Friday, July 4, 2014

The Best Jerome Gambit Game of the Year (Part 5)

We now come to the conclusion of this very hard-fought Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) game.

Wall, Bill - Guest871838, 2014


The idea behind this move is not apparent (it could be an issue of time pressure, this being a 10-minute game), but the tempos that it yields to White are critical. As mentioned in the previous post, 20... Kd7 may be best.

Black could also try 20...Bxd6, which has the additional benefit of being able to meet 21.d3 with 21...Bxg3+!?, as then 22.Kxg3 Qe5+ could lead to a draw by repetition of position. As if either player were thinking about a draw!

21.Nc3 Qxc2

It is hard to see Black's Queen maneuver as simply wanting to grab pawns, after all the fight he has shown. Perhaps he could have tried 21...Qf1, to delay White's unraveling of his Queenside pieces, although he would have to watch out for 22.d4 Bxd6? 23.Bg5+ winning the Queen, as Bill points out. 

22. d4 Qf5 23.dxc5 Rxc5 

The smoke is clearing. White has Rook, Bishop, Knight and two pawns for his Queen. He has more than survived - he is winning now.

24.Be3 Rc6 25.Rd1

Bill mentions as even stronger the line 25.Rf2 Qd3 26.Bg5+ Kd7 27.Re1.


Again, Bill notes, if, instead, 25...Qh5, then 26.Rd5 Qf3 27.Re5 nicely repositions White's Rook. The first player's pieces will overrun the Queen, and then her monarch.


Threatening 27.Bg5+, winning the Queen.

26...Kd7 27.Rf2 Qh5 28.Rf7+ Ke6  29.Re7+ Kf6 30.Ne4+ Kf5 31.Rd5 checkmate


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Best Jerome Gambit Game of the Year (Part 4)

We continue from the three previous posts, considering a game that has lept to the top of the heap for Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) games this year.

Wall, Bill - Guest871838, 2014


White offers a pawn to open a line to bring his Queen back to the Kingside. After 14...dxe5 he plans to offer another with 15.d4, after which he can play Nd2-f3; and his Bishop's diagonal will be open, as well. When the reserves arrive, White will not only be up material, with a safe King he will clearly be better.


Black realizes, in turn, that his chances lie with the attack.

15.exd6+ Kd8

Black chooses the safest retreat for his King, and protects his Rook, threatening the devastating ...Bc6.


Leaping into the fire. Everything else allows checkmate.


Maintaining the pressure. Absurd would be 16...Qxg2+ 17.Kxg2, as Bill pointed out, when Black's attack would be exhausted, and White's advantage in material would win.

17.h3 Nxf2 18.Rxf2 Bc6

More pressure on White. 

Instead, 18...Bxh3 is kind of a self-block move, as it allows White's Queen to pop up with 19.Qe4 and show that Black's King, too, is at risk.


Bill notes that, should White play the exhausted 19.Qh2, his King can find eternal rest after 19...Qd1#.

No, the attack (and the game) is not over, and White must now part with his Queen.

19...Bxg2 20.Rxg2 

White has a Rook, a Knight, and four pawns for his Queen. Houdini suggests that after 21...Kd7 22.Nc3 Rf8 23.d4 Bxd6 Black could have an edge, but it still looks unclear.

[to be continued]

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Best Jerome Gambit Game of the Year (Part 3)

We continue from the two previous posts, considering a game that has lept to the top of the heap for Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) games this year.

As indicated, Readers are encouraged to dispute my assessment, if they wish, by sending in other great Jerome Gambit games...

Wall, Bill - Guest871838, 2014

Black elects with 10...Bd7 to defend his King by putting a barrier - the Bishop - on the 7th rank, and allows the White Queen to move off of the 8th rank. Although I was initially dismissive of this move, describing it as "[p]layed, if in a stumbling manner" - see "Updating the Blackburne Defense (Part 2)" - it is a reasonable choice.

In the meantime, while White is up an exchange and a couple of pawns, he has to safeguard his King while keeping an eye on threats to his Queen.


Not 11.Qxa8, of course, as Black responds 11...Ng4 (11... Nxe4?UNPREDICTABLE - choron, FICS, 2009 [1-0, 20]) and White is doomed, as Bill Wall points out: 12.h3 Bxf2+ 13. Kh1 Qg3 14. Rxf2+ Nxf2+ 15. Kg1 Nxh3+ 16. Kh1 Nf4 and 17...Qxg2 mate)


Instructive was 11...Bb6 (this should let White off of the hook) 12.g3 (better is 12.Qxd6 or 12.Qxb7) Qh3 13.Qxd6 (better is 13.Qc3) Bc6 14.g4 Qxg4+ White resigned, Harris,S - Quayle,E, Los Angeles, CA, 1944. The "right" move at the wrong time often turns out to be the wrong move. 


Bill points out that 12.Qxb7 was the right move here. Black's best response would then be 12...Bb6, when White can both strike in the center and open a line for much-needed development with 13.d4.

Answering the recommended 12.Qxb7 with 12...Ng4 would be an error, i.e. 13.Qxd7+ Kf6 14.h3. After the alternative 12... Ke7 the game is "gloriously obscure" according to Dr. Andrew Walker (private communication, 2001) although the first player shows his advantage after 13.d4 Bxd4 14.Nd2 Qg4 15.Nf3 (reporting for duty!) Bb6 16.Bg5 Rc7 17.Qb8 Rc8 18.Bxf6+ Kxf6 19.Qxd6+ Qe6 20.Rad1.


Keeping the pressure on. Houdini suggests that after the alternative 12...Qxe4 13.d3 Qb4 14.Bd2 Rxc7 15.Bxb4 Bxb4 16.c3 the game is about even, with White having a Rook and 2 pawns vs Black's two Bishops. 


Not 13.Qa5, Bill warns, as then 12...Ng4 mates. 


Bill points out that here Black misses the stunning 13...Rb8! as 14.Qxb8 Ng4 again leads to mate. Even after the better 14.Qc7, White is almost hopeless after 14...Ke7.  

White is ahead the exchange and four pawns - but is only even, due to his delay in development, his offside Queen, and his endangered King.

[to be continued]