Saturday, November 18, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Caught Up

I got a good chuckle out of the following 3 0 blitz game, also by COMTIBoy (see "Jerome Gambit: The Jerome Treatment (Redux)").

Sometimes we can get so caught up in our ideas and plans that we overlook - something.

The essential skill a Jerome Gambit player needs to hone is an awareness of when that "something" arrives at the board.

COMTIBoy - BravoDelta
3 0 blitz, FICS, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 



4...Kxf7 5.c3

As someone who generally plays the "classical" Jerome Gambit lines (i.e. 5.Nxe5), I am not very familiar with this move, and I was sort of surprised to find 1,601 examples in The Database. In those games White scores 41%. However, with 36 games in The Database, COMPTIBoy has a more respectible 53% outcome. 

5...Kf8 

Not the first move that comes to mind, and I think there is a bit of psychology behind it - not at all surprising in a 3-minute game.

Surprisingly, there are 48 games with this line in The Database. Perhaps not surprisingly, White scores 60%. 

6.d4 exd4 7.cxd4 Bb4+ 8.Nc3 Bxc3+ 9.bxc3 d6 



White's pawn center and the uneasy position of Black's King almost - but not yet - compensates for the sacrificed piece. The attacker needs some open lines.

10.e5 dxe5 11.Ba3+ Nge7 12.d5 Na5 



Just the kind of chaos White wants in a fast blitz game, especially when you consider that "best" for Black is something like 12...Kf7 13.dxc6 Qxd1+ 14.Rxd1 Nxc6, giving back the piece to be able to exchange Queens and remain a boring pawn ahead.

13.Nxe5 Kg8 14.Qa4 



Blitz attacking rule #1: Keep making scary moves.

14...Qxd5 

Blitz defending rule #1: Beware of poisoned pawns.

15.Qe8 checkmate

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Jerome Gambit: The Jerome Treatment (Redux)

You are playing a blitz game against a player rated about 175 points above you. Even worse, he plays an unorthodox line almost immediately. What do you do?

Well, if you are a Jerome Gambit fan, you provide a little instruction on how wild play can become - and you wrap up the win in under 10 moves!

COMTIBoy - valentinbasel
3 0 blitz, FICS, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Na5 



If you play the Jerome Gambit, you will eventually meet this move.

It looks like Black would like to see 4.Bb3, when he can win the Bishop pair with 4...Nxb3. Of course, White can play the straight-forward 4.Nxe5, instead, grabbing a pawn and protecting his Bishop - not to mention attacking Black's f7.

There is another option for White, one explored a number of times on this blog, starting with "A Snack" about 6 years ago.

4.Bxf7+ 

The Jerome treatment. This leads to a roughly equal game, although White's attacking chances are to be preferred in quick play.

By the way, for a couple of earlier games by COMTIBoy facing the Blackburne Shilling Gambit, see "Incomplete" and "The Missing Element".

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Ke6 



Of course, Black wants to evict the enemy Knight, even though this move gives White the edge. His safest, and best, move is 5...Ke7, which is somewhat counterintuitive, as it blocks the diagonals of his Queen and Bishop; but it maintains an even game.

If you do not have experience in defending this line, the nuances are liable to escape you.

6.d4 d6 7.Qg4+ Kf6 8.Bg5 checkmate 



Gosh. That took less time than it takes to tell...

Certainly Black needed to try 7...Ke7, although after 8.Qg5+ Nf6 9.Nf3 Nc6 10.e5 dxe5 11.dxe5 Kf7 12.exf6 White would have recovered his sacrificed piece and retained an edge.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Jerome Gambit: A Day in the Life

I have shared many games where White plays the notorious Jerome Gambit, patiently musters his forces, waits for the defender to make a mistake - and then pounces. After all, I like the Jerome Gambit, and it is fun to watch players use it and succeed.

Yet, I have not been shy about sharing the many refutations of the opening, as well. A line of play can be both exciting and dangerous for the user.

So, as a bit of balance, here is a three minute game that shows Black has chances, too. ☺ (He should: he is rated +200 above White.)

Readers should follow the links to see more alternative ideas for White.

Chess-For-All - Sveti14
3 0 blitz, lichess.orgm 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 




4...Kxf7 5. Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Kf8 

The Jerome Variation of the Jerome Gambit, played by Alonzo Wheeler Jerome against David Jaeger in correspondence, 1880.


7.Qxe5 d6 8.Qg3 Nf6 9.Nc3


I was surprised to find only 13 games in The Database with this move, with White scoring only 46%. (Still, that is a bit of a step up from the 42% score for White after his 7th move.)

9...Kf7

Also seen: 9...Nh5 in Wall,B - Ahmadi,S, Chess.com, 2010 (0-1, 59) and 9...Ng4 in perrypawnpusher - klixar, blitz, FICS, 2007  (1-0, 33). 

10.O-O Re8


Black has also done well with 10...Rf8 as in perrypawnpusher - truuf, blitz, FICS, 2011 (0-1, 32) and Wall,B - Guest874250, PlayChess.com, 2014 (0-1, 32). 

11.d3 Kg8


Taking care of business by castling-by-hand.

Also seen: 11...Qe7 as in mrjoker - creeredes, Internet Chess Club,
2008 (0-1, 26) 

12.h3 

Adopting the come-and-get-me strategy that puts the onus on Black to make something out of his material advantage. Sometimes this can be a part of a psychological push by White that unsettles his opponent - but, not today. Perhaps he should have ignored the move and gone ahead with winning the "minor exhange" with 12.Na4.

12...Qe7 13.Kh1 

This reminds me of the quote by the Joker in "The Dark Knight" movie: "Come on. I want you to do it. I want you to do it. Hit meHit me! I want you to hit me!"

13...Qf7 14.Be3 Nh5 15.Qh4 Bb6 




16.Nd5 Nf6 17.Nxb6 axb6 18.a3 d5 19.f3 Be6



20.g4 

Time to try to stir things up a bit.

20...Nd7 21.Bd4 

A move that is easy to understand, but repositioning the Bishop might have been better done by playing 21.Rae1 first, and if  21...c5, then  22.Bd2, eventually coming to c3. This subtle idea is brought to you by Stockfish 8.

21...Rf8 


22.f4 

Impatient - but, remember this is a 3 0 game.

The recommended line by Stockfish 8 would have been hard to work out, even in a slower game, with White finally developing pressure on the Kingside to offset Black's gains on the Queenside: 22.Qg3 c5 23.Bc3 d4 24.Be1 c4 25.f4 Nc5 26.f5 Bd7 27.Rd1 Bb5 28.Rf3 Rac8 29.Bb4 cxd3 30.cxd3 Rfe8 31.Rd2 Qb3 32.Kg2 Nd7 33.Rff2 Rc1 34.Kh2 Ne5 35.f6 Qf7 36.Rf5 gxf6 37.g5 Qg7 and Black would still be better. 

22...dxe4 23.dxe4 Bc4 24.Rf2 Rae8 25.Re1 Rxe4 26.Rxe4 Bd5



The a8-h1 diagonal is deadly.

27.Rfe2 Re8 28.Be5 Bxe4+ 29.Rxe4 Qd5 



Again.

30.Qe1 Nc5 White resigned



Ouch.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Rooks at Large

The most well-known defense against the Jerome Gambit is the one that J.H. Blackburne used in a game over 130 years ago. As we have seen on this blog many times, however, it is a tricky defense, and the better player usually wins, despite the "objective" assessment of the line (i.e. it is dynamically equal). This caveat is especially apparent in the following game, where Black errs early - but White makes some later slips, only scoring the full point after much further work. It is not a safe game for Rooks.

ehmorris3 - F-Dynamics
10 0, lichess.org, 2017

1.e4  e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 



4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6. Qh5+ g6 7. Qxe5 d6



Blackburne's Defense, famous since Amateur - Blackburne, London, 1884. Black offers a Rook, with the plan to trap White's Queen, and, while she is entombed, to attack White's King.

8.Qxh8 Be6 

It is difficult to grasp the idea behind this move, unless it is simply to follow up the sacrifice with further development. Perhaps Black believes that his opponent will need time to put his Queen back into play. White immediately moves to make sure his Queen will be free.

9.Qxh7+ Kf8 10.d4 

Sacrificing a pawn to prepare for further development.

Instead, 10.Qxg6 was seen in perrypawnpusher - saltos, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 40) and Wall,B - VJCH, FICS, 2013 (1-0, 16).

An alternative, 10.O-O, was seen in mosinnagant - mumbaII, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 38) 

10...Bxd4 11.Bh6+ 

The idea. White has to be careful about his own Rook on the a1-h8 diagonal, however.

11...Nxh6 


An earlier game had gone 11... Ke8 12.Nc3 Qf6 13.O-O Bf7 14.Nd5 Qe6 15.Nxc7+ Kd8 16.Nxe6+ Black resigned, Petasluk - cuadriculas, FICS, 2008

12.Qxh6+ Ke8  13.Qxg6+ Bf7 



A very dynamic position, with White better. The first player has the advantage of a safer King and is three pawns and the exchange ahead in material - but his Queenside is about to be demolished.

In the meantime, where should White's Queen go? There is only one safe square that keeps his advantage.

14.Qg3 

White needed to play 14.Qf5!? in order to be able to answer 14...Bxb2 with the fork 15.Qb5+, when he can then pick up the Bishop. Once Her Majesty  is safe, White can then play c2-c3 or Nb1-c3 to keep the enemy attack on b2 stifled.

14...Bxb2 15.c3 Bxa1 16.O-O Bxa2  



White's original idea might have been to block Black's Bishop in at a1, and then capture it, but that will not work out.

This odd position is about equal.

17.Na3 Bxc3 

Black surrenders his piece too quickly He could have tried 17...Bb2 18.Nb5 a6 19.Nd4 Qf6 20.f4 c5 and held the advantage - according to Stockfish 8. It is really hard for me to judge this unbalanced position.

18.Qxc3 d5 19.Qe5+  Kd7  



Each side has 3 connected passed pawns!  

20.Nb5 Kc8 21.Rd1 Kb8  



Black has castled-by-hand, but in doing so has entombed his Rook. He will not be able to escape checkmate.

22.exd5 b6 23.d6 cxd6 24.Rxd6 Kb7 



Yes, things are this bad. However, even after surrendering the Queen, there will still be checkmate.

25.Rxd8 Rxd8 26.Qe7+ Kc8 27.Nd6+ 

There was also 27.Qc7#, but White has the game in hand.

27...Rxd6 28.Qxd6 Kb7 29.h4 b5 30.h5 Black resigned