Thursday, February 22, 2018

Jerome Gambit Discovery: Success? Not Really

I was wandering the internet the other day, looking for some Jerome Gambit references that were new to me, when I decided to visit the ChessBase Live Database.

There I found the game Fejfar, Vlastimil - Chvojka, Jaroslav, CZE-Cup32 final email ICCF, 2015 which did not appear in The Database.


Not really, as you will see.

Of course, Vlastimil Fejfar is familiar to readers of this blog - see "Correspondence Play Parts 1, 2, and 3", "Climbing Sněžka" and "A Fierce Jerome Gambit Battle" for starters.

But I think there is something mixed up in the ChessBase Live Database...

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Ke7 

The first clue that something might be amiss. The Database has 44 games with this position, out of 13,090 games starting 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+. That turns out to be about 1/3 of 1% - a very rare move, indeed!

Of course, Black might be "experimenting", too, but it seems unlikely that he would turn his "won" game after White's move to a slightly worse game after his own move. 


Suspicious. White would have a comfortable "pull" after either 5.Bxg8 or 5.Bb3. I could see this move in a lightning game... maybe. In a serious correspondence game? No.

5...Nxe5 6.Qh5 

Again, raising eyebrows. Why not the straight-forward 6.Bxg8 Qxg8 7.d4 when 7...Qc4 8.dxc5 Qxe4+ 9.Qe2 Qxe2+ 10.Kxe2 is clearly good.

Feeling adventurous? Then 6.Bb3 was the move, and after 6...Nc6 or 6...Bd4 or 6...Bb6 White could test Stockfish 9's contention that the first player has an edge.


Strangeness from the other side of the board. Black is rated at 2295, and should have seen 6...Bxf2+ 7.Kxf2 Nxf7, with a better game, easily. 


No, I don't think so.


Missing something.

More likely, the "game" is bogus.


No. Not even blindfolded.


Consistent, but absurd.

9.Qxe7+ Nxe7

And Black went on to win - in whatever alternate universe the battle was fought.

10.h3 Be6 11.d3 Rhf8 12.Ke2 Kg8 13.Be3 Nc4 14.d4 Rae8 15.e5 b5 16.dxc5 b4 17.Kd3 Rb8 

Very strange, indeed.

I went to ICCF website, looked up the event, and studied the crosstable: Fejfar came in 2nd to Chvojka, with 20.5 points to his opponent's 21.5. When I downloaded the PGN file of what appeared to be the game, however, it had only the outcome, not the moves.

I checked my copy of ChessBase's Big Database and could not find the game.

Another blow to the argument "But I saw it on the internet!"

(Years ago, when chess game databases began to proliferate, publishers were known to "seed" their databases with imaginary games, the better to use them as markers to show if others - publishers, players - later copied their work. I suppose that is one possibility, here.)

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Meeting A Surprise With A Surprise

The following game shows Black unveiling a surprise line, only to be met by White's surprise. The defender continues with another surprise on move 6, but cool play makes the difference in the face of complications.

Wall, Bill - Emankcin, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nd4 

The Blackburne Shilling Gambit. White has several ways of effectively meeting the idea, including 4.0-0, 4.d3, 4.c3 and 4.Nxd4. Black's main idea is revealed with 4.Nxe5 Qg5!?.

Of course, Jerome Gambit fans also like to give the game their own twist.


The Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit.

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Ke8 6.c3 Qg5 

Black plays his thematic move. It might not be as strong as 6...Nc6, leading to an even game, but it certainly gives White something to think about. The Database contains 125 games with this position; White scores 57%.

For coverage on the line in this blog, see "Surprise!", "Too Fast, Too Furious" and "A Head Scratcher".

7.cxd4 Qxg2 8.Qf3 

Calmly meeting Black's play.

8...Qxf3 9.Nxf3 d6 

White has an extra pawn, and although it is doubled, it is a center pawn. Black has the two Bishops. The position would seem to slightly favor the first player - but it mostly favors the player who can come up with an effective plan.

Two other lines of play:

9...Bb4 10.Nc3 d6 11.Nd5 Ba5 12.b4 Bb6 13.Rg1 g6 14.Bb2 Ne7 15.Nf6+ Kd8 16.Ng5 Rf8 17.Ngxh7 Rf7 18.d5 c6 19.Ng5
cxd5 20.Nxf7+ Kc7 21.Rc1+ Black resigned, Wall,B - Guest1016975, 2017 and

9...Nf6 10.d3 Bb4+ 11.Bd2 a5 12.a3 Bxd2+ 13.Nbxd2 b6 14.h3 Ba6 15.Ke2 Rf8 16.Ke3 Ke7 17.Rac1 c6 18.Nh4 g6 19.f4 Nh5 20.Rhf1 Rae8 21.f5 g5 22.Nhf3 h6 23.Ne5 Bb5 24.Ng6+ Kf6 25.Nxf8 Rxf8 26.e5+ Ke7 27.Ne4 d5 28.exd6+ Kd7 29.b3 a4 30.bxa4 Bxa4 31.Rb1 Bb5 32.a4 Bxa4 33.Rxb6 Bb5 34.Rb7+ Kc8 35.Rh7 Nf4 36.d7+ Kd8 37.Ra1 Nd5+ 38.Kd2 Nb6 39.f6 Nxd7 40.Ra8+ Kc7 41.Rxf8 Black resigned, ZahariSokolov - bemxyrus, FICS, 2012

10.Nc3 Bg4 


10...Nf6 11.d3 Bg4 12.Nd2 Kd7 13.f3 Be6 14.d5 Bf7 15.O-O h5 16.Nc4 a6 17.d4 Re8 18.Bg5 Nh7 19.Bf4 g5 20.Bg3 c6 21.dxc6+ bxc6 22.d5 cxd5 23.Nxd5 Bxd5 24.exd5 Nf6 25.Rfe1 Be7 26.Rad1 h4 27.Rxe7+ Rxe7 28.Bxd6 Re2 29.Be5 Rf8 30.Nb6+ Kd8 31.Nc4 Nh5 32.Rd2 Re1+ 33.Kf2 Rc1 34.b3 Nf4 35.Bd4 Nh3+ 36.Kg2 Nf4+ 37.Kf2 g4 38.Bb6+ Kd7 39.Ne5+ Ke8 40.Nxg4 Ng6 41.d6 Rf7 42.d7+ Rxd7 43.Nf6+ Ke7 44.Nxd7 Black resigned, ingGra - dauerschach, FICS, 2007 and

10...a6 11.Nd5 Kd7 12.Ng5 h6?! (12...Nf6 13.Nxf6+ gxf6 14.Nh3) 13.Nf7 Rh7 14.d3 g6 15.Nxh6? Nxh6 (15...Bxh6) 16.Nf6+ Ke6 17.Nxh7 Bd7 18.Nxf8+ Rxf8 19.Bxh6 Rf3 20.Be3 Bb5 21.O-O-O Kf6 22.h4 Be8 23.Rdf1 Kg7 24.e5 d5 25.Kd2 Kf8 26.Rc1 c6 27.Rcg1 Ke7 28.Rg3 Rf5 29.Rg5 Rf3 30.Rhg1 Rh3 31.R5g4 Ke6 32.Ke2 b5 33.b4 Kd7 34.Rf4 Ke7 35.Kf1 Rh2 36.Rfg4 Kd7 37.Bf4 Rh3 38.Bg3 g5 39.Rxg5 Black resigned, PawnEater - jackb, FICS, 2000


Signalling that White wants his King to be active.

The one other game in The Database with this line is also complicated: 11.Nh4 Be7 12.Ng2 Bf3 13.Rg1 g6 14.d3 Kd7 15.Bf4 Nf6 16.Kd2 a6 17.Rae1 b5 18.Ne3 b4 19.Ncd5 Nxd5 20.Nxd5 a5 21.e5 dxe5 22.Nxe7 exf4 23.Rg5 Rhe8 24.Rge5 Ra6 25.d5 Rd6 26.Nc6 Rxe5 27.Nxe5+ Kd8 28.Nxf3 Rxd5 29.Re5 Rxe5 30.Nxe5 Ke8 31.h4 Kf8 32.Ke2 Kg7 33.Kf3 Kf8 34.Kxf4 Black resigned, Papaflesas - Tseatsy, FICS, 2015

11...Nf6 12.d3 Kd7 13.h3 Bh5 14.Bf4 Re8 15.Ke3 d5 

Black's strike at the center makes sense, especially with his Rook on the e-file, facing White's King; but it has the shortcoming of opening e5 for White's pieces.

16.Ne5+ Kc8 17.f3 

White is in no hurry. He reinforces his center and lets his opponent come up with the next new idea.

17...dxe4 18.dxe4 c5 


Developing another piece. An alternative was 19.d5, creating a second connected passed pawn that would eventually help decide the game..  


Perhaps a time slip: Black's King walks right into a discovered check.

Instead, Black could win the exchange with 19...cxd4+ 20.Rxd4 Bc5. Stockfish 8 is not particularly concerned about this, however, 
still seeing White as better after 21.Nb5 Bxd4+ 22.Nxd4. White has the open c-file for his Rook, and a pawn or two on the Queenside should prove vulnerable.

20.Nf7+ Black resigned

Play likely would continue 20...Kc6 21.Nxh8 cxd4 22.Rxd4 Bc5 23.Rc1 Bxd4+ 24.Kxd4 Kd7 when 25.Nb5!? gives Black too much to think about, e.g. 25...Rxh8 26.Rc7+ or 25...Bxf3 26.Rc7+

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Jerome Gambit: What to Do Next?

Defending against the Jerome Gambit is more than finding the right move or the right line, it is also finding the right path out of a maze of complications. It is a given that Black has a "won" game after 4 moves, but, as always, he has to go on and win that game.

In the following game the defender quickly overestimates his chances and embarks on Quixotic attack that only looks scary.

Wall, Bill - Guest842895, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 h6 

The Semi-Italian opening. Black wants to play it safe by keeping White's Knight off of g5.

4.Nc3 Bc5 5.Bxf7+ 

The Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit, leading to 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nc3 h6, etc.

I was a bit surprised to see Stockfish 8 recommend 5.Na4, leading to an equal game.


Bypassing the piece leads nowhere: 5...Kf8 6.Bb3 Nf6 7.Nxe5 Nxe5 8.d4 Bb4 9.dxe5 Nxe4 10.Qd5 Black resigned, Wall,B - Guest2310139,, 2014

6.Nxe5+ Nxe5 

It is always possible for Black to go weird in the line, but not necessarily successfully: 6...Ke6?! 7.Ng6 Rh7 8.d4 Nxd4 9.Nf4+ Kf7 10.Qh5+ Kf8 11.Ng6+ Kf7 12.Ne5+ Ke6 13.Qf7+ Kd6 14.Nc4+ Kc6 15.Qd5 checkmate, Wall,B - Guest638374,, 2017

7.Qh5+ Kf8 

An improvement over 7...Ke6 8.Qf5+ Kd6 9.b4 Bd4 10.Nb5+ Kc6 11.Nxd4+ Kd6 12.Nb5+ Kc6 13.Qxe5 d6 14.Nd4+ Kd7 15.Qe6 checkmate, Wall,B - My10,, 2017 and

7...Ng6 8.Qd5+ Ke8 9.Qxc5 Qe7 (9...d6 10.Qa3 N8e7 11.O-O Nh4 12.d4 Neg6 13.f4 Rf8 14.Be3 Bg4 15.Qb3 Rb8 16.f5 Ne7 17.Bf2 Nexf5 18.exf5 Nxf5 19.Rae1+ Kd7 20.Qe6+ Kc6 21.d5 checkmate, Wall,Bill - Mbgmx,, 2010) 10.Qxc7 Nf6 11.O-O Kf7 12.Qc4+ Qe6 13.Qd4 Re8 14.f4 Qb6 15.Qxb6 axb6 16.e5 Nh5 17.g4 Nhxf4 18.d4 d6 19.exd6 Bxg4 20.Bxf4 Kg8 21.Bg3 Bh3 22.Rfe1 Rf8 23.Nd5 Rad8 24.Ne7+ Kh7 25.Nxg6 Kxg6 26.Re3 Rf6 27.Be5 Rfxd6 28.Bxd6 Rxd6 29.Rxh3 Rxd4 30.Rb3 Black resigned, Wall,B - Guest6602130, PlayChess, 2014

8.Qxe5 Qe7 

Putting Black's Queen on e7 or f6 is a standard defensive setup. The question is always: what to do next?

9.Qxc7 Nf6 10.d3 Ng4 

Attack! More reasonable, if less exciting, was 10...d6 11.Qxe7+ Kxe7 when the second player might have an edge. But, who wants an "edge" against a refuted opening? I mean, White has to be busted, right?

11.Nd5 Bxf2+ 

According to plan, even though Black should bail with 11...Bd6 12.Nxe7 Bxc7 13.Ng6+ Kg8 14.Nxh8 Kxh8 when White would have the advantage of a Rook and 3 pawns against a Bishop and Knight.

Things begin to look scary for White's King, but he will find his way to safety.

12.Kd2 Qg5+ 

13.Kc3 Qe5+ 

I don't know if Black overlooked the fact that this allowed the exchange of Queens, but he had a better move in 13...Qg6, even if it still left him worse off. 

14.Qxe5 Nxe5 15.Rf1 Ng4 

 16.h3 Black resigned

Black will lose a piece after all.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Jerome Gambit: One Tempo Away

Although the Jerome Gambit is clearly a "refuted" opening, some of its lines approach legitimacy - and, at certain time controls or under certain conditions, it becomes "playable" as well.

Sometimes it is almost like White is one tempo short of an acceptable position - and that tempo shows up regularly in the games of club players.

The following game is a brutal example.

Wall, Bill - Guest2069651, 2018

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

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

A routine position for Bill. He has been here over 70 times.

8.O-O Nc6 9.Qd5+ Be6 10.Qh5+ g6 11.Qe2 

White engages in a bit of psychological warfare: the Jerome Gambit is known to be "bad" for any number of reasons, including having White using his Queen too early and too often. Here, Bill stirs things up - and perhaps gives his opponent the idea that the first player is a rank amateur not to be taken too seriously.

11...Qd7 12.Nc3 a6

Keeping White's Knight off of b5, but I do not think that this is the most useful move here.

13.f4 Nge7

Bill does not like this move, and recommends 13...b5 instead. Certainly 13...Nf6 was also playable. It is clear that Black puts his Knight on e7 to resist the advance of White's "Jerome pawns" but in this he is not successful.

14.f5 gxf5 15.Qh5+ 

Oh, that Queen!

White now can draw the game by repetition, but he wants more than half a point. Perhaps Black does not want a draw against such a disreputable opening as well, and so choosed a different line of play - handing White the necessary tempo to close out the attack.


Wiser was 15...Kg8

16.Bh6+ Kg8 

It is a bit of a shock to realize 16...Kf6 17.e5+ dxe5 (17...Kxe5 18.Bg7#) 18.Ne4 checkmate 

17.exf5 Bxf5 

Better than 17...Nxf5 but still leading to a loss.


Threatening a deadly fork at f6, and undermining the support of the enemy Bishop.


The "best" defense shows the strength of White's attack: 18...Rf8 19.Rae1 (winning the exchange can wait) Qd8 20.Nxe7+ Nxe7 21.Rxe7 Qxe7 22.Bxf8 Bg6 23.Qxg6+ hxg6 24.Bxe7 and White is a piece ahead in the endgame. I suspect that Bill would have found 20.Qh4!?, however, continuing to tie his opponent in knots.

19.Rxf5 Ne5 20.Rg5+ Ng6 21.Rxg6+ hxg6 22.Qxg6+ Black resigned

Friday, February 2, 2018

Jerome Gambit: Giving Black "A Second Chance"

You sit down to a game of chess, you are planing on using the Jerome Gambit - but your opponent opts to play the Two Knights Defense. What to do?

We have looked at this dilemma a number of times in the past (see, for example, "Jerome Gambit vs Two Knights Defense", parts 1, 2, 3 and 4).

The following game and its notes show that sometimes giving Black a "second chance" can return the game to desired channels. The focus is upon the games of a player who has dealt with this issue many times.

Wall, Bill - Guest165295, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6

4.O-O Bc5

Well, that's more like it. Black's Bishop comes to the party after all.

5.Bxf7+ Kxf7 6.Nxe5+

Bill has also tried 6.d36...Kg8 (6... Rf8 7. Nc3 Kg8 8. Bg5 h6 9. Bxf6 Qxf6 10. Nd5 Qg6 11. c3 d6 12. b4 Bb6 13. b5 Nd8 14. Ne7+ Kf7 15. Nxg6 Black resigned, Wall,B - Munoz,C,,  2010) 7. c4 d6 8. Be3 Bxe3 9. fxe3 Be6 10. Qb3 Na5 11. Qa4 Nc6 12. Nc3 a5 13. Ng5 Bd7 14. c5 Nb4 15. Qb3+ d5 16. exd5 Kf8 17. d6 Qe8 18. Nce4 cxd6 19. cxd6 Qg6 20. Rac1 Ke8 21. Rc7 Nfd5 22. Rxd7 Kxd7 23. Qc4 Nxe3 24. Qc7+ Ke8 25. Qe7 checkmate, Wall,B - KRM,, 2010.


For completeness sake we have to mention 6...Ke7 7.d4 Bb6 8.Be3 Re8 9.Nxc6+ dxc6 10.e5 Nd5 11.Bg5+ Nf6 12.exf6+ gxf6 13.Re1+ Kf8 14.Rxe8+ Kxe8 15.Qh5+ Kf8 16.Qh6+ Kg8 17.Bxf6 Qf8 18.Qg5+ Kf7 19.Nc3 Qg8 20.Qe5 Be6 21.Ne4 h6 22.Re1 Re8 23.Bh4 Qg6 24.Re3 Bd7 25.Rf3+ Kg8 26.Nf6+ Qxf6 27.Rg3+ Kh7 28.Bxf6 Bxd4 29.Rg7+ Kh8 30.Rxd7+ Black resigned, Wall,B - Guest371199,, 2017


The position is beginning to look like a "regular" Jerome Gambit position, if we go ahead and now add 7...Bxd4, transposing, i.e. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bxd4 7.Qxd4 Nf6 8.0-0

Sometimes Black did play 7...Bxd4, e.g. 8.Qxd4 Re8 (8...Qe7 9.Nc3 c6 10.f4 Ng6 11.e5 Ne8 12.Ne4 b6 13.f5 Nxe5 14.Bg5 c5 15.Qd5+ Black resigned, Wall,B - Guest850136,, 2017 or 8...d6 9.Nc3 [9.Bf4 Be6 10.Nc3 Re8 11.Rad1 Nc6 12.Qd2 Bg4 13.f3 Bh5 14.Nd5 Nxd5 15.Qxd5+ Kf8 16.Qxh5 Kg8 17.Qd5+ Kh8 18.c4 Nb4 19.Qb5 a5 20.a3 Nc2 21.Rf2 Qf6 22.Bg5 Nd4 23.Qxe8+ Rxe8 24.Bxf6 Nxf3+ 25.Rxf3 gxf6 26.Rxf6 Rxe4 27.c5 Re2 28.Rf7 Rxb2 29.cxd6 Kg8 30.Rxc7 Kf8 31.d7 Black resigned, Wall,B -Guest3687203,, 2015] 9...Be6 10.f4 Nc6 11.Qd3 Re8 12.f5 Ne5 13.fxe6+ Rxe6 14.Qh3 Ke7 15.Bg5 Qg8 16.Nd5+ Kd8 17.Bxf6+ gxf6 18.Nxf6 Black resigned, Wall,B - Guest547388,, 2017) 9.Nc3 d6 10.Bf4 Kg8 11.Rad1 Qe7 12.f3 c6 13.Qxd6 Qxd6 14.Rxd6 Nf7 15.Rd2 b6 16.Kf2 g5 17.Bg3 Nh5 18.Bd6 Ba6 19.Rfd1 Rac8 20.a4 Kg7 21.a5 Rcd8 22.axb6 axb6 23.Be5+ Rxe5 24.Rxd8 Nxd8 25.Rxd8 Nf6 26.Rb8 Nd7 27.Ra8 Bc4 28.Rc8 c5 29.Rc7 Re7 30.b3 Be6 31.Rb7 Kf6 32.Na4 c4 33.b4 Re8 34.Ke3 Ra8 35.Nxb6 Nxb6 36.Rxb6 Ra1 37.b5 Re1+ 38.Kd2 Rg1 39.g3 Rg2+ 40.Kc3 Rf2 41.Rb8 Rxf3+ 42.Kd4 Rf1 43.b6 Rb1 44.Kc5 Ke5 45.Re8 Rb2 46.c3 Rb3 47.g4 Kf6 48.h3 Ke5 49.Kc6 Rxc3 50.b7 Rb3 51.b8=Q+ Rxb8 52.Rxb8 c3 53.Rb1 Bxg4 54.hxg4 Kxe4 55.Kd6 c2 56.Rc1 Kd3 57.Ke7 Drawn, Wall,B - Guest128013,, 2017.


Playable, as are several lines that Bill has faced (and one that is not):

7...d6 8.dxc5 dxc5 9.Qe2 Rf8 10.Bf4 Ng6 11.Bg3 Be6 12.Nc3 Kg8 13.h3 a6 14.a4 c6 15.a5 Qd4 16.Rfd1 Qb4 17.Qe3 c4 18.Bd6 Qxb2 19.Rab1 Qxc2 20.Bxf8 Rxf8 21.Rd2 Nd5 22.exd5 Black resigned, Wall,B - Guest1193385, 2017;

7...Bd6 8.dxe5 Bxe5 9.f4 Bd4+ (9...Nxe4 10.fxe5+ Nf6 11.exf6 g6 12.Qd5+ Kf8 13.Bh6+ Ke8 14.f7+ Ke7 15.Qe5 checkmate, Wall,B - Marz, 2014) 10.Qxd4 Re8 11.e5 Ng4 12.h3 Nh6 13.f5 Ng8 14.Nc3 c6 15.Ne4 Qb6 16.Ng5+ Kf8 17.Nxh7+ Ke7 18.f6+ gxf6 19.exf6+ Nxf6 20.Qxb6 axb6 21.Nxf6 Black resigned, Wall,B - Guest293396,, 2015;

7...Re8 8.dxc5 Kg8 (8...Nxe4 9.Qd5+ Kf8 10.Qxe4 d6 11.Qxh7 Be6 12.cxd6 Qxd6 13.Nc3 Bg8 14.Qf5+ Qf6 15.Qh5 Bf7 16.Qh8+ Ke7 17.Qh7 Kf8 18.Ne4 Qg6 19.Qh8+ Bg8 20.f3 Qb6+ 21.Kh1 Ng6 22.Qh5 Re5 23.Qg4 Bf7 24.b3 Kg8 25.Bb2 Re7 26.Ng5 Qc5 27.Nxf7 Kxf7 28.Bd4 Qc6 29.Qf5+ Kg8 30.Rad1 Rae8 31.c4 Re2 32.Bc3 b5 33.Rd7 R2e7 34.Rxe7 Rxe7 35.Qxb5 Qd6 36.Qb8+ Kh7 37.Qxa7 c5 38.Qa3 Re2 39.Qc1 Qd3 40.Qd1 Qxd1 41.Rxd1 Rc2 42.Bd2 Rxa2 43.Be3 Nh4 44.Bxc5 Nxg2 45.Bd4 Nh4 46.Rd3 Ng2 47.c5 Nf4 48.Rd1 Rc2 49.Be3 Ne6 50.Rd6 Nc7 51.b4 Nb5 52.Rd7 Rc3 53.Bg1 Rc1 54.Rb7 Nd4 55.Kg2 Ne6 56.b5 Nf4+ 57.Kg3 Ne2+ 58.Kf2 Nxg1 59.c6 Nh3+ 60.Kg3 Ng5 61.c7 Ne6 62.b6 Black resigned, Wall,B - Guest6864060,, 2016) 9.f4 Ng6 10.e5 Ne4 11.Qd5+ Kh8 12.Qxe4 Qh4 13.g3 Qh3 14.Nc3 Rb8 15.Nb5 b6 16.Nxc7 Bb7 17.Qe2 Rf8 18.Be3 Rbc8 19. Nb5 bxc5 20.Nd6 Rb8 21.Nxb7 Rxb7 22.Bxc5 Re8 23.b4 d6 24.Bxd6 Black resigned, Wall,B - Guest7492034,, 2014; and

7...Rf8 (too generous) 8.dxe5 Ne8 9.Qd5+ Kg6 10.Qxc5 Black resigned, Wall,B - Guest848078,, 2012

8.Qh5+ Ng6 9.Qd5+ Kf8 10.dxc5 Nf6 11.Qd4 Qe7

Black could also have tried 11...d5 12.Nc3 c6 13.Bg5 Kf7 14.Rae1 Rf8 15.Re2 Kg8 16.Rfe1 Bf5 17.f3 Qd7 18.g4 Nxg4 19.fxg4 Bxg4 20.Re7 Nxe7 21.Rxe7 Qf5 22.Qxg7 checkmate, Wall,B - Mydrik,M,, 2015.

12.Nc3 c6 13.Be3

White develops and hopes to take advantage of Black's King's position. "Objectively" Black is still better, with a piece for a pawn; but the d-pawn blocking the Bishop which hems in the Rooks is always an ominous sign...


Instead, 13...Qe5, looking to exchange Queens and reduce the danger of an attack on his King, might have been more prudent.

14.Rae1 Neg4

Black is spending too much time moving the Knight. Perhaps he can not find a plan of play. Stockfish 8 gives a subtle line that leads to an advantage (a pawn) for White, but which has plenty of play (Black has Bishop vs Knight and more central pawns): 14...b6 15.Bf4 Qxc5 16.Qxc5+ bxc5 17.Rxe5 Kf7 18.Rxc5 Re8 19.Be5 Bb7 20.Bxf6 Kxf6 21.f3 d6 22.Ne4+ Ke7 23.Rh5 h6 24.Rd1 Rad8 25.Ra5 a6 26.Kf2 c5 27.c3 g6 28.h3 Rf8 29.Nd2 Rf6 30.Nc4


The benefit of pursuing development while the opponent dithers. White's Bishop not only exposes a Rook attack on the enemy Queen, it eyes the fantastic d6 square.


The simplest response - 15...Qf7, withdrawing the Queen to a safe square - is the best, although then White would have the powerful 16.Bd6+ as a reply. In the excitement, Black seems to have forgotten about Her Majesty.

16.Nxd5 cxd5 17.Rxe7 Black resigned

Checkmate is coming.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

From the Corner - Smiling

Geoff Chandler

It is hard to mention the chess wise guy Geoff Chandler without thinking about the following game that he posted, years ago, on his "Chandler Cornered" site

Anon - Anon
Edinburgh Congress

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 d5 6.Bf4 Be7 7.Nc3 Nf6 8.Nb5 Bb4+

Geoff noted
Black played Bb4+ with the idea of playing Ba5 covering c7.
Whilst White was pondering on his next move Black suddenly stated:
"I thinks It's checkmate!"
And it was!!!
Before the start of the game neither player had noticed that the Black King and Queen were on the wrong squares.

(Okay, that was a Petroff Defense, not a Jerome Gambit. If you feel cheated, don't worry, I have you covered: check out Geoff's legendary "Mars Attacks!") 

Monday, January 29, 2018

Tidying Up - Or Messing Up?

Recently I was looking through long-time friend of this blog IM Gary Lane's 2012 "Trash or Treasure?" column, part of his at "Opening Lanes" efforts at Chess Cafe.

(Actually, I was looking at an old pdf file, stored on my phone - a phrase that would probably have been nearly meaningless when I first started this blog.)

I spotted some apparent confusion related to a Jerome Gambit game, and as I may have had a hand in causing it, I thought I'd try to do some unraveling.

From "Trash or Treasure?" 
...Finally, Mr. Kennedy pointed out a fairly recent game played by Scottish player Geoff Chandler. I have never met him, but I do know that Mr. Chandler has an excellent sense of humour and his old chess blog at Chandler Cornered was zany, thought provoking, and usually very funny. Therefore, the following game looks like a fabrication, but I am happy to be corrected in the future. Here is another Jerome Gambit game that is spectacular as always!
Chandler, Geoff - Dimitrov Todor
Blitz, Edinburgh, 2004
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+
This opening is ideally suited to blitz where you don't care whether you win or lose, but want to play something memorable.  
6...g6 7.Qxe5 d6 8.Qxh8 Qh4 9.O-O Nf6 10.Qd8!

Geoff is a decent club player and could have found this himself if the game was really played.* I still think it was more likely he was following the advice given in the previous Blackburne game, which has been copied up to this point. However, I did look up his old blog and found this comment "I recall about a year ago Todor and me had a dozen or so games playing 4.Bxf7+ at 5 minute chess in Bells." If you think he played a game inside an actual bell, then think again. He is referring to his chess club hosted at a local bar.  
10...Bh3 11.Qxc7+ Kg8
Here IM Lane gives 12.gxh3 and says
Instead 12.Qxb7 is winning, because12...Qg4 can be met by 13.Qb3+! (13.Qxa8+ Kf7 14.Qb7+ Kf8 15.e5? White should keep on checking, but this winning attempt backfires spectacularly upon 15...d5 and it turns out that Black wins.) 13...Kg7 Qxh3 and it is time for Black to put the pieces back into the box.  
Then 12...Qxh3 13.Qxb7 Qg4+ A draw by repetition beckons, but Mr. Kennedy assures me that Geoff went on to win.

 Actually, the game continued 12.Qxb7 Qg4 13.Qb3+ Kg7 14.Qxh3 and according to Chandler, White won.

How did the mixup in the moves of the game occur? I could have jumbled them when I emailed the game to IM Lane - if I actually sent it, as I can't find any record of that amongst our correspondence. (Gary might have made the slip, but is that likely? He's the professional, I'm the amateur.)

Anyhow, the Chandler - Dimitrov game and analysis can get pretty messy, so perhaps that was part of it.    

In support of that possibility, and a possible clue, it is worth looking at "Updating the Blackburne Defense (Part 2)" where I reference, among a number of things, Dennis Monokroussos's thoughts from about 7 years earlier about Amateur - Blackburne, London, 1884, after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ g6 7.Qxe5 d6 8.Qxh8 Qh4 9.O-O 

Dennis M's Chess Site
February 2, 2005
...But now, here's the puzzle. After 9...Nf6, Black has a substantial lead in development and several well-placed pieces ready to commence a feeding frenzy on the White kingside, yet had White found 10.Qd8, pinning the Black Nf6 to the queen on h4, it would have been Black needing to fight for his life! The following might be best play for both sides: 10.Qd8! Bh3 11.Qxc7+ (11.Qxa8? Qg4 12.g3 Qf3 forces mate) Kf8! (11...Kg8? 12.Qxb7 Qg4 13.Qb3+ and 14.Qxh3) 12.Qxb7 Qg4 13.Qxa8+ Kf7 14.Qb7+ Kf8 14.Qa8+ with a draw by perpetual check.  
When I first saw this game and was told about 10.Qd8, it seemed to me that Black just had to have something, but neither I nor my silicon friends have succeeded in proving a win or even an advantage for Black. Can any of my readers find something better for Black?

I can sympathize with Dennis - how can Black not win against the Jerome Gambit?? In a responding comment on his blog I shared
The line gets some analysis by Geoff Chandler and Todor Dimitrov on the former's hilarious website, Chandler Cornered
It goes like this. (Notes by Chandler.)

10.Qd8 Bh3 Threatening simply Qg4 and Qg2 mate. 11.Qxc7+ Kf8 This is best. [In my Game v Todd he played the natural 11...Kg8 which allows a check on b3 12.Qxb7 Qg4 13.Qb3+ Kg7 14.Qxh3] 12.gxh3 forced [If 12.Qxb7 Qg4 13.Qxa8+ Kf7 (13...Kg7 14.e5 d5 15.exf6+ Kxf6 16.Qxd5) 14.e5 d5 15.e6+ (15.Qb7+ Be7 16.e6+ Kg7 17.Qxe7+ Kh6 18.d4+ Kh5) 15...Kg7 16.Qb7+ Kh6 17.d4+ Kh5 and Black mates on g2] 12...Qxh3 This appears to be the best. It keeps the attack rolling and keeps the draw in hand. Remember we are seeing if 10.Qd8 beats the Blackburne line. 13.Qxb7 Ng4 [Or 13...Qg4+ and ...Qf3+ drawing.] 14.Qxa8+ Kg7 15.Qb7+ Kg8 16.Qc8+ Kg7 17.Qd7+ Kg8 18.Qe8+ Kg7 19.Qe7+ Kg8 Black has to allow the draw else 18.Qe8+ Kg7 19.Qf7+ kh6 10.d4+ wins. So it appears 10.Qd8 draws.
Note in the above that the conclusion is that the game is drawn -- the same conclusion as you came to, although the particular line you give (12.Qxb7 instead of Chandler and Dimitrov's 12.gxh3) seems to tilt toward White.

In a later post Monokroussos added
(2) In my main line, Kennedy, citing analysis by Geoff Chandler and Todor Dimitrov, varies from my 12.Qxb7 with 12.gxh3, showing that it likewise draws after 12...Qxh3 13.Qxb7 Qg4+ 14.Kh1 Qf3+ etc. or 13...Ng4 14.Qxa8+ etc. (Note that Black can't escape the checks with 14...Ke7 15.Qb7+! Kf6?? [15...Kd8/e8/f8=] because of 16.e5+ followed by 17.Qg2.) 
(3) Chandler & Dimitrov also mention 12.Qxb7 and suggest it loses, but the culprit is not 12.Qxb7 but their 14.e5?, after which Black has a forced mate. 
Very interesting and I'm grateful to Kennedy for his comment...but my dream remains unfulfilled - can't Black win after 10.Qd8, somehow?

Readers, is this confusing enough for you? Above, I quote Monokroussos quoting me quoting Chandler...

I have put the moves to Chandler - Dimitrov, cited by Chandler, above, in italics. The move 12.gxh3, which IM Lane gives as part of the game, is actually part of Chandler's analysis after 11...Kf8, not 11...Kg8, as played in the game - although Chandler says in his note that the move 12.gxh3 is "forced" which may have made it look like it was played.

I muddied things even more by referring, in my comment to Monokroussos, to "Chandler and Dimitrov's 12.gxh3" - the move was from their analysis, as presented by Chandler, above, not their game; andy by referring to 12.Qxb7, the actual move in the game, as "the particular line you give". Monokroussos seems to catch this, as indicated in his (2) note in the later post.

By the way, Monokroussos is right in note (3) in correcting Chandler's analysis (which I had provided) that after 10.Qd8 Bh3 11.Qxc7+ Kf8 12.Qxb7 White does not lose - after 12...Qg4 13.Qxa8+ Kf7 the move 14.e5 is "the culprit... after which Black has a forced mate". Instead, 14.Qb7+ Kf8 15.Qa8+ draws by repetition - as Monokroussos mentioned in his first post, after "...Now here's the puzzle." 

Still, Monokroussos doesn't escape completely. The later post, note (2), above, gives the sideline 12.gxh3 Qxh3 13.Qxb7 Ng4 [instead of 13...Qg4+, drawing] for Black, suggesting that after 14.Qxa8+ etc. the game is drawn as well - but White has, instead of grabbing the Rook, the forced Queen exchange after 14.Qb3+ (how un-Jerome-ish) 14...Qxb3 15.axb3 which leaves him a Rook and 3 pawns better.

Ah, yes, now everything now is as clear as... trash. 

(*- Chandler commented in Chandler Cornered about 10.Qd8 "This is my over the board improvement that I have since learnt was first suggested in 1951." I had told Chandler that P. Wenman mentioned the move in his Master Chess Play (1951). I later learned that the move had been played in Harris, S - Quayle, E., correspondence, 1944, although, of course, the move had been first suggested in the August 1885 issue of the Brooklyn Chess Chronicle.)