Friday, March 11, 2016

Never Bring A Knife To A Gunfight

In the following game Black plays well, until he becomes caught up in tactics on the Queenside. What starts out as a leveling return of a piece for a couple of pawns turns into a conflict where the second player is out-gunned, move after move. 

Wall, Bill - Anonymous, 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Bc5 5.Bxf7+ 

The Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit.

5...Kxf7 6.Qe2

The Database has almost two dozen examples of Bill playing this line. He plays it patiently, with an eye open to tactical possibilities.

6...d6 7.Na4 Bb6 8.h3 Rf8 9.O-O Kg8 

10.c3 d5 11.d3 dxe4 12.dxe4 Qe7 13.b4 

Black has castled-by-hand and kept up with his development - an excellent way to deal with the Jerome Gambit.


Here he plans on returning the sacrificed piece for a couple of pawns, putting himself a pawn ahead in a comfortable position.

Instead, Bill recommends 13...Nd8, 13...Bd7 or 13...Rd8.


A surprise. Probably Black was expecting 14.cxb4 Qxb4 15.Nxb6 axb6 16.Re1 Ra4.


Stumbling. Bill suggests 14...Qe8 (threatening 15...Qxa4) 15.Qc4+ Be6 16. Qxb4 Qh5 still with an edge.

15.cxb4 Bxb4

Slipping again. Instead, 15...Bb6 would keep things in balance. It was okay to back away from the tangle of pieces. Perhaps he was expecting 16.Bxb4?.

16.Qc4+ Be6 17.Qxb4


The fatal fall.

18.Nxc5 b6 19.Nxe6 Qxe6 20.Ng5 Qc6 21.Qb3+ Kh8 22.Bxf8 Rxf8 

After a tactical flurry, White is a Rook up, but he has one more shot.


Winning a further exchange, as 23...Kg8 would lose the Black Queen with 24.Nxe5+ Kh8 25.Nxc6

23...Rxf7 24.Qxf7 Qa8 25.Rfc1 Black resigned

Wednesday, March 9, 2016


The following educational game, mentioned in the previous post (see "White Punishes Errors Quickly"), was played online at at its "classic" time control, 30 minutes or more per game.

SA3OD - gianluca
classic,, 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 h6

The Semi-Italian Opening.

4.d4 exd4 5.Nxd4 Bc5

Asking for trouble, allowing a transposition to the Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit.

6.Bxf7+ Kf8

I know this sounds silly, but there are 30 games with this position in The Database. White scores 48%. (Which sounds even sillier.)


A thoughtful idea, although stronger was 7.Nxc6!? Qh4!? 8.O-O bxc6 9.Bb3 Qxe4 when White has recovered his sacrificed piece, as a better pawn structure and a safer King.

7...Kxf7 8.Qd5+ Kf8 

Instead, 8...Kf6 would be too bold: 9.Qxc5 Nge7 10.Nc3 (10.Qc3+!) 10...d6 11.Nd5+ Nxd5 12.Qxd5 Re8 13.O-O Re5 14.Qd3 Bxf5 15.exf5 Rxf5 16.b3 Kg6 $2 17.Bb2 (17.g4!) 17...Ne5 18.Bxe5 dxe5 19.Qb5 b6 20.Rad1 Qe7 21.Rd7 Qg5 22.Rxc7 (22.Qc6+!?) 22...Raf8 23.Qe2 e4 24.Qxe4 Kh7 25.Rxa7 Kh8 26.Re7 Rxf2 27.Rxf2 Qc5 28.Ref7 Rxf7 29.Qe8+ Rf8 30.Qxf8+Qxf8 31.Rxf8+ Kh7 32.Rb8 Black resigned, MidKnightBlue - cesrmathurine, FICS, 2005

9.Qxc5+ d6 10.Qc3 Bxf5 11.exf5 Nf6 

White has an extra pawn (temporarily) and a safer King, but he lags in development.

12.O-O Ne7 13.Nd2 Nxf5 14.Nf3 Kf7 15.Qb3+ Kg6 

The King needed to go back to f8, as SA3OD immediatly shows.

16.Qd3 Qd7 17.Nh4+ Kf7 18.Qxf5 Qxf5 19.Nxf5 Rhe8 


In the next few moves, White is thinking of attack. (Instead, he should heed American National Master Dan Heisman's advice to club players, that after winning material one should think about consolidation first, not wild aggression. The simple 20.Be3 comes to mind.) 

20...Re2 21.h3

Instead, the consolidating 21.Ne3! would have saved a world of headaches. 

21...Rxc2 22.f4 

Everybody is going to the party, but, by the time they get there, the party will have moved on.

White still had time for 22.Ne3, evicting the enemy Rook. Even 22.Be3 was possible, as 22...Rxb2?! would be well met by 23.Rac1!? with counterplay.

22...Re8 23.g5 Ree2 


The correct way to protect g2 (and attack Black's Rook) was 24.Ne3! 

24...Ne4 25.gxh6

Instead, 25.Rf3 would have kept the enemy Knight out of g3 and lead to an even game.


Better to invade: 25...Ng3


Still attacking. Still overlooking 26.Rf3


Black overlooks his last chance for 26...Ng3.

White is in a turned-around situation for a Jerome Gambit player, being up a piece and down a pawn. His King is in more danger, too.

Although Black has more practical chances, the game is still about even.

27.Bf4 Rxb2 28.Ng6 Rxa2 29.Rxa2 Rxa2 30.Re1 Ra4 


Not the solution to a difficult position, especially if time was getting short. Stockfish 7 suggests: 31.Kg2 Kf6 32.Kf3 Ng5+ 33.Bxg5+ Kxg5 34.h4+ Kxf5 35.Ne7+ Kf6 36.Nd5+ Kg7 37.Re7+ Kg6 38.Rxc7 b5 39.Nf4+ Kf5 40.Nxh5 Rxh4 41.Ng3+ Ke5 42.Rxa7 and White should hold on. Whew!

Now Black's game improves step-by-step.

31...Kf6 32.h4 Kxf5 33.Bg5 Nxg5 34.hxg5 Kxg5

35.Nf7+ Kg6 36.Nd8 b6 37.Ne6 c5 38.Rd1 Rg4+ 39.Kh2 c4 

40.Rxd6 Kf7 41.Nc7 Rg5 42.Rc6 Rc5 43.Rh6 Kg7 44.Re6 Rxc7 45.Kg2 b5 46.Kf2 b4 47.Ke3 b3 48.Ra6 b2 49.Ra5 b1=Q 50.Rxh5 c3 51.Rg5+ Kh6 52.Rd5 c2 53.Rd6+ Kh7 54.Kd4 Qd1+ 55.Ke5 Qxd6+ 56.Kxd6 c1=Q 57.Kd5 Rd7+ 58.Ke6 Rd2 59.Ke5 Qe1+ 60.Kf4 Rf2+ 61.Kg3 Qg1+ 62.Kh3 Rh2 checkmate

Monday, March 7, 2016

White Punishes Errors Quickly

Image result for flag united arab emirates

Here are a couple more games from United Arab Emirates player SA3OD (mentioned in the previous post), playing online at the website. White punishes errors quickly.

SA3OD - buckeyes435
rapid,, 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 h6 

The Semi-Italian Opening.


Although SA3OD plays the regular Jerome Gambit move order in his games, too - 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ - he often likes to insert d2-d4 before the sacrifice. In the case of the current game, his 4th move is good on its own merits; while the alternatives 4.0-0 and 4.Nc3 serve both to advance White's development and act as a waiting move to "allow" Black to play ...Bc5.

4...exd4 5.Nxd4 Bc5 

Black's move is not the best, as it invites trouble. Perhaps, having played ...h6, he is feeling protected from danger. (On the website the opening is referred to as the "Italian Game: Anti-Fried Liver Defense" because Black is apparently protecting against 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nxd5?! 6.Nxf7!?)


White played the more accurate 6.Bxf7+  in SA3OD - gianluca, classic, InstantChess, 2016 (0-1, 62); SA3OD - yeah bite, rapid, InstantChess, 2016 (1/2-1/2, 75); and SA3OD - Joseph S. DiBernardo, rapid, InstantChess, 2016 (1-0, 30).


Likely a reflex response, but 6...Qf6!? defended better, i.e. 7.O-O dxc6 (not 7...Qxc6 because of 8.Qh5!?) although White would still be for choice. 

7. Bxf7+ Kxf7 8.Qh5+ Black resigned

SA3OD - Ray777
blitz,, 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.Nxd4 Na5 

Black is going for the advantage of the "two Bishops", but, like in the Jerome Gambit, there is a sharp response to this offside Knight.

6.Bxf7+ Kxf7 7.e5 Ne8 8.Qf3+ Kg8 9.Qd5 checkmate