Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Delayed Pie-in-the-Face

Image result for free clip art pie in the face

The difference between a very strong counter in the Jerome Gambit at move 6 and an ineffective defensive line (the same move one tempo later) shows the problem with delaying an active riposte. 

Wall, Bill - Guest6766281
PlayChess.com, 2017

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bb6

Black can decide which piece to save, the Bishop or the Knight. The text is a reasonable line.

Of course, Black's strongest response is to ignore both of the pieces and play 6...Qh4!?, what I have referred to as a pie-in-the-face variation.

7.dxe5 Qh4

A delayed pie-in-the-face? Tossing pies is very much a part of slapstick humor - and timing is always critical in comedy.

This line has been faced by Jerome Gambiteers chessmanjeff, frizerkaHR, GOH, HauntedKnight, jfhumphrey, ndrwgn, stretto, Wall and yorgos. As a group, they have not been impressed.

8.Qf3+ Ke7

A slightly better retreat is 8...Ke8, e.g. 9.Nc3 (9.O-O Ne7 10.Nc3 Rf8 11.Qe2 g5 12.Be3 Ng6 13.Nd5 Kd8 14.Qd2 h6 15.Bxb6 axb6 16.Nxc7 Kxc7 17.Qd6+ Kd8 18.Qxg6 Re8 19.Qxb6+ Ke7 20.Qf6 checkmate, Wall,B - Guest2616286, PlayChess.com, 2017) 9...Ne7 (9...Bxf2+ 10.Qxf2 Qxf2+ 11.Kxf2 Nh6 12.Nd5 Ng4+ 13.Kg3 Kd8 14.Bg5+ Nf6 15.exf6 h6 16.fxg7+ Ke8 17.gxh8=Q+ Kf7 18.Rhf1+ Kg6 19.Qxh6 checkmate, Wall,B - Shillam, lichess.org, 201610.g3 Qh3 11.Be3 d6 12.Bxb6 cxb6 13.exd6 Ng6 14.Nd5 Qd7 15.Nc7+ Kd8 16.Nxa8 Qxd6 17.Rd1 Ne5 18.Rxd6+ Ke7 19.Qc3 Kxd6 20.Qd4+ Ke6 21.Nc7+ Kf7 22.Qxe5 Rd8 23.Nb5 Bg4 24.Qf4+ Kg8 25.Qxg4 a6 26.Qe6+ Kh8 27.Nd6 Rb8 28.Nf7+ Kg8 29.Nh6+ Kh8 30.Qg8+ Rxg8 31.Nf7 checkmate, Wall,B - Itboss, lichess.org, 2016.


Or 9.O-O Nh6 10.Nc3 Rf8 11.Nd5+ Kd8 12.Qxf8 checkmate, Wall,B - Guest2293428, PlayChess.com, 2017.

9...Nh6 10.Nd5+ Kd8

Once again, e8 is the better square for the King.


White also has the sneaky 11.h3!? threatening g2-g3, winning the Queen. Black could escape by returning a piece for two pawns, i.e. 11...Bxf2+ 12. Qxf2 Qxe4+ but White would be better.

For the record, 11.g3?! directly could be answered by 11...Qg4 and White does not gain much by exchanging Queens, while he would lose time if he movee his Queen to avoid the swap.


Looking to grab the pawn at e5, but he is overlooking a few things. He could have maintained an even game with 11...c6 12.Nxb6 axb6.

12.g3 Qh3

Why was e8 the better square for Black's King to retreat to (as suggested in the note to move 10)?

Why was the Black Bishop's trip to d4 problematic (as mentioned in the note to move 11)?

Why couldn't Black retreat his Queen to g4 (as in the note to move 11), instead of h3?

13.Bg5+ Ke8 14.Nxc7 checkmate

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