Saturday, June 25, 2016

Definitely With The Gambits

Searching the internet the other day, I came across an interesting and intriguing web page titled "SPRING & SUMMER 2013: Definitely with the gambits" which had, among other things, the following quote
By playing the Jerome Gambit and by paying more attention to the moves of my mate, I came to win against more chessmates than I used to do before.
On the site there is a photo of a couple of people playing chess at an outside table ("Paul & a young Champion at Hunter College") easily placed at the Chess and Checkers' House in Central Park in Manhattan (a short walk from Hunter College).

The site includes a useful link to a Jerome Gambit "database" actually a spreadsheet of opening moves.

The post finishes with
With the gambit, there is really a gamboling of some pieces, a frolicking about of them, most often the Queen, and that is what makes it interesting and a good technic to develop attention, concentration and technical skills in playing Chess.
Elsewhere, the web page's author notes that "chess obeys to Bayesian statistics" - which certainly begs further attention and exploration. I have been unable to track down his manuscript Chess and Bayesian Statistics (Le Jeu d'Échecs et la Statistique Bayésienne) but can note his summary
The manuscript is to prove that chance or hazard has little to do with chess in contrary to playing cards or other saloon's games, since Bayesian statistics deals with conditional or linked probabilities...

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Should Have Known About This Blog

Even a little bit of knowledge can be a good thing, if it is properly applied. If it is missing - things change.

The following is from an ongoing game - the players will go unnamed - from the ongoing "Giuoco Piano Jerome Gambit Tournament" at

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bxd4 7.Qxd4 Qf6 

This position should feel familiar, if you read the recent post "Again, 'Why Did He Play That Move?' " or are able to recall '"Why Did He Play That Move?"

I feel a bit disappointed that both players seem to have missed that content.

8.O-O b6

Instead, Black had the crushing 8...Nf3+, winning White's Queen on the next move.

(In all fairness, I have to report that the position appears in The Database 40 times, and Black found 8...Nf3+ only 13 times, an unhappy 32.5%. It is important to recall that we are in the land of online club play, not grandmaster gladiator duels. Also, not everyone reads this blog - yet.)

8.Nc3 c5

Ouch. Again, the move to play was 8...Nf3+ with a winning game.


White will win a Rook now.

This game has continued a couple dozen more moves. White is currently up an insurmountable amount of material and should win by checkmate quickly.

What an unfortunate outcome, given that the defender missed an opportunity to be up a whole Queen early on in the game.

Again, we must congratulate the Jerome Gambit player, even as we recall the old saying "It is better to be lucky than to be good". 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Again, "Why Did He Play That Move?"

In every chess game we play, we must often ask ourselves about our opponent, "Why Did He Play That Move?" Failing to do so - or failing to answer the question accurately - can lead to disaster.

Consider the following game.

JeanTylerGabriel - LittleDonkey
Giuoco Piano Jerome Gambit Tournament, 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bxd4 7.Qxd4 d6 8.O-O Be6 9.Nc3 Bh3 

Out of a normal (for the Jerome Gambit) opening setup, Black plays an unexpected move. Why did he play that move?


A decent enough response.


Again, why did he play that move?


Wrong answer.

11...Nf3+ 12.Kh1 Nxd4 13.Rf1 Qf3+ 14.Kg1 Qxh3 15.Bf4 Nf6 16.Rac1 Nf3+ 17.Kh1 Ng4 18.Rfd1 Nxf2 checkmate

And this is how we reached one of the positions in "Good Knight".

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Fun With the Jerome Gambit

When recently discussing the "Macbeth Attack" I mentioned the early game Wright - Hunn, Arkansas, 1874, which appeared in the November issue of the Dubuque Chess Journal for that year. The game began 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.d4, garnering the comment  "Brilliant but not sound" from the editor. (I suspect Jude Acers and George Laven, authors of "The Italian Gambit and A Guiding Repertoire for White" might challenge that "not sound" assessment.)

After 4...exd4 ("The German Handbuch gives as best variation 4...Bxd4 5.c3 Bb6 6.Ng5 Nh6 7.Qh5 O-O 8.f4 exf4 9.Bxf4 d6 10.Rf1 Qe7 and Black should win."), 5.Bxf7+ the editor commented "An unsound variation of Jerome's double opening." Still, he was able to join in the fun. After 5...Kxf7 6.Ng5+ he suggested that Ne5 "a la Jerome" is better than Ng5. That may not be "objectively" true, but capturing the imaginary pawn on e5 certainly is in line with the outlandish play of Alonzo Wheeler Jerome's creation.

I was surprised to find 40 games in The Database that, wittingly or unwittingly, followed the DCJ's suggestion. The following blitz game shows some of the fun behind the lighthearted suggestion.

SupremacyPawn - northug
blitz, FICS, 2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.d4 exd4 6.Ne5+ 

6...Nxe5 7.Qh5+ Ke6 8.f4 Nf6 

Black is having so much fun "punishing" White for his audacity of early Queen moves - well, you know how those things sometimes go...

9.Qxe5+ Kf7 10.Qxc5 

Black has quickly returned two pieces. He would do best to calm himself, rationally look at his new position, and plot a new strategy. Something like 10...d5 comes to mind, with either 11.Qxd4 Ne4 or 11.e5 Ne4 to follow, and despite his previous misfortunes, Black would not be worse.

Alas for the defender, he is sure that White has erred (a clear assessment that is out of date, however) and still can and should be punished for his transgressions.

10...Nxe4 11.Qd5+ Kg6 12.Qxe4+ Kf7 13.O-O 
Black resigned