Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Tough Loss

I have to admit that I felt a little bad after discovering the following game. Played in the Under 1400 section of the 2014 Colorado Open, it featured the adventurous play of someone with only a little over a dozen rated gamed under his belt.

That White was willing to trust his play against the Blackburne Shilling Gambit (from the eventual winner of the section) - there certainly are other ways to attack the BSG - to the "Jerome treatment" in an over-the-board event was a reflection of his pluck. That he got lost in a sideline... a reflection of his bad luck.

So, here is a restorative lesson.

Zirin, Jacob - Akhavan, Evan
Colorado Open, 2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nd4 4.Bxf7+

The Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit.

White can also play 4.Nc3, 4.0-0, 4.d3 or (best) 4.Nxd4 exd4 5.c3 without risk. (Just stay away from 4.Nxe5 on principle.)

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Ke6 6.Qh5 

The Database has 1,329 games with the Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit after 5...Ke6, with White scoring 52%.

The Database has 117 games with White's 6.Qh5, scoring 52%.

Found in 407 games in The Database is 6.c3, which, while complicated, scored 59%.

My recommended line for White here starts with that last move: 6.c3 Kxe5 7.cxd4+ Ke6 and the game is balanced. It is too dangerous for Black to capture either (any) of the center pawns; that gives the first player too many chances to "capture" the enemy King.

Since this is blog post number 2,064, you would have to look through a lot of information to bring yourself up-to-date on this variation. Let me help.

To learn about the line, it is useful to progress through the following blog posts, in order, from oldest to more recent: "Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit 2", "Why, I oughta...", "Clearly Unclear", "Untangling Lines of Play", " 'Even' does not mean 'safe' ", "Whose Territory Are We Fighting On?", "Starting Over", "Not-So-Instant Victory", "More Updating", "A High Level of Danger", "Blackburne Shilling Gambit: Don't Feed the Greed", and "Caught Out".

(Of course, if you are in a hurry, start from the last and read as many as you can, progressing backwards and checking out the references to earlier posts.)

If you are going to play 6.Qh5, here are a few guidelines from past posts: "Read This Blog", "Scared to Death" ,"Greed Is Not Good" and "Is Still Not".

You're welcome. 


Even stronger was 6...Nf6


White goes after Black's Rook, before Black goes after White's Rook. In theory, attacking first may be a good idea, but here the move (a TN) loses a pawn. Better, according to Stockfish, is 7.Ng4 Qg6 (not 7... Nxc2+ 8.Kd1 Qg6 9.Qxg6+ hxg6 10.Kxc2 when White has an edge) 8.Qd5+ Ke7 9.Qxd4 Qxg4 10.O-O and Black would have his one piece vs two pawns advantage.

7...Nxc2+ 8.Kd1 Qxf7 9.Qd5+ Ke7 10.Kxc2 Qxd5 11.exd5

With Queens off of the board, Black's King is relatively safe. White will have a difficult time scaring up an attack against a position with few weaknesses.

11...Kd8 12.d4 Nf6 13.Nc3 d6 14.f3 Bf5+ 15.Kb3 Kd7 16.Bf4 Re8

17.h4 h5 18.Rac1 a6 19.a4 g6 20.Kc4 Bg7 21.Rhg1 Re7 22.Bg5 c6 23.g4 hxg4 24.fxg4 cxd5+ 25.Nxd5 Be6 26.Bxf6 Bxf6 27.g5 Bg7 

Here White resigned, as the upcoming 28...Rc8+ will chase White's King away from protecting the Knight.

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