Saturday, July 15, 2017

Jerome Gambit: BossGambler Video

Recently posted online was a video of a 5 0 game between the YouTube personality BossGambler and the Radio Shack 1850 chess computer. It is fun to watch.

The game is also presented below.

BossGambler - Radio Shack 1850
5 0 blitz, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bb4+ 7.c3 Bd6 

8.dxe5 Bxe5 9.Qh5+ Ke6 10.Qf5+ Kd6 11.f4 Qh4+

12.g3 Qf6 13.fxe5+ Qxe5 

14.Bf4 Qxf4 15.gxf4 Kc6 16.Qd5+ Kb6 17.Na3 c5 18.Qd6+ Ka5 19.Qxc5+ b5 20.Qxb5 checkmate

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Jerome Gambit: First There Is The Confusion Factor

I am reading IM Sam Collins' Gambit Busters* (Everyman Chess, 2010) with a know-your-enemy focus, and enjoyed the following, from the chapter "Escaping the Defensive Mindset"
It is well known that club players, typically, go to pieces when confronted by a gambit. Of course, for every player there are some gambit lines which they know, and perhaps their theoretical knowledge will suffice to get them to a safe position. But this won't be the case when they are confronted by an established gambit they don't know, an unusual or forgotten gambit, or where their opponent deviates from theory. 
To my mind, gambits are the situations where there is the single biggest gap between passively looking at a position at home, and facing something over the board. Skimming over an opening variation with a cup of tea, maybe Rybka muttering in the background, it all looks so straightforward - an "=" symbol (or something even more favourable), a bunch of crisp responses demonstrating the intellectual failure of our opponent's adventure. 
But at the board, things are rather different. First, there is the confusion factor...

Yes, indeed. At the level of play that the Jerome Gambit is exhibited, it is often "unusual" or "forgotten" enough to lead to success. Certainly it can lead to "confusion".

"Knowing" that the opening is refuted, looked askance at by "the book" and hooted at by computers, it must be infuriating (or embarassing) for the defender to be struggling against such a monstrosity.

I am remined of the story about chess great Aaron Nimzovich climbing on a table and bemoaning "Why must I lose to this idiot?" More recently, Bill Wall shared the scolding he received from his opponent after having the audacity to play - and win with - the Jerome Gambit. The opening is garbage, it would never work against a grandmaster, the world champion would never play such a thing...

Ah, yes. In my pre-Jerome Gambit days I would repeatedly defeat a friend who always protested "But I was winning!" I would reassure him that, yes, he was winning, right up to the point where I checkmated him.

(*I am enjoying Collins' work, and I appreciate the classic games that he chooses to illustrate his points. I was surprised, however, in the mentioned chapter, that after all that he wrote of the tribulations of "club players" he chose a game between super-Grandmasters Anand and Shirov to drive the point home.)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Is Weirdness the 35th Piece or the 65th Square?

In a humorous vein I have referred to the chess clock as the "33rd piece" and the computer mouse (for online games) as the "34th piece", as each can have a profound effect on the outcome of a chess game - especially a game featuring the unorthodox Jerome Gambit.

In the following battle Black takes the sacrificed material, exchanges pieces, enters a winning endgame and... and... and...
and apparently runs out of time (or ideas?) and forces a draw through the repetition of moves.


Which is kind of normal for the Jerome Gambit.

Wall, Bill - Kar, Bob, 2017

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

4...Kxf7 5.O-O h6

Interesting. Bill opts for a "modern" (non 5.Nxe5+) Jerome Gambit variation by castling. In return, his opponent transposes the game to a Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 h6 4.0-0 Bc5 5.Bxf7+ Kxf7).

It is funny to note that now Stockfish 8 recommends Bill's following, "classical" Jerome Gambit move.

6.Nxe5+ Nxe5 7.d4

Bill has also played the equally-strong 7.Qh5+:  7...Ke6 (7...Ng6 8.Qd5+ Ke8 9.Qxc5 d6 10.Qc4 Ne5 11.Qb3 Qe7 12.d4 Nc6 13.d5 Nd4 14.Qa4+ Bd7 15.Qxd4 Qe5 16.Qxe5+ dxe5 17.f4 exf4 18.Bxf4 c6 19.c4 Nf6 20.e5 Nh5 21.e6 Nxf4 22.exd7+ Kxd7 23.Rxf4 Black resigned, Wall,B - Castro,S,, 2010) 8.Qf5+ Kd6 9.d4 Bxd4 10.Rd1 Ke7 11.Rxd4 d6 12.Qf4 Nf6 13.Nc3 Qf8 14.b3 Be6 15.Nb5 Kd7 16.Qxe5 Ng4 17.Qg3 Qf6 18.Bb2 Rhf8 19.Rxd6+ cxd6 20.Bxf6 Rxf6 21.Qxd6+ Black resigned, Wall,B - Guest473534, 2011


This direct move makes the most sense, especially in light of Black having spent time on ...h6. Still, Bill has seen other moves:

7...Bd6 8.dxe5 Bxe5 9.Qh5+ Ke6 10.Qf5+ Kd6 11.Rd1+ Kc6 12.Qxe5 Qe7 13.Qd5+ Kb6 14.Be3+ c5 15.Nc3 d6 16.Qxd6+ Qxd6 17.Rxd6+ Kc7 18.Nb5+ Kb8 19.Bf4 Black resigned, Wall,B - Guest7561588,, 2016; and

7...Bb6 8.dxe5 Ne7 9.Nc3 c6 10.Qh5+ Ng6 11.Qf5+ Kg8 12.Qxg6 Qf8 13.Ne2 Qf7 14.Qg3 Kh7 15.b3 Rf8 16.Bb2 Qg6 17.Qd3 a5 18.Ng3 a4 19.Nf5 axb3 20.axb3 Rxa1 21.Bxa1 Rd8 22.Nd6 Bc5 23.Rd1 Rf8 24.Nf5 Qe6 25.h3 g6 26.Nd6 Bxf2+ 27.Kh2 Bc5 28.Nxc8 Rxc8 29.Qxd7+ Qxd7 30.Rxd7+ Kg8 31.Rxb7 Re8 32.Rc7 Re6 33.g4 Be3 34.Kg3 Black resigned, Wall,B - Dad88, Miami, 2014.

8.Qxd4 Qf6

Putting the Queen on an often-useful square, and threatening the very blunt 9...Nf6+. Once again, Bill has faced other continuations:

8...Nc6 9.Qd5+ Kf8 10.Nc3 Nf6 11.Qb3 d6 12.Be3 Qe7 13.f3 Na5 14.Qb5 b6 15.Rfe1 Bd7 16.Qf1 Kf7 17.Nd5 Qd8 18.Rad1 Re8 19.Bf2 c6 20.Nxf6 Qxf6 21.b4 Nb7 22.Qa6 Bc8 23.Bd4 Qe6 24.Bxb6 Nc5 25.Qa3 Nd7 26.Bc7 Qc4 27.Bxd6 Nb6 28.Bc5 Be6 29.f4 Bg4 30.Rd4 Qxc2 31.f5 Nc4 32.Qg3 Ne5 33.Bd6 Bh5 34.Bxe5 Be2 35.Qxg7 checkmate, Wall,B - Anonymous,, 2016;

8...d6 9.f4 Nc6 10.Qd5+ Be6 11.Qd3 Ke7 12.Bd2 Nf6 13.Nc3 Nb4 14.Qg3 Rg8 15.e5 dxe5 16.Rad1 exf4 17.Bxf4 Qc8 18.Bxc7 Nfd5 19.Bd6+ Kd7 20.Bxb4 Qc6 21.Nxd5 Bxd5 22.Rf7+ Kc8 23.Rxd5 Qxd5 24.Qc7 checkmate, Wall,B - Guest2474397,, 2014;

8...Ng6 9.Qc4+ Kf8 10.Nc3 c6 11.Be3 b5 12.Qb4+ N8e7 13.f4 a5 14.Qd6 Kf7 15.f5 Nf8 16.f6 Ne6 17.fxe7+ Black resigned, Wall,B - Merdiyev,F,, 2010; and

8...Qe7 9.f4 Nc6 10.Qd5+ Qe6 11.Qh5+ g6 12.Qf3 d6 13.f5 gxf5 14.exf5 Qf6 15.Nc3 Ne5 16.Qh5+ Kg7 17.Nd5 Qf7 18.Qxf7+ Kxf7 19.Nxc7 Rb8 20.Nb5 Ne7 21.Nxd6+ Kf6 22.Bf4 Bxf5 23.Rae1 N5g6 24.Nxf5 Nxf4 25.Nxe7 Kg5 26.Re5+ Kf6 27.Re4 Rhe8 28.Rfxf4+ Black resigned, Wall,B - Ratebabb,, 2010.


Another way to deal with the threat was 9.Be3 d6 (9...Ne7 10.Nc3 Rf8 11.Nb5 c6 12.Nc7 Rb8 13.f4 Nf3+ 14.Rxf3 Qxd4 15.Bxd4 Kg8 16.Bxa7 Black resigned, Wall,B - Foman, 2010) 10.Nc3 c5 11.Qd1 g5 12.f4 gxf4 13.Rxf4 Black resigned, Wall,B - NN,, 2016.



Letting Black take the first step, but this allows the annoying 10...Bxh3!? 11.Qc3 Bxg2!? 12.Kxg2 Qg6+ 13.Kf1 Qxe4 when Black has returned the sacrificed piece for three pawns, while destroying the pawn cover of the White King.

10...Ne7 11.Nd2 c5 12.Qc3 Rf8 13.Qb3+ Qe6 14.Qxe6+ Bxe6 

With an extra piece (for only a pawn) and better development, Black is clearly on top in this game. However, he still needs to show what he can do with his advantage, and that proves to be a challenge.

15.f4 N5c6 16.f5 Bd7 17.g4

Nothing like a Kingside pawn storm to get the blood pumping. Black decides to castle-by-hand right into it.

17...Kg8 18.h4

18...Rad8 19.Nf3 Bc8 20.c4 Ne5 21.Nxe5 dxe5 22.Rxd8 Rxd8

Exchanging pieces has helped Black by reducing the size of the possible attacking force. The Queenless middle game is looking a lot like an ending, where the extra piece will be of help.

23.Be3 b6 24.a3 Rd3 25.Bf2 Nc6 26.b4 Nd4 27.bxc5 bxc5 28.Rb1 Rb3 29.Rxb3 Nxb3 30.Kg2 Ba6 31.Bg3 Bxc4 32.Bxe5 Bd3

Things are beginning to look scary for White. On the other hand, they have looked scary since the opening, so everything is relative. The Jerome Gambit is not for the nervous; it is for those who can stay continuously aware of opportunities as they present themselves. Nobody ever won a game by resigning, either.

33.Bb8 a5 34.Kf3 c4 35.Ke3 a4 36.Bd6 Kf7 37.g5 hxg5 38.hxg5 g6 

In theory, exchanging pawns should help White. A passed pawn or two wouldn't hurt, either. Any weapon to fight back with.

39.f6 Na1 40.Bc5 Nc2+ 41.Kd2 Na1

This looks like a clock issue.

42.Ke3 Nc2+ 43.Kd2 Na1 Drawn by repetition

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.