Saturday, October 5, 2013

A Dynamic Hybrid

The other day I was minding my own business, playing Black in a 3 0 blitz game at FICS when my opponent, mitchies, suddenly added a dose of "Jerome" to our game.

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nxd5 4.Bc4 Nb6 5.Bxf7+ 

Wow! That got my attention. 

This reminded me of the FICS games of Veijoasquerosos, of Mexico, who, early on in this blog, I nicknamed "The King of Bxf7+" for his practice of playing Bxf7+ against practically anything. For those of you with significant aggression management issues, that post is still worth checking out.

In my game, mitchies pressed his attack, while I defended and exchanged Queens. However, as time wound down, I dropped a piece - finally justifying my opponent's overt aggression.

Alas, for him, and the ghost of Alonzo Wheeler Jerome, both of our flags were hanging, but his fell first. 

5...Kxf7 6.Qf3+ Kg8 7.d3
e5 8.Qg3 Qf6 9.Nf3 Nc6 10.O-O Bd6 11.Bg5 Qg6 12.Ne4 h6 13.Be3 Qxg3
14.fxg3 Bg4 15.Nh4 Kh7 16.h3 Be6 17.g4 Rhf8 18.g5 Rxf1+ 19.Rxf1 Rf8
20.Re1 h5 21.g6+ Kg8 22.Ng5 Rf6 23.d4 Bd7 24.dxe5 Nxe5 25.Bd4 Rf8
26.Bxe5 Bxe5 27.Rxe5 Bc6 28.Ne6 Re8 29.Nf3 Bd7 30.Nxc7 Rxe5 31.Nxe5
Bf5 32.Nf7 Nd7 White forfeited on time

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Do As I Say...

Readers are encouraged to enjoy the following quickie game, while recalling the charge: Do as I say, not as I do...

perrypawnpusher - schachix

blitz, FICS, 2013

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Ke8 

When declining the Knight, usually Black's King retires to f8.


The Queen check was irresistible, but not best. I had been trying to get a Jerome Gambit all week, and this was my first opportunity.

The proper way to play this, as I should have remembered, is 6.Nxc6 when after 6...Qh4 (no examples in The Database) 7.d4 Qxe4+ 8.Qe2 Qxe2+ 9.Kxe2 Bb6 10.Nb4 Bxd4 11.Nd5 Kd8 the game would be equal.

For the record, 6.Nxc6 bxc6 was seen in Wall,B - Qwerty,, 2010 (1-0, 9) and Wall,B - LFTN, FICS 2012 (1-0, 20) while 6...dxc6 was dispatched in Wall,B - Gebba,, 2010 (1-0, 11).


I had already pulled off 6...Ke7 7.Qf7+ Kd6 8.Qd5+ Ke7 9.Nxc6+ Kf6 10.Qf5 checkmate, Kennedy - WeakDelphi, blitz 2 12, 2008 and 6...Kf8 7.Qf7 checkmate, perrypawnpusher - platel, blitz, FICS, 2011 (which probably influenced my choice of 6.Qh5+). 



Here is where my opponent lost his chance. Houdini recommends 7...Bxf2+ 8.Kxf2 Nf6 9.Qh4 Rg8 10.Rf1 Rxg6 11.Kg1 Qe7 with advantage to Black.

Only 5 games in The Database have Black's counter-sacrifice of the Bishop, and 4 of them are wins for White, for example 7...Bxf2+ 8.Kxf2 Qf6+ (8...Nf6 was correct) 9.Nf4+ Kd8 10.d3 d6 11.Rf1 Qd4+ 12.Be3 Qf6 13.c3 Black resigned, Hultgren,R - Harrow, Campbell, CA 1960.

8.Nxh8+ Kd8 9.Qxc5 Qxh8 10.Qf8 checkmate

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

After the Refutation: Play On!

While it is nice to surprise an opponent with the Jerome Gambit, more and more often defenders are showing that they have an idea about how to defend - if not outright refute - the opening. What's an attacker to do?

Well, play on, of course!

Wall,B - Guest1839713, 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 dxe5 

The so-called "annoying defense" (see "Philidor1792 vs the Annoying Defense" Parts 1, 2 and 3; "Further Exploration" and "Theory from the Thematic Tournament" Parts 3 and 4), the refutation choice of most computers, which has even given Bill trouble from time to time.

It is interesting to put this in perspective, however, in light of the previous post on "refutation". 

The Database has over 10,000 games starting with the Jerome Gambit sequence 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+, with White scoring 45%. Interestingly enough, against the "annoying defense" White has scored 58%.

Bill has scored 70% against the "annoying defense" which looks good until you realize that his over-all Jerome Gambit score is 96%.

It is as if a sage has warned players: After the refutation, the gods have placed the rest of the game...

9.Qh3+ Kf7 10.Qh5+ Kf8 11.Qxe5 


This certainly looks aggressive enough, but Bill recommends, instead,11...Qh4+ 12.g3 Qe7.


Wise. As Bill points out, there is more danger in 12.Qd5? Qh4+ 13.Ke2 Qg4+ 14.Ke1 Qxg2 15.Rf1+ Nf6

12...Nf6 13.Qg5 Kg8 

Instead, 13...h6 14.Qh4 g5 was seen in Colossus - Spike1.2, Jerome Forced Computer Chess Match, 2006 (0-1, 43); while 13...Be6 was seen in several games in the legendary Fisher-Kirshner,M - Knight Stalker, Mission San Jose, Fremont, CA, 1993 match.


White needs to push on, as Bill demonstrates. Not 14.Nc3? Bxh2+ 15.Kxh2 Ng4+

14...Bc5+ 15.Kh1 Be7 16.exf6 Bxf6 

What can I say?

Bill Watterson said it best when he titled one of his Calvin and Hobbes books:

To wit, Black has "scientifically" returned the sacrificed material to calm the storm. True, he is a pawn down, but he hopes that the "two Bishops" will compensate in an open position. 

17.Qc5 h6 18.Nc3 c6 19.Ne4 Bd4 20.Qc4+ Kh7

Black has castled by hand.

21.c3 Be5? 

Instead, Bill recommends 21...Re8 22.cxd4 Rxe4 with about an equal game, although 22.Ng3!? might be a way for White to maintain an edge.

22.d4 Bc7 23.Qd3 

This is a strong move, but Bill points out 23.Nf6+! gxf6 (23...Kg6 24.Qd3+ Kf7 25.Ne8+ kills) 24.Qf7#

23...Rf8 24.Nf6+ 

Better late than never: a nice discovered double check.

24...Kh8 25.Qh7 checkmate


Sunday, September 29, 2013


As much as I enjoy the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+), I have acknowledged from the beginning (see "But - Is this stuff playable??" Part I and Part II) that it is not really a "good" opening in the sense of the Ruy Lopez or Sicilian Defense.

So, when I ran across the following discussion of "refuted" at Tim Sawyer's "Playing Chess Openings" blog I had to chuckle. Tim was talking about a line in the Blackmar Diemer Gambit - which, when compared to the Jerome, is as solid as the Catalan or the Slav - but he makes good points.

"Refuted" in chess opening terminology has to do with theory or evidence. Basically, a variation is refuted if: when you play it, you lose.
There are three types of "refuted" variations:
1. When computer analysis overwhelmingly favors your opponent's side.

2. When the performance ratings are significantly below expectations.
3. When you lose regularly with this variation against your opponents.

My guess is that most of the members of the Jerome Gambit Gemeinde are satisfied that #3 is not their problem - they either win regularly against their opponents, or they play enjoyable games (and that is enough for them).