Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Black is Better - Until He is Worse

Behind the following game is a lot of experience that each player has had in the Jerome Gambit and similar lines. My opponent shows that he has learned his lessons well. Only a couple of late slips deprive him of the benefits of this knowledge.

perrypawnpusher - JohnGHughes

blitz, FICS, 2014

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

The Semi-Italian Opening.

Twice last year my opponent played 3...Na5 and was stung hard by 4.Bxf7+ - in Bholashankar - JohnGHughes, FICS, 2013 (1-0, 9) and dentistkbz - JohnGHughes, FICS, 2013 (1-0, 10).

On the other hand, two years ago he won a regular Jerome Gambit -  JohnGHughes - CAPNATDO, FICS, 2012 (1-0, 10) - and split a couple of Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambits - JohnGHughes - ShinyLeprechaun, FICS, 2012 (0-1, 28) and JohnGHughes - grewal, FICS, 2012 (1-0, 19); so perhaps this is why he tacks to the Semi-Italian.


I discovered after our game that my opponent had stumbled twice in the past against 4.Bxf7+ - codh - JohnGHughes, FICS, 2012 (1-0, 19) and PapaDessalines - JohnGHughes, FICS, 2013 (1-0, 35) - but that line is too wild for me (says the Jerome Gambit player...).


Again, Black sidesteps 4...Na5 5.Bxf7+, having learned his lesson in ipadnov - JohnGHughes, FICS, 2013 (1-0, 16). 


The Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit.

5...Kxf7 6.Nxe5+ Nxe5 7.Qh5+ Kf8 

I have had more experience with 7...Ke6.

8.Qxe5 d6

Again, my experience is greater with 8...Bd6. I am being led away from my preparation.

9.Qg3 Nf6 10.d3 Be6 11.Be3 Kf7 12.f4

This is not the only pawn move available, as I could have tried 12.d4!? Bb6 13.Nc3 Kg8. I have a habit of choosing the f-pawn over the d-pawn.

12...Bxe3+ 13.Qxe3 Re8 

A move away from completing castling-by-hand, with better development, Black maintains his advantage.

White has to mobilize his "Jerome pawns" and press his attack against the King.

14.f5 Bd7 15.Nc3

An alternative plan was 15.Nd2 Kg8 16.Rae1. 

15...Kg8 16.h3

At this point Black focuses on White's pinned e-pawn. He sees that 16...Bxf5 would be answered by 16...Rxf5, but why not attack the e-pawn again, as it will be unable to capture anything itself?

16...d5 17.e5

Because of the pin on the e-pawn, Black can answer this advance with 17...c6, protecting his d-pawn, before repositioning his Knight. Instead, he forgets that advancing the pawn will leave it without protection.

17...d4 18.Qxd4

Now, after 18...Nh7, White has probably equalized, with three healthy pawns for the sacrificed piece. Instead, Black moves his Knight to h5, where, in some lines, it will be vulnerable.

18...Nh5 19.f6 gxf6 

A tougher defense follows 19...Be6, since the Bishop can go to f7 in some lines to protect the Knight, for example 20.Qf2 Rf8 21.Qh4 Bf7, when 22.g4 will be answered by 22...g5!? Instead, White would regain the piece and maintain an edge with 22.e6.

If White takes his Queen to h4 directly after 19...Be6, then Black answers 20.Qh4 with 20...Bf7, when 21.Rae1 is answered by 21...g5!?

Of course, all of this is easier to figure out when the clock is not ticking in a blitz game!

20.exf6 Rf8 21.Qd5+ Black resigned

After capturing the Knight and surrendering the f-pawn, White will be two pawns up, with continued pressure on the enemy King.

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