Saturday, April 2, 2016

Still Further Off The Beaten Path; And Not So Familiar

Image result for free clip art mail
Here's another Jerome Gambit game from shugart, playing at the Free Internet Chess Server (FICS). Unlike the play in the last post (see"A Familiar Line Off The Beaten Path"), this features a novel line that is truly new to White, and quite rare in The Database (it is one of three games).

shugart - bobbybo
FICS, 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ng6 

7.Qd5+ Kf8 8.Qxc5+ d6 9.Qh5 


Black's move is an improvement over the less-challenging 9...N8e7, e.g. 10.O-O Be6 11.f4 Ke8 12.f5 Bf7 13.fxg6 Bxg6 14.Qf3 Qd7 15.Nc3 Kd8 16.d3 Qe6 17.Bg5 Kd7 18.Qe2 Rad8 19.d4 c6 20.d5 cxd5 21.exd5 Qxe2 22.Nxe2 Bxc2 23.Nd4 Bg6 24.Bxe7 Kxe7 25.Rae1+ Kd7 26.Nf5 Bxf5 27.Rxf5 g6 28.Rf7+ Kc8 29.Ree7 a6 30.Rxb7 Rde8 31.Rxh7 Rxh7 32.Rxh7 Re1+ 33.Kf2 Rd1 34.Rh6 Rxd5 35.Rxg6 Kc7 36.h4 Rh5 37.g3 d5 38.Ke3 Re5+ 39.Kd4 Re1 40.g4 Rd1+ 41.Ke3 d4+ 42.Ke2 Rb1 43.b3 Rb2+ 44.Kd3 Rxa2 45.Kxd4 Rd2+ 46.Kc3 Rh2 47.h5 Rh3+ White forfeited on time, Siggus - MetaMidi, FICS, 2006.


Also improving on the previous 10.Qf3, e.g. Kf7 11.O-O Rf8 12.Qb3+ d5 13.exd5 Qxd5 14.Qxd5+ Nxd5 15.Nc3 Nb4 16.Rb1 Nxc2 17.b3 Bf5 18.Rb2 Nb4 19.a3 Nd3 20.Ra2 c6 21.a4 Rfe8 22.f3 Nxc1 23.Rxc1 Bd3 24.Raa1 Nf4 25.Kf2 Ne2 26.Nxe2 Rxe2+ 27.Kg3 Rae8 28.b4 Rxd2 29.b5 Ree2 30.bxc6 Rxg2+ 31.Kf4 g5+ 32.Ke3 Rge2+ 33.Kd4 bxc6 34.Kc5 Rc2+ 35.Rxc2 Rxc2+ 36.Kb4 c5+ 37.Ka5 Rb2 38.Rc1 c4 39.h3 Rc2 40.Re1 c3 41.Re5 Rb2 42.Rc5 c2 43.Rc7+ Kg6 44.Rc6+ Kh5 45.Rc3 Rb1 46.Rxd3 c1=Q 47.Rd5 Qc7+ 48.Ka6 Qb6 checkmate, indoeinstein - adlkaslad, FICS, 2014 

10...Kf7 11.O-O Re8 12.Nc3 

Curiously, the game has reached a position from the game featured in the previous post, with Black's Queen on d8 (here) instead of e6 (there).

Black's faulty combination now hands the advantage over to White. (He probably overlooked that the capture at move 14 comes with check.) When you are playing against a bad opening, it is easy to see its many faults, real and imagined.

12...Bg4 13.f3 Nxe4 14.fxe4+ Kg8 15.Qxg4 c6

White now settles things down with some exchanges, magnifying his extra piece and pawn.

16.d3 Qb6+ 17.Kh1 Rad8 18.b3 Ne5 19.Qg3 Re6 20.Bf4 Rg6 21.Qf2 Rf8 22.Qxb6 axb6 23.Bxe5 dxe5 24.Rxf8+ Kxf8 25.Rf1+ Ke7

The endgame plays out as expected.

26.g3 Ke6 27.Kg2 b5 28.Nd1 c5 29.Ne3 h5 30.h4 Rh6 31.Rf5 Rh7 32.Rg5 b6 33.Rg6+ Kf7 34.Rxb6 g6 35.Rb7+ Kg8 36.Rxh7 Kxh7 37.Kf3 Kg7 38.g4 Kf6 39.gxh5 gxh5 40.Nf5 Ke6 41.a4 bxa4 42.bxa4 Black resigned

Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Familiar Line Off The Beaten Path

Image result for free clip art mail

I recently received 3 interesting and original games from "shugart" who plays online at FICS. In return, I was able to send him the latest version of The Database, which has been updated with FICS games through February 2016.

The following game features a line that shugart has shown a liking for.

shugart - javannanda
FICS, 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ng6 


"The nudge", a sign that the player may be familiar with the games and analysis of this blog.

7...Ke8 8.Qxc5 d6 9.Qb5+ 

Varying from the mundane 9.Qe3. This is a line that shugart has a lot of experience with.


A couple of other lines that show up in shugart's play:

9...c6 10.Qe2 (10.Qb3 Qe7 11.d3 Be6 [11...b5 12.O-O a5 13.a4 Be6 14.Qc3 Rc8 15.axb5 cxb5 16.Qxa5 Nf6 17.Nc3 Bd7 18.Bg5 h6 19.Nd5 Qf7 20.Bxf6 gxf6 21.Nc7+ Kf8 22.Nd5 Kg7 23.Qd2 Bc6 24.Ne3 Ne5 25.Nf5+ Kh7 26.Qxh6+ Kg8 27.Qe3 Rd8 28.f4 Ng4 29.Qg3 Kf8 Black resigned, shugart - piqueres, FICS, 2013] 12.Qa3 Nf6 13.O-O Rf8 14.f4 Bd7 15.Nc3 h6 16.Bd2 Kd8 17.Rad1 Kc7 18.Qa5+ b6 19.Qa6 Bc8 20.Qa3 Bb7 21.Rde1 Nd7 22.d4 d5 23.exd5 Qxa3 24.bxa3 cxd5 25.Nb5+ Kc6 26.a4 a6 27.Re6 checkmate, shugart - CompareAlfio, FICS, 2014) 10...Nf6 (10...Nf4 11.Qf3 Qf6 12.d3 g5 13.O-O Nh6 14.g3 Bg4 15.Qe3 Nh3+ 16.Kg2 Rf8 17.f4 gxf4 18.gxf4 Qh4 19.f5 Bh5 20.Qxh6 Rg8+ 21.Kh1 Nf2+ 22.Rxf2 Qxf2 23.Qe6+ Kd8 24.Qxg8+ Kc7 25.Qxh7+ Kb6 26.Be3+ Black forfeited on time, shugart - qvenky, FICS, 2013) 11.O-O Bg4 (11...Qe7 12.d3 Kf7 13.Nc3 Rf8 14.f4 Kg8 15.Be3 a6 16.h3 b5 17.Rae1 Qc7 18.Qd2 Bd7 19.a3 Rae8 20.Kh2 h6 21.Kg1 Nh4 22.Qf2 Ng6 23.Qg3 Kh7 24.f5 Ne5 25.d4 Nc4 26.Qg6+ Kh8 27.Bc1 Re7 28.b3 Be8 29.Qg3 Nb6 30.Bf4 Nh5 31.Qg4 Nxf4 32.Qxf4 Nd7 33.f6 Rxf6 34.Qg3 Ref7 35.Rxf6 Nxf6 36.e5 dxe5 37.dxe5 Nd5 38.Nxd5 cxd5 39.Qd3 Qc5+ 40.Kh1 d4 41.e6 Re7 42.Qe4 Bf7 43.Rf1 Bxe6 44.Rf8+ Bg8 45.Qa8 Qd5 46.Qxd5 Black resigned, shugart - kisa, FICS, 2015; or 11...Kf7 12.d4 Re8 13.Nc3 b6 14.Bg5 h6 15.Be3 a5 16.f3 Ba6 17.Qf2 Bxf1 18.Rxf1 d5 19.e5 Nh5 20.f4 Qh4 21.g3 Qh3 22.f5 Nf8 23.Qf3 Kg8 24.Qe2 Nxg3 25.hxg3 Qxg3+ 26.Kh1 Nh7 27.Rg1 Qh3+ 28.Qh2 Black forfeited on time, shugart - tiotonho, FICS, 2013) 12.f3 Be6 (12...Qb6+ 13.Kh1 Bd7 14.Nc3 Kf7 15.Qc4+ Be6 16.Qe2 Rhe8 17.d3 Kg8 18.Na4 Qc7 19.Bf4 Nxf4 White resigned, shugart - ronaldomponte, FICS, 2015) 13.d4 Kf7 14.f4 Bg4 15.Qe3 Re8 16.e5 Nd5 17.Qb3 Kg8 18.Nc3 Nge7 19.h3 Be6 20.Qxb7 Nxc3 21.bxc3 dxe5 22.fxe5 Bd5 23.Qa6 Ng6 24.Ba3 Qg5 25.Rf2 Rf8 26.Bxf8 Rxf8 27.Rxf8+ Nxf8 28.Qe2 Ne6 29.Rf1 Nf4 30.Qf2 Bxg2 31.Qxf4 Qxf4 32.Rxf4 Bd5 33.a3 h6 34.Kf2 g5 35.Rf6 Kg7 36.Ke3 a6 37.Kd3 h5 38.c4 Bg2 39.Rf5 Kg6 40.Rf6+ Kg7 41.h4 g4 42.Ke3 Bf3 43.Rxf3 gxf3 44.Kxf3 Kg6 45.Kf4 a5 46.a4 Black resigned, shugart - kisa, FICS, 2015, and

9...Bd7 10.Qe2 Nf6 11.O-O Kf7 (11...h5 12.f4 h4 13.h3 Bc6 14.Nc3 Qe7 15.d3 Kd7 16.Bd2 Rae8 17.Rae1 Kc8 18.Qf2 Qd7 19.Qxa7 Qd8 20.Qa8+ Kd7 21.Qa5 Ne7 22.d4 b6 23.Qa3 Nh5 24.d5 Bb7 25.Qa7 Ba8 26.e5 Nxd5 27.Nxd5 Bxd5 28.Qa4+ Bc6 29.e6+ Rxe6 30.Qb3 Rxe1 31.Rxe1 Qf6 32.Bc3 Qxf4 33.Qe6+ Kd8 34.Rf1 Qg3 35.Rf2 Nf4 36.Qf5 Nxg2 White resigned, shugart - mozartain, FICS, 2013) 12.f4 Re8 13.d3 (13.Nc3 Kf8 14.d4 a6 15.e5 Bb5 16.Nxb5 axb5 17.Qxb5 dxe5 18.fxe5 Qxd4+ 19.Kh1 c6 20.Qxb7 Nxe5 21.Bg5 Ned7 22.Rad1 Qa7 23.Qxd7 Qxa2 24.Bxf6 gxf6 25.Rxf6+ Kg8 26.Qf7+ Qxf7 27.Rxf7 Kxf7 White resigned, shugart - fifthavenue, FICS, 2013) 13...Kg8 14.Nc3 d5 15.e5 Bg4 16.Qe1 Nh5 17.h3 Bd7 18.g4 Nhxf4 19.Bxf4 Nxf4 20.Rxf4 Qh4 21.Qxh4 Black resigned, shugart - pattyvanny, FICS, 2013


He has also played 10.Qe2 Nf6 11.O-O Kf7 12.f4 Re8 13.Nc3 Qg4 14.Qc4+ Kf8 15.d3 Be6 16.Qxc7 Rac8 17.Qxb7 Kg8 18.f5 Nh4 19.e5 19...Bd5 20.Nxd5 Qxg2 checkmate, shugart - glemzy, FICS, 2013.

10...Qe6 11.Qe3 Nf6 12.Nc3 Kf7 13.O-O Re8

The game has reached the same position reached in shugart - transitman, lightning, FICS, 2013 (1-0, 29), and others, although in the earlier game Black's Queen was at e8.

14.f4 Qc4 15.d3 Qc5 16.d4 Qh5 17.e5 dxe5 18.fxe5 Kg8

White now puts a bit too much faith in his "Jerome pawns" with his next move - although things turn out fine in the end.

19.exf6 Rxe3 20.f7+ Kf8 21.Bxe3 c6 22.d5 Bg4

Not the best defense.

23.Bc5+ Ne7 24.Rae1 cxd5 25.Bxe7 checkmate

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

Sunday, March 27, 2016

What Are You Playing?

The following quick game shows the risks of playing "thematically" instead of "concretely" - as in, not what your opening suggests, but what is actually on the board.

Wall, Bill - Guest3846778, 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nd4 

The Blackburne Shilling Gambit.


The Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit.

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Ke6 6.c3 Qg5

I can imagine Bill thinking: "I'm playing the Jerome Gambit. What are you playing??" His opponent makes the thematic attacking move in the BSG, but he should have stayed in the main lines with 6...Kxe5.

I was surprised to find 52 games in The Database with this position, with White scoring 61%. Only 39 games feature White's next move, which bumps the scoring up to 65%. Sadly, 37 games feature Black's terminal response - and White still scores only 64%.

This game shows the way to a full 100%.

7.cxd4 Qxg2

As intended, but allowing checkmate. 

8.Qb3+ Kd6 9.Qd5+ Ke7 10.Qf7+ Kd6 11.Nc4+ Kc6 12.Qd5 checkmate