Saturday, February 7, 2015

Complexity In The Notes.

ZahariSokolov has played some very interesting Jerome Gambits at FICS lately. The following games shows off one of the aspects of the Jerome - that even the "winning" lines for Black are tricky for the second player, as are the "losing" lines for White.

So much of the complexity this time is in the notes.

ZahariSokolov - GhengusFungus
standard, 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 Nf3+

This rogue knight move marks the "Norton Variation", as opposed to one move later - 8...Qh4+ 9.g3 Nf3+!? - which would lead to a very sharp and complicated Queen sacrifice that wins for Black.

Nonetheless, The Database has 9 games with the Norton line, and White wins 8 of them. There are 44 games with the Queen check line, and White wins half of them.

Perhaps GhengusFungus was unfamiliar with the Queen sac, or he found the Knight move to be disturbing enough.

9. gxf3 

I was able to get away with the erroronious 9.Kf1? twice, in blitz games,  perrypawnpusher - igormsp, blitz, FICS, 2011 (1-0, 13) and perrypawnpusher - rheapennata, blitz, FICS, 2012 (1-0, 12); but long ago, at a slower pace, the Gambit's creator was not Jerome,A - Norton,D, Correspondence 1876 (0-1, 42).

9... Qh4+ 10.Kd1

Again, this is the correct square for the King, although two games in The Database show White winning after 10.Ke2? Young,J - "Chess Challenger 10" Computer, 1979 (1-0,18) and gibonacci - jschulte, ,5d/move, 2007 (1-0, 48). 

10... Qe7 

In "Vortex" I wrote

White's best chance is 11.Qe5+ Kc6 12.b4!? when White can probably eke out a draw, whether or not the pawn is captured, but the play is very difficult.

That is a fair assessment of this Norton variation: a very complicated game, but a draw, with a lot of hard work by White.

Two games show White successful after 10...Ne7!?CFBBlind -Quandary, FICS, 2001 (1-0, 18) and perrypawnpusher - sjeijk, blitz, FICS, 2011 (1-0,19); while White had a draw against 10...Qf2 - until he was given more in perrypawnpusher - Sir Osis of the Liver, JG3 thematic,, 2008 (1-0,19).

How did Black deal with all these complications? Apparently he relaxed too soon. 

11. Qd5 Black checkmate

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