Friday, December 18, 2015

Database Asterisk

The previous blog post mentioned that a large percentage of the games in The Database is from the online website the Free Internet Chess Server (FICS). This is because that is the site where I am a member, have played most of my Jerome Gambit games, and have the greatest access to their games database.

I am always open to game contributions from Readers, and I would like nothing better than to be able to add 50,000 - or 5,000 - or 500 - or 50 - or 5 - Jerome Gambit (or related) games played on the Internet Chess Club (ICC) site, or, or , or wherever - or even (especially) over-the-board games played at your favorite chess club.

By the way, I have already received requests for a copy of The Database. I can send you a compressed (.zip) PGN file via email, at no cost - just ask.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

What Exactly is "The Database"?

The other day I wandered back through early posts to see when I started collecting Jerome Gambit (and related) games in a database for this blog. My first mention of a special base came in the June 20, 2008 post.

In a post about a week later I noted that the database contined 950 games. The post included the following information

In all about 7% are over-the-board games, 12% involve computers (person vs computer or computer vs computer), 2% are traditional (snail mail) correspondence games and 79% are games played on the internet (various time controls).

Some time later I reported on the "Evolution of The Database", which I would like to reprise
It is fun to look back and see that in the early days of this Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) blog, I bragged of having a database of whopping 950 Jerome Gambit Games.  Of course, today, the modern version of that database (aka "The Database") has over 1,000 games played by DragonTail alone.
In the beginning, in order to expand the number of Jerome Gambit games that I had access to, I offered a PGN file of 210 of the games mentioned on this blog, (not all Jeromes) in exchange for any games sent to me. The offer quickly expanded to almost 500 games, and on June 10, 2009, the first "birthday" of this blog (celebrating a year of posting every day) I offered a "present" of over 1,100 games.
I continued digging for gold, sometimes with great success. 
Instead of "games posted on this blog" I switched to developing a PGN database of Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+), Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nd4 4.Bxf7+), and Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 h6 4.0-0/4.Nc3/4.d3 Bc5 5.Bxf7+) games. 
By the time I offered the "New Year's Database" it contained over 17,000 games.This year's version, renamed "The Database" and offered on January 1, 2011, contained over 22,500 games, and included the above-mentioned variations, plus the nameless 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Na5 4.Bxf7+. 
Today, The Database contains about 25,000 games. (It is still available to interested Readers at no cost).
I have not given information about The Database since February, 2015, so I thought I would bring Readers up-to-date.

I have updated The Database with games from FICS (Free Internet Chess Server) through November 2015. It now contains 53,740 games.

The basic Jerome Gambit position, after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+, appears in about 12,112 games. White scores 45%

The Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Bc5 5.Bxf7+, appears  2,368 times. White scores 38%.

Interestingly, the Semi-Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Nc3 h6 5.0-0 Bc5 6.Bxf7+, appears only 124 times, but White scores 67%. Note the "power" (or lack of) ...h6.

This is reflected in the Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 h6 4.0-0 Bc5 5.Bxf7+, appearing in 170 games, where White scores  65%. Interestingly, with 4.Nc3, in about 130 games, White scores only 54%.

The Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nd4 4.Bxf7+, appears in about 5,170 games, with White scoring 56%.

A large number of recent examples of the Abrahams Jerome Gambit, 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Bc5 3.Bxf7+, have been added. There are 17,137 examples, and White scores 51%.

Because the line continues to show up, and is worth knowing, the nameless 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Na5 4.Bxf7+  appears in The Database 2,197 times, with White scoring  72%.

There is also a large selection of Jerome-ish lines, featuring, for example, an early Bxf7+ by White. Some Reversed Jerome Gambit games have been included, as well.

Of course, all statistics need to be taken with a grain of salt (see "Caveat" for some fun, though) but it is relevant to note that about 95% of The Database is drawn from 15 years of FICS games, making much of it representative of online club play. Some reasonable conclusions can be drawn.

I can email The Database at no charge to anyone who requests it.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Correspondence Play (Part 3)

Recently, I received an email from Vlastimil Fejfar, of the Czech Republic, who shared three of his Jerome Gambit correspondence games.

Fejfar, Vlastimil - Vins
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 Qf6


A line seen as early as in a note in G.H.D. Gossip's 1891 The Chess Player's Vade Mecum and Pocket Guide to the Openings with all the latest theoretical discoveries and traps in the openings revealed, and more recently supported by FM Eric Schiller in his books on unorthodox openings. (It is fun to read MrJoker's comments about some of Schiller's analysis - see "Joker's Wild" 1, 2 and Conclusion.) 

8.Rf1 Nc6

This move is cold-blooded, but playable. Black simply returns a piece.

9.Qxc5 d6 10.Qh5 Bd7 11.Nc3 Be8 12.Qh3+ Kf7 13.d3 Nge7 14.Be3 h6 15.O-O-O Rf8 16.g4 Kg8

Black castles-by-hand just in time.

White's attack (and two extra pawns) is good compensation for his sacrificed piece.

17.g5 hxg5

Stronger for the defense was 17...Qf7.

18.fxg5 Qg6 19.Rxf8+ Kxf8 20.Qh8+ Ng8 21.Rf1+ Bf7 22.Nd5 Nce7 

Black covers up as much as possible, but he overlooks something. His best chance was 22...Qe6.

23.Nf4 Black resigned

It is Black's Queen, not his King, who is checkmated!