Friday, March 13, 2015

A Bluffer Bluffed?

White and Black square off in the following contest, tossing suspect openings against each other. If the Blackburne Shilling Gambit is (like the Jerome) more a bluff than a solid opening, then clearly here the second player gets out-bluffed.

nalder - Pinckman
blitz, FICS, 2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nd4 

The Blackburne Shilling Gambit. 

Black hopes White doesn't know the opening, or doesn't give his next move much thought and quickly grabs the e-pawn with 4.Nxe5? only to be met with the gamy 4...Qg5!?


The Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit. Meeting "tricky" with "tricky" - although the BSG is rated "objectively" better for White, while the BSJG is rated "objectively" even.

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Ke6 6.Qg4+

This is scary, but a bluff. The proper way to continue is 6.c3

6...Kxe5 7.f4+ 

More bellicosity.


The "Exit" sign pointed to 7... Kd6.

8.Nc3 checkmate

This one was over so fast, it reminded me of the Marshall - Burn game from Paris 1900.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Sarratt Attack

Of the Sarrat / Vitzthum Attack (see the recent "Another Distant Relative" as well as "A Bridge To... Somewhere" and "Abridged"), The City of London Chess Magazine wrote in 1875
This attack, invented by Count Vitzthum, was very much practised about twenty years ago. [Here, Readers may recall Meek - Morphy, Mobile, Alabama, 1855; Meek - Morphy, New Orleans, 1855; and Kennicott - Morphy, New York, 1857 as examples; although Lowenthal, in Morphy's Games (1860), had already opined "This {5.Ng5}is far from an effective mode of proceeding with the attack, and is decidedly inferior to castling" and "This mode of proceeding with the attack is comparatively obsolete, as with the correct play the defense is perfectly satisfactory." ] It is now abandoned in contests of strong players, as the analysis proved that Black can maintain his Pawn with a good position.
Cook's Synopsis of the Chess Openings (1874) had been equally dismissive
This attack is now seldom played; with correct play it results in an even game.
Wait a minute!

What if White is happy with "an even game" and is interested in tricky play? 

I am surprised that the opening is not played more often!

As it turns out, a recent game of mine, with the Black pieces, at (3 days / move) started with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Bc5 (I was thinking about a reversed Jerome Gambit) 3.Bc4 Nc6 4.d4 exd4 5.Ng5 Nh6 6.Nxf7 Nxf7 7.Bxf7+ Kxf7 8.Qh5+ g6 9.Qxc5.

In fact, after 9...d5 10.Nd2 Re8 11.0-0 12.Re1 Bf5 13.c3 Kg7 14.cxd4 Nxd4 (instead of ...Qxd4!) Blacks game fell apart quickly.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Another Distant Relative?

As promised, I have done more research on an opening variation that I previously looked at (see "A Bridge To... Somewhere" and "Abridged") as a possible inspiration to Alonzo Wheeler Jerome in his creation of the Jerome Gambit.

A variation of the Scotch Gambit - called either the Sarratt Attack or the Vitzthum Attack - has similar sacrifical fireworks on f7: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Bc5 5.Ng5!? with the possible followup of 5...Nh6 6.Nxf7+ Nxf7 7.Bxf7+ Kxf7 8.Qh5+ g6 9.Qxc5.

The earliest example I have seen is 

Sarratt,J - NN
casual game, 1818
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.d4 exd4 5.Ng5 Ne5 6.Nxf7 Nxf7 7.Bxf7+ Kxf7 8.Qh5+ g6 9.Qxc5 Black resigned

Two other relevant examples are

Conrad Waldemar Vitzthum von Eckstaedt - Baron Tassilo von Heydebrand under Laso
Leipzig, 1853
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Bc5 5.Ng5 Nh6 6.Qh5 Qe7 7.f4 d6 8.0-0 Na5 9.Bd3 Ng4 10.h3 Nf6 11.Qf3 h6 12.Bd2 Nc6 13.b4 Bb6 14.b5 Nd8 15.e5 dxe5 16.fxe5 Nd7 17.Nxf7 Nxf7 18.e6 Qxe6 19.Bf4 Nf6 20.Nd2 0-0 21.Bc4 Qf5 22.Qb3 Qh5 23.Rae1 Kh8 24.Ne4 Nxe4 25.Rxe4 Nd6 26.Re5 d3+ 27.Kh2 Qh4 28.Bg3 Bg1+ 29.Kh1 Rxf1 30.Bxh4 Bd4+ 31.Kh2 Bxe5+ 32.Bg3 Bxg3+ 33.Kxg3 d2 White resigned

Conrad Waldemar Vitzthum von Eckstaedt - Adolf Anderssen

Leipzig, 1855
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Bc5 5.Ng5 Nh6 6.Qh5 Qe7 7.f4 d6 8.h3 Na5 9.Bd3 Nf5 10.Nxf7 g6 11.Qe2 Ng3 12.Qf3 Nxh1 13.Nxh8 Qh4+ 14.Kd1 Nf2+ 15.Ke2 Nxd3 16.Qxd3 Be6 17.Qb5+ Nc6 18.Qxb7 d3+ 19.cxd3 Nd4+ 20.Kd1 Bg4+ 21.hxg4 Qh1+ White resigned

I have also found several more Blackburne games

Charles H. Stanley - Joseph Henry Blackburne 
Manchester, 1862
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Bc5 5.Ng5 Nh6 6.Nxf7 Nxf7 7.Bxf7+ Kxf7 8.Qh5+ g6 9.Qd5+ Kg7 10.Qxc5 d5 11.b4 dxe4 12.Bb2 Re8 13.b5 Re5 14.Qc4 Be6 15.Qa4 e3 16.0-0 Rg5 17.f4 e2 18.fxg5 exf1Q+ 19.Kxf1 Qd5 20.Nd2 Rf8+ 21.Kg1 Bh3 22.Nf3 Rxf3 23.gxf3 Qxg5+ 24.Kf2 Black announced mate in 6 moves

Joseph Henry Blackburne - Alexander Steinkuehler
Manchester, 1872
1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.Bc4 Bc5 5.Ng5 Nh6 6.Qh5 0-0 7.0-0 d6 8.h3 Qe7 9.f4 Be6 10.Bd3 f5 11.Nd2 Kh8 12.Ndf3 fxe4 13.Bxe4 Bf5 14.Re1 Bxe4 15.Rxe4 Qd7 16.Bd2 d3+ 17.Kh2 dxc2 18.Rae1 a5 19.Bc3 Kg8 20.Nxh7 Bf2 21.Qg6 Bxe1 22.Nhg5 Rf6 23.Qh7+ Kf8 24.Qh8+ Ng8 25.Nh7+ Kf7 26.Nfg5+ Kg6 27.Nf8+ Raxf8 28.Qh7 checkmate

Joseph Henry Blackburne - William R. Ballard

blindfold simul 1 of 5 London, 1872
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Bc5 5.Ng5 Nh6 6.Qh5 Qe7 7.0-0 Ne5 8.Bb3 d6 9.h3 Ng8 10.f4 d3+ 11.Kh2 Nf6 12.Qd1 Neg4+ 13.hxg4 Nxg4+ 14.Kg3 h5 15.f5 Be3 16.Bxf7+ Kf8 17.Qxg4 hxg4 18.Bxe3 Qe5+ 19.Bf4 Qxb2 20.Nd2 dxc2 21.Nc4 Qc3+ 22.Ne3 Bd7 23.Kxg4 Ba4 24.Nd5 Qd3 25.Bg6 Rh6 26.Ne6+ Kg8 27.Ne7+ Kh8 28.Rh1 Qd1+ 29.Raxd1 cxd1Q+ 30.Rxd1 Bxd1+ 31.Kg3 Rh1 32.Bd2 Bh5 33.Bc3 Rg8 34.f6 Bxg6 35.Nxg6+ Kh7 36.f7 Black resigned

Joseph Henry Blackburne - Henry William Birkm Gifford
The Hague, 1874
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Bc5 5.Ng5 Nh6 6.Qh5 Qe7 7.f4 0-0 8.0-0 d6 9.f5 d3+ 10.Kh1 dxc2 11.Nc3 Ne5 12.Nd5 Qd8 13.f6 Ng6 14.fxg7 Kxg7 15.Qxh6+ Kxh6 16.Ne6+ Kh5 17.Be2+ Kh4 18.Rf4+ Nxf4 19.g3+ Kh3 20.Nexf4 checkmate

Joseph Henry Blackburne - Arthur Davy
blindfold simul 1 of 10 Sheffield, 1874
1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Bc4 Nc6 4.Nf3 Bc5 5.Ng5 Nh6 6.Qh5 Qe7 7.0-0 d6 8.h3 Ne5 9.Bb3 Bd7 10.f4 Qf6 11.Nd2 Qg6 12.Qh4 f6 13.Ne6 Bxe6 14.Bxe6 Nef7 15.Nf3 Qxe4 16.Re1 d3+ 17.Kh1 Qb4 18.c3 Qb6 19.Bxf7+ Kxf7 20.Qh5+ Kf8 21.f5 Nf7 22.Re6 Bf2 23.Bd2 Qxb2 24.Rf1 Bg3 25.Qg4 Be5 26.Qc4 c5 27.Qxd3 Qxa2 28.Nxe5 fxe5 29.Rxd6 e4 30.Qg3 Qc4 31.Rd1 Nxd6 32.Qxd6+ Kf7 33.Qd7+ Kf6 34.Bf4 Black resigned