Saturday, August 12, 2017

Jerome Gambit:Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

I have a great idea: the next time you have the white pieces against Bill Wall, why not play the Jerome Gambit? I mean, he wins overwhelmingly with it, so wouldn't it give you an advantage? And he hardly could be expecting to opening, right?

What could possibly go wrong?

Guest687197 - Wall, Bill, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.d4 

A popular line: there are 2,219 games with this in The Database.

On the other hand, White scores only 38%, which is poor, even for the Jerome Gambit.

Perhaps the plan is to fool White...


Of course, 5...exd4 is also playable, as in 6.c3 d6 7.cxd4 Bb4+ 8.Bd2 Bxd2+ 9.Nbxd2 Nf6 10.Qb3+ Ke7 11.O-O Rf8 12.Rfe1 Na5 13.Qa3 Nc6 14.d5 Nb8 15.e5 Kf7 16.exf6 Qxf6 17.Ne4 Qf4 18.Rac1 Na6 19.b4 Bg4 20.b5 Nc5 21.Nxc5 dxc5 22.Re4 Qxe4 23.Ng5+ Black resigned, Wall,B - Anonymous,, 2016.


White might have considered 6.c3, e.g. 6...Bb6 (6...Bc5 7.Qd5+ Ke8 8.Qxc5 Qe7 9.Qc4 Nf6 10.O-O d6 11.Be3 Be6 12.Qb5 Qd7 13.Ng5 a6 14.Qxb7 Rb8 15.Qxa6 Ke7 16.Nxe6 Kxe6 17.Qc4+ Ke7 18.a4 Rxb2 19.a5 Ra8 20.a6 Ng4 21.Bg5+ Nf6 22.Nd2 h6 23.Bxf6+ gxf6 24.Nf3 Rb6 25.Nh4 Qe6 26.Nf5+ Kd7 27.Qd3 h5 28.Ne3 Qb3 29.Nd5 Qb5 30.Qh3+ Kd8 31.Qe6 Rbb8 32.Qg8+ Kd7 33.Qf7+ Kd8 34.Qf8+ Kd7 35.Qg7+ Kd8 36.Nxf6 Ne7 37.Qf8+ Qe8 38.Qxe8 checkmate, Wall,B - Guest1366999,, 2011) 7.Qb3+ Kf8 8.Bg5 Qe8 9.O-O Nf6 10.Nbd2 d6 11.a4 Qe6 12.Qc2 h6 13.Bxf6 Qxf6 14.Nc4 Be6 15.Qe2 a6 16.Nxb6 cxb6 17.Rfd1 Rd8 18.Qe3 Bg4 19.Qxb6 Bxf3 20.gxf3 Qxf3 21.Qxb7 Ne7 22.Re1 Nf5 23.Qb6 Qg4+ 24.Kh1 Qf3+ 25.Kg1 Qg4+ 26.Kh1 Qf3+ drawn, Wall,B - Guest2627909,, 2012 

6...exd4 7.O-O Nf6 

8.e5 Nxe5 9.Bg5 

He could also have considered 9.Qxd4.


10.Nd2 d5 11.c4 Nxc4 12.Rc1 Nxb2 White resigned

White could have continued with his idea 13.Qc2 Nc4 14.Nxc4 dxc4 15.Qxc4+ Qd5 16.Qxc5+ Qxc5 17.Rxc5, destroying much of Black's pawn center; but he would still be down a piece and a pawn.

Alas, no chess opening, even the Jerome Gambit, is a guarantee of victory.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Cliff Hardy - Check It Out

Cliff Hardy returns with his latest Jerome Gambit game, featuring issues of Queen, King and Knight safety. The notes are his, with a couple of exceptions.

Hardy, Cliff - NN
3 0 blitz,, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ng6

7.Qd5+ Kf8 8.Qxc5+ 

What other opening allows you to do 5 consecutive checks in the
first 8 moves?  

8...d6 9.Qe3 Nf6 10.O-O Ng4 

Amazing how popular this move is... 

11.Qg3 Qh4 12.Qxh4 Nxh4 13.f4 Ke7? 

13...Ng6 leaves black with a slight advantage. 

(13... Kg8 was played in the only other game with 13.f4 in The Database: Hutyra - zutphie, blitz, FICS, 2008. Although White missed 14.f5, he still went on to win in 55 moves. In the current game, Cliff's opponent seems pleased to have gotten the Queens off of the board - apparently making his King safe - and now plans to activate his Rook - Rick)


Equal, according to Stockfish. I am, naturally, trying to trap the horsey on h4 and win it with g3 or Bg5 at some point.


14...g6! is the only move that maintains equality. 

15.d3 dxe4 16.dxe4 Kd6? 

16...Re8 will provide a discovered attack on white's e-pawn when his king moves, though white still maintains a clear advantage. 

17.Bg5 Nxf5 18.exf5 Re8 19.Nc3 

I'm only up a pawn so I've no idea why Stockfish evaluates this position as winning advantage for white but clearly my opponent must have understood as he now resigned!

(If Stockfish could imitate Al Capone, it would say to your opponent "You got nothing!" Black's King's exposure and his Knight's uneasy placement suggest that White's lead in development will soon lead to the win of another pawn on the Kingside. That's a lot to face - with your clock ticking. Good solid chess, Cliff! - Rick )

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Good Moves Are Not Enough

The following game presents a life lesson well worth learning - in fact, it is probably one of the reasons that some chess players stick with the Jerome Gambit. It is simply this: things don't often go the way they "should" go, and being able to deal with that is incredibly important.

Black, below, receives the "gift" of the Jerome Gambit - a "won" game in 4 moves. He follows this up by playing an unpopular, but strong - by objective analysis, by practical experience - move that solidifies his advantage.

He winds up resigning 20 moves later.   

Wall, Bill - Guest649850, 2017

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Nc6

A simple, but strong, move, saving one of the two attacked pieces.

Surprisingly enough, there are fewer than 10 examples in The Database, and White scores only 22%.

Somewhat relevant, however, is that both wins are by Bill Wall.

7.Qh5+ Kf8

Or 7...g6 8.Qxc5 d6 9.Qc4+ Kf8 10.O-O Qe7 11.Nc3 Be6 12.d5 Ne5 13.Qd4 Bd7 14.f4 Nf7 15.Be3 Ke8 16.e5 dxe5 17.fxe5 Qxe5 18.Qd2 Kd8 19.Rxf7 Nf6 20.Rxf6 Qxf6 21.Bg5 Black resigned, Wall,B - Lamjung,, 2017.

8.Qxc5+ d6 9.Qc4 Nf6 10.Nc3 Qe7 11.O-O 

Long ago we talked on this blog about the negative "halo effect"
When people notice a good trait in a person, they often assume other positives. With the Jerome Gambit  often a negative "halo effect" occurs – if the early moves are bad, many of the other ones must be bad, too.
So here Black suspects that his opponent has continued to play bad chess, and decides to grab a "free" pawn.

11...Nxe4 12.Re1 Bf5 13.Nxe4 Bxe4 14.f3 

Okay, so the pawn wasn't exactly free, but Black still has a tactical shot that keeps the game even.


Black had the tricky 14...Bd5!?, unpinning his Bishop and attacking the enemy Queen while threatening a back rank checkmate. Very nice! after 15.Rxe7 Bxc4 16.Rxc7 d5 17.Bf4 White probably has enough compensation for his sacrificed piece.

By the way, the cute 14...Bd3 doesn't accomplish the same thing, as White has 15.Qc3, and after 15...Qh4 16.cxd3 Qxd4+ 17.Qxd4 Nxd4 18.Re4 White might even have a slim edge.

15.Qc3 Qb4 16.fxe4 Qxc3 

Black could have grabbed a pawn with 16...Qxd4+ 17.Qxd4 Nxd4, but he seems to have learned his lesson, as 18.Bd2 Nxc2 19.Rf1+ Kg8 20.Rac1 is more than sufficient to keep White's advantage.


17...dxe4 18.Rxe4 Re8 

Often in the Jerome Gambit Black's downfall comes because of an undeveloped Queenside. Here, it looks like the Rook on h8 is the major problem for him.

White has no intention of easing his defensive load by exchanging Rooks.


19...Kf7 20.Rf1+ Kg6 

This looks dangerous, but of course if 20...Kg8 then 21.Rxe8 checkmate.

21.Rg4+ Kh5 22.Rxg7 

Not just the win of a pawn, and a threat to win another, as White still has checkmate on his mind.

22...Re2 23.Bc1 h6 24.Rf5+ Kh4 25.g3+ Kh3 26.Rh5 checkmate

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Human vs Computer Logic

In the following game Bill Wall faces further (see "Jerome Gambit: Creativity Abounds") defensive creativity. Coming up with such an aha! move often feels like it must be the right reply. Once again, however, it creates an interesting position, but not quite enough to refute the attack.

I found it interesting to see what Stockfish 8 had to say about several lines of play. It is interesting to follow the inhuman logic.

It is also interesting to follow the scintillating human play.

Wall, Bill - Guest3235842, 2017

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bxd4 7.Qxd4 

7...Qf6 8.Qc5 Nf3+

This move - returning the sacrificed piece for a pawn, equalizing material - is a novelty according to The Database.

Of course, had White's Queen remained unprotected on the d4 square, Black's move would have been winning (like 4...Kxf7). Stronger was 8...Nc6 (or 8...d6).

9.gxf3 Qxf3 


The position is tricky, if somewhat in White's favor. Stockfish 8  recommends the following line, where White gets sufficient compensation for a sacrificed pawn, but best play seems to drain a lot out of the position:  10.Rg1 Qxe4+ 11.Be3 Nf6 12.Nd2 Qd5 13.Qxc7 Re8 14.O-O-O Qe5 15.Qxe5 Rxe5 16.Bd4 Rd5 17.Bxf6 gxf6 18.Nc4 Rxd1+ 19.Rxd1 d5 20.Nd6+ Ke7 21.Nxc8+ Rxc8 22.Rxd5 Rc7 23.Rh5 Ke6 24.Kd2 b6 25.Kd3 Rd7+

analysis diagram


Again, the silicon advice tends toward the drawish: 10...d5 11.Qxc7+ Ne7 12.Rg1 Re8 13.Nc3 Bg4 14.Qf4+ Qxf4 15.Bxf4 Bf3 16.Nb5 Nf5 17.e5 Rac8 18.Rg5 Ke6 19.Bg3 Rf8 20.c3 h6 21.Rxf5 Kxf5 22.Nd6+ Ke6 23.Nxc8 Rxc8 24.Kd2 g5 25.Ke3 Rf8 26.h4 

analysis diagram

The computer logic would appear to be impeccable - shouldn't somone who wildly sacrifices two pieces be happy with a draw; shouldn't someone surprised by a bizarre, manic attack be happy splitting the point - but it all seems somewhat beside the point.

11.Rg1 Qf6

So there! smirks Stockfish 8, Black would have been less worse off with the messy 11...d5 12.Qxc7 Bg4 13.Nc3 Nf6 14.Bg5 Rf8 15.Qe5+ Kd7 16.Bf4 Rf7 17.Rd1 Re7 18.Rxd5+ Ke8 19.Rd3 Rxe5 20.Rxf3 Bxf3 21.Bxe5 Nxe4. At least that play looks more human-like. 

analysis diagram

12.Qxc7 Ne7 13.Nc3 Rf8

This looks scary, but White's King can escape the heat.

Black's King only thinks it can.

14.Be3 Kf7 15.O-O-O Kg8 

Now White shows, with a simple but crushing move, that he has a winning attack.

16.Bd4 Qf7

Protecting the King, instead, with 16...Qh6+ 17.Kb1 g6 was necessary, but the attack can proceed along the diagonals as well: 18.Qc4+ Rf7 19.Nd5!? Nxd5 20.Qxd5 d6 21.Qxd6 Bh3 22.Qe5 Rg7 23.Rg3 Bd7 24.Qxg7+ Qxg7 25.Bxg7 Bc6 26.Bf6 Bxe4 and White is a Rook up.

Now checkmate is forced.

17.Rxg7+ Qxg7 18.Bxg7 Kxg7 19.Qe5+ Kf7

20.Nd5 Nxd5 21.exd5 Re8 22.Qf5+ Ke7 23.d6+ Kd8 24.Qf6+ Re7 25.Qxe7 checkmate