Friday, January 5, 2018

Blackburne Shilling Gambit Investigator: Update

I have written here before about Rodolfo Pardi (see "Blackburne Shilling Gambit Investigator")
Recently I received a request for The Database from Rodolfo Pardi (librarian, Italian Chess Federation chess instructor and tournament director), the author of a good number of chess books, including A dreadful Chess Trap: Blackburne ShillingHe said he had been frequently meeting the Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nd4 4.Bxf7+), and wanted to know more about it.Of course, I sent the (compressed) PGN file right away!
In a recent email he said he had updated his book about the Blackburne Shilling Gambit, adding a section for the Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit and noting
As my book is aimed to the player with Black, I put a link to the following file, containing 600 games from your database [The Database] where Black plays Ke6 and ends winning.

Rodolfo was referring to the line 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nd4 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Ke6 and I thought I would take a closer look at it. The following game holds a lot of analysis and ideas - and also shows the practical side of the Blackburne Shilling Gambit, as complications bring the clock into play.

hanslenz - raidrunner
blitz, FICS, 2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nd4 4.Bxf7+

The Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit. The Database has 5,337 game examples. White scores 56%. (Only 2% of the games are draws.)

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Ke6 

Black's most enterprising response. Here The Database has 1,434 games, with White scoring 53%.

6.c3 Kxe5 7.cxd4+ Ke6

Wise. Black avoids a whole lot of trouble by declining the d-pawn and the e-pawn. Trust me. Or check out the wild analysis, below.

After 7...Kxd4?! 8.Qb3 we enter a line that shows up in exactly 0 games in The Database, and which has complications galore. 

Stockfish 8 recommends 8...d5 (instead, grabbing the second pawn makes matters dangeously worse for Black: 8...Kxe4?! 9.d4! Bb4+!? 10.Nc3+!? Bxc3+ 11.bxc3 Qe7 12.g4!? Qe6 [12...Kf3+ 13.Be3 Kxg4 14.Rg1+ and mates] 13.c4 Qxg4 [13...Kxd4+ 14.Be3+ and mates] 14.Qc2+ Kxd4 15.Qb2+ Kd3 [15...Ke4 16.f3+!? Qxf3 17.Rf1 Qxf1+ 18.Kxf1 and wins] 16.Be3 Ke4 17.h3 Qg6 18.0–0–0 Qf6 19.Bd4 Qf4+ 20.Kb1 Kf5 21.Bxg7 d6 22.Bxh8 Ke6 23.Rhg1 and White is winning) 9.Nc3 Ne7 10.Nb5+!? (Or 10.exd5 Ke5 11.0–0 Kf6 12.d6 Kg6 [12...Nc6 13.Ne4+ Kg6 14.Qg3+ Kf7 15.Ng5+ Kf6 16.b4 Bxd6 17.Bb2+ Be5 18.Bxe5+ Nxe5 19.Ne4+ Kf7 20.Qf4+ Kg6 21.Qxe5] 13.dxe7 Bxe7 14.Re1 Re8 15.d4 Bd6 16.Bd2 h6 17.Nd5 c6 18.Nf4+ Bxf4 19.Bxf4 Rxe1+ 20.Rxe1 Qd5 21.Qxd5 cxd5 22.Re7 Kf6 23.Rc7 g5 1.52/27 ) 10...Ke5 11.Nxc7!? Rb8 (11...Qxc7? 12.Qg3+ Kf6 13.Qxc7) 12.d4+ Kf6 [only move] 13.Bf4 dxe4 14.0–0 h6 15.Rae1 b5 16.Be5+ Kg6 17.Ne6 Bxe6 18.Qxe6+ Kh7 19.Bxb8 Qxb8 20.Rxe4 Qc8 21.g3 Qxe6 22.Rxe6 Nf5 with the advantage to White of R+2P vs N+B.

If Black tries 7...Kxe4?! instead, White has 8.Qf3!? Kxd4 9.Nc3 (there are no games with this move in The Database) and Black will lose material trying to undo the mating web. For example, 9...c6 10.Qe3+ Kc4 11.a4!? Qe7 - trying to keep the White Queen out of the action by pinning it to the King - 12.b3!? and Black will lose his Queen after 12...Kb4 13.Ba3+ or be checkmated after 12...Kxb3 13.Ne4+ Kc4 14.Ba3!? Also a reasonable defensive try is 9...Qe7+, but after the logical 10.Kd1 White's King is far less uncomfortable, for example 10...Nf6 11.Qf4+ Kc5 12.Qxc7+ Kd4 13.Re1, winning the Queen. (See also "Regicide".)


Keeping his options open.

Also seen:

8.Nc3 Kf7 (8...Bb4, instead, is "A casual move that brings much misfortune"; see Clydeco - chaparov, standard, FICS, 20129.Qb3+ (9.Qh5+ g6 10.Qf3+ Qf6 11.Qd3 Bg7 12.e5 Qa6 13.Qf3+ Ke8 14.d3 Ne7 15.O-O Rf8 16.Qh3 h5 17.Qg3 d6 18.Bg5 dxe5 19.Bxe7 Kxe7 20.Nd5+ Kd8 21.dxe5 Bf5 22.e6 Qd6 23.e7+ Ke8 24.exf8=Q+ Bxf8 25.Nxc7+ Kd7 26.Nxa8 Qxg3 27.fxg3 Bc5+ 28.d4 Bxd4+ 29.Kh1 Bxb2 30.Rab1 Bxb1 31.Rxb1 Ba3 32.Rxb7+ Kc6 33.Rxa7 Bc5 34.Rg7 Kb5 35.Rxg6 h4 36.gxh4 Kc4 37.Rg5 Be3 38.Rg3 Bf4 39.Rg4 Kd5 40.Rxf4 Kc6 41.h5 Kd6 42.h6 Ke6 43.h7 Ke5 44.Rf7 Ke6 45.h8=Q Kxf7 46.g4 Ke6 47.g5 Kf7 White ran out of time, Black has no material to mate, do drawn, Randompl - Steftcho, FICS, 2012) 9...Ke8 10.O-O (10.d3 c6 11.O-O d6 12.Bf4 Qf6 13.Ne2 Qe6 14.d5 cxd5 15.Nd4 Qf6 16.Qb5+ Kf7 17.Qxd5+ Kg6 18.e5 Qxf4 19.Ne6 Bxe6 20.Qxe6+ Kh5 21.Rae1 Black forfeited on time, papernoose - nuumm, FICS, 2004) 10...Be7 11.f4 Nf6 12.e5 Ng8 13.Ne4 d6 14.exd6 Bxd6 15.Re1 Kf8 16.Ng5 Qf6 17.Ne6+ Bxe6 18.Rxe6 Qxd4+ 19.Kh1 Bc5 20.Re3 b6 21.d3 Nf6 22.Bd2 Ng4 23.Re4 Nf2+ White resigned, bestcoast - Banjar, FICS, 2013; and

8.d5+ Ke7 9.d4 d6 10.Bg5+ Nf6 11.e5 h6 12.exf6+ gxf6 13.Bh4 Bg7 14.Qe2+ Kf8 15.O-O Bf5 16.Nc3 a6 17.Qf3 Bg6 18.Ne4 Kf7 19.Rae1 Re8 20.Ng3 Qd7 21.Rxe8 Rxe8 22.Ne2 Be4 23.Qh5+ Bg6 24.Qf3 Be4 25.Qh5+ Bg6 26.Qf3 Be4 27.Qb3 Bxg2 28.Re1 Bf3 29.Qxf3 Kg8 30.Kh1 f5 31.Rg1 Re4 32.Nf4 Qf7 33.Ne6 Rg4 34.Rxg4 fxg4 35.Qxg4 Kh7 36.f3 Bxd4 37.Qe4+ Kg8 38.Qxd4 Qxf3+ 39.Kg1 Black resigned, marciprevi - nchak, FICS, 2016

8...d6 9.f4


9...Kf7 was seen in topsoul -, 2016

10.f5 h6 11.e5 

Understandable, but a bit premature, although it is tempting to hurry things up in a blitz game. Better was 11.Nc3.

11...dxe5 12.dxe5 Qd5 

If Black wants to win the e-pawn he probably should start out with 12...Qd4+ 13.Kh1 Kd8 when there will be no danger of the Queen being pinned to her King.

13.Nc3 Qd4+ 14.Kh1 Ke8

Missing the advice of the previous note.

15.Qe2 Bd7

White has two pawns for his sacrificed piece, and a much safer King. He is better.

16.b3 a6 17.Bb2 Kd8 18.Rab1 

It is clear that White want's to unmask his fianchettoed Bishop, but 18.Nd1!? might have been a better way to to that. Or he could patiently play 18.Rc1 instead.

18...Qh4 19.d4 Kc8 20.d5 b6 21.a4 Bc5 22.e6 Be8 23.Ne4 

White has clearly taken control of the game.

23...Nf6 24.Nxf6

White prefers to hold onto his powerful Bishop, but he could have considered exchanging it, as after 24.Bxf6!? gxf6 25.g3!? Black's Queen will be nudged away from protecting the pawn at f6, e.g. 25...Qh5 26.Qc4 and the pawn will fall.

24...gxf6 25.Qf3 Bh5

Suddenly Black seems to be in charge.


White had the alternative 26.Bxf6!? Bxf3 27.Bxh4 Bxd5 28.b4 Bd6 29.Rbd1 c6, but his "Jerome pawns" appear stalled.

26...Bd6 27.g3 Qg4

The clock seems to be affecting moves at this point.

28.Bxf6 Qe2 

Missing the fact that after the exchange of Queens and then the "exhange" of Rooks, he would drop a piece, i.e. 29.Qxe2 Bxe2 30.Bxh8 Bxf1 31.Rxf1


Yikes! Tick, tick, tick... Black now has 29...Qe4+ 30.Kg1 Bc5+ winning White's Queen.


Seeing ghosts.

Now Black drops a piece, and the "Jerome pawns" advance menacingly.

30.Rxf3 Rg8 31. Bh4 Qe4 32. Rbf1 Qxd5 33. e7 Re8 34. f6 Bxe7 35.fxe7 Kb7 

Cruel, cruel clock.

36.Kg1 Qc5+ 37.Qxc5 bxc5 38.Rf8 Kb6 39.Rxe8 Rxe8 40.Rf8 Rxe7 41.Bxe7 

Here Black forfeited on time.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Jerome Gambit: Two English Amateurs

The following game ("between two English amateurs") is from the "OVER THE CHESS BOARD" column titled "A VARIATION OF THE JEROME GAMBIT", conducted by R. M. Baird, in the Evening Star of May 11, 1901.

It is amusing that the columnist cannot recommend the opening, grows impatient when White misses a forcing line - and has nothing to say when White wins.

I have added diagrams, changed the notation from descriptive to algebraic, and provided a few notes in blue. - Rick

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.d4 exd4 5.Bxf7+

It is interesting to meet with these variations from the ordinary dull methods.  But this line of play cannot be recommended.


[Reaching the Jerome Gambit variation: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.d4 exd5]

6.Ng5+ Ke8 7.Qf3 Qe7

If now 7...Qf6 all of White's attack (?) vanishes. Black might even play 7...Ne5 at once.

8.O-O Ne5 9.Qb3 h6 10.Nh7 

[Strange. Perhaps expecting 10...Rxh7? 11.Qxg8+ Qf8 12.Qxh7, winning. Black does not fall for the "trap".

10...g6 11.f4 d3+ 12.Kh1 Ng4 13.f5 Qxh7 

14.fxg6 Qxg6 15.Nc3 Qh5 16.Bf4 Nf2+ 

17.Rxf2 Bxf2 18.Rf1 Bd4 19.Nd5 Bb6 

20.Bxc7 d6

[Amazing. Ahead by a Bishop and a Rook, Black finds a move that gives himself a lost game.]

21.Bxd6 Qg6


Much easier and simpler was 22.Qb5+ and mate in two moves.

22...Kd7 23.e5 Ne7 24.Qb5+ Nc6 25.Nf6+ Ke6 26.Qd5+ Kf5 27.e6+ Black resigned 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Jerome Gambit: Taken From A Private Collection

The following "Chess" column appeared in the Albany Sunday Express of August 4, 1889 (page 3), presenting Game No. 19, a Jerome Gambit that had been "Taken from a private collection." 

Diagrams have been added, and notation has been changed from descriptive to algebraic. It has to be noted that the columnist has a good idea of how to play the Jerome Gambit, and Black, in the game, shows a decent understanding (e.g. castling-by-hand, returning the sacrificed piece for a couple of pawns) as well. It would be interesting to learn who played White, and who was maintaining a "private collection" of games. - Rick.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+

The Jerome Gambit.Theoretically white should lose as it is an unsound sacrifice, but the defense requires care. Against a slightly weaker player it is usually successful and forms a pleasing variation.

5...Nxe5 6.d4

We like this method of conducting the attack better than 6.Qh5+ Ke6 7.Qf5+ Kd6 8.f4 Qf6 etc. as the latter seems to drive the K towards a place of refuge and to develop black as fast as white. We think white has the correct idea of the force of the gambit, viz.: to castle QR and push the king's flank pawns on black's exposed position.

6...Bxd4 7.Qxd4 d6 8.Nc3 Nf6 9.Bg5 Be6 10.O-O-O 

10...h6 11.Bh4

Better than 11.Bxf6 Qxf6 and if 11...g5 12.Bg3 Nc6 13.Qe3 Qd7 14.f4 with a strong attack.

11...Rf8 12.f4 Nc6 13.Qe3 Kg8 14.h3 

If 14.e5 Ng4 15.Qg3 Qe8 16.h3 Ngxe5 17.fxe5 Nxe5 with a good position and a P ahead.

14...Qd7 15.g4 Nxg4

This seems to be best, as it leaves black a P ahead and breaks white's pawns, the advance of which it would be difficult to stop.
Black has the best game. 

16.hxg4 Bxg4 17.Rdg1 a6? 

18.Nd5 a5 19.Qc3 b5 

19...Qe6 is better; in his desire for counter attack black has neglected to propose for white's bold plan.

20.Nf6+ Rxf6 

[Unfortunately, at this point in the newspaper there appear to be typos in the columnist's assessment, making some of his comments difficult to read and understand. He does show a preference for the move in the game, noting "If 20...gxf6 21.Bxf6 Rxf6 (else mate or loss of Q) 22.Qxf6 Qg7 23.Qxg7+ Kxg7 24.Rxg4+ winning B and a superior game." This assessment misses, after 20... gxf6 21.Bxf6, the defensive idea 21...b4!?, forcing a separation between the White Queen and her Bishop. The best response seems to be 22.Qc4+ d5 23.Qxd5+ Qxd5 24.Rxg4+ Kf7 25.exd5 Kxf6 26.dxc6 Rh8 when White is a pawn up in a Rooks and pawns endgame, but Black has neither lost his Queen nor been checkmated. - Rick]

21.Bxf6 gxf6 22.Rxh6 Rf8

No other move is satisfactory.

23.Qh3 Kf7

As good as any move white's combination is a gem.

If 23...f5 24.exf5 and a win is easily forced. 

24.Rxg4 Ke8 25.Rh7 Qe6 

26.Qh5+ Kd8 

If 26...Rf7 27.Rh8+ Ke7 28.Rgg8 

27. Rgg7 Qc4 28.Rd7+ Kc8 29.Rxc7+ Kb8

[It is not possible to see the remaining moves, due to incomplete scanning of the newspaper page, but clearly White has a winning attack, e.g. 30.Rb7+ Ka8 31.Qxb5 Qxb5 32.Rxb5 with the advantage of the exchange and two pawns. Even stronger would be 30.b3!? attempting to nudge the Black Queen away from her defense of the b-pawn and practically forcing 30...Qc5 31.Qxc5 dxc5 32.Rxc6 when White is up a Rook and a pawn.   - Rick]