Friday, September 11, 2015

The Jerome Gambit Treatment - Unbelieveable!

I stumbled over the following game while looking for a possible recent Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit game example. White faced a Philidor Defense variant and dispatched it quickly.

What I recalled in my notes to move 6 got me chuckling, but what I found in my notes to move 7 sent my mind reeling: The "Jerome treatment" leads to this - Unbelieveable!

Take a look and see.

todotranquilo - SrNoth

blitz, FICS, 2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 h6 4.d4

Sometimes when I am expecting Black to reply with 3...Bc5, I am met with 3...h6, the Semi-Italian Opening, instead. I usually continue with my development with 4.0-0 and hope for Black to fall in with my wishes. Occasionally I see 4...Nf6 and have to try 5.Nc3 before I see 5...Bc5 (and am then able to play 6.Bxf7+).

The earlier series on this blog, "A Jerome Look At The Semi-Italian Opening (Parts 1, 2, 3, 4 5 and 6)", is well worth visiting for history, analysis and games.

I took a quick look at The Database, and noticed:

There are 1,569 games with (or transposing to) 4.d4, with White scoring 64%; there are 352 games with 4.0-0, with White scoring 70%; and there are 349 games with 4.Nc3, with White scoring 61%.


The Database showed only 153 games with this move (not the best), with White scoring 70%. The more popular (and stronger) alternative, 4...exd4, appeared in 1,062 games, where White scored 57%.

5.dxe5 dxe5 6.Bxf7+

Of course, the straight-forward 6.Qxd8+ Kxd8 (or 6...Nxd8 7.Nxe5) 7.Bxf7 would win a pawn for White, but todotranquilo prefers to play like Jerome.

(Due to sampling bias, The Database does not have any games with 6.Qxd8+, but a quick look at ChessBase's online database gives 63 games with that move; White scores 86%. The two databases are vastly different, making comparisons dicey, but this peek gives an indication of the validity of 6.Qxd8+.)

Interestingly enough, 6.Bxf7+ was embraced in Chess Master vs Chess Amateur (1963), by Max Euwe and Walter Meiden

White could act even more energetically [than 6.Qxd8+ etc.] by playing 6.Bxf7+ Kxf7 7.Nxe5+, and Black is in great trouble, for (a) 7...Nxe5? 8.Qxd8 or (b) 7...Ke7 8.Ng6+, or (c) 7...Ke8 8.Qh5+ Ke7 9.Ng6+. After (d) 7...Kf6, the continuation is less clear. This does not mean that the sacrifice would be incorrect, since after 8.Nd3, White has two Pawns for a piece and the Black King is badly placed. On the other hand, a safe win of a Pawn as in the other variations, might be preferable.
Stay with me, there is more.

For starters, due to the magic of transpositions, there are 2,025 games in The Database with this position (after 6.Bxf7+), and White scores 41% - a reason, from a practical point of view, that Readers might consider the mundane 6.Qxd8+ over the dashing 6.Bxf7+. (The online ChessBase database has only one game with the position, a win for White.)

Of course, "from a practical point of view" it might also be wise to avoid the Jerome Gambit altogether; but where is the fun in that??

6...Kxf7 7.Nxe5+ Ke8

As mentioned above, 7...Kf6 is probably Black's strongest reply. Surprisingly, after the suggested pragmatic 8.Nd3, Stockfish 6 recommends 8...Kg6 and 9...Kh7 for Black, maintaining that the defense holds, and that the second player would have the advantage!

To be fair, the authors of Chess Master vs Chess Amateur were tidying up an offhand line in an offhand variation, not preparing for a tournament or writing an opening manual. But, what is the best response to 7...Kf6 ?

The best move seems to be 8.Qf3+!?, sacrificing a piece in true Jerome Gambit style! It turns out that anything else other than taking the piece with 8...Kxe5 for Black leads to checkmate. White's best move then is keep-the-enemy-King-in-the-middle 9.Qf7!?

analysis diagram

I gave the crazy position - White has sacrificed two pieces, Black's King is in mortal danger - to Stockfish 6, and here is just a surface view of what it found (the game is even) 9...Nf6 (9...Bb4+ 10.Nc3 Bxc3+ 11.bxc3 Nf6 12.f4+ Kxe4 13.0–0 Qg8 14.Qg6+ Kd5 15.Rd1+ Nd4 16.Rxd4+ Kc6 17.Qd3 Be6 18.f5 Rd8 19.fxe6 Rxd4 20.cxd4 Qxe6 White has an edge) 10.f4+ Kd6 (10...Kxe4 11.Nd2+ Qxd2+ the only move to avoid mate 12.Bxd2) 11.e5+ Nxe5 (11...Kc5 12.Be3+ Nd4 13.Nc3 Bg4 14.h3 White is better) 12.fxe5+ Kc6 13.Qc4+ (13.exf6? Bc5 Black is better) 13...Bc5 14.Be3 b6 15.Bxc5 Qd5 16.Qxd5+ Nxd5 17.Bf2 Ba6 18.Na3 Rhe8 19.0–0–0 Rxe5=

Please. Even that is too much. Is there any wonder why I play 4.0-0 ?

8.Qh5+ g6

The line Euwe and Meiden mention, 8...Ke7 9.Ng6+ is clearly good for White, who wins a Rook. They can be forgiven for not having a computer program which would have told them that the alternative 9.Qf7+ would lead to checkmate in a dozen moves.

9.Qxg6+ Black resigned

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Wrong Piece - Oh, Never Mind!

 I have looked at the move Ng5+ for White in the standard Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) - see "Recurring Theme",  "Ng5+" and "Counterplay!" as examples.

The following game features the move in the "Abrahams Jerome Gambit". Of note is that games by duordy appear 77 times in The Database - in 2014 and 2015, so he is clearly a developing Jerome Gambit Gemeinde member to keep an eye on.

duordy - thejaswi

standard, FICS, 2015

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Bc5 3.Bxf7+ 

3...Kxf7 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Qe2 d6 

duordy has also faced:

5...Nc6 6.Qc4+ d5 7.Qxc5 dxe4 8.Nxe5+ Nxe5 9.Qxe5 Re8 10.Qc3 Kg8 11.0-0 Bf5 12.d3 exd3 13.cxd3 Bxd3 14.Rd1 Qe7 15.Be3 Bg6 16.Nd2 b6 17.Nf3 c5 18.Ne5 Qxe5 19.Qxe5 Rxe5 20.Re1 Rae8 21.Bd2 Ne4 22.Bf4 R5e6 White forfeited by disconnection, duordy - vinceagius, FICS, 2014;

5...Re8 6.Qc4+ d5 7.Qxc5 b6 8.Qe3 Nxe4 9.0-0 Qf6 10.d4 Nc6 11.dxe5 Nxe5 12.Nxe5+ Rxe5 13.Nd2 Nxd2 14.Qxd2 Ba6 15.c4 Bxc4 16.Re1 Rae8 17.Rxe5 Rxe5 18.h3 Re2 19.Qf4 Re1+ 20.Kh2 Qxf4+ 21.Bxf4 Rxa1 22.Bxc7 Rxa2 White resigned, duordy - mopdop, FICS, 2014; and

5...Rf8 6.Qc4+ d5 7.Qxc5 Kg8 8.exd5 e4 9.Ng5 h6 10.Ne6 Bxe6 11.dxe6 Nc6 12.0-0 Re8 13.e7 Rxe7 14.Qc4+ Kh8 15.d3 exd3 16.cxd3 Black forfeited by disconnection, duordy - jodhaakbar, FICS, 2014.


Or 6.Qc4+ Ke7 7.0-0 b6 8.Nc3 Ba6 9.Nd5+ Kd7 10.Nxf6+ Qxf6 11.Qd5 c6 12.Qb3 Bxf1 13.d3 Bxg2 14.Kxg2 Qg6+ 15.Bg5 Rf8 16.Kh1 Rxf3 17.Rg1 Bxf2 18.Rg2 Na6 19.Be3 Qf6 20.Rxf2 Rxf2 21.Bxf2 Qxf2 22.h4 Qxh4+ 23.Kg2 Qg4+ 24.Kh2 Qf4+ 25.Kh3 Rf8 26.d4 Qf1+ 27.Kh4 Rf4+ 28.Kg5 Qg1+ 29.Kh5 Qg4 checkmate, duordy - haslopdw, FICS, 2014. 


Or 6...Bg4 7.Qc4+ Kf8 8.Nxe5 Nbd7 9.Qf7, checkmate, duordy - ArneLaugstol, FICS, 2014

7.Qc4+ Be6 8.Ng5+ 


8...Kg6 9.Qxe6 

Playing over the game, here I thought to myself - wrong piece, the Knight capture allows a fork - and then I saw whatWhite was up to.


The Knight was poisoned.

10.Qf5+ Kh6 11.d4+ g5 12.Qxg5 checkmate

Monday, September 7, 2015

Blackburne Has Arrived

I have already mentioned Tim Harding's new book, Joseph Henry Blackburne A Chess Biography, published by McFarland. It is now available.

My copy arrived yesterday, and this large, attractive and comprehensive book is likely to keep me very occupied - and even interfere with this blog, if I am not careful.

Since Blackburne's destruction of the Jerome Gambit is probably the the best-known Jerome game, I wondered if there might be other examples in the book. I had a good laugh when I read
To attempt a "complete games of Blackburne" is unrealistic. Such a book must be huge yet one could never have confidence that every published offhand and exhibition game had been found. It would also include hundreds of atrocious games against weak amateurs, decided by feeble opening play and gross blunders. Graham estimated that Blackburne had played (already by 1899) somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 games, although the higher figure is probably an overestimate. Besides his blindfold and ordinary simuls, Blackburne must have played thousands of casual games at clubs and public chess resorts, perhaps for a shilling stake. The vast majority were never published or, probably, even recorded.
So, probably no more Jerome Gambits, and maybe no Blackburne Shilling Gambitc, either, to be found in the pages. I certainly will let readers know if I discover any!

In the meantime, I am content to enjoy playing over the games (more than 1,000) of a brilliant attacking player who crossed swords with the top players of his time.