Friday, August 28, 2015

Off On A Brief Tangent

Image result for Knight on the left
I recently acquired Knight on the Left: 1.Nc3 by Harald Keilhack, an updated English version of his German language Der Linksspringer. I really like the book, and I am not alone - see the review by Paul Kane and review by lefthandsketch on the Brooklyn 64 site.

I noticed that in his chapter "Against the Sicilian - 1.Nc3 c5 2.Nf3" Keilhack took time to digress and address "The French Marshall" connection (1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 c5), where he mentioned my 1988 effort:
There is a booklet The Marshall Gambit in the French and Siclian Defenses by Kennedy/Sheffield with interesting material, however, its rather confusing presentation doesn't allow clear conclusions either.
Oh, well. In our book Riley and I opted to group the lines of play by patterns of piece development, rather than give example master games (with notes) or structure things along lines such as A1b1(c), etc. (By the way, we wrote back before electronic chess databases were prevalent - collecting the games from books, including those in the White Collection of the Cleveland Public Library.)

I will remember Keilhack's concerns as I prepare All or Nothing! The Jerome Gambit, my magnum opus on my current favorite opening.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


I certainly wish that I could find a definite link between Alonzo Wheeler Jerome, the "inventor" of the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+), and the similar line in the Bishop's Opening (1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Bc5 3.Bxf7+) - other than the references Gerald Abrahams made in two of his books, hence my naming the line the Abrahams Jerome Gambit.

Still, it's hard to overlook the following game, where White tops a player rated over 350 points above him. "outwitted"? I don't think so!  (When he looks over his game, I hope my notes help.)

outwitted - perece

standard, FICS, 2015

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Bc5 3.Bxf7+ 

Currently there are 16,200 Abrahams Jerome Gambit games in The Database (with many more to add). White wins 51%. This compares with 11,645 standard Jerome Gambit games (not counting transpositions from the Four Knights or the Semi-Italian) where White scores 45%.

3...Kxf7 4.Qh5+ Ke6 5.Nf3

While going over this game I found an interesting glitch in Stockfish 6. It evaluates the alternative move 5.Qg4+ as "=" (0.00) and keeps that evaluation even after the move 5...Kf7 is played, saying that after 6.Qh5+ the evaluation will still be "0.00". However, when I play 6.Qh5+ immediately see that after 6...Kf8 Black is rated 1.5 (or so) pawns better!?

For other thoughts on the move see "Exploring".


This is not as strong a move as in many of the regular Jerome Gambit lines.


Opening a line to add his Bishop to the attack. Next time outwitted will be ready with 6.Qe8+ Qe7 7.Qxc8 winning a piece.


6...Nc6best for Black, is still better for White. 


Straight forward. However, 7.Nxd4+ is the right way to go after the Queen, i.e. 7...exd4 8.Qd5+ Ke7 9.Bg5. (This is the second time that outwitted appears in The Database with the white pieces, and he is still feeling his way around.)


Now Black is OK.

8.Qg4+ Kd6

A better defense was 8...Kf7 9.Nh4 (9.c3 Bb6 10.Nxe5+ Black resigned, bobx - ABoni, FICS, 2007) 9...Qe6 10.c3 h6 11.Qxe6+ dxe6 12.Bd2 Bb6 13.O-O Nf6 14.Be3 Rf8 15.Bxb6 axb6 16.f4 exf4 17.Rxf4 g5 18.Rf1 gxh4 19.e5 Kg6 20.exf6 Rxf6 21.Rxf6+ Kxf6 22.Nd2 Ra4 23.Rf1+ Kg7 24.a3 Nc6 25.Nf3 h3 26.g3 e5 27.Re1 Kf6 28.Nh4 Rxh4 29.gxh4 Bg4 30.Rf1+ Ke6 31.Rf8 h5 32.Re8+ Kd5 33.Rc8 Kd6 34.Rh8 e4 35.Rh6+ Kd5 36.Rh8 e3 37.Re8 e2 38.Kf2 Ne5 39.Rd8+ Ke4 40.Re8 Kf4 41.Rf8+ Ke4 42.Re8 Kd5 43.Rd8+ Kc4 44.Rd4+ Kb3 45.Re4 Nd3+ 46.Ke3 e1=Q+ 47.Kxd3 Bf5 48.c4 Qxe4+ 49.Kd2 Qd3+ 50.Ke1 Kxb2 51.Kf2 Qe4 52.Kf1 Qf3+ 53.Ke1 Kc2 54.c5 Bd3 55.cxb6 Qe2 checkmate,  RattyMouse - vballmike, FICS, 2009


This works, in light of Black's response, but next time White might follow RattyMouse: 9.Nbd2 Nf6 10.Qg3 Nxe4 11.Nxe4+ Qxe4+ 12.Kd1 Bxb2 13.Rb1 Qd5+ 14.Ke2 Bc3 15.Rhd1 Bd4 16.Nxd4 Qc4+ 17.Ke3 Qc3+ 18.Rd3 Qc5 19.Rbb3 Nc6 20.Rbc3 Qxc3 21.Rxc3 Nxd4 22.Kd3 b6 23.Be3 Ba6+ 24.Kd2 Nc6 25.Qxg7 Rhg8 26.Qxh7 Rxg2 27.Qh6+ Ke7 28.Qh7+ Kd6 29.Qh6+ Ke7 30.Bg5+ Kf7 31.Qf6+ Ke8 32.Qh8+ Kf7 33.Qxa8 Rxf2+ 34.Ke3 Re2+ 35.Kf3 e4+ 36.Kf4 Black forfeited on time, RattyMouse - Udon, FICS, 2008

Stockfish 6's suggestion is 9.Nxd4 exd4 10.e5+ Kc6 11.O-O Qe6 12.Qf3+ Kb6 13.c3 Ne7 14.cxd4 c6 15.Nc3 Nd5


Lashing out. There is an idea behind the move, but White figures it out.

10.Kxf2 h6

The White Bishop is pinned.

11.Rd1+ Kc5 12.Rd5+ 

12. Be3+ is fine, too.

12...Kc4 13.Nxe5 checkmate.

Monday, August 24, 2015


Compared to the urban superhighways of the Ruy Lopez or King's Indian Defense, the Jerome Gambit is a path through the woods. Some lesser-played lines are a trudge through the wilderness. In the following game, White, with 155 games in The Database, travels, then wanders, then gets a bit lost - fortunately for him, his opponent is even less prepared for the journey.

fehim - sonikf

blitz, FICS, 2015

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ng6 7.Qd5+Kf8 8.Qxc5+ N8e7

A playable, but not often played, move. (More often seen is 8...d6.) All of the relevant games from The Database can be given or linked to.

9.O-O d6 10.Qe3

10.Qc4 was seen in  Wall,B - Guesty1960624,, 2013 (1-0, 30) while fehim, himself, tried earlier: 10.Qb4 b6 11.d3 Bb7 12.Bg5 h6 13.Be3 Qd7 14.Nd2 Kf7 15.Qb3+ Qe6 16.Qc3 Rhf8 17.Qxc7 Rab8 18.Qc3 Kg8 19.Nf3 Rfc8 20.Qd2 Ne5 21.Nd4 Qf6 22.h3 N7c6 23.Nf5 Ne7 24.Ng3 d5 25.f4 N5g6 26.e5 Qf7 27.d4 Nf5 28.Nxf5 Qxf5 29.g4 Qxc2 30.Qb4 Nh4 31.Rf2 Qe4 32.Re1 Nf3+ 33.Kf1 Nxe1 34.Qxe1 Rc2 35.Rxc2 Qxc2 36.Qd2 Qxd2 37.Bxd2 Rc8 38.Bc3 Kf7 39.a3 Ke6 40.Kf2 a6 41.Kf3 b5 42.f5+ Ke7 43.Kf4 g5+ 44.fxg6 Rg8 45.h4 Rxg6 46.h5 Rg8 47.Kf5 Rf8+ 48.Kg6 Rf4 49.Kxh6 Rxg4 50.Kh7 White forfeited on time. fehim - HarryPaul, FICS, 2006.

10... Kf7


10...Nc6 11.d4 Qe7 12.f4 Kg8 13.f5 Nf8 14.c3 h6 15.Na3 Nh7 16.Bd2 Nf6 17.Rae1 a6 18.Nc2 Bd7 19.e5 dxe5 20.dxe5 Nd5 21.Qe4 Nb6 22.Kh1 Rf8 23.g4 Qh4 24.e6 Bc8 25.Rg1 Re8 26.Bf4 Re7 27.b3 h5 28.g5 Black forfeited on time, MrJoker - rex3, Internet Chess Club, 2012;

10...h6 11.d4 Kg8 12.c4 (12.f4 as in mrjoker - hp9000, Internet Chess Club, 2009 [1-0, 19])12... Kh7 13. f4 c5 14. dxc5dxc5 15. Qxc5 Qb6 16. Qxb6 axb6 17. Be3 Ra6 18. Nc3 Rf8 19. g3 Bg4 20. Kg2 h5 21. h3 Bd7 22. a4 Bc6 23. b4 Nf5 24. Bg1 Black forfeited on time, MrJoker - ilongavab, Internet Chess Club, 2012 (1-0,24);

10...b6 as in perrypawnpusher - Jaqueperpetuo, blitz, FICS, 2011 (1-0, 25); 

10...Ke8 11.d4 Rf8 12.f4 Kf7 (12...d5 as in guest645 - guest1600, Internet Chess Club, 2001 [1-0, 31]) 13. f5 Nh8 14. Qb3+ d5
15. Bg5 c6 16. Nc3 h6 17. Bxe7 Qxe7 18. exd5 Kg8 19. dxc6+ Nf7 20. Nd5 Qd6 21.c7 Kh7 22. Rae1 b6 23. c4 Bb7 24. Re6 Qd7 25. Re7 Qc8 26. Qg3 Bxd5 27. Qg6+ Kg828. f6 Ng5 Black resigned, Ghandy - pratmanu, FICS, 2011 (1-0, 28); 

10... Be6 as in mrjoker - cherryhead, Internet Chess Club, 2008 (1-0, 50); and

10...Bd7 as in guest4097 - guest4686, Internet Chess Club, 2004 (1-0, 25);

11.f4 Rf8 12.f5 Ne5 13.Qb3+ d5 

White is working to interfere with Black castling-by-hand. He should take a moment, now, to support his center with 14.Nc3. Instead, he continues to go after the enemy King.

14.f6 gxf6 15.exd5 Qxd5 16.Qg3

White does not want to exchange Queens and weaken his chances for an attack, but this move puts Her Majesty in a risky position and strengthens Black's counter-attack.


Even stronger is 16...Rg8.

17.d3 Bg6 18.Nc3 Qe6 19.Bh6 Rg8 20.Rae1

In this complicated position Stockfish 6 recommends the bizarre 20...Be4!? 21.Bg5 Bf5!? when White's Bishop, not Black's, will be in danger, finishing up with 22.h4 h6 23.d4 Qb6 24.Qf2 hxg5 25.dxe5 Qxf2+ 26.Rxf2 gxh4 27.exf6 Kxf6 28.Rxf7 Kxf7 29.Rxf5; Black is ahead the exchange.

However, the defender gets lost in the woods.

20...Qd6  21.Rxe5 Black resigned

This is a complicated position (exchanging Queens first with 21.Qxe5 Qxe5 22.Rxe5 might have helped White) and it is difficult to see Black resigning while just a pawn down, but perhaps he had his fill of the wilderness or his clock was winding down.