Friday, November 21, 2014

Deja Vu

If more people read this blog, I would lose more games. As it is, my opponent in the following game missed out on a chance to spring an interesting trap on me. (No, I'm not going to call it the "Kennedy Defense in the Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit".)

perrypawnpusher - Entangle
blitz, FICS, 2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 h6

The Semi-Italian Opening.

4.0-0 Bc5 5.Bxf7+ 

The Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit.

5...Kxf7 6.Nxe5+ Nxe5 7.Qh5+ g6 8.Qxe5 

The addition of ...h7-h6 and 0-0 to the regular Jerome Gambit position renders 8...d6, as in the Blackburne Defense, and 8...Qe7, as in Whistler's Defense, ineffective.

As discussed in "I have a win, but it will take time..." and "By the Numbers", Black's best move now is 8...Bf8!? (introduced in these blog pages 4 1/2 years ago), as 9.Qxh8 would then be an error because the Queen would be trapped, and ultimately won, with 9...Bg7.

The Database has yet to see one example of this defense.


Black rightfully does not want to lose the Rook, but this move returns the second sacrificed piece.

9.Qxc5 d6 10.Qe3 Re8 

Or 10...Ng4 as in perrypawnpusher - islanderchess, blitz, FICS, 2008 (1-0, 46); or 10...Qe8 as in perrypawnpusher - wadada, blitz, FICS, 2009 (1-0, 19).

11.d3 b6 12.Nc3

White could have played 12.Qxh6, but the h-file is not the one that I want opened.

12...g5 13.f4


13...Kg8 14.fxg5 Ng4 15.Qf4 Rf8 16.Qxf8+ Qxf8 17.Rxf8+ Kxf8 18.gxh6

Not only is Black down a handful of pawns, he is running short on time on the clock.

18...c6 19.h3 Nf6 20.Bg5 Nd7 21.Rf1+ Kg8 22.Be7 d5 23.exd5 cxd5 24.Nxd5 Ne5 Black resigned

I had plenty of time left on my clock, and when I sunk into a think to work out my next few moves, my opponent gave up the ghost.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Black is Better - Until He is Worse

Behind the following game is a lot of experience that each player has had in the Jerome Gambit and similar lines. My opponent shows that he has learned his lessons well. Only a couple of late slips deprive him of the benefits of this knowledge.

perrypawnpusher - JohnGHughes

blitz, FICS, 2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 h6

The Semi-Italian Opening.

Twice last year my opponent played 3...Na5 and was stung hard by 4.Bxf7+ - in Bholashankar - JohnGHughes, FICS, 2013 (1-0, 9) and dentistkbz - JohnGHughes, FICS, 2013 (1-0, 10).

On the other hand, two years ago he won a regular Jerome Gambit -  JohnGHughes - CAPNATDO, FICS, 2012 (1-0, 10) - and split a couple of Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambits - JohnGHughes - ShinyLeprechaun, FICS, 2012 (0-1, 28) and JohnGHughes - grewal, FICS, 2012 (1-0, 19); so perhaps this is why he tacks to the Semi-Italian.


I discovered after our game that my opponent had stumbled twice in the past against 4.Bxf7+ - codh - JohnGHughes, FICS, 2012 (1-0, 19) and PapaDessalines - JohnGHughes, FICS, 2013 (1-0, 35) - but that line is too wild for me (says the Jerome Gambit player...).


Again, Black sidesteps 4...Na5 5.Bxf7+, having learned his lesson in ipadnov - JohnGHughes, FICS, 2013 (1-0, 16). 


The Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit.

5...Kxf7 6.Nxe5+ Nxe5 7.Qh5+ Kf8 

I have had more experience with 7...Ke6.

8.Qxe5 d6

Again, my experience is greater with 8...Bd6. I am being led away from my preparation.

9.Qg3 Nf6 10.d3 Be6 11.Be3 Kf7 12.f4

This is not the only pawn move available, as I could have tried 12.d4!? Bb6 13.Nc3 Kg8. I have a habit of choosing the f-pawn over the d-pawn.

12...Bxe3+ 13.Qxe3 Re8 

A move away from completing castling-by-hand, with better development, Black maintains his advantage.

White has to mobilize his "Jerome pawns" and press his attack against the King.

14.f5 Bd7 15.Nc3

An alternative plan was 15.Nd2 Kg8 16.Rae1. 

15...Kg8 16.h3

At this point Black focuses on White's pinned e-pawn. He sees that 16...Bxf5 would be answered by 16...Rxf5, but why not attack the e-pawn again, as it will be unable to capture anything itself?

16...d5 17.e5

Because of the pin on the e-pawn, Black can answer this advance with 17...c6, protecting his d-pawn, before repositioning his Knight. Instead, he forgets that advancing the pawn will leave it without protection.

17...d4 18.Qxd4

Now, after 18...Nh7, White has probably equalized, with three healthy pawns for the sacrificed piece. Instead, Black moves his Knight to h5, where, in some lines, it will be vulnerable.

18...Nh5 19.f6 gxf6 

A tougher defense follows 19...Be6, since the Bishop can go to f7 in some lines to protect the Knight, for example 20.Qf2 Rf8 21.Qh4 Bf7, when 22.g4 will be answered by 22...g5!? Instead, White would regain the piece and maintain an edge with 22.e6.

If White takes his Queen to h4 directly after 19...Be6, then Black answers 20.Qh4 with 20...Bf7, when 21.Rae1 is answered by 21...g5!?

Of course, all of this is easier to figure out when the clock is not ticking in a blitz game!

20.exf6 Rf8 21.Qd5+ Black resigned

After capturing the Knight and surrendering the f-pawn, White will be two pawns up, with continued pressure on the enemy King.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Wow! That Was Fast!

Oh my! The way my opponent treated my recent Jerome Gambit (see"A Challenge!") you would have thought that it was a refuted opening. Oh, wait a minute - it is!

Black disposed of me in short order. Well done!

perrypawnpusher - 1zscha2014, 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 Qh4+ 9.g3 Qf6

We reached this position quickly, through a series of conditional moves that my opponent set up. Humorously, it is from perrypawnpusher - Buddy_Thompson, Italian Game Thematic Tournament,, 2014 (0-1, 27). In that game my opponent was 300 rating points higher than me, not 1zscha2014's "mere" +200 points.


An idea of Bill Wall's, from Wall,B - Marani,G,, 2011, (1-0, 28).


Bill's opponent tried 10...g6. The text is an improvement.

11.fxe5+ Qxe5 12.Qe2 Nf6 13.d3 Ke7 14.c3 Qh5 15.e5

It might have been better to have played 15.Qxh5 followed by 16.d4, but, of course, Black would still have the advantage. 

15...Qxe2+ 16.Kxe2 Nd5 17.Bg5+ Ke8 18.Nd2

At this point I was pleased to see my pieces developing quickly, and I even anticipated the upcoming piece exchange. My evaluation of the position that occurred was faulty, however.

18...h6 19.Ne4 hxg5 20.Nxc5 d6! 

Wisely offering a pawn (which can easily be recovered) to also improve his development. As long as Black's Queenside remains undeveloped, White will have time to protect his exposed h-pawn and possibly double Rooks on the f-file.

21.exd6 b6 22.Ne4 

After the game Houdini suggested returning the pawn to exchange off Black's Bishop, 22.d7+ Bxd7 23.Nxd7 Kxd7 24.Raf1 

22...Bg4+ 23.Kd2 Bf3 White resigned

Like sand running through an hourglass, White's game promises to slip away, move-by-move: i.e. 24.Rhf1 Rxh2+ 25.Rf2 Rxf2 26.Nxf2 Kd7 27.Ne4 Bxe4 28.dxe4 Nf6 29.e5 - alas, the "Jerome pawns" have no future - 29...Ng4 30.Re1 Re8. After the e5/d6 pair disappear, Black would simply be a piece ahead in a relatively uncomplicated position.

Excellent game, 1zscha2014!