Saturday, December 12, 2015

Correspondence Play (Part 2)

Recently, I received an email from Vlastimil Fejfar, of the Czech Republic, who shared three of his Jerome Gambit correspondence games - a pleasant return to the days of when Alonzo Wheeler Jerome would defend "his" game the same way.

Fejfar,V - Kyzlink
corr Czech Republic, 2015

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 7.f4 d6 

As in the game in the previous blog post, Black plays what I have called "the annoying defense". He gives back a piece and plans to stay out of trouble. It can be difficult for White to put together an attack. 

8.fxe5 dxe5 9.Qh3+ Kd6 10.Qd3+ Ke7 11.Qg3 Ke8

Instead, 11...Ke6 was played in Fejfar,V - Pressl, 
corr Czech Republic, 2015.

12.Nc3 Bd4 13.Rf1 Qd7 14.Nd5 c6 15.Ne3 Nf6

Black has managed to develop his Knight, but his Queenside has a familiar difficulty.

16.d3 Qc7 17.c3 Bxe3 18.Bxe3 Qe7 19.0-0-0 Rf8 20.Rf3 Bd7 21.Rdf1 c5 22.Bxc5 Black resigned

Black did not like the look of things after 23...Qxc5 24.Qxg7 with threats against the Knight at f6, as suddenly his King looks very vulnerable.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Correspondence Play (Part 1)

Alonzo Wheeler Jerome developed and defended his gambit in both across-the-board and correspondence games in the late 1800s and early 1900s. He even arranged to play the Jerome Gambit against readers of the Literary Digest.

In modern times, however, the Jerome is most likely to show up in internet games, often blitz; although the occasional face-to-face contest still can be found.

Recently, I received an email from Vlastimil Fejfar, of the Czech Republic, who shared three of his Jerome Gambit correspondence games - a pleasant return to the days of AWJ.

Fejfar,V - Pressl
corr Czech Republic, 2015

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 7.f4 d6

White faces what I have called "the annoying defense", where Black calmly gives back a piece and avoids any risky misadventures, remaining up a piece for a pawn.

The idea is at least as old as D'Aumiller, A.D. - A.P., Livorno, 1878 (1-0, 19). It is the choice of many computer programs in games in The Database, including Fritz, Hiarcs, Junior, Rybka, Shredder and Spike; so I have also referred to it as "the silicon defense".

Also, 7...d6 is the move recommended by many authorities, including IM Gary Lane in his The Greatest Ever Chess Tricks and Traps.

Vlasta proceeds calmly against it.

8.fxe5 dxe5 9.Qh3+ Kd6 10.Qd3+ Ke7 11.Qg3 Ke6 12.Qb3+ Ke7 13.Qg3 Ke6 14.Qb3+ Ke7 15.Qg3 


It is not clear who came out "ahead" in this encounter, Black, who was able to split the point, or White, who was able to play a "refuted" opening and not lose.

I am sympathetic. The second round of the Italian Game Tournament has concluded for me, again (like in the first round) without being able to contest a single Jerome Gambit, which my opponents dodged. With White I scored two wins (one on time), four draws and no losses. Did more than half of my opponents "succeed" in "winning half a point" against me, or did they miss out on strolling to victory?

[This is blog post number 2,150, for those who might wonder. - Rick]

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Cuts Like A Knife

Sharp variations can work in favor of the gambiteer, or cut against him. It is important to be as up-to-date as possible on the tricky variations.

I recently downloaded some more games from the Free Internet Chess Server (FICS), and, as well as checking out some "old" Jerome Gambiteers (e.g. drumme, HauntedKnight, Petasluk), looked at the efforts of a relatively new member of the Gemeinde, ZahariSokolov.

In the following game he faces a rare, but old and dangerous defense, and, under pressure, chooses the wrong line (although, in another game in the notes, this also leads to victory), and suffers defeat.

I have added some game references for Readers to have a better idea of how to deal with this kind of play.   

ZahariSokolov - Quarte
standard, FICS, 2015

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 7.Qf5+ Kd6 8.f4 Nf3+ 

This surprising move, attributed to Norton - who defeated Alonzo Wheeler Jerome with it in a correspondence game in the early years of the gambit - rips open White's Kingside and makes him vulnerable to attack.


Probably the only move, although I have gotten away with 9.Kf1 a couple of times in perrypawnpusher - igormsp, blitz, FICS, 2011 (1-0, 13), and perrypawnpusher - rheapennata, blitz, FICS, 2012 (1-0,12); while Jerome, as mentioned, did not - Jerome,A - Norton,D, Correspondence, 1876 (0-1, 42).

ZahariSokolov, himself, a few days earlier, had gotten away with 
9.Kd1: 9...Nd4 (9...Ne7!) 10.Qd5+ Ke7 11.Qxc5+ d6 12.Qxd4 Bg4+ 13.Ke1 c5 14.Qxg7+ Ke8 15.Qxg4 Nf6 16.Qe6+ Qe7 17.Qxe7+ Kxe7 18.d3 h6 19.Nc3 a6 20.Be3 b5 21.Ke2 Rhg8 22.g3 b4 23.Nd5+ Nxd5 24.exd5 Kf6 25.Rae1 Kf5 26.Kd2 h5 27.Bf2 Rae8 28.Rxe8 Rxe8 29.Re1 Rxe1 30.Bxe1 Kg4 31.Ke3 Kh3 32.f5 Black resigned, ZahariSokolov - LAVAL, standard, FICS, 2015

9...Qh4+ 10.Ke2

The "only" move, this time, is 10.Kd1: CFBBlind - Quandary, FICS, 2001 (1-0, 18); perrypawnpusher - Sir Osis of the Liver, JG3 thematic,, 2008 (1-0, 19);  perrypawnpusher - sjeijk, blitz, FICS, 2011 (1-0, 19);  ZahariSokolov - GhengusFungus, FICS, 2014 (1-0, 11).

10...Qf2+ 11.Kd3 Qxf3+ 12.Kc4 b5+ 13.Kxb5 Qe2+

A testimony to White's ability to struggle and survive: 13...a6+ 14.Kc4 Nf6? 15.Qxc5+ Ke6 16.Re1 Qxf4 17.d3 Qd6 18.Qxd6+ Kxd6 19.e5+ Kc6 20.exf6 gxf6 21.b3 d5+ 22.Kc3 Bg4 23.Bf4 h5 24.h4 f5 25.d4 Rhe8 26.Rxe8 Rxe8 27.Be5 Rf8 28.Nd2 f4 29.Rf1 f3 30.Rf2 Kb6 31.Kd3 c5 32.c4 dxc4+ 33.bxc4 cxd4 34.Bxd4+ Kc6 35.Ke4 Re8+ 36.Kf4 Rf8+ 37.Kg3 Rd8 38.Bf6 Rd3 39.Nxf3 Bxf3 40.Rxf3 Rxf3+ 41.Kxf3 Kc5 42.a3 Kxc4 43.Kf4 Kd5 44.Kg5 Ke6 45.Bc3 Kf7 46.Kxh5 Kg8 47.Kg6 Kf8 48.h5 Black resigned, gibonacci - jschulte,, 2007.

A testimony to an early chess computer's terrible addiction to grabbing material: 13...Rb8+ 14.Ka5 Bb4+ 15.Ka4 Qxh1 16.Qe5+ Kc6 17.Qd5+ Kb6 18.Qb5 checkmate,  Young,J - Chess, Computer game, 1979. 

14.d3 Rb8+ 15.Ka5 Bb4+ 16.Ka4 Qxc2+ 17.b3 Qc6+ White resigned

Sunday, December 6, 2015

More Useful Junk

Readers of this blog probably remember Chris Torres. He hosts the Chess Musings blog.

He presented the Jerome gambit game Amateur - Blackburne, London  as "The Most Violent Chess Game Ever Played!"

He followed up with "Another Lesson in the Jerome Gambit", giving one of his own games.

He shared another game with the delightfully-titled post "Useful Junk: The Jerome Gambit".

Now he has sent me an FIDE-rated Jerome Gambit of his from the FIDE Online Arena.

Torres, Chris (chessmusings) - abhinam2
FIDE Online Arena, 2015

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ g6 7.Qxe5 

Now Black has the choice of playing 7...d6, the Blackburne Defense, or 7...Qe7, the Whistler Defense. Instead, he opts for a "backatcha" move that at least gains him a pawn for his "doomed" dark-squared Bishop.

7...Bxf2+ 8.Kxf2 Nf6 9.Qf4

I thought I would share a few other ideas for this position, from games from The Database:

9.Rf1 Re8 (9...c6 10.Kg1 Rf8 11.d4 Kg8 12.Bg5 Kg7 13.Nc3 d6 14.Qf4 Nh5 15.Bh6+ Kg8 16.Qxf8+ Qxf8 17.Rxf8 checkmate, shugart - pianazo, FICS, 20149...Ng4+ 10.Kg1+ Kg8 11.Qd5+ Kg7 12.Qf7+ [12. Rf7+ Kh6 13.d3+ g5 14.h4 Rg8 15.Qf5 d6 16.Qxh7 checkmate, Jordi-I - couchpotatoe,, 2011] 12... Kh6 13. d4+ Kh5 14. h3 Black resigned, shugart - pianazo, FICS, 20149... d6 10. Qf4 Rf8 11. Kg1 Kg7 12. d3 Ng4 13. Qg5 Rxf1+ 14. Kxf1 Qf8+ 15. Qf4 Nxh2+ 16. Kg1 Qxf4 17. Bxf4 Ng4 18. Nc3 Be6 19. Rf1 h6 20. d4 g5 21. Bd2 c6 22.a3 b5 23. Ne2 Bc4 24. Re1 Rf8 25. b3 Bf7 26. Ng3 Bg6 27. Rf1 Rxf1+ 28. Kxf1 Kf6 29. c4 a6 30. Ke2 h5 31. Be1 h4 32. Nf5 Bxf5 33. exf5 Kxf5 34. Kf3 c5 35. d5 Ne5+ 36. Ke3 bxc4 37. bxc4 Nxc4+ 38. Kd3 Nxa3 39. Bd2 g4 White resigned, Petasluk - nikorast, FICS, 201110.Qc3 Rxe4 11.Kg1 c6 12.d3 Re6 13.Bg5 d5 14.d4 Qd6 15.Nd2 Kg7 16.Bf4 Qd7 17.Be5 b5 18.Nf3 Ba6 19.Ng5 Rxe5 20.dxe5 Ne4 21.Nxe4 dxe4 22.e6+ Black resigned,  arunothr - givemeabreak, FICS, 2014;

9.Qd4 d5 10.e5 Ne4+ 11.Kf3 c5 12.Qa4 Qh4 13.g3 Ng5+ White resigned, shugart - mattzig, FICS, 2013;

9.d3 d6 (9...Re8 as in guest232 - BoardChairman, Internet Chess Club, 2002, [1-0, 22]) 10.Qc3 Rf8 11.Rf1 Kg7 12.Kg1 h6 13.Be3 Kh7 14.Qd2 g5 15.Nc3 Ng4 16.Rxf8 Qxf8 17.Rf1 Qg7 18.Nd5 Nxe3 19.Nxe3 Bd7 20.d4 Rf8 21.Rxf8 Qxf8 22.c4 c6 23.b3 Qg7 24.Qd3 c5 25.dxc5 dxc5 26.e5+ Kh8 27.Nd5 Qxe5 28.h3 Qe1+ 29.Kh2 Qe5+ 30.Qg3 Qxg3+ 31.Kxg3 Bc6 32.Ne7 Be4 33.a3 Kg7 34.b4 Kf7 35.Nd5 Bxd5 36.cxd5 cxb4 37.axb4 Ke7 38.Kf3 Kd6 39.Ke4 b6 40.g4 a5 41.bxa5 bxa5 42.Kd4 a4 43.Kc4 a3 44.Kb3 a2 45.Kxa2 Kxd5 46.Kb2 Ke4 47.Kc2 Kf3 48.Kd2 Kg3 49.Ke3 Kxh3 50.Kf3 Kh4 51.Kg2 Kxg4 52.Kh2 h5 53.Kg2 Kh4 54.Kh2 g4 55.Kg2 g3 56.Kh1 Kg4 57.Kg2 h4 58.Kf1 Kf3 59.Kg1 h3 60.Kh1 g2+ 61.Kh2 Kf2 62.Kxh3 g1=Q 63.Kh4 Qg3+ 64.Kh5 Kg2 65.Kh6 Kh3 66.Kh7 Kh4 67.Kh8 Kh5 White resigned, Petasluk - timoxx, FICS, 2007

9... d6 

Perhaps not the risky 9...g5 10.Qf3 g4 as in instantcrow - KingEfraim,, 2005, (1-0, 25).


Or 10.Rf1 Kg7 11.d4 h6 12.Kg1 Rf8 13.Qxh6+ Kf7 14.Qg5 Kg7 15.Qh6+ Kf7 16.Qg5 c6 17.e5 dxe5 18.dxe5 Ke6 19.exf6 Rxf6 20.Rxf6+ Ke7 21.Rxg6+ Black resigned, blackburne - Haroldlee123, ChessWorld, JG6, 2011. 

10...Kg7 11.d4 Rf8

Black is a pawn down, but he has castled-by-hand and his King is relatively safe. However, one of the "vital signs" that observers of all Jerome Gambits must note is the status of Black's light-squared Bishop, and its related Rook, as their under-development always are unhealthy symptoms. (See "A Lesson Learned From The Jerome Gambit" for one related "illness".)

12.Qh6+ Kg8 13.Kg1 Ng4 14.Qg5 Qxg5 15.Bxg5 Nf2 16.Nd5 Nxh1 17.Nxc7 Rb8 18.Kxh1 Bd7

White has two pawns for the exchange. Black can be happy that the Queens are off the board, but he cannot affort to be complacent. (He can be happy, for the moment, that his light-squared Bishop has moved and that his Rooks are linked, even if one is mysteriously developed.)

19.Nd5 Be6 20.Nf6+ Kg7 21.d5 Bc8

See the previous note.

22.Rf1 h6 23.Nh5+ gxh5 24.Bxh6+ Kxh6 25.Rxf8 

Materially, White has 3 extra pawns while Black has the extra piece.

More importantly, positionally, look at Black's Queenside: Code Blue! His weakness allows a "Jerome pawn" infection...

25...Kg7 26. Rd8 b6 27.Kg1 Ra8 28.e5 dxe5 29.d6 Bb7 30.Rxa8
Bxa8 31.d7 Kf7 32.d8=Q Black resigned

Very nicely done!