Saturday, September 7, 2013

Still A Mess

Following up on the previous post ("Too Much of A Bad Thing"), here is another "public service announcement" about the difficulty of surviving 3...h6 and 4...Na5 when facing the Jerome Gambit - this time, the 4.c3 version.

Earlier warnings include "Still Worth Knowing", "Getting Creative," and "I'm Just Sayin'...".

hendrikgosse - codh
blitz, FICS, 2013

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 h6 

The Semi-Italian Opening.

4.c3 Na5 

Asking for the "Jerome treatment." White obliges.

5.Bxf7+ Kxf7 6.Nxe5+ Ke8 

The comparatively better 6...Ke6 is well met by 7.Qh5 with a clear advantage to White. 

7.Qh5+ Ke7 

Or 7...g6 8.Qxg6+ Ke7 9.Qf7+ Kd6 10.Ng6 and Black will be down material, with an unsafe King.

8.Ng6+ Kf6 9.Nxh8 Nc6 10.Qh4+ Ke6 11.Qxd8 Black resigned

After 11...Nxd8 12.Ng6 White will be up the exchange and a couple of pawns.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Too Much of A Bad Thing

As much as I enjoy watching (and playing) smashing attacks in the Jerome mode, I have to (again) warn defenders, out of a sense of fairness, that the following defense amounts to too much of a bad thing.

funnycrimes - MaxMBJ

blitz, FICS, 2013

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

The Semi-Italian Opening.

4.O-O Na5 

Black's move is provocative, especially when combined with 3...h6 ("like walking around with a Kick Me! sign pinned to the seat of your pants..." see "A Hot Rocket to Oblivion"). The "Jerome Treatment" is clearly recommended.

5.Bxf7+ Kxf7 6.Nxe5+ Ke8 

Technically better is 6... Ke6, but Black's game would still be clearly worse. 

7.Qh5+ g6 

Looking this line up in The Database, only 3 of the 15 defenders (including this game) found this move; alas, all of them lost, anyhow.

On the other hand, 11 of the 12 players who chose an alternate 7th move lost as well (White blundered his Queen in the one Black win).

Here are the sordid details:

7...Ke7 8.Ng6+ 

(Or 8.Qf7+ Kd6 9. Qd5+ [9.d4 Nc6 10. Nc4#, aghamal - muchpain, blitz, FICS, 2012] 9...Ke7 10.Ng6+ [10.Qxa5, Black resigned, KeepuHonest - Barnetme, blitz, FICS, 2012; or 10.Qf7+ Kd6 11.Qd5+ Ke7 12.Ng6+ White won by ajudication, JoeDemir - dogbrother, blitz, FICS, 2010] 10...Ke8 [10...Kf6 11.Nxh8 c6 12.e5+ Ke7 13. Qf7#, aldac - anesh, blitz, FICS, 2011] 11.Nxh8 Qg5 [11...Nc6 12.Qf7#, rosti - carifano, blitz, FICS, 2010] 12.Qf7+ Kd8 13. Qxf8#, comport - khemosabi, blitz, FICS, 2013}) 


(8...Ke6 9.Qf5+ Kd6 10. Qd5#, perrypawnpusher - TheTrueDamaBlanca, blitz, FICS, 2009; or 8...Kd6 9. e5+ [9. Nxh8 Kc6 {9... Nc4 10. Nf7+, Black resigned, bartab - VeniceOdyssey, standard, FICS, 2011} 10.Qxa5 b6 11.Qd5#, albertpak - khemosabi, blitz, FICS, 2013; or 9. Qe5+ Kc6 10.Qd5+ Kb6 11.d3 Nf6 12.Be3+ c5 13.Qf5 d6 14.d4 Bxf5 15.dxc5+ dxc5 16.exf5 Rg8 17.b4 Nc6 18.Nd2 Ka6 19.bxc5 Bxc5 20.Bxc5 Qxd2 21.Rab1 b6 22.Be3 Qxc2 23.Rfc1 Qe4 24.Rxc6 Qxc6 25.Ne7 Qc2 26.Rc1 Qxa2 27.Nxg8 Nxg8 28.g4 Nf6 29.h3 Kb7 30.g5 hxg5 31.Bxg5 Ne4 32.Be3 Rc8 33.Rxc8 Kxc8 34.Kg2 Qd5 35.f3 Qa2+ 36.Kf1 Ng3+ 37.Ke1 Qe2#, valiantknight - Monkee, blitz, FICS, 2000] 9...Kc6 10.Nxh8 b6 11.Qf3+ Kb5 12.Qxa8 Bb7 13.Qxd8, 

Black resigned, duvvisreedhar - khemosabi, blitz, FICS, 2011) or
(8... Kf6 9.Qf5#, balix - luccass, blitz, FICS, 2012

9.Nxh8+ g6 10. Qxg6+ Ke7 11. Qf7+ Kd6 12. Qd5+ Ke7 13. Qe5#, Houdini.


Here Black resigned in ghostshadowrook - VeniceOdyssey, standard, FICS, 2011.

8...Ke7 9.Qf7+

White proceeds with a clear plan. For those who want something

more complicated, Houdini recommends 9.Nc3 c6 10.b3 Qe8 11.Ba3+ Kd8 12.Nf7+ Qxf7 13.Qxf7.

analysis diagram

9...Kd6 10.Qd5+ Ke7 11.Ng6+

Or 11.Qxa5 d6 12.Ng6+ Ke8 13.Nxh8 Qf6 14.Qh5+ Ke7 15.Ng6+ Kd7 16.Nxf8+ Qxf8 17.Qf5+ Kd8 18.Qxf8+ Kd7 19.Qxg8 Kc6 20.Qc4+ Black resigned, Divtwo - HotCaldron, FICS, 2010


Not much better is 11...Kf6 12.Nxh8 Kg7 13.Qxa5 Kxh8 

12. Nxh8 b6 13.Qf7 checkmate

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Risk of Improvisation

When an opening has an established refutation (or several) it can be risky to wander away from it (them). In the following game, Black improvises away from a safe response to the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) - to his own detriment.

Petasluk - KvanHouten
blitz, FICS, 2013

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 

7.f4 d6 8.fxe5 Ne7 

Black has played "The Annoying Defense" (see 1, 2, 3 for some coverage) 7...d6, which returns a piece and gives White little for his attack to gnaw upon. How annoying!

Yet, the "main line" of "The Annoying Defense" is the consistent 8...dxe5, and Black risks his usual solid position by avoiding the move.


Creating some pressure on Black.

Previously seen: 9.exd6 Kxd6 10.e5+ Kc6 11.Qf3+ Qd5 12.Qf7? Qxf7 13.d3 Qf2+ 14.Kd1 Bg4, checkmate,  GuyEtienne - carssi, FICS, 2008


Planning to use the Knight to capture on e5 (instead of the more mundane, but correct, 9...dxe5), but this much improvisation is deadly, a White's previous move was more than a tempo loss.

10.Qf5+ Ke7 11.Qf7 checkmate

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Another Log on the Fire

Declining any kind of Jerome Gambit can only be justified for "psychological" reasons, as the defender is swapping at least an even game - and often a better game - for a worse one. Yet, as the new batch of games added to The Database shows, it still happens.

lksharma - Zaprax

blitz, FICS, 2013

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nd4

The Blackburne Shilling Gambit.


The Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit.


There is no need to decline the Bishop, as Black gets a roughly even game with the capture.

5.Nxe5 d6 

White has scored 61% from this position, in 130 games in The Database. Given that the first player is two pawns up, that relatively low success rate is probably a reflection of play at the club (and blitz) level.


This looks aggressive ("one more log on the fire") but has not always worked for White - see crokit - sahistonline, blitz, FICS, 2011 for one other time out of ten games that it did - and the more prosaic 6.Bxg8 Rxg8 would not hand over the advantage to the second player as the text does.


This move is good for Black, but challenging the White Queen with 6...Nf6 was even stronger. 

7.Qg5+ Kd7 

Again, 7...Nf6 was the move. It looks as if Black were responding to the possibility of 7...Kxf7 8.Qxd8, giving up his Queen; but, had he chosen that move order, after 8...Nxc2+ 9.Kf1 Bd6 10.Nc3 Nxa1 the game would have been about even. 

analysis diagram

8.Qxe5 Nxc2+ 

Falling for the bait. Houdini prefers consolidation with 8...c5 9.Nc3 Nf6 10.Bb3 Bd6 11.Qg5 Kc7 12.d3 Kb8 13.Bf4 Re8 14.Bxd6+ Qxd6 15.0-0-0 a6 16.f4 Qc7 with Black as slightly better.

analysis diagram

9.Kd1 Nxa1 10.Qe6 checkmate