Friday, May 26, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Winning Ugly is Still Better Than Losing Ugly (Part 2)

Zombie face vector graphics

perrypawnpusher - IlToscano,, 2017

Adopting a "Come and get me" attitude, I decided to let my opponent do the attacking. After all, he is playing against a refuted opening. Piece of cake, right?

16.h3 Be6 17.b3 Rhf8 18.Bd2 Rae8 19.O-O-O Kd7 20.Rhf1 Kc8

So, who is the Jerome Gambit "expert"? Black has developed all his pieces and has even castled-by-hand on the Queenside. He clearly is better.

It was hard for me to be patient (keep the psychological onus on my opponent) and keep the position as closed up as possible. With his next move, my opponent indicated he wanted to move on the Kingside.

21.Kc2 Nh5 22.Ng5

Starting my own incursion. Plus, I had been reading James Schuyler's Your Opponent Is Overrated, and he had been writing about the "superfluous piece" - and I decided that my Rook on d1 fit that category, so I thought a Rook exchange would help a bit.

22...Rxf1 23.Rxf1 Bg8 

So, the "extra" White Rook has "disappeared" from d1, and Black only has one developed Rook, instead of two. Actually, I'm not sure how much that matters - and see my 26th move.

24.c4 h6 25.Nf3 Ng3 26.Rd1

Black's Knight goes back to its old post, White's Knight goes back to its old post, and White's Rook goes back to its old post. So, what are we going to do next?

26...g5 27.Bc3 Be3 28.Re1 Bf4 29.Bd2 Bxd2 30.Kxd2 c6 

I couldn't figure out what to do with my dark-squared Bishop, and it seemed less effective on the a1-h8 diagonal than Black's Bishop on the c1-h6 diagonal, so I wound up trading them off. At least Black's remaining Bishop is limited by my pawn wall.

31.a3 Kd7 32.b4 a6 33.a4 Kc7 34.a5 Nh5 

Oh, bother, not again.


Either the Kingside will get closed up again, or a few pawns will get exchanged. Despite my earlier decisions, I took some comfort in the age-old recommendation: When ahead in material, exchange pieces; when behind in material, exchange pawns.

35...g4 36.Nd4 Nf4 37.Rf1 Nxg2 38.Rg1 Nf4 39.Rxg4 Ne6 40.Nf5 h5 

The Kingside is closed up again. If anything, it is more open to White's pieces infiltrating.

41.Rg6 Kc8 

An oversight. My opponent had taken several "vacations" from play, and may have come back to the board mixing up variations in his head. Or maybe he figured there wasn't much to the Jerome Gambit, so why sweat it...

42.Nxd6+ Kd7 43.Nxe8 Black resigned

Unfortunate in a couple of ways. Black had played very well up until his 41st move. He also missed a chance (he hardly could have known) to allow me to make a mistake, myself. After 43...Bf7!? I thought I would have to return the exchange, and had planned 44.Rxe6?!+ Kxe6 when White would be a couple of pawns ahead, but the game would still be interesting.

Looking deeper after the game, with the help of Stockfish 8, I know now that 44.Nf6+ Ke7 45.Rh6 would allow White to stay the exchange (plus a couple of pawns) up, but the locked-in position of the Rook had kept me from looking further at that line.

No comments: