Sunday, January 29, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Old McDonnell

Kevin Sheldrick ("Cliff Hardy") sends one of his latest Jerome Gambits. He gets into trouble, but he calls upon his creativity and his "Jerome pawns" save him. The comments are mostly Kevin's. I have added a few diagrams and some notes in blue - Rick

Old McDonnell Had a Pawn Storm

A kingside pawn storm features in many Jerome Gambit games, as is clearly evident in the games on this blog. In that vein, I recently played a Jerome Gambit game that reminded me somewhat of a famous position from an old game between two classic masters, Alexander McDonnell and Louis-Charles de La Bourdonnais in London in 1834. These were two of the strongest players in the world at the time and the final position in that game I have heard being referred to as, arguably, the most famous position in chess history.


La Bourdonnais, as black, has just played 37...e2, and so McDonnell resigned in a lost position, despite being the player who currently has a queen on the board.

My game: 

dsjkljdkdjkf - beba buba beba542
15 0,, 25/1/17

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Kf8 6.Qh5??

6.Nxc6! would have been better. (See gfdgfd - leleos, 2016.)

6...Nxe5 7.Qxe5 d6 8.Qg3 Nf6 9.d3 h5 10.Bg5 Bd4?!

The odd-looking 10...Qd7!, blocking his bishop on c8 but breaking the pin on the knight on f6, was best. (10...Be6 was perrypawnpusher - ulisimbolon, Giuoco Piano Thematic,, 2016 [0-1, 22])

11.c3 Be5??

11...Bb6 would still leave black with a clear advantage.


Old McDonnell had a bishop!

12...h4 13. Bxh4??

13.Qf3! Bg4 14.Qe3 and white will win the trapped bishop on e5, with a winning position.


13...Nh5 was good for a slight advantage for black (saves his bishop on e5) but 13...Nxe4! was slightly better than that again

14.Qf2 Bf6 15.Bxf6 Qxf6 16.0-0 Bd7 17.Nd2 Ke7 18.d4 Raf8 19.f5 Kd8 20.Rae1 Qg5 21.Nf3 Qg4 22.h3 Qg3


23.Re3 would yield an approximately equal position.

23...Nxg3 24.Rf2 Rhg8?

24...Re8, attacking the e-pawn, would lead to a winning advantage for black, whereas after 24...Rhg8?, white has a slight advantage.

25.Kh2 Nh5 26.g4 Nf4 27.Kg3??

E - I - E - I - O! I missed the fork.

27...Nd3 28.e5 Nxe1 29.Nxe1 de Bc6 31.g5 Kc8 32.Kg4 Rd8 33.h4 Rd1 34.Re2 Rgd8?


Black is still better but 34...Bb5! 35.Re3 Rd2, with a powerful rook on the seventh rank, would lead to a really crushing position for black.


With a push-push here and a push-push there of my e- and f-pawns, I was hoping to pull off a swindle, though 35. h5! (i.e. everywhere a push-push!), with a four-pawn storm, would give me better chances to fluke a win from my bad position.

35...R8d2 36.Rxd2 Rxd2 37.f6 gf Bd5 39.Kf5 Rf2+ 40.Ke5 Bxa2 41.f7 Re2+??

41...Kd8! was actually the only winning move for black here.


Now white has a winning position!

42...Rf2+ 43.Nf3 Bxe6 44.f8=Q+ Kd7 45.Qg7+ Kd6 46.Qd4+ Bd5 47.Qxf2 c6 48.Qxa7 Bxf3 49.Kxf3 and black resigned.

Take care of your "Jerome pawns" and they will take care of you. Wonderful, Kevin!

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