Tuesday, March 29, 2016


It feels somewhat strange to urge caution in a chess opening that is known to be refuted - if the "best" lines still lose, what can be said of the "lesser lines"? Much seems to turn on "psychology", where the "best" move might be the most obscure or unclear or unsettling move - regardless of its "objective" worth - one that gives the opponent the greatest chance to go wrong.

So many times, the opponent takes that chance.

It is worth examining the play of HauntedKnight's games (as we have done before; see "Familiar Territory"), below, for ideas on how to pursue the attack.

HauntedKnight - blocbloc
FICS, 2016

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 

This move was, at first, Alonzo Wheeler Jerome's favorite response, although he later turned to 6.Qh5+.


This is Black's sharpest response.


HauntedKnight has over 400 games in The Database, and he has scored 50%+ in them, so it feels a bit presumptious to suggest that he play the "better" move, 7.0-0, like he did previously:

7.O-O Ng4 8.h3 Bb6 9.hxg4 Nf6 10.g5 Ng4 11.Qf3+ Kg8 12.Qh3 Qxh3 13.gxh3 Bxd4 14.hxg4 d6 15.c3 Bb6 16.Kg2 Bxg4 17.f3 Bh5 18.Nd2 h6 19.Nc4 Bf7 20.Nxb6 axb6 21.gxh6 gxh6 22.Kf2 Kh7 23.Rh1 h5 24.Be3 Rhg8 25.b3 Rg7 26.Ke2 Rg2+ 27.Kd3 Raxa2 28.Rab1 Rh2 29.Rhg1 h4 30.Rg4 h3 31.Rh4+ Kg8 32.Bd4 Kf8 33.Rh8+ Ke7 34.Rh7 c5 35.Bh8 Ke8 36.Bf6 Rhd2+ 37.Ke3 h2 38.Rh1 Rg2 39.b4 cxb4 40.cxb4 Rae2+ 41.Kf4 d5 42.Rh8+ Kd7 43.exd5 Bxd5 44.Rh7+ Kc6 45.Bd4 Rd2 46.Rh6+ Kb5 47.Rxb6+ Kc4 48.Bc5 Rg1 49.Rxh2 Rxh2 50.Rxb7 Rh4+ 51.Ke5 Rh5+ 52.Kd6 Rg6+ 53.Kc7 Rh7+ 54.Kb8 Rxb7+ 55.Kc8 Rg8+ 56.Bf8 Rxf8 checkmate, HauntedKnight - scarlattibach, FICS, 2012.

7...Qxe4+ 8.Kf1 

This is an improvement over two other lines for White:

8.Be3 Qb4+ (8...Qxg2 9.Rf1 [9.Qd5+ Qxd5 White resigned, HauntedKnight - homeopata, FICS, 2014] 9...d6 [9...Nf6 10.Nd2 Re8 11.b3 Neg4 12.Nc4 Nxe3 13.fxe3 Qxh2 14.Qd5+ Kf8 15.Kd1 Qh1 16.Rxh1 Black resigned, HauntedKnight -rustyllm, FICS, 2011] 10.Nd2 b6 11.Qh5+ g6 12.Qh4 Ba6 13.c4 Nd3+ 14.Ke2 Nxb2 15.Rac1 Re8 16.Rg1 Qc6 17.Rg3 Nf6 18.Kf1 Nd3 19.Bd4 dxc5 20.Bxf6 Nxc1 21.Bxh8 Rxh8 22.Rf3+ Ke8 23.Qe4+ Qxe4 24.Nxe4 Nxa2 25.Nd2 Nb4 26.Re3+Black forfeited on time, HauntedKnight - Dpouchy, FICS, 20158...Nf6 9.Nc3 Qb4 10.O-O Qxb2 11.Bd4 Nc6 12.Bxf6 gxf6 13.Qd5+ Kg7 14.Ne4 Qe5 15.Qd3 Re8 16.Ng3 Qd4 17.Qf3 Ne5 18.Nf5+ Kh8 19.Qh5 Qg4 20.Qxe8+ Qg8 21.Qh5 Ng6 22.Ng3 b6 23.Rfe1 Bb7 24.Rad1 Ne5 25.Rxe5 fxe5 26.Qxe5+ Qg7 27.Qxg7+Kxg7 28.Rxd7+ Kg6 29.Rxc7 Ba6 30.cxb6 axb6 31.h4 Rd8 32.h5+ Kf6 33.Rxh7 Rd1+ 34.Kh2 Rd2 35.Ne4+ Black resigned, HauntedKnight - rriberi, FICS, 20159.Nd2 (9.Nc3 Qxb2 [9...Qxc5 10.Bxc5 Black resigned, HauntedKnight - avargasg, FICS, 2012] 10.Qd5+ Kg6 11.Qxe5 Qxa1+ 12.Ke2 Qxh1 13.Ne4 Qxg2 14.h4 Qg4+ 15.f3 Qe6 16.h5+ Kf7 17.Ng5+ Black resigned,  HauntedKnight - kyrylo, FICS, 2013) 9...Qxb2 10.O-O Nf6 11.c4 Qc3 12.Rc1 Qd3 13.Qa4 Rf8 14.Rfd1 Kg8 15.Nb3 Qg6 16.g3 Nfg4 17.Bf4 Rxf4 18.gxf4 Ne3+ White resigned, HauntedKnight - mansalta, FICS, 2015; and

8.Qe2 Qxe2+ 9.Kxe2 Nf6 10.Re1 Re8 11.Kf1 Neg4 12.Rxe8 Kxe8 13.h3 Ne5 14.Bf4 d6 15.cxd6 cxd6 16.Nc3 a6 17.Rd1 Ke7 18.g4 h6 19.g5 hxg5 20.Bxg5 Bxh3+ 21.Ke2 Bg4+ 22.Kd2 Bxd1 23.Kxd1 Rh8 24.Nd5+ Ke6 25.Nc7+ Kf5 26.Bxf6 gxf6 27.b3 Ke4 28.Kd2 f5 29.Kc3 f4 30.Ne6 Rc8+ 31.Kb2 Nf3 32.c4 d5 33.Kc3 dxc4 34.bxc4 b5 35.c5 Ke5 36.Ng7 Rxc5+ 37.Kb4 Rc2 38.a4 bxa4 39.Kxa4 Rxf2 40.Ne8 Nd4 41.Nc7 Ra2+ 42.Kb4 a5+ 43.Kc3 a4 44.Na6 a3 45.Nb4 Ra1 46.Kd2 a2 47.Nd3+ Kf5 48.Nb4 f3 49.Nxa2 Rxa2+ 50.Ke3 Ra4 51.Kf2 Kf4 52.Kf1 Ra2 53.Ke1 f2+ 54.Kf1 Ke3 55.Kg2 Ke2 56.Kg3 f1=Q 57.Kh2 Kf3 checkmate, HauntedKnight - pzinga, FICS, 2014

8...Nf6 9.Nc3 Qh4

Previously HauntedKnight had faced 9...Qc4+ 10.Kg1 Qxc5 11.Be3 Qe7 12.g3 d6 13.Kg2 Bg4 14.Qd2 Bf3+ 15.Kg1 Bc6 16.f4 Nf3+ White resigned, HauntedKnight - truuf, FICS, 2014

10.Be3 b6 11.Ne2 bxc5 12.Ng3 d6 13.c3 Ba6+

14.Kg1 Rhe8 15.Qb3+ c4 16.Qd1 g6 17.Kf1 Neg4 18.Bd4 Nxh2+

This is an odd idea, instead of continuing the attack with 18...Bb7. Perhaps Black miscalculated something. This is the kind of opportunity many Jerome Gambit players expect and enjoy.

19.Kg1 Nfg4 20.Qd2 

White should have continued to recover the piece with 20.Nf1 Qg5 21.Nxh2 Nxh2 22.Rxh2

20...Bb7 21.Qf4+ 

Still available was 21.Nf1

21...Kg8 22.Rxh2

A final oversight.

22...Qxh2+ White resigned

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