Friday, February 28, 2014

More Jerome-Inspired Games (Part 1)

Philidor 1792 - guest45
3 0 blitz,, 02.12.2013

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nxe4 4.Bxf7+ 

A good introduction to this line (games and analysis) can be found at "Jerome Gambit-Inspired Play (Part 8)".

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Kg8 6.0-0 

Varying from 6.Qf3 of Philidor 1792 - guest564, 3 0 blitz,, 2013, (1-0, 56)

6...d6 7.Nf3 

An improvement over 7.Qe2 and 7.Qf3 of earlier games (see above).

7...Bg4 8.d3 Nf6 9.h3 Bh5 10.g4 Bf7 11.Ng5 h6 12.Nxf7 Kxf7

13.c4 Nc6 14.Nc3 d5 15.cxd5 Nxd5 16.Qb3 Nce7 17.Bd2 Kg6 18.Qxb7 Rb8 19.Qxa7 Rxb2 20.Ne4 Nc6

White has snagged a pawn, and keeps pace with his opponent, making small gains when he can and hoping that Black's undeveloped dark-square Bishop and Rook will prove costly.

21.Qa4 Ne5 22.f4 Nf7 23.Rab1 Rxb1 24.Rxb1 Bd6 25.Qc6 Nf6 26.Bc3 Bxf4 27.Nxf6 gxf6 

This natural recapture was a slip (possibly due to time). Necessary was 27...Qd3, when, after 28.Qe4+ Qxe4+ 29.Nxe4 the game would be roughly equal.

28.Qe4+ Black Resigned

White's outside passed pawn gives him the advantage.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Jerome Gambit: A Battle (Part 2)

Continuing (from last post) with the game

perrypawnpusher  - vermifugo
blitz, FICS, 2014

Black's return sacrifice of a Rook has yielded him attacking chances, just as it did for J.H. Blackburne in his famous counter-attack (in a different line) against the Jerome Gambit.


Clearly it was time to attend to the defense of my King. Not the greedy 12.Qxg6?!, as this is met by 12...Qh4+ 13.g3 Qh3 when Black's counter-attack will give him the advantage.

12...Qf6 13.Nc3 g5 

Black is trying to pry his way into White's defenses. He could have tried 13...Qd4, and after 14.Rf1 Nf6 15.Qf7 Re8 his pieces would be fearfully placed - but it is difficult to see how he will break through.


There certainly was no way that I was going to allow the f-file to be opened, but in playing this move I missed 14.Nd5! Qd8 (14...Qd4 15.Qxc7+ Kb5 16.Qxb7+ Bb6 17.a4+ Kc5 18.b4+ Qxb4+ 19.Nxb4 Kxb4 20.Bd2+ Kc5 21.Qd5#) 15.b4 Bd4 16.c3 Nf6 17.Qf7 Nxd5 18.Qxd5+ Kd7 with great advantage. Of course, this is what Houdini saw after the game - and I'm no Houdini. 

14...Qd4 15.Rf1 Nf6 16.Qh6? 

Focusing on safe-guarding the Queen, but overlooking the fate of my King, as Black has enough materiel focused that he can sacrifice with effect.

Best would have been 16.Qf7! with the idea of 17.Qb3 and 18.Qa4+, exchanging Queens. 


Lucky for my, my opponent wasn't Houdini, either.

Readers have probably found 16...Nxe4!, after which 17.Nxe4 Re8 leaves White only something like 18.Qe6, and after 18...Rxe6 19.fxe6 Bb4+ 20.c3 Qxd3 21.Kf2 Qxe4 22.cxb4 Bxe6 Black's Queen and Bishop dominate White's largely undeveloped Rooks and Bishop. 

analysis diagram


This helps shore up White's defense. Even better was 17.Bxg5!?, not because it grabs material, but because it allows a new response to Black's e-file pressure: 17...Nxe4 (17...Bxc3+ 18.bxc3 Qxc3+ 19.Kf2 Qd4+ 20.Be3) 18.dxe4 Re8 19.Be3 and White can begin to consolidate, e.g. 19...Qxe4 20.Kf2 Bxc3 21.bxc3 Qxf5+ 22.Kg1 Qxc2 23.Rf2 Qe4 24.Re1 with advantage.


Black still had 17...Nxe4, which was stronger than the text, but which no longer led to advantage.

18.bxc3 Qe5 19.Qxg5 

White's 8 "Jerome pawns" look a little sturdier in protecting their monarch.


This is no longer enough, but it still has to be dealt with.


At this point, even 20.Qxg4 was playable, as Black cannot gain enough from his threatened discovered check.

20...Qxe4+ 21.Qe3 Qxg2 22.Rg1 Qh3


At this point I didn't even look for 23.Qe4+ Kd7 24.Rxg4, as I knew that I had enough material to win - once my King was safe.

23...Bxh3 24.0-0-0 Bxf5 

Now, only the clock is a villain.

25.Rg7 Rh8 26.Bf4 Rh3 27.Kb2 a5 28.Bg3 a4 29.Rd4 b5 30.Rf4 Be6 31.Rf6 Bd5 32.Rf4 Rh8 33.Rh4 Re8 34.Rhh7 Rc8

35.a3 Kb6 36.h4 c6 37.Bxd6 c5 38.Rg5 Bf3 Black forfeited by disconnection

White is a Rook up and has an advancing passed pawn that will cost Black a piece.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Jerome Gambit: A Battle (Part 1)

After a series of Jerome Gambit games where either my opponent or I (once, both) blundered away our Queens (I will spare Readers, but include the games in The Database), I played the following exciting adventure.

As the nursery rhyme goes (the two characters can also be found in Lewis Carroll's chess-themed Through the Looking-Glas and What Alice found There)

Tweedledum and Tweedledee
    Agreed to have a battle...  

After playing almost 500 Jerome Gambit games, I again found myself in quite a battle. 

perrypawnpusher  - vermifugo
blitz, FICS, 2014

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6

Black was looking to hold on to both extra pieces.

7.Qf5+ Kd6 8.f4 g6 

This is not Black's best play, even if it conjurs up visions of the venerable Blackburne Defense (6...g6). Yet it leads to largely unexplored territory, and play can become very uncomfortable for White if he is not careful. It is worth exploring more in depth.

9.Qxe5+ Kc6 10.Qxh8 

At this point, the game UNPREDICTABLE - zaboulef, blitz, FICS, 2010 ended with Black's resignation. 

The earliest game (of four) that I have with this variation in The Database is perrypawnpusher - spontex, blitz, FICS, 2009 (½-½, 59), where White bypassed capturing the Rook and went after the Black King, instead, with 10.Qd5+. As I noted in "The Opponent",
It was better to take the Rook, although play remains complicated, if in White's favor.

The more aggressive 10...Qh4+ (also reminiscent of Blackburne's play in his 1885 game) was seen in Ghandybh - DVBLTTN, Online chess, 2009 (1-0, 17). As I noted,
The problem is that Black's Kingside will fall apart faster.
Best for Black seems to be 10...Qe7.


What to do?

I have found my Queen at h8, early in the game after grabbing a Rook, about 25 times, and I have always feared it getting trapped, and eventually captured (see the introductory note to this game, although they refer to different lines of play). My first thought has always been to get Her Majesty out of confined spaces!

One lesson I should have learned from a closer look at Blackburne's Defense is that White's Queen often escapes through the middle of the board (after a well-timed Qd8) - or after blocking the diagonal of Black's dark-squared Bishop with d2-d4.

In the current game, White's best was 11.d4.

Yet, that is not the end of the discussion, as Black has several possible replies, including the straight-forward 11...Bb6, seen in UNPREDICTABLE - farhadk, blitz, FICS, 2009 (1-0, 21).

What is more fun to look at is 11.d4! Bh3!?, when Black continues to play in Blackburne style. Can White actually then take the Bishop with 12.gxh3 ?  If he does, he can face, among other things, the energetic counter-attack 12...Qh4+ 13.Kd1 Nf6!? 14.Qxa8 Qh5+

Analysis diagram

Here, Black has sacrificed a couple of Rooks for a couple of pawns, but it is hard for White to escape a draw - while avoiding checkmate (remember, this is a blitz game). 

Analyze with me (and Houdini): 15.Ke1 (Not 15.Kd2 Nxe4+ 16.Kd3 Qf3+ 17.Be3 [17.Kc4 d5#] 17...Nf2+ 18.Kd2 [18.Kc4 Qe2+ 19.Kb3 Qb5+ 20.Kc3 Qb4#; 18.Kc3 Qxe3+ 19.Kc4 d5#] 18...Ne4+ 19.Kd3 draw) 15...Qh4+ 16.Ke2! (16.Kf1 Bxd4 17.Ke2 Qf2+ 18.Kd3 Qf3+ 19.Kxd4 Qxe4+ 20.Kc3 Nd5+ 21.Kd2 Qg2+ 22.Kd3 Qf3+ 23.Kd2 draw; 16.Kd2 Qf2+ 17.Kd1 [17.Kc3 Qxd4+ 18.Kb3 Qb4#; 17.Kd3 Qxd4+ 18.Ke2 Qf2+ 19.Kd1 Qf3+ 20.Kd2 Nxe4+ 21.Ke1 Bf2+ 22.Kf1 Bg3+ 23.Kg1 Qf2#; 16.Kd1 Qh5+ 17.Ke1 Qh4+ 18.Ke2 as in the main line17...Qf3+ 18.Ke1 [18.Kd2 Nxe4+ 19.Ke1 Qxh1+ 20.Ke2 Qg2+ 21.Kd3 Qf1+ 22.Ke3 Qe1+ 23.Kf3 Qd1+ 24.Kxe4 Qxd4+ 25.Kf3 Qf2+ 26.Kg4 Qg2+ 27.Kh4 Bf2#] 18...Qxh1+ 19.Ke2 [19.Kf2 Nxe4+ 20.Ke2 Qg2+ 21.Kd3 Qf1+ 22.Ke3 Qf2+ 23.Kd3 Qxd4+ 24.Ke2 Qf2+ 25.Kd3 Qf1+ 26.Kxe4 Qe2+ 27.Be3 Qxe3#] 19...Qxh2+ 20.Kd1 Qg1+ 21.Ke2 Qg2+ 22.Ke1 Qxe4+ 23.Kd1 Qf3+ 24.Ke1 Bxd4 25.c4 a6-+) 16...Qh5+ 17.Kd3! Qf3+ 18.Be3! Qxe4+ 19.Kd2 (Not as strong is 19.Ke2 Bxd4 20.Re1 Qxe3+ 21.Kd1 Qf3+ 22.Kc1 Qxf4+ 23.Nd2 Be3 24.Rxe3 Qxe3 25.c4 Qe1+ 26.Kc2 Qxa1 27.Qf8 Qxa2 28.Qxf6 Qa4+ 29.Kc3 Qa5+ 30.Kd3 Qh5 31.Qf3+ Qxf3+ 32.Nxf3) 19...Qg2+ (19...Qxh1? 20.Nc3!? Qxa1 21.dxc5 Qh1 22.Qxa7 Qg2+ 23.Kc1 Qh1+ 24.Nd1) 20.Kc3 Qe2 21.b4! Qxe3+ 22.Kb2 Bxd4+ 23.c3 Qe2+ 24.Kb3 Qe6+ 25.Ka3 Qe3 26.Ka4! Nd5 27.Qg8 b5+ 28.Ka3 Bxc3 29.Qa8+ Kd7 30.Qxd5 Bxa1+ 31.Qb3 and it looks like White may survive. What a mess!

All of the above suggests that White should answer 11.d4! Bh3!? with the sober 12.0-0!, when his King will be safe, and all of Black's problems - down the exchange and two pawns, unsafe King, two Bishops hanging - will remain. The computer suggests 12...Nf6 13.Qxd8 Bxd4+ 14.Kh1 Rxd8 15.gxh3 Nxe4, but what fun is there in that?


Development toward the enemy King, but more to the point would have been 11...Qe8! and White would have to give back a couple of pawns to free his Queen - again, while negotiating some very complex play (without Houdini's help, which I had after the game) - 12.e5 (12.d3 Nf6 13.Qh4 Nxe4!? 14.Kf1 Bf2 [14...Nf2 15.b4 g5 16.Qh7 Bg4 17.Nc3 Bxb4 18.Qg7 Nxh1 19.Rb1 a5 20.a3 Bc5 21.d4 unclear, perhaps even] 15.g3 Bc5 16.h3 g5 17.fxg5 Qf7+ 18.Bf4 Qd5 19.Rh2 Bf5 20.g4 Bg6 21.dxe4 Qxe4 22.Nd2 Qxf4+ 23.Rf2 Qe5 24.Nf3 Qxb2 25.Re1 Qxa2 26.Rfe2 b5 even, whew!) 12...dxe5 13.f5 Bxf5 14.Qh4± but White is still uncomfortable, say after 14...e4 15.b3 Rd8 (15...Qe5 16.Nc3 Nf6 17.Bb2 Ng4 18.0-0-0 Bf2 [18...Nf2 19.d4] 19.Qg5 Bd4 20.Rhf1 Nxh2 21.Rf4) 16.Bb2 Qd7! 17.Qf4 g5 18.Qe5 b6 19.b4 Bxb4 20.0-0 Bc5+ 21.Kh1. 

[to be continued]