Saturday, July 25, 2015

How Goes the Second Decline?

The following game allowed me to both see what an interesting new Jerome Gambit player was doing, as well as check out another example of a defensive move by Black that I have sometimes underestimated.

ZahariSokolov - naijachampion

standard, FICS, 2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Ke8

Black decides that accepting one sacrificed piece is enough.

His King would be safer on f8, however. See "A Second Chance to Decline".


The text is thematic, but 6.Nxc6 is probably "objectively" stronger. See "Don't drive like my brother", "Ooops..." and "A Short Wall(k)".

6...g6 7.Nxg6 Bxf2+

At first glance a surprise, but Black counts the Bishop's time left as limited, and plans to get a pawn for it.


White escaped twice after declining the piece, but it is not a strategy that I would endorse:

8.Kd1 Nf6 9.Qf3 Rg8 10.Nf4 Bc5 11.c3 d6 12.d4 Bb6 13.h3 h5 14.Re1 Bd7 15.Nd5 Nxd5 16.exd5+ Ne7 17.Qxh5+ Kf8 18.Rf1+ Nf5 19.Bh6+ Ke7 20.Rxf5 Bxf5 21.Qxf5 Qd7 22.Bg5+ Ke8 23.Qe4+ Kf8 24.Bh6+ Kf7 25.Nd2 Rae8 26.Qf4+ Kg6 27.Kc2 Qf5+ 28.Qxf5+ Kxf5 29.g4+ Kg6 30.Bf4 c6 31.Bxd6 Re2 32.Kd3 Rge8 33.Nc4 Bd8 34.a4 b5 35.axb5 cxb5 36.Ne5+ Kg7 37.Kxe2 Bg5 38.Rf1 Rh8 39.Rf7+ Kg8 40.Rf3 Kh7 41.Nc6 Re8+ 42.Kf2 a6 43.Ne5 Bh4+ 44.Kg2 a5 45.Rf7+ Kg8 46.Rf5 a4 47.Rh5 Bd8 48.Bb4 Kg7 49.h4 Bf6 50.Kh3 Rf8 51.g5 Bd8 52.Kg4 Bc7 53.Bc5 Bb8 54.d6 Rd8 55.Nc6 Rd7 56.Nxb8 Kg6 57.Nxd7 Black forfeited on time, Petasluk - Klonkku, FICS, 2011;

8.Kf1 hxg6 9.Qxh8 Qf6 10.Qxf6 Nxf6 11.Kxf2 Nxe4+ 12.Ke3 d5 13.Nc3 Bf5 14.Nxe4 Bxe4 15.d3 Bf5 16.Bd2 Kd7 17.Rhe1 Re8+ 18.Kf2 Ne5 19.h3 d4 20.Bf4 Kd6 21.Bxe5+ Rxe5 22.Rxe5 Kxe5 23.Re1+ Kd6 24.Kf3 Black resigned, jecree - lhoffman, FICS, 2008.


8...Nf6! is the correct move here, still unplayed as far as The Database is concerned.


9.Nf4+ is the strongest rejoinder, as seen as far back as Blackstone,J - Dommeyer,C, Campbell, CA 1960 and as recent as Philidor 1792 - Guest834593, 2014.

9...hxg6 10.Qxf6 Nxf6 11.d3 d6 

Black has the standard piece for two pawns. He has seen the Queens leave the board, and his King has escaped danger, but the game is not over.

12. c3 b6 13. Bg5 Ng4+ 14. Ke2 Be6 15.Nd2 Rxh2

A tactical oversight, not just the win of a pawn. 

16.Rxh2 Nxh2 17.Rh1 Ng4

Still missing something, or in shock. It was time to bite the bullet with 17...Bxa2.

18.Rh8+ Kd7 19.Rxa8 Bxa2

White is a clear exchange ahead. From here on he outplayed his opponent.

20.b3 Nge5 21.Rg8 Na5 22.d4 Nxb3 23.Rg7+ Kc8 24.dxe5 Nxd2 25.Kxd2 dxe5 26.Rxg6 a5 27.Be7 Kd7 28.Ba3 Be6 29.g4 c6 30.g5 b5 31.Rg7+ Kd8 32.Ra7 a4 33.Ke3 Kc8 34.g6 Black resigned

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