Saturday, August 26, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Beware the Calm After the Storm

The following game starts out with the wild Jerome Gambit, which is met by one of the wildest defenses available.

White does not deliver checkmate.

Black does not deliver checkmate.

The game becomes balanced and calm.

Then White checkmates.

Wall, Bill - Guest699499
PlayChess.com, 2017 

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 



4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Qh4 



This is Black's sharpest response to 6.d4. I have often called it a "pie-in-the-face variation".

7.O-O Ng4 8.h3 Bb6

Probably Black's best move. Bill has faced

8...N8f6 9.dxc5 Nxe4 10.Qd5+ Kf6 11.Qxe4 d5 12.cxd6 cxd6 13.f3 h5 14.fxg4+ Black resigned, Wall,B - PassCapture, lichess.org, 2016;

8...Bd6 9.e5 Nxe5 10.dxe5 Bxe5 11.Qd5+ Kf6 12.Re1 d6 13.Rxe5 dxe5 14.Qd8+ Ne7 15.Qxh8 (15...Qe4 16.Qf8+ Ke6 17.Bg5 Qb4 18.Qxg7 Bd7 19.Qf6+ Kd5 20.Nc3+ Kc4 21.b3+ Kxc3 22.Qxe5+ Qd4 23.Bd2+ Kxd2 24.Qxd4+ Kxc2 25.Rd1 Black resigned,Wall,B - Anonymous, lichess.org, 2016) Kf7 16.Nd2 Ng6 17.Nf3 Qxf2+ 18.Kxf2 Nxh8 19.Nxe5+ Kf6 20.Nf3 Bf5 21.Be3 Ng6 22.g4 Be4 23.Bd4+ Ke6 24.Re1 Rf8 25.Rxe4+ Kd5 26.Ke3 c5 27.Bxg7 Rf7 28.c4+ Kd6 29.Be5+ Nxe5 30.Nxe5 Rf1 31.Nd3 Rh1 32.Nf4 Rh2 33.Re6+ Kc7 34.Re7+ Kb6 35.Rxh7 Rxb2 36.g5 Rxa2 37.g6 Black resigned, Wall,B - NN, lichess.org, 2016;

and 8...d6 9.dxc5 N4f6 10.cxd6 cxd6 11.Nd2 Nxe4 12.Nf3 Qh5 13.Ng5+ Qxg5 14.Bxg5 Nxg5 15.Qh5+ Kf6 16.f4 Ne4 17.Qe8 d5 18.Qe5+ Kf7 19.Qxd5+ Black resigned, Wall,B - NN, lichess.org, 2016.

9.hxg4 Nf6 

Black is not too upset at having lost his Knight, as he plans to move the other one into the attack.

Two other ideas:

9...h5 10.Qf3+ Ke8 11.g5 Bxd4 12.Qd3 Bb6 13.Nc3 Ne7 14.Na4 Ba5 15.a3 c6 16.f4 d6 17.Be3 Bc7 18.Bd4 b5 19.Nc3 Rf8 20.Ne2 Bg4 21.Nc3 Bd7 22.Ne2 Rf7 23.Rf3 c5 24.Bf2 Qg4 25.Rg3 Qe6 26.Re1 Ba5 27.b4 cxb4 28.axb4 Bxb4 29.c3 Bc5 30.Bxc5 dxc5 31.f5 Qe5 32.Qd2 b4 33.cxb4 Qxe4 34.g6 Rxf5 35.Re3 Qxb4 36.Qxb4 cxb4 37.Ng3 Rg5 38.Rxe7+ Kf8 39.Rf7+ Kg8 40.Nxh5 Rxh5 41.Rxd7 drawn, Wall,B - NN, lichess.org,  2016; and

9...d6 10.f3 Be6 11.Be3 Bc4 12.Re1 Ne7 13.f4 Rhe8 14.Nd2 Ba6 15.Nf3 Qg3 16.a4 Ba5 17.c3 Kf8 18.b4 Ng6 19.f5 Nf4 20.Bxf4 Qxf4 21.Qc2 c5 22.bxa5 Qxg4 23.Rad1 cxd4 24.Rxd4 Qg3 25.Qb3 Qf4 26.Qb1 Qg3 27.e5 g6 28.Rxd6 Re7 29.f6 Ree8 30.Qb4 Bb5 31.Rd8+ Kf7 32.e6+ Kxf6 33.Qd4+ Black resigned, Wall,B - Rajiv, Chess.com, 2010

10.g5 Ng4 11.Qf3+ Ke8 12.Qh3 Qxh3 



Leading to a situation similar to what we recently saw in Wall, Bill - Guest709079, PlayChess.com, 2017 (1-0, 30) - Queens are exchanged, and Black's Knight is trapped. Quirky.

13.gxh3 Nxf2 14.Kxf2 Bxd4+ 15.Kg2 d6 



The game has reached a balance. Should either player be pleased with this? Black started out after a few moves with a "won" position, so he may not be happy. White threw a whole lot into a wild attack, so he may wish for more than a split point.

16.c3 Be5 17.Nd2 Bd7 18.Nf3 Bc6 19.Bd2 Bxe4 20.Rae1 Bc6 21.Bf4 Rf8 22.Bxe5 dxe5 23.Rxe5+ Kf7 



24.Kg3 Kg8 25.c4

Stockfish 8 slightly prefers 25.Rf2, keeping the game level. The Rook eventually gets there.

25...Rad8 26.Re3 Rf5 27.h4 Rdf8 28.Rf2 Rf4 29.b3 Bd7 



30.Rfe2 Rg4+ 31.Kh2 Bc6 32.Ne5 



Looking to squeeze something more out of the position.

32...Rxh4+ 33.Kg3 Rff4 34.Rd2 Re4 



Looking to swap Rooks, and enjoy a guaranteed draw, while hoping to make something out of his extra Kingside pawn?

Black has overlooked something.

35.Rd8+ Black resigned

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Jerome Gambit: What's He Got?

If there is anything to the Jerome Gambit - and that can be seriously debated either way - then Black needs to quickly decide if he will a) return material that is "rightfully" White's to claim or b) hang on to his bounty and wait for White to "prove" the validity of his gambit. Of course, giving Black reason to debate to himself, "a) or b), a) or b), a) or b)?" complicates the defender's task, and sometimes even burden's his clock.

For example, in the following game, what is White up to with his Queen check at move 8?

What follows is quite a battle, and Black has his chances - as is always the case in the Jerome - but, in the end, White prevails. 

Wall, Bill -Guest3467690
PlayChess.com, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 



4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bxd4 7.Qxd4 d6 8.Qd5+


Here, Black has to decide, is his b-pawn part of the fair and logical compensation for White's sacrificed piece? If it is, then Black is going to have to let the pawn go. If it isn't, then Black has no reason to allow his opponent to grab it - he should either duck the 8...Be6 9.Qxb7 line, or realize that the pawn is poisoned and prepare a refutation.     

8...Ke8 

He ducks. Not every one of Bill's opponents has done so, although it is unclear how much time the decision cost them:

8...Be6 9.Qxb7 Nf6 10.Nc3 (10.Nd2 a5 11.f4 Nc4 12.Nf3 Re8 13.O-O Nb6 14.Bd2 Bc4 15.Be3 Rb8 16.Qa7 Bxf1 17.Rxf1 Kg8 18.e5 Nfd5 19.Bd4 Qc8 20.Qxa5 c5 21.Bf2 Nc4 22.Qe1 Nxf4 23.Be3 Nxe5 24.Nxe5 dxe5 25.Bxf4 exf4 26.Qc3 Qe6 White resigned, Wall,B - Guest774156, PlayChess.com, 2016; 10.f4 Ned7 11.Nc3 Rf8 12.O-O Kg8 13.b3 Nh5 14.Be3 Nc5 15.Bxc5 dxc5 16.Rad1 Qe7 17.Nd5 Bxd5 18.Qxd5+ Kh8 19.Qxh5 Qxe4 20.Qxc5 h6 21.Rde1 Qg6 22.Qxc7 Rac8 23.Qxa7 Rxc2 24.Rf2 Rcc8 25.g3 h5 26.Re7 Rg8 27.f5 Qg5 28.f6 Rc1+ 29.Kg2 Qd5+ 30.Kh3 Rc2 31.Rxg7 Qe6+ 32.Kh4 Qe4+ 33.Rf4 Rxh2+ 34.Kg5 Qe5+ 35.Kh6 Rxg7 36.Qxg7 checkmate, Wall,B - Javier, lichess.org, 2016) 10...Re8 11.O-O Kg8 12.b3 Bc8 13.Qxa8 Black resigned, Wall,B - Guest3335651, PlayChess.com, 2017

By the way, there are other ways to "duck" the return of a pawn,  about equal to the text move, and Bill has met a couple:

8...Ke7 9.Bg5+ Nf6 10.f4 Nc6 11.Nc3 Be6 12.Qd3 Re8 13.O-O Kf7 14.f5 Bd7 15.Nd5 Ne5 16.Qb3 Kf8 17.Rad1 Bc6 18.Nxf6 gxf6 19.Bh6+ Ke7 20.Qe6 checkmate, Wall,B - NN, lichess.org, 2016; and

8...Kf8 9.O-O Nf6 10.Qd4 Nc6 11.Qd3 Qe7 12.Nc3 h6 13.Bf4 g5 14.Be3 Kg7 15.f4 Ng4 16.Nd5 Qd8 17.Bd4+ Kh7 18.e5+ Kg8 19.Qg6+ Kf8 20.fxg5+ Black resigned, Wall,B - Guest344942, PlayChess.com, 2013 

9.Nc3 

Or 9.O-O Nf6 10.Qb3 Qd7 11.Nc3 Qe6 12.Qb5+ Ned7 13.Be3 a6 14.Qa4 Kf7 15.Rad1 Re8 16.Rfe1 Kg8 17.f4 b5 18.Nxb5 axb5 19.Qxa8 Qxe4 20.Qxe4 Rxe4 21.Rd4 Rxd4 22.Bxd4 Kf7 23.a4 bxa4 24.Ra1 Nd5 25.Rxa4 c5 26.Bf2 Ke7 27.Bh4+ Ke6 28.g4 g6 29.Kf2 Nb4 30.Ra8 Nb6 31.Rb8 N4d5 32.Bd8 Kd7 33.Bxb6 Nxf4 34.Kf3 Nd5 35.Ba5 Ne7 36.Rb3 Kc6 37.Bd8 Nd5 38.c4 Nb4 39.Ba5 Nc2 40.Kf4 Nd4 41.Rb8 Black resigned, Wall,B - Tankins, Playchess.com, 2016

9...Nf6 10.Qb3

I am always amazed at how Bill's Queen wanders.

This is another occasion for Black to get lost in thought: Is White's placement good or bad? Can I take advantage of it? How?  

10...c6 11.f4 Nh5 

Black decides: it is time for action on the unprotected Kingside.

12.O-O

Bill decides to stay away from the wild line: 12.fxe5 Qh4+ 13.g3 Nxg3!? 14.Bg5!? Qxg5 15.hxg3  Qxg3+ 15.Kd2 Qf4+ 16.Kd3 Qxe5 when Black would have the better game (two extra pawns, safer King).

Can his pawns protect his King until the Queen returns?

12...Ng4 13.h3 Ngf6 14.e5 



Wow. Stockfish 8 is not impressed with Black's counter attack, recommending now 14...Qb6+, followed by 15.Rf2 Qxb3 16.axb3 Kf7 17.exf6 Nxf6 with an even game. The issue: Black's Knights are tripping over each other.

14...Nd7 15.Be3 d5 16.g4 



Logical and thematic. Stockfish 8 suggests, instead, either 16.Rad1 or 16.f5 and gives lines that devolve into even positions. Bill wants to push things a bit.

16...Ng3 17.Rf3 Ne4 18.Nxe4 dxe4 19.Rf2 Qh4 



20.Kh2 Nb6 

Although White has chased off from the Kingside Black's Knights, the danger there has not evaporated, as this move, which threatens ...Bxg4, shows. 

21.e6 Nd5 

Blocking White's protection of the pawn on e6, which in turn was impeding Black's Bishop. Probably better was the paradoxical withdrawal of the Queen with 21...Qf6, followed, after  22.f5 by 22...h5!? when the inclusion of the Rook in the attack on White's King would begin to look scary. 

22.f5 Nxe3 23.Qxe3 

23...Ke7 

Blockading the enemy pawn.

Black does not realize that all of White's "Jerome pawns" will come into play now. Stockfish 8 recommends play that gives drawing chances (it is surprising how often this happens): 23...Rf8 24.Rf4 h5 25.Rd1 hxg4 26.Rxg4 Qh5 27.Qd4 Bxe6 28.fxe6 Qd5 29.Rxe4 Qxd4 30.Rexd4 Ke7 31.Rd7+ Kxe6 32.R1d6+ Ke5 33.Rd2 b6 34.Rxg7 c5 35.Re7+ Kf6 36.Re3 Rf7 37.h4 Kg7 38.Rg2+ Kh6 39.Kh3.

24.g5 Rf8 25.Rg1 Bxe6 26.Rf4 Qh5 27.Qxe4 g6 



Black returns the extra piece in a most unfortunate way - by allowing checkmate.

28.Qxe6+ Kd8 29.Qd6+ Kc8 30.Qxf8+ Kc7 31.Qe7+ Kb6 32.Rb4+ Ka6 33.Qxb7+ Ka5 34.Ra4+ Kxa4 35.Qxc6+ Ka5 36.b4+ Kxb4 37.Rb1+ Ka3 38.Qa6 checkmate





Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Drawing Conclusions

How do you get a draw with the Jerome Gambit?

How do you get a draw against the Jerome Gambit?

Are they the same question?

When I submitted the following game to Stockfish 8 for a "blunder check" analysis (set for two minutes a move) it came back with no suggestions - after the Jerome Gambit setup - until move 22! 

Wall, Bill - Guest640699
PlayChess.com, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 



4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bxd4 7.Qxd4 d6 8.a3 



White has a pawn for his sacrificed piece and he plays - this? (It is a novelty, according to The Database.)

This is another example of the psychological strategies Bill Wall will inject into his Jerome Gambit games. He will eventually have 2 pawns for the piece, then 3 pawns, then 4 pawns - each weighing against Black's sense that, somehow, he must be winning (but how?).

8...Nf6 9.Nc3 Be6 10.f4 Nc6 11.Qd3 Re8 12.O-O Kg8 



Black has castled-by-hand and developed his minor pieces.

I wonder what would have happened had he offered a draw right now?

13.Bd2 Qd7 14.Rae1 Re7 15.b3 Rae8 



Black is prepared for a break on the e-file, so White moves his attentions over to the Kingside.

16.f5 Bf7 17.Bg5 Kh8 18.Qh3 Ne5 19.Bxf6 gxf6 20.Qh6 Bg8 21.Qxf6+ Rg7 

22.Qh6 Qf7 

Now was the time to counter White's wing attack with a hit in the center  - 22...d5.

The text still leaves Black better, but his advantage is slipping.

23.Rf4 Rf8  24.Nd5 c6 



Stockfish 8 prefers 24...Rg4 25.Rxg4 Nxg4 26.Qg5 Qg7 27.Qxg7+ Kxg7 28.Nxc7 Rc8 29.Nb5 Rxc2 30.Nxd6 Bxb3 31.Nxb7 Ba4 32.h3 Ne5 33.Rd1 Bc6 34.Na5 Ba8 35.Rd6 Kf7 36.Re6 Nd3 37.Rh6 Bxe4 38.Rxh7+ Kf6 39.Rxa7 Rxg2+ and sees Black still as better, but after all those exchanges (and with White having 3 pawns for the piece) it looks rather drawish to me.

25.Qxd6 cxd5 26.Qxe5 dxe4 27.Rexe4 h6 28.f6 Rg6
29.Re2 Qd5 

30.Qc3 

White has 3 pawns for the piece now, and with pawn majorities on both sides of the board and the annoying pawn at f6, he is not ready to exchange Queens.

30...Kh7 31.Qc7+ Bf7 32. Ref2 Re8 33. h3 Re1+ 34. Kh2 Rf1 



Black's pressure on g2 is a danger White must constantly monitor. Black's move here is creative, and he has another one coming up, but White will not be fooled. 

35.c4 Rxf2

Nice. If White now takes Black's Queen, he will be checkmated.

36.Rxf2 Qe6 37.Qxb7 Rxf6 38.Rxf6 Qe5+ 39.Kg1 Qxf6 



It looks like both players are at risk of a draw at this point.

40.Qxa7 Qa1+ 41.Kh2 Qe5+ 42.Kg1 Qa1+ 43.Kh2 Qe5+ drawn



Sunday, August 20, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Tactic Fatigue

Jerome Gambit games are often about tactics. Sometimes White develops an attack and tactics help bring him the point. Sometimes Black defends well, and White must look for the tactical chance to pull even, or take the advantage.

All that calculation can lead to tactic fatigue and miscalculation, as in the following game.

Wall, Bill - Guest3211185
PlayChess.com, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 




4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bxd4 7.Qxd4 d6 



A standard position for the variation. One plan for White is to develop his pieces, advance his f- and e-pawns, and take aim at the enemy King who is sitting on a half-open file.

8.O-O Nf6 9.Nc3 

9.f3 a more conservative setup, was seen in Wall,B - Guest903719, PlayChess.com, 2013 (1-0,47). 

9...Re8 

This move seems more dynamic than 9...c6, as seein in Wall,B - Guest708676, PlayChess.com, 2016(1-0, 32).

10.f4 

Bill has played 10.Bg5, instead, in a number of past games - Wall,B - Foman, Chess.com, 2010 (1-0, 22); Wall,B - Guest4809124, PlayChess.com, 2013 (0-1, 41); Wall,B - Guest5111265, PlayChess.com, 2014 (1-0, 47) ; Wall,B - Guest1561957, PlayChess.com, 2014 (1-0,25); Wall,B - U80, PlayChess.com, 2016 (1-0, 29);  Wall,B - Smith,J, lichess.org, 2017 (1-0, 20)  - and one recent one:
10...Be6 11.f4 Nc6 12.Qd3 Kg8 13.a3 h6 14.Bh4 Qd7 15.Bxf6 gxf6 16.Rae1 Qf7 17.Rf3 Kh7 18.Rfe3 f5 19.Qe2 Rg8 20.g3 Rg7 21.Qd3 Rf8 22.Kh1 fxe4 23.Nxe4 Bf5 24.c4 Qh5 25.Qd5 Qg6 26.Nf2 Bd7 27.Qe4 Bf5 28.Qd5 Be6 29.Rxe6 Black resigned, Wall,B -Vertufizen, lichess.org, 2017. 

10...Nc6 11.Qc4+ 

Or 11.Qd3 as in Wall,B - Ferreira,J, lichess.org, 2016. 

11...Be6 12.Qd3 Kg8 

Castling-by-hand, frequently a good defensive strategy for Black.

13.b3 Nb4 

14.Qd2 d5 

Possibly Black was looking toward 15.exd5 Bf5, doubly attacking c2. White's response doesn't rule out the Bishop move, but it makes it more complicated.

15.e5 Ng4 

Moving the Knight away from the attack. Messy would have been 15...Bf5 16.exf6 Nxc2 17.g4 Nxa1 18.gxf5 Qxf6 19.Bb2 d4 20.Ne2 Nxb3 (desperado) 21.axb3 c5 although Black, with a Rook and 2 pawns (one passed and protected) for 2 pieces, would still have the advantage.

Black's "hovering" Knights can be useful for attack on either or both wings, but figuring out what exactly to do takes time and brain effort.

16.f5 d4 

Black figures: why not hit the center, too? Things are getting pretty complicated, and the better calculator will prevail.

17.Nb5 Bf7 

With two pieces hanging, Black's best move was to ignore them and play 17...Ne3!? To make that work, after White wins two (three?) pieces for a Rook with 18.Qxb4 Nxf1 19.fxe6 it was necessary to find 19...Qh4!? when White will discover (one way or the other) that the Black Knight cannot be taken due to checkmate.

White can defend with 20.h3, but after 20...Qg3 the Knight is still off limits. He does best with the piece swap 21.Bf4 Qxf4 22.Rxf1 (there!) When 22...Qe3+ 23.Kh1 Qe2!? will net the c-pawn for Black. Then White's counter-grab, 24.Nxd4 will be met with 24...c5!? 25.Nxc2 (forced) cxb4 will leave Black the exchange ahead, and White's center pawns (one will fall) are not adequate compensation.

All this makes my head hurt. 

18.Qxb4 Rxe5 19.Qxd4 Qxd4+ 20.Nxd4 Rd8 



Black and White have made their way through the excitement, and the position is about equal, with Black's piece activity blancing White's extra pawn.

21.Bb2 Red5 22.Rf4 Ne3 23.Re1 Rxd4



After all that brain work, this miscalculation is unfortunate. 

24.Rxd4 Rxd4 25.Bxd4 Nxc2 26.Re4 Black resigned



Black is only down the exchange, but White's Rook will win at least one pawn. The defender will get ground down.