Sunday, January 17, 2016


The idea of playing the Jerome Gambit against a computer chess engine seems almost as irrational as the Jerome Gambit itself. How is it possible to give the silicon beast a couple of pieces and expect to survive? One doesn't give the computer "Jerome Gambit odds"!

Still, four years ago, I noted on this blog
It was not long after I began looking into the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) that I noticed one chess match kept turning up in the databases: in 1993, between the human Micah Fischer-Kirshner and the chess-playing program KnightStalker, an early version of Fritz. As luck would have it, I was able to interview Micah about his experience for this blog. 
The Jerome Gambit seemed a natural for matches, especially ones involving computers. Jeroen_61 of the Netherlands ran one with Hiarcs, Junior 7, Shredder Paderdorn (6.02) and Fritz 7. 
I tried a few myself, notably a Fritz8 vs Fritz5 encounter and a Delphi vs Wealk Delphi contest. Each attempt had its shortcomings. (Perhaps you read about them here.) 
The mysterious "perfesser" played an introductory 4-game match with the Talking LCD Chess Gadget. Like the Jerome Gambit itself, it was good for some chuckles. 
Topping all efforts so far, "RevvedUp" and his trusted companions Hiarcs 8, Shredder 8, Yace Paderborn, Crafty 19.19 and Fritz 8 explored the Jerome Gambit in a 30-game encounter. It was simply war.
There is also the earlier summary of Randy Tipton's computer vs computer games, and the more recent adventures of "Ionman vs the Bots".

So, when I noticed that the new group of Bill Wall games had some of him playing the Jerome Gambit against some engines, I had to check them out.

The following game is very interesting. The human's flurry of tactics to finish off the game is impressive. 

Wall, Bill - Abrok chess engine
Palm Bay, Florida, 2015

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 7.f4 Qf6

A mild surprise. Computers tend to delight in "the annoying defense7...d6.

8.Rf1 g6 9.Qh3+

Bill has a couple of cautions here: 9.fxe5? Qxf1+ 10.Kxf1 gxh5 and 9.Qd1? Qh4+ 10.g3 Qxh2 11.fxe5 Qxg3+ 12.Rf2 Qxf2 checkmate.


Bill has been here before:

9...Ng4 10.Qxg4+ Ke7 11.Nc3 d5 (11...d6 12.Nd5+ Kd8 13.Nxf6 Bxg4 14.Nxg4 h5 15.Nf2 Kd7 16.Nh3 Re8 17.d3 Nf6 18.Ng5 Ng4 19.h3 Nh2 20.Rh1 Black resigned, Wall,B - Guest3164644,, 2013) 12.Nxd5+ Black resigned, Wall,B - Betarsolta,, 2015; also

9...Kf7 10.fxe5 Qxf1+ 11.Kxf1 d6 12.Qc3 Black resigned, Wall,B  - Guest1690223,, 2012; and

9...Ke7 10.Nc3 c6 d6 (10...c6 11.fxe5 Qxe5 12.d3 Nf6 13.Qh4 Bd4 14.Bg5 Bxc3+ 15.bxc3 Qxc3+ 16.Ke2 Qxc2+ 17.Bd2 Qb2 18.Rxf6 Qxf6 19.Bg5 Rf8 20.Bxf6+ Rxf6 21.e5 Black resigned, Wall,B - XCCY, FICS, 201111.Nd5+ Kd8 12.Qg3 Qe6 13.fxe5 dxe5 14.d4 Ne7 15.dxc5 Nxd5 16.Bg5+ Ke8 17.exd5 Qxd5 18.Rf2 Be6 19.Rd2 Qxc5 20.0-0-0 Rf8 21.Qh4 h5 22.Bh6 Rf5 23.Rd8+ Rxd8 24.Rxd8+ Kf7 25.Rf8+ Qxf8 26.Bxf8 Kxf8 27.Qd8+ Kg7 28.Qxc7+ Kh6 29.h4 Rf1+ 30.Kd2 Rf2+ 31.Ke3 Rf5 32.Qd8 a6 33.Qh8 checkmate, Wall,B - Aburasian,, 2010

10.Nc3 Kd8 

This is a small slip.

It must be noted that in a Jerome Gambit computer vs computer tournament over a decade ago, Hiarcs 9 chose 10...Kd8 three times:

Junior 7 - Hiarcs 9
Jerome Gambit, The Jeroen Experience, 2003
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 7.f4 Qf6 8.Rf1 g6 9.Qh3+ Ke7 10.Nc3 Kd8 11.fxe5 (11.Nd5 d6 12.Qc3 Qh4+ 13.g3 Qxh2 14.fxe5 Bg4 15.Qd3 Ne7 16.Nf4 Nc6 17.Ne6+ Bxe6 18.exd6 Ne5 19.Qe2 Qxg3+ White resigned, Fritz 8 - Hiarcs 9, The Jeroen Experience, 2003) 11...Qxe5 12.d4 (12.d3 Bb4 13.Qh4+ Ne7 14.Bd2 d5 15.0-0-0 d4 16.Bf4 Qe6 17.Nd5 Bd6 18.Bxd6 cxd6 19.Rf6 Qe5 20.Nxe7 g5 21.Qh6 Qxe7 22.Rxd6+ Bd7 23.Rxd4 Kc7 24.Rc4+ Bc6 25.Qh3 b5 26.Rc3 Kb7 27.d4 Bxe4 28.Re1 Rad8 29.Qd3 Rhe8 30.Qxb5+ Ka8 31.Rce3 Qd6 32.Rxe4 Rxe4 33.Rxe4 Qxh2 34.Qf1 h5 35.c3 g4 36.Qe2 Rc8 37.Re8 Rxe8 38.Qxe8+ Kb7 39.Qe4+ Kb6 40.c4 Qg1+ 41.Kd2 Qf2+ 42.Kc3 Qg3+ 43.Kb4 Qf2 44.Qe6+ Kc7 45.Qe7+ Kc8 46.Kc5 Qxb2 47.Qe8+ Kc7 48.Qc6+ Kb8 49.a4 Qb6+ 50.Qxb6+ axb6+ 51.Kd5 h4 52.Ke4 Kc7 53.Kf4 h3 54.gxh3 gxh3 55.Kg3 h2 56.Kxh2 Kd7 57.Kg3 Kc7 58.Kf4 Kc6 59.Ke5 Kc7 60.Ke6 Kb7 61.d5 Kc8 62.Ke7 Kc7 63.d6+ Black resigned, Fritz 5.32 - Hiarcs 9, The Jeroen Experience, 2003) 12...Bxd4 13.Rf8+ Ke7 14.Qf3 g5 15.Rf5 Bxc3+ 16.bxc3 Qg7 17.Rxg5 Qf6 18.Bf4 d6 19.e5 dxe5 20.Qe3 h6 21.Bxe5 Qxg5 22.Bf4+ Kf7 23.Bxg5 hxg5 24.Qxg5 Nf6 25.0-0-0 Rh5 26.Qf4 Rc5 27.Rf1 Rf5 28.Qxc7+ Kg6 29.Re1 b6 30.h4 Rc5 31.Qg3+ Kf7 32.Qd6 Bg4 33.Re7+ Kg6 34.Qd3+ Rf5 35.c4 Rh8 36.Qg3 Rc5 37.Re6 Kg7 38.Rxf6 Kxf6 39.Qxg4 Rhc8 40.Qd4+ Ke6 41.Qe4+ Kf6 42.Qf3+ Ke6 43.g4 Rxc4 44.Qf5+ Ke7 45.g5 R4c5 46.Qe4+ Kd6 47.Kb2 b5 48.g6 Rc4 49.Qf5 R4c5 50.Qf6+ Kd7 51.g7 Rxc2+ 52.Kb3 R2c4 53.g8R Rxg8 54.Qf7+ Kd6 55.Qxg8 a6 56.Qxc4 bxc4+ 57.Kxc4 Ke5 58.Kb4 Kf4 59.a4 Kg4 60.Ka5 Kxh4 61.Kxa6 Kg3 62.Kb5 Kf4 63.a5 Ke5 64.a6 Kd6 65.a7 Ke5 66.Kc5 Ke4 67.a8Q+ Ke3 68.Qd5 Ke2 69.Kd4 Kf2 70.Qe4 Kf1 71.Ke3 Kg1 72.Kf3 Kh1 73.Qc2 Kg1 74.Qg2 checkmate

11.fxe5 Qxe5

This mistake costs the game. Black had to overprotect f8 with 11...Qg7.


The move that the computer either overlooked or incorrectly evaluated.

12...Bxd4 13.Rf8+ Ke7 14.Qf3 Qc5 15.Nd5+ Kd6 16.c3 Bg7 17.Be3 Qc4 


If the computer could groan, it would.

18...Bxe5 19.Rd1 Bg7 20.Nb6+ Black resigned

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