Sunday, July 9, 2017

The 34th Piece

I recently referred to the chess clock as "the 33rd piece" (see "Strangest Beast") because it sometimes has a profound effect on the outcome of a game - sometimes as much as a Queen or more.

In the following game I have reason to suspect "the 34th piece" - the computer mouse, inputting moves in an online game. Its effect on my opponent's 16th move - if it was a mouse-slip - is rather off-putting and unfortunate.

Once again, the truism: In the Jerome Gambit, Black wins by force, White wins by farce. (Well, in my games, anyhow.)

perrypawnpusher - aksakal
blitz 5 7, FICS, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Bc5 5.Bxf7+ Kxf7

The Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit. I have 59 games with it in The Database, scoring 74%.


After the game I was interested to discover in The Database the game olivercsc - aksakal, FICS, 2015, in which Black outplayed his opponent, but was done in by his clock: 6.O-O h6 7.d3 d6 8.h3 Rf8 9.Bxh6 gxh6 10.Nd5 Nxd5 11.exd5 Nd4 12.a3 a5 13.Nd2 Qg5 14.Ne4 Qg6 15.Ng3 Kg8 16.Qh5 Qxh5 17.Nxh5 Nxc2 18.Rac1 Nd4 19.Kh1 Ne2 20.Rce1 Nf4 21.Ng3 Bd7 22.Ne4 Nxd3 23.Rd1 Nxf2+ 24.Nxf2 Rxf2 25.Rxf2 Bxf2 26.Rd3 Rf8 27.b4 Bg3 28.Rxg3+ Kh7 29.bxa5 e4 30.Kh2 Ba4 31.Re3 Bc2 32.Rc3 Bd3 33.Rxc7+ Kg6 34.Rxb7 e3 35.Rb6 e2 36.Rxd6+ Kg5 37.h4+ Kg4 38.Re6 Black forfeited on time.

My Jerome Gambit probably did not worry my opponent a bit.

6...Nxe5 7.d4 Ng6

A novelty. The Knight sometimes goes to g6 in other lines of the Jerome Gambit.

Here, best is 7...Bd6. Interestingly enough I have only faced that
move twice, and am 1-1.

That lack of "best" play reinforces Bill Wall's understanding of the opening's "playability" in casual, online, and fast games - the Jerome Gambit's "refuted" nature is often counter-balanced by the defender's lack of concrete knowledge about those refutations.  

8.dxc5 Re8 9.Bg5 h6 10.Bxf6 Qxf6 11.O-O Kg8 

Black has castled-by-hand and has his Rook on an open file.

12.f4 d6 13.cxd6 Qxd6 14.Qxd6 cxd6 15.Rad1 Be6

My opponent took some time deciding on the offer to exchange Queens. I agreed to the swap, immediately - which caused him to take some more time figuring out what I was up to.

I admit to being under the influence of the recent Philidor1792 bullet games posted on this blog. If our clocks were going to run down (his faster than mine, so far) I was going to be comfortable with a simpler position.


An immediate example of "simpler". I suspect that my opponent expected me to play the fork 16.f5, although 16...Bc4 17.fxg6 Bxf1 18.Rxf1 Re6 was probably even, as White would wind up with one or two pawns for the exchange. 


It is hard to read this as anything other than a mouse-slip.

What to do about the threatened pawn fork? Black could keep busy with 16...Rad8 17.Rxd8 Rxd8 and then 18.f5 could again be answered by 18...Bc4 19.Rd1 (I prefer this to 19.fxg6) Rxd1+ 20.Nxd1 Ne5 and White will move his King to the center, counting on that - and his 3 pawns for the piece - to fight against Black's edge (especially with the time clock advantage).

17.fxe5 Black resigned

An unfortunate end to an interesting encounter.

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