Bill Wall just sent me his latest Jerome Gambit game and I wrote back and said it was an example of "existential chess".
I was thinking about the idea of a "negative halo effect" that I had touched on in earlier posts (see "Halo Effect", "Feeling Lucky", "Kick Me" and "Dizziness Due to Success"). I mean the perception that if one starts a game with the "wrong" opening then one can be expected to continue to produce "wrong" chess and the whole game can be expected to be equally "wrong".
How dare Bill, instead, follow up with strong play, avoid missteps and win with a mating attack??
It reminds me of a quote from Justin E. H. Smith's essay "The Flight of Curiosity"
To take an interest in that false belief is not to reject the truth, but only to wish to fill out our picture of the truth with as much detail as possible, and not because of some aesthetic inclination to the baroque, but rather because false theories are an important part of the puzzle that we ... should be trying to complete: that of determining the range of ways people conceptualize the world around them.
Wall, Bill - U80
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+
4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bxd4 7.Qxd4 d6
White has only a pawn for his sacrificed piece. However, beyond the "theory of infinite resistance" this particular White has a lot of experience (over 400 games in The Database, for example) and if there are tricks, traps or nuances to be exploited, he will know about them or be ready to find them.
8.O-O Nf6 9.Nc3
Instead, for 9.f3 see Wall,B - Guest903719, Playchess.com, 2013 (1-0, 47).
The related 9.f4 was seen as far back as Jerome,A - Shinkman,W, Iowa, USA, 1874 (1/2-1/2, 42).
Recently played: 9...c6 10.f4 c5 11.Qf2 Neg4 12.Qd2 Rf8 13.h3 Nh6 14.e5 Nh5 15.g4 Ng3 16.Rf3 Qh4 17.Kg2 Bxg4 18.hxg4 Nxg4 19.Qd5+ Ke7 20.Qxb7+ Ke6 21.Qd5+ Kf5 22.Qd3+ Ke6 23.Qxd6+ Kf7 24.Qd5+ Kg6 25.Rxg3 Qh2+ 26.Kf3 Qf2+ 27.Kxg4 Rxf4+ 28.Bxf4 h5+ 29.Kh4+ Kh7 30.Qe4+ g6 31.Qxg6+ Kh8 32.Qg7 checkmate, Wall,B - Guest708676, PlayChess.com, 2016.
Black has prudently castled-by-hand and is "objectively" better.
Or 10...h6 11.Bh4 c5 (11...Be6 12.f4 was seen in Wall,B - Guest1561957, PlayChess.com, 2014 [1-0, 25]) 12.Qd2 Be6 13.Rad1 Nc4 14.Qc1 Qb6 15.b3 Ne5 16.Bxf6 gxf6 17.f4 Ng4 18.f5 c4+ 19.Kh1 Nf2+ 20.Rxf2 Qxf2 21.fxe6+ Rxe6 22.Rf1 Qd4 23.Qxh6 Qxc3 24.Qh7+ Ke8 25.Qg8+ Kd7 26.Qxa8 cxb3 27.Qxb7+ Qc7 28.Qxc7+ Kxc7 29.cxb3 Rxe4 30.Kg1 Re6 31.h4 d5 32.h5 Kd6 33.g4 Ke7 34.Kf2 Kf7 35.Rc1 Re7 36.Kf3 d4 37.Rc6 Rd7 38.Ke2 d3+ 39.Kd2 Rd4 40.Rc7+ Kg8 41.Rxa7 Rxg4 42.Kxd3 Rh4 43.a4 Rxh5 44.a5 Rb5 45.Kc4 Rb8 46.a6 f5 47.Rb7 Ra8 48.a7 Black resigned, Wall,B - Guest5111265, PlayChess.com, 2014.
A rare reversal: 11.Nd5 Be6 12.Bxf6 gxf6 13.Rad1 c6 14.Nf4 Qb6 15.Qc3 Qc7 16.Rd4 c5 17.Rd2 Rad8 18.Rfd1 Qe7 19.f3 b6 20.b3 Ng6 21.Qe3 f5 22.Nxg6 hxg6 23.exf5 gxf5 24.Qh6 Qg7 25.Qxg7+ Kxg7 26.Rxd6 Rxd6 27.Rxd6 Kf6 28.c4 Ke5 29.Rd2 a6 30.Kf2 b5 31.cxb5 axb5 32.Re2+ Kf6 33.Kg3 c4 34.bxc4 bxc4 35.h4 c3 36.Rc2 Rc8 37.Kf4 Bxa2 38.Rc1 c2 39.Ke3 Bb3 40.Kd4 f4 41.Kd3 Rd8+ White resigned, Wall,B - Guest4809124, PlayChess.com, 2013.
Bill tried 12.Qd3 in Wall,B - Foman, Chess.com, 2010 (1-0, 22)
12...Bd7 13.Rae1 h6 14.Bh4
Better than 14.Bxf6 Qxf6 15.Qb3+ Kh7.
Cute. Better, though was 14...Kh8
There are plenty of complications to offer White, including: 15...Be6 16.Qa4 b5 17.Qxb5 c6 18.Qa4 Neg4 19.Qxc6 Rc8 20.Qa6 Bc4 21.Qxa7 Bxf1.
Bill is not interested in either 16.Qxb7 Rb8 17.Qxa7 Rxb2 18.Nd5 Rxc2 or 16.Bxf6 Qxf6 17.Qxb7 Qd4+ 18.Kh1 Qb6. The truth lies elsewhere.
A bit of a better choice for Black is 16...Be6, when either 17.Bxf6 or 17.Qxb7 dxe5 18.fxe5 Nxe5 19.Bxf6 gxf6 would be good for him; although the draw with 17.Qa4 Bd7 18.Qb3 Be6 19.Qa4 etc might arise.
17.fxe5 Be6 18.Qa4
As Bill points out, again not 18.Qxb7 Nxe5 19.Bxf6 gxf6 20.Rf4 (20.Rd1 Qb8) 20...Rb8.
Instead, 18...Nxe5 19.Rxe5 Qd7 20.Bxf6 Qxa4 21.Nxa4 gxf6 22.Rc5 c6 23.Rxf6 looks about equal.
Not 19.Qf4 g5; nor 19.Qa3 Nxe5 nor 19. Bxf6 gxf6 20. Qh4 f5.
This Wall guy is becoming troublesome by avoiding trouble!
This looks like either frustration or impatience.
Or 20...Rxe1 21.Bxe1 Bc6 22.Qe3.
Now Bill goes from threat to threat, first threatening 22.Qxd7.
Time to give some material back, but not 22...Kh8 23.Qg6 Nf5 24.Rxf5 Bxf5 25.Qg7 checkmate
Bill gives the alternative 23.f7+ Kxf7 24.Rxf5+ Nxf5 25.Qxf5+ Kg7 26.Rd7+ Qxd7 27.Qxd7+ and White would also be better.
24...Qxd1+ 25.Nxd1 Re1+ 26.Kf2 Rxd1 27.Qg6+
Kf8 28.Qg7+ Ke8 29.Qe7 checkmate