Friday, September 12, 2014

Professor Houdini (Part 1)

The other day I played a 2 12 blitz Jerome Gambit game, checkmating my opponent in 15 moves. A simple thing? Hardly. With the help of Houdini, afterwards, I discovered that my opponent and I had missed a whole lot.

perrypawnpusher - ficshicks

blitz 2 12, FICS, 2014

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 7.Qf5+ Kd6 8.f4 Ne7

This is not Black's strongest defense.

An error by the defender, especially in an opening as sketchy as the Jerome Gambit, is a gift. The attacker should know what kind of gift that it is, and respond accordingly. In this case, it is important to realize that White can regain his sacrificed material, but that Black can find safety for his King.


At this point, Black resigned in perrypawnpusher - ktonthat, blitz 10 5, FICS, 2009.


Here, Black resigned in perrypawnpusher - Greystroke, blitz, FICS, 2012.


I had forgotten that 10.Qc3 is the right move here, because a past opponent and I quickly left the path with 10...Qf8 11.d4 Qf6 12.Qxc5 checkmate, perrypawnpusher - nicolasalk, blitz, FICS, 2009.

Instead of expanding his pawn center, and dreaming of checkmate, White should think of pinning and winning the Black Bishop after 10...b6 11.b4 d6 12.d4 Kb7 13.bxc5 dxc5 14.dxc5 Nc6 when Black's King is safe, and White is ahead a couple of pawns.

Even at that point, White should modestly play 15.0-0, instead of grabbing more matrial with 15.cxb6 axb6 16.Qxg7 because of 16...Rg8 17.Qc3 Rxg2 when Black would be winning!


Stronger was 10...d6, as in perrypawnpusher - vypux, blitz, FICS, 2009 (1-0, 20). In that game I was able to get away with 11.Qxg7  because my opponent missed 11...Nf5! 12.exf5 Qe8+ 13.Kd1 Bxf5 after which, if anything, Black would have an edge, despite his two-pawn deficit. Note that 14.dxc5? now would be crushed by  14...Qh5+ Instead White should try the sharp 14.d5+!? 
when Black would be prudent to reply 14...Kb6,

analysis diagram

with in an unclear position where White's King is in more danger than his counterpart, and Black's 2 Bishops and better Rooks give him the more threatening prospects. 

Also, 10...Bb4+ 11.Nc3 (11.c3 is better) appeared in perrypawnpusher - TheChessInnovator, blitz, FICS, 2008 (1-0, 43).

(Having played the line 5 times previously, and apparently having learned very little in the process, I am reminded of the Firesign Theater album, "Everything You Know Is Wrong"!) 

11.d5+ Kb5 

Safer was 11...Kb6 when after 12.Qc3 White has to develop and make threats against the enemy King while taking advantage of Black's trapped (thanks to the Knight on e7) Bishop. Black can, in some situations, consider returning his Knight instead with a well-timed ...Nxd5 followed by a Bishop retreat. Houdini puts White's advantage at less than a pawn, and shows no direct checkmates. 


This move was based on the simple idea 12...Bxa3 13.bxa3 and then White will have the use of the b-file for a winning attack on the enemy King.

However, after the game Houdini pointed out that after 13...Ka6 there is no "winning attack on the enemy King" and that all White has left is 14.Qxg7 Rg8 15.Qd4 b6 (Not 15...Rxg2 right off because 16.Qa4+ Kb6 17.Rb1+ Kc5 18.Qb4#) 16.0-0 when Black's King escapes with 16...Kb7 and the game is about even.

Instead 12.Qd4 was the move to make, and then White's threats against Black's Bishop and King would give him the advantage, although it would still be a long time before the game would be decided.


As suggested above, 12...Ka6 would again leave White with little more than 13.Qxg7 when 13...b6, 13...Ng6 or 13...Re8 (followed by 14.0-0) all look about even. 


[to be continued]

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Being Helpful Hurts

The following Jerome Gambit game features a couple of "helpful" moves by Black, "encouraging" White to go ahead and make the moves he was already planning on making. White is helped by this, but Black is harmed.

Wall,B - Guest1105387, 2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ng6

7.Qd5+ Ke8 8.Qxc5 d6 9.Qe3 Nf6

There are 141 games with this position in The Database. White scores a pleasant 68%.


Bill's idea.

10...Kf7 11.0-0 

Instead, 11.d4 Re8 12.0-0 was seen in Wall,B - Guest3544144,, 2013 (1-0, 35). 

11...Be6 12.Nc3 Rf8 13.f4 Ne7 14.f5 Bd7 15.d4 Kg8

Black has castled-by-hand. White has his broad pawn center.

16.Qd3 Nc6

Bill suggests, instead, the center strike 16...d5

17.Bg5 Qe8

Black slips out of the pin. As an alternative, Bill mentions 17...Kh8

18.Rae1 h6

This move seems to encourage White to make a move he already planned on making. Again, Bill suggests 18...Kh8

After the game, Houdini found 18...Qh5!?, with the wild continuation 19.Bxf6 gxf6 20.Nd5 Rac8 21.Re3 Kh8 22.Rh3 Qf7 23.Rf4 Ne7 24.Rxh7+ Qxh7 25.Nxe7 Qxe7 26.Rh4+ Kg8 27.Qg3+ Qg7 28.Rg4 Qxg4 29.Qxg4+ Kf7 30.e5 dxe5 31.dxe5 fxe5 32.Qg6+ Ke7 33.Qg5+ and a draw by repetition. Typical computer: it sees White as worse off at the start of the line, and therefore the first player should be happy with a draw.

I showed the line to Bill, who said he probably would have simply met 18...Qh5 with 19.Bf4. Very human.

19.Bxf6 Rxf6

Again, this adds momentum to White's play. Better for Black was 19...gxf6 20.Nd5 Rc8. 

20.Nd5 Rf8

Black's game begins to slide downhill.

21.Nxc7 Qc8 22.Nxa8 Qxa8 23.f6 Rxf6 24.Rxf6 gxf6 25.e5 

A clearance sacrifice to allow White's Queen to approach the Black King. Black's best defense, now, 25...Qf8, is still not enough: 26.Qb3+ Kh8 27.Qxb7 Qe7 28.e6 Be8 29.Qxe7 Nxe7 30.c4. The Rook and three extra pawns will overwhelm the defending Knight and Bishop.

25...fxe5 26.Qg6+ Kh8 27.Qxh6+ Kg8 28.Rf1 Qe8 29.Qg5+ Kh8 30.Rf6 Black resigned

Monday, September 8, 2014

Okay With The Delay

Lately, not a lot of opponents have answered 3...Bc5, which would give Bill Wall a chance to play the Jerome Gambit. In the following game he shows some patience, and it turns out that he is okay with the delay.

Wall,B - Marz, 31.08.2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 

The Two Knights Defense.


This reasonable move was looked at in "Jerome Gambit vs Two Knights Defense (Part 4)".

Bill has also played 4.Nc3 Bc5 5.Bxf7+ Kxf7 as in Wall,B - Samvazpr, 2010 (0-1, 25); Wall,B - Roberts,, 2010 (1-0, 17); Wall,B - DarkKnight, Cocoa Beach, FL 2012 (1-0, 23); Wall,B - Guest1459913,, 2013 (1-0, 38);  Wall,B - Hamilton,E, FICS 2011 (1-0, 22); Wall,B - Guest1872464,, 2014 (1-0, 30).

Of course, Philidor1792 has played 4.Bxf7+ here, any way, in 3-minute games.


Or 4...Nxe4 5.Bxf7+ as in Wall, B - NTLZ, FICS, 2010 (0-1, 42).

Now there is a chance for a Delayed Jerome Gambit.

5.Bxf7+ Kxf7 6.Nxe5+ Nxe5 7.d4 Bd6 

This kind of retreat is seen by White in response to the "fork trick" in the Italian Four Knights Game. Here 7...d6 improves.

8.dxe5 Bxe5 9.f4 Nxe4

Looking for more trouble. Instead, 9...Bd6 10.e5 Bc5+ 11.Kh1 d5 12.exf6 gxf6 when White has an edge.

10.fxe5+ Nf6

Defense with 10...Ke8 is best, but after 11.Qg4 Qe7 12.Qxe4 White is a piece up.

11.exf6 g6 

Now the Jerome Gambiteer finishes with style.

12.Qd5+ Kf8 13.Bh6+ Ke8 14.f7+ Ke7 15.Qe5 checkmate