Friday, January 27, 2017

Your Opponent is Overrated

For my birthday my wife gave me James Schuyler's Your Opponent is Overrated (Everyman Chess, 2016). I appreciate the subtitle: A Practical Guide to Inducing Errors.

I have not gotten into the book, but the text on the back cover is enticing
Which opening does better in practice: the wild, "unsound" and "refuted" Latvian Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5) or the solid Philidor Defence (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6)? As James Schuyler points out, referring to the definative Megabase, the Latvian Gambit scores higher. 
How can such a discredited opening (and the same story is repeated with other "unsound" openings) do so well? the point is that playing like this throws the opponent off balance, makes them anxious and induces mistakes.Even the very best players recognise the value of discomforting the opponent. Historically, Emanuel Lasker was the master of this approach and his modern day equivalent is world champion Magnus Carlsen. Carlsen frequently employs offbeat openings and his opponents invariably fail to counter them correctly. 
This is the key theme of this book. Schuyler covers all phases of the game and discusses other vital subjects such as harassment, meterial imbalance, time management, surprise moves, unusual ideas, provocative play, manoeuvers and recovering from bad positions.
I am pretty sure that the author "overlooks" an opening as "discredited" as the Jerome Gambit, but I think that it is likely that many of his ideas in the book will relate to playing the Jerome! 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Different Route, Same Destination

Once again, White's Queen and the "Jerome pawns" work together to harass Black and his King. Checkmate is probably a relief.

Wall, Bill - Lawliet, Lucas, 2016

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4

6...Bb4+ 7.c3 Bxc3+ 8.Nxc3 

We recently saw 8.bxc3 in Wall, Bill - PassCapture., 2016 (1-0, 22).

8...Nc6 9.O-O

Queenside castling was seen after the direct 9.d5 Ne5 10.f4 Ng6 11.h4 Nxh4 12.Qh5+ g6 13.Qxh4 Qxh4+ 14.Rxh4 Nf6 15.e5 Ne8 16.Be3 c6 17.O-O-O d6 18.e6+ Ke7 19.g4 Nf6 20.f5 gxf5 21.gxf5 cxd5 22.Bg5 a6 23.Nxd5+ Kf8 24.Bxf6 Rg8 25.Rxh7 b5 26.Be7+ Ke8 27.Nf6 checkmate, Wall,B - ChessFlower,, 2012.


Or 9...Qf6 10.e5 Qg6 11.Qf3+ Ke8 12.Nb5 Kd8 13.Qf8+ Qe8 14.Qxe8+ Kxe8 15.Nxc7+ Ke7 16.Nxa8 Nxd4 17.Bg5+ Ke6 18.Nc7+ Kxe5 19.Rae1+ Kd6 20.Bf4+ Kc6 21.Rc1+ Kb6 22.Nd5+ Kb5 23.Rxc8 Ne6 24.a4+ Kxa4 25.Ra1+ Kb3 26.Be5 Black resigned, Wall,B - Caynaboos, FICS, 2011.

10.d5 Ne5 11.f4 Ng6 12.e5 Ne8

13.Qe2 Rf8 14.f5 Ne7 15.Bg5 d6 16.f6 gxf6 17.exf6 Ng8 18.Qh5 checkmate

Monday, January 23, 2017

Play What You Know; Know What You Play

I wonder if White's opponent in the following game expected to catch him by surprise by playing a wild counter gambit? If so, then perhaps he was taken aback by the "Jerome treatment" of the opening. We have seen this kind of thing before. As the notes show, Bill Wall plays what he knows.

Wall, Bill - Takra, 2016 

 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nd4 

The Backburne Shilling Gambit.

4. Bxf7+ 

The Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit.

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Ke8 6.Qh5+ g6

7.Nxg6 hxg6 


7...Nf6 8.Qe5+ Ne6 9.Nxh8 Bg7 10.O-O Qe7 11.f4 Ng4 12.Qh5+ Black resigned, Wall,B - DSLC, FICS, 2013

7...Qf6 8.Nxh8+ Kd8 9.Nf7+ Ke7 10.d3 Nxc2+ 11.Kd1 Qxf2 12.Bg5+ Nf6 13.Nd2 Nxa1 14.e5 Bg7 15.Bxf6+ Bxf6 16.exf6+ Qxf6 17.Re1+ Kf8 18.Ng5 d6 19.Re8+ Black resigned, Wall,B - Sharkia,A., 2010

7...Nxc2+ 8.Kd1 Nf6 (8...Nxa1 9.Nxh8+ Ke7 10.Qe5 checkmate, Wall,B - Apple69,, 2010) 9.Qe5+ Be7 10.Nxe7 Qxe7 11.Qxe7+ Kxe7 12.Kxc2 Nxe4 13.Re1 d5 14.d3 Bf5 15.f3 Black resigned, Wall,B - Schlier,A,, 2010.

8.Qxg6+ Ke7 9.Qg5+ Ke8 

9...Nf6 10.Qc5+ Kf7 (10...d6 11.Qxd4 d5 12.e5 Ne4 13.d3 b6 14.dxe4 c6 15.Bg5+ Black resigned, Wall, Bill - Guest5170841,, 2015) 11.Qxd4 Qe8 12.Nc3 c5 13.Qe3 Qe5 14.h3 Bh6 15.Qf3 Qf4 16.Qe2 d6 17.d4 Qh4 18.Bxh6 Qxh6 19.dxc5 dxc5 20.e5 Nh5 21.Qc4+ Be6 22.Qxc5 Black resigned, Wall,B - NN,, 2016.

10.Qe5+ Be7 

10...Ne6 11.Qxh8 Qg5 12.O-O Nf4 13.g3 d6 (13...Ne2+ 14.Kg2 Nf4+ 15.Kh1 Qg4 16.f3 Black resigned, Wall,B - Creel,A,, 201014.Nc3 Nh6 15.d3 Ne2+ 16.Nxe2 Black resigned, Wall,B - Amoex,, 2013

11.Qxh8 Black resigned