Saturday, May 3, 2014

Annoying Enough?

The Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) has a lot of "annoying" about it. It is annoying for the defender to have to deal with a "new" 4th move. It is annoying for him to have to figure out a defense to the annoying attack. It is particularly annoying to lose to the Jerome Gambit.

So, I was a bit disappointed in the ending of the following game, as White had a final chance to be extra annoying: Black had abandoned his extra piece because he was sure that his "faster" passed pawn would win for him. Yet, the resulting position became drawn.

ramoasis - Irzo

blitz, FICS, 2013

After fifty-eight moves, Black is up a Queen for a pawn, but the special nature of the advanced f-pawn makes a draw possible. For Black to win, his King needs to be inside the area delineated by the red line.

59.Kf8 Kg4 60.Kg7 

White threatens to Queen his pawn, while keeping his King on the same side as Black's and covering the critical g6 square.

60...Qd4+ 61.Kg8 Qd5 62.Kg7 Qd7 

Now White can take advantage of the stalemate theme with 63.Kh8, as 63...Qxf7 would cement the draw. Other tries for Black allow White to Queen his pawn, or continue to resist in a similar manner.

63.Kg8 Qe6 

This was a blitz game, and both players slipped.

Black could have taken advantage of White's inaccuracy by advancing his King and forcing mate, 63...Kg5 64.Kh8 Qe7 65.Kg7 Kh5 66.Kg8 Kg6 67.f8=N!?+ Kg5 68.Kh8 Kh6 69.Ng6 Qg7 checkmate. 


Now we are back to drawable territory.

64...Qe7 65.Kg8 Qe6 66.Kg7 Qe7 67.Kg8 Qg5+ 

Black avoids the draw by threefold repetition and tries something different.


Instead 68.Kh8! would allow the draw. 

68...Kf5 69.Ke8 

Black's King is now inside the critical area, and can get to a square where he can help with checkmate.

69...Qg6 70.Ke7 Qg7 71.Ke8 Qg6 72.Ke7 Qe6+ 73.Kf8 Kf6 74.Kg8 Qxf7+ 75.Kh8 Qg7 checkmate

So - White had a possible draw, but missed it. That's annoying!

(Assistance in this column was provided by Houdini 3 and Fundamental Chess Endings by Müller and Lamprecht.)

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