, 2010.


This looks like a TN, preparing to castle-by-hand.

Previously: 9...d6, as in perrypawnpusher - nmuffjgp, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 23); and 9...b6 as in perrypawnpusher - Lark, blitz, FICS, 2009 (1-0, 59) and perrypawnpusher - jdvatty, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 28). 

10.d4 Kf7 11.f4 Kg8

The position is just about even.


A bit more prudent would have been 12.f5.


Black would have done better striking at the center, suggests Houdini 3: 12...d5 13.f5 b6 14.Qc3 dxe4 15.fxg6 Rxf1+ 16.Kxf1 Nxg6. 

13.Qh5 Qd7 

Targetting the pawns. Bill suggests instead 13...Nc6 14.Be3 Nxd4 15.Bxd4 Nxf4

14.f5 Nh8 15.c4 Rf6 16.Nc3 Nc6 17.Nd5  Rf8 18.Be3

Mesmerising, aren't they?

18...Na5 19. b3 c6 20.Nc3 d5

This move does not stem the tide of pawns.

21.cxd5 cxd5 22.Nxd5 Re8 23.e5

A little bait, that Black goes for.

23...Qxd5 24.Qxe8 checkmate