Saturday, April 16, 2016

Capt. Evans Faces the Sarratt Attack

At different times on this blog, I have looked for possible fore-runners to the Jerome Gambit (inspirations to Alonzo Wheeler Jerome), including the Sarratt or Vitzthum Attack. (See "A Bridge To... Somewhere?", "Another Distant Relative?", "The Sarratt Attack", "Another look at the Sarratt Attack" and "Another Example of the Vitzthum Attack"). 

Recently I was reading Dr. Tim Harding's Eminent Victorian Chess Players Ten Biographies (2012), and in its Appendix II "Games by Captain Evans" I found the following game. While its date is unknown, the fact that it was published in 1843 makes it one of the earliest examples of the opening that I have seen. It also features a creative fortress defense (R + N vs Q) in the endgame.

Wilson, Harry - Evans, William Davies
Unknown place and date
Notes by Harding and CPC.

From CPC [Chess Player's Chronicle], IV (1843) pages 293-295: "This and the following game are from a choice collection of unpublished MS. games in the possession of Mr. Harry Wilson, which that distinguished Amateur, with his accustomed liberality, has kindly placed at the disposal of the Editor." The games could have been played in Wales (if before 1840) or in London, or at
Wilson's home at Carisbrooke on the Isle of Wight.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Bc5 5.Ng5 Nh6 6.Nxf7 Nxf7 7.Bxf7+ Kxf7 8.Qh5+ g6 9.Qxc5 

9...Re8 10.Qd5+ Kg7 11.Bg5 Rxe4+ 12.Qxe4 Qxg5 13.O-O d5 14.Qf3 Ne7 15.Qg3 Qxg3 16.hxg3 Bf5 17.Rc1? c5 18.Nd2 c4 19.c3 d3 20.b3 Rc8 21.bxc4 dxc4 22.Rab1 Rc7 23.Rb4 Be6 24.Rcb1 b6 25.Re1 Rc6 26. Re4? a5 27.Rb5 Kf7 28.Rf4+? Kg7 29.Kf1 Nd5 30.Rxd5 Bxd5 31.Rd4 Rc5 32.f3 b5 33.a3 Kf6 34.Kf2 b4 35.axb4 axb4 36.cxb4 c3! 

37.bxc5 c2 38.Rxd5 c1=Q 39.Rxd3 Qxc5+ 40.Ke2 Qg1 41.Ne4+ Ke5 42.Re3 Qxg2+ 43.Nf2+ Kd4 44.Re4+ Kd5 45.g4 h5 46.gxh5 gxh5 47.Rh4 Qg5 48.Rh3 Kd4 49.Kf1 Ke3 50.Nd1+ Kd2 51.Nf2 Qb5+ 52.Kg2 Ke1 53.Rh1+ Ke2 54.Nh3 Qf5 55.Ng1+ Ke3 56.Rh3 Qc2+ 57.Kh1 Qg6 58.Rh2 Qg5

59.Re2+ Kd3 60.Rh2 h4 61.Rg2 Qf5 62.Rh2 Qf4 63.Rh3 Kd2 64.Rh2+ Ke1 65.Ra2 Qd4 66.Re2+ Kf1 67.Rg2 Qd7 68.Ra2 Qg7 69.Nh3 Qf6 70.Rf2+ Ke1 71.Kg1 Qg6+ 72.Rg2 Qf5 73.Ng5 h3 74.Rg4 Qc5+ 75.Kh2 Qf2+ 76.Kxh3 Kf1 77.Rg3 Qb6 78.f4 Qf2??

An egregious blunder! The game should have been drawn 20 moves before.


Black resigned

Thursday, April 14, 2016

But Blackburne Made It Look So Easy!

The most famous Jerome Gambit game is the one by Blackburne, where he sacrificed material as Black to build a counter attack that led to a Queen sacrifice and checkmate.

Never mind that subsequent analysis and play has shown that, "objectively", the best Black should be able to hope for is a draw.

The fact is, the Blackburne Defense leads to sharp and complicated play, and it is important to have a concrete knowledge of the line - if either Black or White wishes to survive. As we have seen, and will see in the game below, "half a defense is worse than no defense at all..." Better to "Commit It To Memory".

fehim - KramMan
blitz, FICS, 2015

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ g6 7.Qxe5

Here we go! To capture the excitement of the play ahead, it is fun to return to Geoff Chandler's comparison of the Blackburne Defense with "Mars Attacks!"

8.Qxh8 Qh4 9.O-O Qxe4

Wait a minute... Sure, Black flashes out his Queen to h4, all big and bad and scary. But - then what? Certainly not to pawn-grab. What did he miss? What did he miss??

Hint: 9...Nf6! Black wants to trap White's Queen and make threats against her (as well as the King), eventually offering his other Rook as well.


This is not going to go well for Black.

10.d3 worked in AlgozBR - khuizen, FICS, 2009 (1-0, 17)

10...Kf8 11.Nc3

Or 11.d3 Qe2 (or 11...Qf5 in obviously - dmyze,, 2004 [1-0, 20]; or 11...Qe6 in ubluk - bfcace,, 2012 [1-0, 18]) 12.Bh6+ Nxh6 13.Qxh6+ Kf7 14.Qh7+ Kf6 15.Qxc7 Bf5 16.Nc3 Qxc2 17.Nd5+ Kg5 18.Qe7+ Kh6 19.h4 Rh8 20.Qg5+ Kg7 21.Rae1 Rf8 22.h5 Bxd3 23.h6+ Kg8 24.Nf6+ Kf7 25.Nh7 Kg8 26.Nxf8 Bxf1 27.Rxf1 Bxf2+ 28.Rxf2 Qc1+ 29.Qxc1 Black resigned, ZahariSokolov - pedroregistro, FICS, 2015


Or 11...Qxc2 12.Qh4 Black resigned, perrypawnpusher - LtPoultry, blitz, FICS, 2010; or 12.d3 Qxd3 13.Bh6+ Ke8 14.Rfe1+ Kd8 15.Qxg8+ Kd7 16.Qe8 checkmate, DREWBEAR 63 - blackburne, JGTourney4, ChessWorld, 2009.

12.d3 Nf6 13.Qh4

This move is okay, as White is up the exchange plus a couple of pawns, so he can consolidate. He could continue his attack, however, with 13.Bh6+ Ke8 14.Rae1+ Be6 15.Qg7.

13...Kg7 14.Be3 Be6 15. Bxc5 dxc5 16. Ne4 Nxe4 17. Qxe4 Qf6

The next few moves bring some excitement, but the game is pretty much over. Black's slip at move 23 just ends things

18.c3 Rh8 19.f4 c6 20.c4 Qh4 21.Qxe6 Qxh2+ 22.Kf2 Qxf4+ 23.Ke2 Qg4+ 24.Qxg4 Black resigned

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Tournaments Update

The third round of the Italian Game Tournament is approaching its conclusion, with one game remaining to be completed. mikerj, with 7.5 points, is playing LVercotti, with 7 points, battling for the top spot in round three, the final round.

Curiously, their positions are reversed in the overall standings, with LVercotti having 26 points and mikerj having 25.5. That might mean that while a draw would be sufficient for mikerj to win round three, but he would need a win to finish up on the top of the tournament.

I am facing a similar, if diluted, situation: I am clearly going to finish third in round three, ahead of Diogenes_of_Sinope, but he is going to leap over me by .5 points in the final standings. I guess 4th place out of 27 contestants isn't too bad.

The upcoming (players started signing up a couple of months ago) Jerome Gambit Tournament at RedHotPawn that I mentioned a month and a half ago now has 14 of its needed 16 participants. I'd love to help them complete the field, but each time I check on it I receive the reasonable message "Sorry, you are not eligible to enter this tournament. This tournament is only available to subscribers." Oh, well. I will keep you updated.

The new 5-player "Italian Game: Guioco Piano" tournament has just started, and I expect to play 4 Jerome Gambits - in fact, I just sacced the Bishop in game 1 (I have black in the other games, but will eventually have my chance at 4.Bxf7ch!?). You will see them as they are completed. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

5% New (Part 3)

The following game appeared in Royal Exchange on November 15, 1879. Black, who is associated with the Monck Gambit and who opined negatively concerning the Jerome Gambit, defends against an Evans Gambit with Jerome touches that never gets its attack going. 

Clothier Jr,J - Monck,W

Preston Guardian tourney-1 rd1 corr, 1879
brief notes by G. W. Farrow (columnist) and W. H. S. Monck

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 

The Evans Gambit.



5.0-0 d6 6.c3 Bg4 7.b5

Farrow gives this a "?" which is a bit harsh, recommending instead 7.Be2. (Stockfish 7 likes 7.h3, suggesting that the text loses about a half pawn.)

 7...Na5 8.Bxf7+ 

GWF: All sound and fury, signifying nothing 

WHSM: An unsound sacrifice 

8...Kxf7 9.Nxe5+ 

GWF: Desperate cases require desperate remedies

9...dxe5 10.Qxg4

10...Nf6 11.Qe2 Re8 12.Bb2 Qd6 13.Na3 Rad8 14.Nc4 Nxc4 15.Qxc4+ Re6 16.d4 exd4 17.cxd4 Nxe4

18.Rad1 Qd5 19.Qa4 Nd6 20.Qc2 Rg6 21.f3 Nxb5 22.Kh1 c6 23.Rfe1 Qxa2 24.Qf5+ Kg8 White resigned