Sunday, March 1, 2015

More Errors in Thinking 2.0

In response to "More Errors in Thinking" I received an email from Bill Wall, one of the top modern day Jerome Gambiteers, with notes about my recent game against Hywel2. I will reprise the column, adding Bill's thoughts in red. Thank you, Bill!

One of my interests in exploring the Jerome Gambit comes from observing - and occasionally provoking - "errors in thinking". Essentially, the only way White can win is if Black errs - sometime in the most fascinating of ways.

The following game is my most recent Jerome Gambit from the Italian Game tournament (see "Yet Once Again Into The Fray"). For a while it looked like it was going to be one of my best Jeromes ever, thanks to some fun tactics - but I fell victim to my own "error in thinking", and it was all for naught...

perrypawnpusher - Hywel2, Italian Game tourney, 2015

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 10.O-O Kf7 11.f4 Re8 12.f5 Ne5 13.d4

I have also tried 13.Nc3 in perrypawnpusher - DysonLin, blitz, FICS, 2009 (1-0, 23); perrypawnpusher - darqknight, blitz, FICS, 2011 (0-1, 63); perrypawnpusher - CorH, blitz, FICS, 2011 (1-0, 24); and perrypawnpusher - yasserr, blitz, FICS, 2011 (1-0, 32).


Oddly, this natural move is a TN according to The Database. Instead, 13...Neg4 was seen in Vazquez,A - Carrington,W, Mexico, 2nd match 1876 (1-0, 34); Wall,B - Vijay,V,, 2010 (1-0, 22) and perrypawnpusher - whitepandora, blitz, FICS, 2011 (1-0. 64).

14.Nc3 Kg8 15.Qd3 Kh8 16.Bg5 Qd7

After 16...Qd7, I would have played 17.Bxf6 right away. After 17...gxf6 18.Nd5 Qg7 19.c3, then 20.Rf3 looks a little bit more solid.

17.Rae1 b6

I am always impressed when the masters of the Jerome Gambit are able to "make something out of nothing" in their games. It is not so easy for me.

18.Bxf6 gxf6 19.Nd5 Qg7 20.Rf3 a5 

After 20...a5, I like 21.Qc3 instead of 21.c3, attacking the knight. After 21...Bb7 22.Nf4 and 23.Rh3 looks OK for white.

21.c3 Ba6 22.Qd2 Bc4 

After 22...Bc4, instead of 23.Rg3, forcing the queen to move, perhaps to a better square, I would try 23.Nf4 Bxa2 24.Rh3, threatening 25.Ng6+ and perhaps 26.Rg3 after that.

23.Rg3 Qf7 24.Nf4 Bxa2 25.Ree3

I am not sure what my opponent made of this move. Perhaps he thought I was still shuffling pieces.

Instead of 25.Ree3, I might have played 25.Rh3, threatening 26.Ng6+, but it may fizzle to a draw after 26...Rg8 26.Ng6+ Rxg6 27.fxg6 Qxg6 28.Qf4 and 29.Rh6.

25...Rg8 26.Ng6+!?

White has only a pawn for his sacrificed piece, but this new sac changes everything.

26...hxg6 27.Rh3+ Kg7 28.Rh7+

The main idea: if now 28...Kxh7, then 29.Rh3+ Kg7 30.Qh6 mate. Black, instead, gives up his Queen.

28...Kf8 29.Rxf7+ Kxf7

Houdini gives a deep look, and evaluates the position as being equal. A couple of lines to share what it sees: 30.Qd3 (looking at the light squares on the Queenside and Black's two loose minor pieces) Ne7 31.Qb5 gxf5 32.exf5 Rae8 33.g3 c6 34.Qxb6 Nxf5 35.Qc7+ Re7 36.Rxe7+ Nxe7 37.Qxd6 a4 38.Qf4 Be6 39.d5 Bxd5 40.Qxa4; or 30.Qc2 (to trap the Bishop) a4 31.e5 Ne7 32.fxg6+ Rxg6 33.exd6 Nd5 34.Rg3 Rxg3 35.hxg3 Bb3 36.Qd3 cxd6 37.c4 Ne7 38.Qh7+ Kf8 39.Qh6+ Kf7 40.Qh7+ draw

I wanted to take advantage of Black's loose pieces, too, before his R + B + N got coordinated and out-played my Queen.


Instead of 30.fxg6, I would try to keep it complicated with 30.Qc2 and with the threat of 31.Qa4, winning a piece (threatening bishop and knight), or 31.b3, trapping the bishop.

30...Rxg6 31.Rh3 Rag8 32.Rh7+ R8g7 33.Rxg7+ Rxg7 34.Qd1 Be6

Now is the time for White to continue his escape with 35.Qh5+ Rg6 36.Qh7+ Rg7 37.Qh5+ draw, as any other line by Black would drop a minor piece to a Queen check and fork.

But - what is this?? My opponent, having played strongly the whole game, has suddenly fallen for a simple pawn fork?? What good fortune!

What an error in thinking! On my part, that is.


Allowing Black to quickly pull his game together.

Instead of 35.d5? which allows 35...Bg4!, I would have played 35.Qh5+ Rg6 36.Qh7+ Rg7 37.Qh5+ Rf6, take the draw and call it a day.

35... Bg4

I had looked at 35...Bh3, but had totally overlooked the text.

After some discouraged piece-shifting, I gave up the ghost.

36.Qe1 Ne5 37.Qe3

I looked at your last game and you thought there might be a way I could prevail. Not after 37.Qe3. After 36...Ne5 was played (you threatened dxc6), you played 37.Qe3? But after 35...Ne5, Black's threat is 36...Bf3 or 36...Bh3 as the rook pins the king and you can't take the bishop. So you have to play either 37.Kf1 or 37.Kh1. I think 37.Kf1 is slightly better to get out in the middle of the board in the endgame. Maybe there is something with Qh4 later or just h3. So after 37.Qe3, White' game looks lost. 

37...Bf3 38. g3 Bh5 39. h3 Nc4 40. Qf2 Bg6 41. Qe2 Ne5 42. g4 Ke7 43. Kf2 Kf8 44. Qa6 Re7 White resigned

Black's pieces are cooperating, and it is only a matter of time before they begin chopping away at White's position (starting with Pe4).

I am sure that Jerome Gambit stalwarts like blackburne, Bill Wall and Philidor1792 would find a way to prevail, even in this position, but I felt "lost" after my 35th move, and couldn't see my way out - perhaps the final "thinking error".

(In the two other second round games with White in this tournament, I am playing an Italian Four Knights game [with the help of chessfriend Yury Bukayev's opening analysis] and facing a Hungarian Defense [I did not follow Yury's suggestion, and may come to regret it. {Wow! I was just offered a draw, which I took quickly}] - Rick)

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