Saturday, September 20, 2014

Don't, Here

In the Blackburne Shilling Gambit, Black has high hopes that his third move will bamboozle White and lead to a killing attack. However, in the following game, Black's fourth move practically cedes the point. If this is a "Jedi Mind Trick", it is no match for a good blaster at your side...

sahistonline - aguisou

blitz, FICS, 2013

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nd4 

The Blackburne Shilling Gambit.


The Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit.


The Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit Declined.

A word to the wise defender: Don't.

In 475 games in The Database, White scores 70% 

For a good discussion of this Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit Declined see "Idées Fixes et Manqués",


This complicating move appears in 201 games in The Database, where White scores 66%.

That is a good bit better than 5.Bd5, which appears in 10 games in The Database, where White scores only 50%. Half-way measures, it seems, score half the time.

"Best" according to Houdini, is 5.Bb3, which appears in a mere 14 games in The Database, where White scores "only" 68%. Perhaps the retreat is too "conservative" for many Jerome Gambiteers!

On the other hand, 5.Nxd4 appears in 78 games in The Database, where White scores 70%.

Alternately, 5.Bc4 appears in 32 games in The Database, where White scores 75%.

Finally, 5.Bxg8 appears in 102 games in The Database, where White scores 77%.

So, for White: hang onto your piece with 5.Bb3, or swap it off with 5.Bxg8; but you are by no means limited to these two good, contrasting, ideas. 

5...Nf6 6.Bc4 

White can tell his opponent what Al Capone said in "The Untouchables" - You got nothing.

6...d5 7.exd5 Nxd5 8.c3 Nf5 9.Qf3 White won by adjudication

I've had my problems in the past with adjudication at FICS (see "A Sneaky Way to Defeat the Jerome Gambit") but things look fine here. Down two pawns, with less development and an unsafe King, Black is finished. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Jerome Gambit and Jerome-like games are not usually though of as finesse-filled duels, but in the following game, in seeing to apply a refutation to White's attack, Black makes a couple of slim errors, and the results are unfortunate.

poethe - Principia

blitz, FICS, 2013

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Nf3 Nd4

The Blackburne Shilling Gambit. 


The Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit.

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Ke6 6.f4 

In 327 games in The Database, White scores 50% with this move, but correct is 6.c3. See "Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit: Don't Feed the Greed" among many relevant earlier posts.


The sharpest response. Now White's King comes under attack. 

7.g3 Qh3 8.Kf2 

Best, according to Houdini, is the alternative 8.Nf3, as in DragonTail - jantonacci, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 37), 8..Nxf3+ 9.Qxf3 when 9...Ke7 is advantageous to Black, e.g. Steelfinder - Sali, FICS, 2012 (0-1, 13).

8...Bc5 9.c3 Nc2+

Black goes directly after material.

Interestingly, Houdini suggests that he first kick out the White knight with 9...d6 10.Nc4 and then go for the Rook with 10...Nc2+ 11.d4 Nxa1 12.dxc5 Nf6, with the idea that Black's Knight on a1 will either eventually escape, or White will spend so much time capturing it that Black's lead in development will prove decisive. 

10.d4 Nxa1

11.dxc5 d6 

Here 11...Nf6 would lead to a complicated, unclear, perhaps balanced position.

The text clarifies things: Black will be checkmated.

12.Qd5+ Ke7 13.Qf7+ Black resigned

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

An Interesting Contrast

After looking at perrypawnpusher - hicks, 2 12 blitz, FICS, 2014 in the last post, I was playing over Philidor 1792 - Sauron 2005, 3 0 blitz, 2014, when I noticed an interesting contrast.

In the previous game, Black was done in by the fact that all but one of his pieces were on the back rank - a positional concession that had a tremendously negative impact. Here, the situation is completely different: Black can hold off White's attack by retreating - 18...Nh8 19.Kb1 Qd8.

analysis diagram

Instead, Sauron 2005 counter-attacked, and lost.

18.Qxa2 19.hxg6 hxg6 20.Qxf6 Bg7 21.Qxg6 Bd7 22.Nh5 Re7 23.Nf6+ Kf8 24.Rh8+ Bxh8 25.Qg8 checkmate

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Professor Houdini (Part 2)

Here we continue the lessons from my last Jerome Gambit, a 2 12 blitz game. Tacticians are encouraged to follow along and discover what I and my opponent missed, and what Houdini later pointed out.

perrypawnpusher - ficshicks

blitz 2 12, FICS, 2014

Here I had just played 13.Nc4+, but, instead, after 13.Qc3!, Houdini rates White over a Rook ahead! 

analysis diagram

White is threatening mate, starting with Qb3+. Black can cover the checkmate square at b5, create "luft" (for his King or Bishop), as well as attack White's center with 13...c6 - if he needs to return a piece, this would make ...Nxd5 more do-able, allowing the Bishop to retreat along the a3-f8 diagonal.

White can then press on with 14.Be3+ Ka6 (if 14...Kc7 then 15.Nb5+ Kb8 16.Nxd6 with a two pawn advantage and an overwhelming position for White) 15.Nc4 Nxd5 16.exd5 Bf8 17.0-0-0

analysis diagram

While on the board White has one more pawn, Houdini rates the first player to be about a Queen ahead. I can not figure all that out, but it has to be due to all those undeveloped Black pieces! Mate or the win of a major piece is not yet apparent, but White clearly is better...


Because of White's inaccuracy on the previous move (12.Nc4+ instead of 12.Qc3!), Black has the option of 13...Ka6 when after 14.Nxd6 cxd6 15.Qxd6+ b6 White has to make use of his 3 extra pawns against Black's extra piece, a relatively more difficult assignment.


A fitting cheapo - that works.


Once again, a6 is the safer square for the Black King to retreat to, when c3 would be the right square for the White Queen. It is hard not to point out that after 14...Ka6 15.Qc3 b6 (best) White would have the hilarious 16.Na5!?, when Black would have to find 16...c6 just to stave off - temporarily - disaster.

15.Qc3 checkmate