Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Inscrutible

With the proliferation of computer engines in the chess world, the notion of a "computer-like" move - not the kind of thing that a person might easily come up with - has become frequent in game discussion or analysis. There are some "computer-like" moves in the following game - but a better word might be "inscrutible".

Wall, Bill - Computer-level 8
Chess.com, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4  d6 

A reasonable move, aiming to develop and allowing its opponent to choose which piece to recapture. White has scored 50% in the couple dozen games in The Database.

7. dxc5 a6 

This is a bit odd, however, and a novelty according to The Database. More frequently seen is the consistent 7...Nf6.

8.cxd6 Nf6 9.O-O Re8 

The pawn on d6 will hang for several more moves.

10.f4 Neg4 11.h3 Nxe4 12.hxg4 Bd7 

The computer continues to go its own way. It has returned the extra piece. White has an edge.

13.f5 Kg8 14.Bf4 cxd6 15.Nc3 Qb6+ 16.Kh2 Bc6 17.Nd5

Bill is willing to mix it up tactically with the computer.

17...Qxb2 18.Nc7 Rab8 

Stockfish 8 suggests, instead, the following well-balanced mess, with White for choice: 18...Nf2 19.Qd2 Nxg4+ 20.Kh1 Nf6 21.Nxa8 Rxa8 22.Rfb1 Qa3 23.Bxd6 Qh3+ 24.Kg1 Qg4 25.Be5 Ne4 26.Qf4 Qxf4 27.Bxf4 Rf8 28.Be3 Rxf5 29.Rb3 Ng3 30.Re1 Rh5 31.Bf4 Rh1+ 32.Kf2 Ne4+ 33.Ke2 Rh5 34.Kd1. I can understand the preference for the text.

19.Nxe8 Rxe8 20.g5 Nc3 

The battle rages. Black's loss of the exchange will be considered either a blunder or a sacrifice depending on how the game turns out. In the meantime, White prefers to move the attention to the Kingside.

21. Qg4 Qxc2 22. f6 Qe2 

Feeling the heat, Black offers the exchange of Queens.

23.Qh3 Nb5 

Stockfish 8 now snarkily points out that White has a checkmate in 28 moves!

The game does not last that long.

24.Rae1 Qxe1 25.Rxe1 Nc7

Very strange. Why not 25...Rxe1?

White now relentlessly closes in on Black's King with computer-like precision.

26.f7+ Kxf7 27.Qf5+ Kg8 28.Bxd6 h5 29.g6 Ne6 30.Rxe6 Rd8 31.Qxh5 Bxg2 32.Qh7 checkmate

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