Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Nothing To It

Chess players who first encounter the Jerome Gambit often decide that there is nothing to it. They accept the first sacrificed piece. They accept the second sacrificed piece. They casually block White's brash Queen check with their g-pawn. Then they settle down to figure out how to play the rest of the game.

Too often, it is already too late.

perrypawnpusher - tripledubs
blitz, FICS, 2014

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ g6

7.Qxe5 Nf6

Defenders familiar with the Jerome Gambit will try 7...d6 (Blackburne's Defense) or 7...Qe7 (Whistler's Defense) or some defense of their own concoction.

In the game, Black, in returning one piece, sees that his Rook is endangered, and so protects it - returning a second piece. 


White is two pawns ahead. He will be temporarily uncomfortable while behind in development (whose gambit is this, anyhow?) but his opening can be considered a success.


Best is 8... Nxe4 as in perrypawnpusher - LibertasProVita, blitz, FICS, 2009 (1-0, 45) and perrypawnpusher - ibnoe, blitz, FICS, 2012 (1-0, 16).

Also playable is  8... Qe7 as in perrypawnpusher - marbleschess, blitz, FICS, 2009 (1-0, 48).

A bit better than the text is 8...d6 followed by ...Nxe4 as in perrypawnpusher - MsD, blitz, FICS, 2007 (0-1, 27), perrypawnpusher - brain50, JG3 thematic 2008 (1-0, 24) and perrypawnpusher - tiagorom, blitz, FICS, 2009 (1-0, 41).

9.d3 d5

More strident than 9... d6 as in perrypawnpusher - Alternative, blitz, FICS, 2005 (1-0, 63), perrypawnpusher - andrecoenen, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 15), and perrypawnpusher - Gryllsy, blitz, FICS, 2014 (1-0, 33).


This is an improvement over 10.O-O of Vuquoclong - VonKortez, FICS, 2013 (1-0, 22) and  10.Bg5 of UNPREDICTABLE - ornito, FICS, 2011 (1-0, 36).

10...c6 11.Bg5

Better is 11.Nc3 or 11.O-O, as the text allows Black to grab back a pawn with the combination 11...Nxe4 12.fxe4 Qxg5.

11...dxe4 12.dxe4

Thoughtless, expecting the game to "play itself". Better and more principled would be 12.fxe4 because then 0-0 would put more pressure on the Black Knight at f6.

12...Be6 13.Nc3 Kg7 14.O-O Qc7 15.Bxf6+ Kxf6


Here I overlooked a nice tactic with 16.Nb5!? based on Black's pinned c-pawn, his attacked Queen, and the placement of his Rooks.

16...b6 17.Qf2 Red8 18.a3 Rd7 19.Rxd7 Bxd7 20.Rd1

So far I have been pretty good at doing nothing, but here I could have tried 20.Qh4+ Kg7 21.Qe7+ Kg8 22.Rd1. The funny thing is that I kind of get there, eventually.

20...Rd8 21.Qh4+ Kg7 22.Qg3

Cowardice. Better 22.Qe7+ Kg8 23.e5.


It was probably better to exchange Queens.

23.Qe5+ Kg8 24.Qd6 Qa6 25.e5 Qc4 26.e6 Qc5+
27.Qxc5 bxc5

Black resigned

The Bishop is lost.

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