Saturday, November 26, 2016

Tournament Update (updated)

The second round of the RedHotPawn Jerome Gambit thematic tournament has generated a good number of interesting games!

The field is currently led by SeinfeldFan91 (2171),  ahead of procyk (1865),  kristjan (1673), rigidwithfear (1481) and junnujannu (1397).

Stop by and check out the games. When the round is completed, I will share some of them.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Jerome Gambit Ending: It's Drawn, Unless It Isn't (Part 2)

[Continuing from the previous post]

perrypawnpusher - keshavdmutkule
Giuoco Piano Thematic Tournament,, 2016

16...Rf8 17.Qh4 Bd7 18.Bg5 Qf7

Black moves his heavy pieces to the f-file.

I was not too concerned. I had no plans to open either the e- or the f-file. I planned the usual pressure on f6 while I waited.

19.a3 c5 

Here comes some of the pressure against White's center. I think my opponent would do better to keep things dynamic, however, rather than exchange pawns, as he does on the next move.

20.Rad1 cxd4 21.Rxd4 Bc6

If Black is thinking about moving into an endgame with Bishops-of-opposite-colors, then he is probably not worried about dropping a pawn. Such endings are notoriously drawish, even with a difference of 1, 2, or even (sometimes) 3 pawns. Still, I thought I had learned enough about them to prevail.

22.Rxd6 Rad8

This move overlooks something. Stockfish 7, after the game, suggested that 22...Nd7 led to an equal game.

23.Rxd8 Rxd8 24.e5


24...Re8 25.exf6 Rxe1+ 26.Qxe1 gxf6 27.Bh4 Qg6


Giving my opponent what he apparently wants - with Queens off of the board we will have a "safe" endgame.

I was getting dizzy trying to analyze the many things his Queen and my Queen could do in this position, so I finally decided to take them off of the board.


A bit of humor here - who will be the one to swap Queens? I think the sharper choice was 28...Kf7, as 29.Qc7+ would have been too crazy for me, and 29. Qxg6+ hxg6 is one step closer to splitting the point. Also, advancing the pawn, this move and next, puts it at risk. The way things are, Black might be able to afford being 2 pawns down, but probably not 3.

29.b3 f4 30.Qxg6+

I can't remember why I didn't play 30.Qxf4, but I guess it was to avoid 30...Qb1+, etc. The f-pawn will fall, anyhow.


White will soon be 3 pawns ahead. Will it be enough? I think so.

31.Bg5 Bd5 32.c4 Be6 33.Kf2 Kg7 34.Bxf4 Kf6 

Black's defense will be based upon putting his pawns on the same colored squares as his Bishop, and then constructing a blockade of White's advancing pawns.

35.Bc7 b5 36.cxb5 Bxb3 37.Ke3 Ke6

For now, Black's b-pawn will hold off White's two Queenside pawns. However, some time in the future - when White's pawns have advanced to a5 and b6 - he will have to guard against the sacrifice a5-a6 which will let the b-pawn advance toward promotion.

In the meantime, White will create two passed pawns on the Kingside. It will be difficult for Black's Bishop to guard against threats on both sides of the board.

38.Kf4 Kd5 

Going after White's a-pawn, but the King needed to stay and play defense on the Kingside.

39.h4 Kc5 40.b6 Bc4 41.Ke5 

Black's King will not be able to get back to the Kingside in time, now. White will create a passed pawn that will cost Black his Bishop - and then the game.

41...Bf1 42.g4 Be2 43.h5 gxh5 44.gxh5 Bd3 

45.h6 Kb5 46.Kf6 Bh7 47.Kg7 Bf5 48.h7 Bxh7 49.Kxh7 Ka4 50.f4 Kxa3 Black resigned

The extra pawn will promote.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Jerome Gambit Ending: It's Drawn, Unless It Isn't (Part 1)


I won my last Jerome Gambit in the current Giuoco Piano Thematic Tournament, so it is time, again, for me to sit and wait and see who catches or bypasses me.

In the meantime, it is fun to share the game, as it required some strategic re-thinking on my part, as well as a pleasant return to some endgame understanding that I acquired about 35 years ago, from a match game I played against my boss.

perrypawnpusher - keshavdmutkule
Giuoco Piano Thematic Tournament,, 2016

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

The Giuoco Piano Thematic Tournament is a 10-player, double round robin, which means that I had 9 chances to play the Jerome Gambit - and, as it turned out, I played 8 at the same time to start the tournament! (I had Black against keshavdmutkule first.) I finished with 4 wins, 3 wins on time, and 2 losses.

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Kf8

Ah, yes, the Jerome Defense to the Jerome Gambit - both care of Alonzo Wheeler Jerome. The defense was played successfully in two correspondence games against Daniel Jaeger in 1880.

To date my record against it is 23-6-3, which is a score of 81%, which is pretty decent.

7.Qxe5 Qe7 

Solid. Black's Queen sometimes goes to f6 in different variations, but here it finds itself a different home. I have scored 6-2-2  (70%) against this.

7...d6 was seen in perrypawnpusher - ulisimbolon, Giuoco Piano Thematic Tournament,, 2016, (0-1, 22). (keshavdmutkule would have had to look up that game on the website, as it wasn't posted on this blog until recently.) 

8.Qf4+ Ke8

I faced 8...Nf6 in the earlier perrypawnpusher - ERICOLSON, FICS, 2007 (1-0, 33); perrypawnpusher - frencheng, FICS, 2010 (1/2-1/2, 31); and perrypawnpusher - jonathankochems, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 39).

The text move strikes me as a bit unusual, and it highlights one of Black's challenges in the Jerome - even if he is still better - and that is: where does his King go?

Of equal interest to me was if my opponent had found this blog, and, more specifically, my notes to my game with auswebby.   


I am not sure if the text is an improvement over 9.Nc3, seen in perrypawnpusher - Chesssafety,, 2012 (1-0, 25) and perrypawnpusher - auswebby, Giuoco Piano Thematic,, 2015 (0-1, 37), but the games could have transposed, anyway.


More sedate and more solid than 9...Bd6 as seen in perrypawnpusher - dzetto00, Giuoco Piano Thematic,, 2016(1/2-1/2, 25). (Too bad. I was willing to face that line again.)

10.c3 Nf6 11.d4 Bb6 12.Re1 Kf7

Black plans to castle-by-hand on the Kingside.


I am used to attacking the Black King along the e-file or f-file, or advancing the "Jerome pawns" to cause chaos in the enemy's ranks.

In this game, however, I realized that there was not likely to be any kind of bashi-bazouk attack; instead, I was going to have to adopt the patient style that I have seen in some of Bill Wall's games, where he establishes a solid pawn center and waits for his opponent to bash himself against it. After all, Black has the advantage, so, by rights, he should be the one attacking, right?

13...Re8 14.Nc4 Kg8 15.Nxb6 axb6 16.f3

[to be continued]

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Jerome Gambit: Past is Prologue

Here is a game from the first round of the Jerome Gambit tournament at Both White and Black clearly have a grasp of the opening, and the battle is an entertaining one. The outcome is an indication of how the second round - and the tournament - will turn out. 

SeinfeldFan91 - ZorroTheFox
Giuoco Piano Jerome Gambit Tournament, 2016

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Qh4 

7.O-O Ng4 8.h3 Bd6 9.e5 Be7 

Recommended,but there are no other examples in The Database.


9...Nxe5 Giving the piece back is "scientific" but leads to an equal game according to Stockfish 7. 10.dxe5 Bxe5 11.Qd5+ (11.f4 Bd6 12.Qd5+ Kf8 13.Nd2 Nf6 14.Qd3 b6 15.Ne4 Bb7 16.Nxd6 cxd6 17.Qxd6+ Kf7 18.Qd3 Rhe8 19.Bd2 Kg8 20.f5 Nh5 21.Bc3 Nf4 22.Qc4+ Kh8 23.Rxf4 Qh6 24.Rg4 Rg8 25.f6 g6 26.f7+ Rg7 27.Qb4 d5 28.f8=Q+ Rxf8 29.Qxf8 checkmate, Darthnik - aufdermaur, FICS, 2011) 11...Kf6 (11...Kf8 12.Qxe5 d6 13.Bg5 Qxf2+ 14.Rxf2+ Black resigned, ndrwgn - balahap, FICS, 2013) 12.Re1 d6 13.Rxe5 dxe5 14.Qd8+ Ne7 15.Qxh8 Qe4 16.Qf8+ Ke6 17.Bg5 Qb4 18.Qxg7 Bd7 19.Qf6+ Kd5 20.Nc3+ Kc4 21.b3+ Kxc3 22.Qxe5+ Qd4 23.Bd2+ Kxd2 24.Qxd4+ Kxc2 25.Rd1 Black resigned, Wall,B - Anonymous,, 2016; or

9...Bxe5 10.dxe5 Nxe5 (10...N4h6 11.Nc3 Ne7 12.Re1 Rf8 13.Re4 Qxe4 14.Nxe4 Kg8 15.Bxh6 gxh6 16.Nf6+ Kh8 17.Qd3 Ng6 18.Qc3 c6 19.Nh5 Rf5 20.e6+ Ne5 21.e7 Black resigned, iconsisonline - atizzle, FICS, 2010) 11.Qd5+ Kf6 12.f4 Ng6 13.Nc3 d6 14.Be3 Ke7 15.Rae1 Kd8 16.Nb5 Nf6 17.Qc4 Ne8 18.Bf2 Qf6 19.Bd4 Qh4 20.Rxe8+ Kxe8 21.Nxc7+ Kf8 22.f5 Ne5 23.f6 gxf6 24.Qd5 Kg7 25.Qxd6 Rg8 26.Rxf6 Qxf6 27.Bxe5 and White won, Sorensen,S - X, Denmark, 1888; or

9...Nxf2 10.Rxf2+ Nf6 11.Rf4 Qg3 12.Rf3 Qg6 13.exd6 cxd6 14.c3 b6 15.Qb3+ Ke7 16.Re3+ Kd8 17.Na3 Bb7 18.Re2 Nh5 19.Nb5 Ng3 20.Rf2 Ne4 21.Re2 Rf8 22.Be3 Ng3 23.Rd2 Qe4 24.Re1 Rf3 25.Bg5+ Black resigned, Darthballz - Leftang, FICS, 2011

10.hxg4 Nh6

Reasonable and straight-forward, especially since White's response "forces" Black to make a move he wants to make, anyhow; but 10...d6 was deeper and better. 

11.g5 Ng4  

Of course. Still, taking the g-pawn was better, as now the game has equalized - although that may not be apparent at first glance. 

12.Qf3+ Ke8 13.Qh3 Bxg5 14.Bxg5 Qxg5 15.Nc3 d5

15...h5!? was a thematic alternative. 

16.f4 Qg6

Thinking "attack" when "defense" was better attended to by 16...Qd8. 

17.Nxd5 Kd7 18.f5 Qg5 19.e6+ Kc6 

The alternative 19...Ke8 20.Rae1 is pretty bad for Black, but everything else leads to mate. 

20.Qc3+ Kxd5 21.Qc5+ Ke4 22.Rae1+ Ne3 23.Qe5 checkmate