Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Brutal Day in the Life of the Jerome Gambit

I have used the "Day in the Life of" blog posts to present Jerome Gambit games that are not "perfect" (or "perfectly awful") to show the eb and flow of the game, how the attacker must adjust and continue to move forward, how the defender must shift and slide in order to stay in the game. 

The following ZahariSokolov game is quite an adventure. Both sides have chances in an all-out brawl.

ZahariSokolov - Dragonianlee
standard, FICS, 2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ g6 7.Qxe5 Qe7

This is Whistler's Defense, even stronger than Blackburne's Defense (7...d6).


ZahariSokolov has over 90 games in The Database, but none show him facing Whistler's Defense before this game. Does he take the Rook unaware of the dangers, or does he plunge right into complications trusting that he will find a way out??

8...Qxe4+ 9.Kf1 

White's other alternative is also dreary: 9.Kd1 Qxg2 
a) 9...Qg4+ 10.f3 Qxg2 11.Qxh7+ Kf8 12.Re1 d5 13.Qh4 Qxf3+ 14.Re2 Bg4 15.Nc3 Bf2 White resigned, Jerome,A - Whistler,G, correspondence, 1876; or 
b) 9...d5 10.Re1 Bg4+  11.f3 Bxf3+ 12.gxf3 Qxf3+ 13.Re2 Re8 14.Qxh7+ Kf8 15.Nc3 Qf1+ 16.Re1 Qxe1 checkmate,  franciskov - danielhidrobo, FICS, 2013.  

10.Re1 Qf3+? 11.Re2 Qh1+ 12.Re1 Qf3+ 13.Re2 Qh1+ 14.Re1 Qf3+ Draw, Wall,B - Mathieubuntu, 40 0, FICS, 2011. A bad case of "nerves". (On the other hand, many players would jump at a chance to draw against Bill Wall!)


The text is the best move. Results from other moves, as seen in The Database, show that the complexity of the position gives White chances:

9...Qxc2 10.Qxh7+ Kf8 (10...Kf6 11.Qh4+ Kg7 12.Nc3 Qd3+ 13.Kg1 d6 14.g3 Bd7 15.b4 Bd4 16.Bb2 Bc6 17.Na4 Bxb2 18.Nxb2 Qf3 19.Qd4+ Nf6 20.Kf1 Qxh1+ Black forfeits by disconnection, markinchrist - Gurucool, FICS, 2013) 11.Na3 (11.Nc3 Qd3+ 12.Ne2 (12.Kg1 d6 13.Qh4 Bf5 14.h3 Re8 15.Kh2 d5 16.f4 d4 17.Na4 Bd6 18.b3 Be7 19.Qf2 Bf6 20.Nb2 Qe4 21.d3 Qd5 22.Re1 Rxe1 23.Qxe1 Qd6 24.Bd2 Nh6 25.Nc4 g5 26.Nxd6 cxd6 27.Bb4 g4 28.Bxd6+ Kf7 29.Kg3 gxh3 30.gxh3 Bxd3 31.Qb4 Nf5+ 32.Kf2 Bh4+ 33.Kg1 Be4 34.Rc1 Ng3 35.Rc7+ Kg6 36.Kh2 Nf1+ 37.Kg1 Nd2 38.Qxd2 Black resigned, chessmanjeff - CHESSWILL, FICS, 2013) 12...b6 13.h4 Ba6 14.Rh3 Qxe2+ 15.Kg1 Qxf2+ 16.Kh1 Qg1, checkmate, chessmanjeff - throwback, FICS, 2014) 11...Qf5 12.d4 Bxd4 13.Qh4 c5 14.Bh6+ Kf7 15.Bd2 Nf6 16.Re1 g5 17.Qg3 d5 18.b4 Be6 19.Qc7+ Kg6 20.Qd6 Ne4 21.Rxe4 dxe4 22.bxc5 Qxf2 checkmate, shugart - roentgenium, FICS, 2014; or

9...Qc4+ 10.d3 Qxc2 11.Qxh7+ Kf8 12.Bh6+ Nxh6 13.Qxh6+ Kf7 14.Qf4+ (14.Qd2 Qa4 15.Nc3 d6 16.Nxa4 Black resigned, Abijud - Jeru, blitz, FICS, 2005) 14...Ke8 15.Nd2 Qxd3+ 16.Kg1 Bd6 17.Re1+ Kd8 Black resigned, IagainstI - kingphilippineda, FICS, 2013. 


Or 10.Nc3 Qe5 11.d3 b6 12.Bh6 Qf5 13.Qg7+ Ke6 14.Re1+ Kd6 15.Qf8+ Kc6 16.Qf7 Qxf2, checkmate, shugart - bakugan, FICS, 2014


Possibly 10...Qd4 is best, or Black could try 10...Qh4.


White is up a pawn and the exchange, and despite the precarious position of his King and his poor development, Houdini sees the game as about even now.

11...Bf8 12.Nc3 d5 


As a historical note, 13.h4!? Qd7 14.h5 Bg7 15.hxg6+ Kxg6 16.Rh6+ Bxh6 17.Bxh6 b6 18.Ne2 Qf7 19.Qf8 Qxf8 20.Bxf8 Draw was Jerome,A - Norton,D, correspondence, 1876.

13...b6 14.Nb5

White would do better to continue his development with 14.Re1. Yet, White has some attacking ideas associated with his move.


Black is distracted - perhaps that was part of White's plan. The second player is clearly better after the prudent 14...Qd7


Getting ahead of himself! First White should play 15.Bh6! when Black's position will collapse, for example 15...Ba6 (or 15...Bb7) 16.Bxf8 Rxf8 17.Nd6+ Ke6 18.Qxf8.

15...Bxd6 16.Bh6 


Here Black misses his chance to grab the advantage again with 16...Qxf3+! 17.gxf3 Bh3+ 18.Ke2 Rxh8. Amazing.

Now White crashes through.

17.Qg7+ Ke6 18.Re1+ Be5 19.Qxb7 Ng4 20.Qxc6+ 

Black forfeited by disconnection. You can sense his great disappointment.

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