Wednesday, December 3, 2014

An Underappreciated Defense

Why turn down a gift? Why choose a line of play in an unsound gambit that gives away the advantage? Black's defensive strategy in the following game might be due for some reconsideration.

perrypawnpusher - Hensel 
blitz, FICS, 2014

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ g6 7.Qxe5 Bxf2+ 

I have been skeptical about this approach to defending the Jerome Gambit, having written before
Just about everyone who plays the Jerome Gambit faces this "bail out" variation at one point or another. Black manages to exchange Queens at the cost of returning a piece, and with the prospect of playing on, a pawn down. White can no longer play "his" attack; but he also no longer has an "objectively" lost game.
As the following game shows, it will take a long time for White to turn his advantage into a winning game; so perhaps there is more to say in favor of Black's strategy than I have previously admitted.

8.Kxf2 Qh4+

The direct 8...Qf6+ has been seen in many games, in this blog and in The Database.


9.Kf1!? was tried in Wall,B - Guest1443273,, 2012 (1-0, 36).

9...Qf6+ 10.Qxf6+ Nxf6 11.Nc3 Re8 12.d3


Or 12...d6 as in Wall,B - Guest2115687,, 2014, (1-0, 21).

13.Kg2 Kg7 14.Bg5 Ng4 15.h3 Nh6 16.Rhf1 d6 17.Rf2 Be6 18.Raf1 

White is a clear pawn up, but Black can continue here with 18...Nf7 19.Be3 b6 and the game is far from over, with the prospect of a Bishops-of-Opposite-Colors endgame.


A slip. Oddly, in response I remembered a tactic from  perrypawnpusher - Dubnobase, blitz, FICS, 2013 (1-0, 49), and double-checked things before playing... 


Black resigned, as he will lose a Rook.

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