Saturday, August 8, 2015

What Does He Not See?

Inspired by the cautionary (for Black) ending of Mannixcannon - Ellema, FICS, 2014 posted a few days ago  (see "Q.E.D.") I wanted to present another recent example of the "lesson" for the defender - do something with the extra piece(s) that White freely gives you.

According to The Database, Karranca, of FICS, started playing the Jerome Gambit (and related lines) last year.

Welcome to the Jerome Gambit Gemeinde!

Here is how one of his games ended. (It almost looks like Black's extra Bishop has not moved since its initial trip to c5; but it has, it later returned.) It is clear what his opponent did not see until it was too late. Short on time? Stressed out? Overconfident (a piece is a piece)?

Karranca - Keracim, blitz, FICS, 2014
after 47...Kxc4 Drawn
Here is a short, complete game by Karranca, showing that he understands that White must do something with the opportunities given to him, too.

Karranca - bevalenzuela
blitz, FICS, 2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ng6 7.Qxc5 d6 8.Qc3 Nf6

9.d3 Re8 10.O-O c6 11.Re1 Ne5 12.Nd2 Qc7 13.d4 Neg4 14.Qg3 Nxe4

A tactical oversight. Jerome Gambiteers do not always get this chance. White sees that. 

15.Nxe4 Rxe4 16.Qf3+ Kg8 17.Rxe4 d5 18.Re8 checkmate.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

We Know What We're Doing (Sort Of)

I chuckled when I was putting together the earlier blog post, "Opening Discussion, Not Quite Closed". The idea that there were several very good moves to be played in an opening position, and I chose none of them -- and won the game, anyhow -- seemed very appropriate in a Jerome Gambit blog.

Anyone who has browsed through the 51,000+ games in The Database has come away with an appreciation of the fact that Jerome Gambiteers frequently play second (or third, or fourth, or fifth...) best moves successfully. Some of that is due to their creativity, or their familiarity with the strategies of the opening. Some of that is due to the time control (blitz) or level of play (club chess).

Finally, some of White's success is due to the strangeness of the Jerome Gambit itself, which forces defenders to continually figure things out - or perish. I am reminded of the following anecdote from the "Blackmar Diemer Gambit World", #43, January, 1991, told by IM Gerard Welling, and reprinted in "Tom's BDG Pages"
At the Hastings Chess Congress in 1937 Emil Josef Diemer created a stir in a game with an English gentleman. Diemer had a bad position, but after a move by his opponent he replied quickly, then jumped up, and to the chagrin of his opponent exclaimed: "Precisely the blunder that I have been expecting!" 
White in the following encounter has 15 games in The Database. Perhaps that is not enough, yet, to allow too much straying from the "straight and narrow". He has interesting chances to win or draw, but eventually succumbs in a madcap ending to the ticking clock.

bemillsy - Dpouchy

blitz, FICS, 2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Ke6 6.Nxc6 dxc6

6...bxc6, as in fehim - Pawnshop, FICS, 2009 (0-1, 48) could have been punished by 7.Qg4+!?


Possibly the best move. I mention that, because of the following games, where White varied:

7.d4 Be7 8.Qg4+ Kf7 9.Qh5+ Kf8 10.O-O Nf6 11.Qe2 Be6 12.e5 Nd5 13.c4 Nb4 14.a3 Na6 15.Nc3 Qxd4 16.Rd1 Qxc4 17.Qf3+ Kg8 18.Be3 Bg4 19.Qg3 Bxd1 20.Bh6 Qg4 21.Rxd1 Qxg3 22.hxg3 gxh6 23.Rd7 Kf7 24.f4 Rad8 25.Rxd8 Rxd8 26.Kh2 Rd2 27.b4 Rd3 28.Nb1 Rb3 29.Nd2 Rxa3 White resigned, blackburne - DREWBEAR 63, ChessWorld JG6, 2011. White has 155 games in The Database.

7.d3 Qf6 8. O-O Ne7 9. c3 Rd8 10.d4 Bb6 11. Nd2 Kf7 12. Qb3+ Kf8 13. Nf3 c5 14. e5 Qc6 15. Bg5 Re8 16. Bxe7+ Rxe7 17. d5 Qd7 18. c4 Qg4 19. h3 Qg6 20. e6 c6 21. Rad1 cxd5 22. cxd5 Bc7 23.Rfe1 b6 24. d6 Bxd6 25. Rxd6 Bb7 26. Rd7 Bc8 27. Rd8+ Re8 28. e7  checkmate, UNPREDICTABLE - jrauch, FICS, 2010. White has 450 games in The Database.

7.O-O Nf6 8.d3 Qd4 9.c3 Qd7 10.d4 Be7 11.e5 Ne8 12.f4 Rf8 13.Qh5 Kd5 14.c4+ Kxc4 15.Na3+ Kd5 16.Qxh7 Qg4 17.Be3 Bf5 18.Qh3 Qe2 19.Qg3 Be4 20.Rfe1 Qxb2 21.Bf2 Nf6 22.Qb3+ Qxb3 23.axb3 Ng4 24.Nc4 Rxf4 25.Rf1 Bb4 26.Rad1 Raf8 27.Be3 Rxf1+ 28.Rxf1 Rxf1+ 29.Kxf1 Nxh2+ 30.Kg1 Ng4 31.g3 Nxe3 32.Nxe3+ Kxd4 33.Kf2 Be1+ 34.Ke2 Bxg3 35.e6 Kc3 36.e7 Bg6 37.Nf5 Be5 38.Nh4 Bd3+ 39.Ke3 g6 40.e8=Q Bd4+ 41.Kf4 Black resigned, perrypawnpusher - johnde, blitz, FICS, 2010. White has 548 games in The Database. 


Possibly the weakest of his choices. Better defense was found after 7...Kf6 8.Qh4+ g5 9.Qg3.


Instead, 8.Qh5+ wins back a piece by forking the King and Bishop. 

8... Nf6 9. c3 Re8 10. d4 Bb6

Cooperative. The alternative, 10... Rxe4+, looks stronger.

White battles on, eventually dropping the exchange, which puts him a Rook down - but he does not lose hope.

11.Bg5 Kg8 12.Bxf6 gxf6 13.O-O c5 14.Qg3+ Kh8 15.d5 Rxe4 16.Nd2 Rg4 17.Qf3 c4 18.Ne4 f5 19.Ng3 f4 20.Ne2 Qg8 21.Nxf4 Rg5 22.Rfd1 Bg4 23.Qe4 Bxd1 24.Rxd1 Re8 25.Qxc4 c6 26.g3 Bc7 27.Ne6 cxd5 28.Qxc7 Rxe6 29.Qxb7 a5 30.Kg2 h5 31.Rxd5 h4 32.Rd7 Rh6 33.Qe4 

A glance shows Black attacking fiercely - with his extra Rook.


Where is E. J. Diemer when you need him? Is this precisely the blunder that bemillsy had been expecting?? Now White has a draw.

34.Qd4+! Rg7 35.hxg3 Rhg6

And again??

Black needed to mildly accept a draw by repetition with 35...Kh7 36.Qe4+ Kh8 37.Qd4 Kh7 30.Qe4+ etc. Now White is better.


Homer - I mean, bemillsy - nods. He is right, his advancing pawn will be important, but after he plays 36.Rd8 to win Black's Queen for a Rook. Q + 5Ps will then out-play 2Rs + P.


Black takes his opportunity to avoid the above killing fork, but should have done so with a Queen move like 36...Qe6 or 36...Qa8+, when he would be better again.

Now White again has a plucky draw by repetition: 37.Qh4+ Rh6 38.Qe4+ Kh8 39.Qd4 etc.


Making things difficult again, if Black correctly recaptures with the Queen. White would have plenty of checks to deliver to the enemy King, but eventually the extra Rook would prevail over the extra pawns.

37...Rxg7 38.Qh4+ Kg6 39.f4

White does not accept the 39.Qe4+ line, drawing, and looks for a mate that is not there. (This does have the feel of a blitz game as time runs down.)

39...Kf7 40.Qh5+ Kf8 41.Qf5+ Rf7 42.Qc8+ Kg7 43.Qxg8+ Kxg8

White puts his trust in what must still be considered his "Jerome pawns".

44.Kf3 Rd7 45.Ke3 Kf7 46.g4 Kf6 47.b3 Ke6 48.a3 Re7 49.b4 a4 50.b5 Kd6+ 51.Kd4 

The pawns look scary, especially with a ticking clock, but "objectively" the Rook still has time to pick them off, one-by-one.


Suddenly, Black's chances have crashed according to Stockfish 6, and the best he can hope for is now 52.g5 Rd7+ 53.Ke4 Re7+ 54.Kd4 Rd7+ and a draw by repetition. Instead of re-positioning his King, it looks like he needed to get his Rook into a pawn-flanking position.


On the other hand, advancing the pawns on the wing where there is an in-place stopper will not bring victory. I do not think there is anything left for White now.

52...Rd7+ 53.Ke5 Rd3 

54.g5 Rxa3 55.f5 Re3+ 56.Kd5 a3 57.f6 a2 58.f7 Rf3 White forfeited on time

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Revisiting a Strange, But Intriguing Path

The following miniature is a gift from Jerome Gambiteer shugart, of FICS, who has almost 100 games in The Database. I think his opponent tried to fool him with a tricky 5th move, but the joke was on Black when he missed a critical defense.

shugart - miatero
blitz, FICS, 2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Ke6

There were 10 games with this position in the forerunner of The Database in early 2010 when I looked at "A Strange, But Intriguing Path (Parts 1, 2 & 3)". The Database now has 23 games and White's scoring has increased to 63%.

This game should boost that percentage for those who follow in shugart's footsteps.

6.Qg4+ Kxe5

Five years ago I wrote 

If White is going to have a chance in this variation, he must sacrifice the second piece [with 6.Qg4+]. If Black then wishes to play on, he must accept the piece.
If 6.Qg4+ Kf6, then 7.Qf5+ Ke7 8.Qf7+ Kd6 9.Nc4 checkmate.
If 6.Qg4+ Kd6 7.Nf7+ wins.
If 6.Qg4+ Ke7 7.Qxg7+ Kd6 8.Nf7+ wins.

7.d4+ Kxd4

Black's King takes one bite too much. The necessary capture was 7...Bxd4, after which White can win Black's Queen, i.e. 8.Bf4+ Kf6 9.Bg5+ Kf7 10.Bxd8. The resulting Queen vs three pieces middle game is interesting, but probably favors White, e.g. 10...Nxd8 11.Qg3 d6 (or 11...Nf6 12.Nc3 d6 13.O-O-O Nc6) 12. Nc3 Nf6 13. O-O-O Nc6. There are currently no games with 7...Bxd4 in The Database.

8.Be3+ Kc4 9.Qe2+ Kb4 10.Bd2+ Ka4 11.b3 checkmate

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Opening Discussion, Not Quite Closed

Image for Roundtable Discussion Clipart

I have been looking at a Jerome Gambit-related opening line that does not appear to have a name. Although I have covered it a number of times on this blog -  "Offside!" "The Other Side"Bishop in A Hurry", "Watch that last step...", "It Worked -- This Time", "A Line of Play Everyone Should Know About", "The Psychology of Error in Chess", "It Takes More Than Just One Move",  "Checking Back", "Huh?", "A Snack", "Betcha Can't Eat Just One", "Entertaining and Educational", "Barely Got His Coffee Sipped", "Crime and Punishment", "Hard to Believe", "Poison", "Puzzling", "A New Mate", "On the Other Hand", "Chess Marches On", "Chess Marches On (Again)", "Always Good To Remember", "Cure Worse Than the Disease", and "Repetition Helps Those Who Pay Attention" - I have only played it twice, and only faced Black's best response once.

I am talking about 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Na5,

which certainly can be met with 4.Nxe5 with an edge for the first player, but which I like to meet with 4.Bxf7+.

After 4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ (there are 1933 games with this position in The Database, and White scores 72%) the strongest reply appears to be 5...Ke7  (although this move is seen only 371 times in The Database, that is less than 1/5 of the time, and White scores 70%).

How should White proceed?

As in "A Discussion Continued" I invited Stockfish 6, Houdini 3, Rybka 3 and The Database to consult with me. There were ideas and disagreements galore.

In my original notes to perrypawnpusher - wred, blitz, FICS, 2011, I pointed out that Rybka 3 preferred 6.Nc3. The move appeared 11 times in The Database. White scored 73%. The most recent game with the line continued 6...d6 7.Nd5+ Ke8 8.Qh5+ Black resigned, Alnischu - Kaliz, blitz, FICS, 2013.

On the other hand, 6.d4 was preferred by Stockfish 6. The move appeared 171 times in The Database. White scored 64%. The most recent game with the line continued 6...Nf6 7.Bg5 d6 8.Bxf6+ Kxf6 9.Ng4+ Kf7 10.Qf3+ Bf5 Black forfeited by disconnection, seinfeldaddict - JDZAAA, standard, FICS, 2014.

However, Houdini 3 preferred 6.Qf3. The move appeared in 27 games in The Database. White scored 70%. The most recent game with the line continued 6...Nh6 7.d3 Qe8 8.Bxh6 gxh6 9.0-0 Bg7 10.d4 d6 11.Nd3 Bxd4 12.c3 Bf6 13.Nd2 Rf8 14.Qe2 h5 15.Nf4 Bg4 16.Nd5+ Kd7 17.Nxf6+ Rxf6 18.f3 Be6 19.Rfe1 Rd8 20.c4 Kc8 21.b3 Qg8 22.Qf2 Nc6 23.Nf1 b6 24.Ng3 Ne5 25.Rad1 Ng4 26.Qd2 Ne5 27.Qd4 h4 28.Qf2 hxg3 29.Qxg3 Rg6 30.Qf2 Bh3 31.g3 Nxf3+ 32.Qxf3 Bg4 33.Qg2 Bxd1 34.Rxd1 Rf8 35.Qh3+ Kb8 36.Qd7 Rgf6 37.e5 Rf2 38.exd6 Rc8 39.dxc7+ Rxc7 40.Qd6 Rxa2 41.Rf1 Qe8 42.Rf8 Qxf8 43.Qxf8+ Rc8 44.Qf4+ Rc7 45.Qe5 Kb7 46.Qd5+ Kb8 47.b4 Re7 48.Qd8+ Black resigned, sadhamlet - whickmeister, blitz, FICS, 2014.

What did I actually play in my game against wred? Why, 6.Qh5. The move appeared in 107 games in The Database. White scored 73%. The most recent game with the line continued 6...Nh6 7.d4 Qe8 8.Bg5+ Kd6 9.Qxe8, Black resigned ffdallagnol - praiseanosyk, FICS, 2014.

The answer to the question of the best continuation for White in this line remains unsettled, although all four moves given have been successful in practice.