Thursday, May 31, 2012

Open Italian Jerome Gambit

What is a Jerome Gambit? Our chess friend Rick Kennedy has a great site on the various forms of the Jerome Gambit. I suggest you check it out.

Rick Kennedy lists five Jerome Gambit options and writes about them passionately:
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Jerome Gambit
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Bc5 5.Bxf7+ Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 h6 4.0-0 Bc5 5.Bxf7+ Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 h6 4.0-0 Nf6 5.Nc3 Bc5 6.Bxf7+ Semi-Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nd4 4.Bxf7+ Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit

Today I humbly present a possible sixth option:
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Nxe4 5.Bxf7+ Open Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit (borrowing from the "Open" Ruy Lopez idea with ...Nxe4)

In a recent Internet Chess Club game, my opponent "jeromed" chose to play a form of Jerome Gambit. Here White gets the piece back. In that way it is more Queen's Gambit than King's Gambit, but it has an aggressive feel. Bill Wall listed it as a "Noa Gambit, Four Knights", but it is so Jerome-ish that I am borrowing that name, especially in view of my opponent's ICC handle. Eventually Black gets a better game, and White misses a tactic. But as I note below, there were possible opening improvements for both sides.

And yes, this is the same Rick Kennedy I cite on page 19 of my Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Keybook II (published March 1999) under BDG Theory: "Rick Kennedy points out that the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit is a 1.d4 opening that plays like a 1.e4 opening."

jeromed-Sawyer, ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 24.05.2012 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Nxe4 5.Bxf7+ [The Jerome Gambit idea. Usually White plays 5.Nxe4 d5 6.Bd3 dxe4 (6...Nb4!= Kaufman) 7.Bxe4 Bd6= (7...Ne7!? is an interesting alternative.)] 5...Kxf7 6.Nxe4 d5 7.Ng3!? [By far the most common is 7.Neg5+ Kg8-/+ Material is even but theory favors Black with his two central pawns and two bishops. White has scored 22% from this position in over 200 games in my database.] 7...Bd6 [7...e4! 8.0-0 (or 8.Ng1 h5-/+) 8...exf3 9.Qxf3+ Qf6 10.Qxd5+ Be6 11.Qb5 Nd4 12.Qxb7 Bd6 when Black is well developed and aggressively poised, but White has at moment three pawns for the sacrificed bishop.] 8.d3 Rf8 9.Bg5 [White can quickly castle kingside: 9.0-0 Kg8 10.h3 h6 11.c4 Fighting for e4 for the Ng3. 11...Be6 12.cxd5 Bxd5 13.Ne4 Nd4 14.Nxd4 exd4 15.Qg4 with a playable game for White, although it seems Black a little stands better.] 9...Qe8 10.Qd2 Kg8 [10...h6 forces White to somehow give up his bishop, but I wanted a safer king in a 3 minute blitz game.] 11.0-0-0 Bg4 12.h3 Black gives up a pawn for an open g-file. 12...Bxf3 13.gxf3 Rxf3 14.Rhg1 Qf7 15.Nh1 Kh8 Unpinning the g-pawn. 16.c3 d4 17.c4 Rf8 [I missed 17...Nb4!-+] 18.Bh4? Missing the diagonal threat to follow. 18...e4 19.dxe4? Bf4 White resigns as the queen is lost. 0-1

You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Queens Fianchetto Split Pawn Soup

Every once in a while you face a player who begins with the Queens Fianchetto (1...b6). This was originally named after Rev. John Owen who played it against Paul Morphy over 150 years ago. I have tried many different things against 1...b6. It can resemble a type of French Defence.

Below is a three minute blitz game I played on the Internet Chess Club. This time I get mixed up in my ideas and get nothing special out of the opening. I had a couple shots at an advantage but missed them both.

In the ending, I blundered and was losing for a moment. My opponent returned the favor. Both sides would have split pawns but had to decide which pawns they would go with. Both sides made many mistakes. In the end, Black had b&d pawns. White had a&g pawns. The race was on, but Black wasted one tempo in time pressure and lost.

Sawyer-vladdfallavenna, ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 23.05.2012 begins 1.d4 b6 2.e4 Bb7 3.Nc3 e6 4.Bd3 Bb4 5.Nf3 [White could try 5.Nge2 Nf6 6.0-0+/-] 5...Nf6 6.e5 [6.Qe2 d5=] 6...Ne4 7.Bd2 [7.Bxe4] 7...Nxc3 8.bxc3 Be7 9.0-0 0-0 10.Qe2 d5 11.Qe3 c5 12.Ng5 Bxg5 13.Qxg5 Qxg5 14.Bxg5 Ba6 15.Bxa6 [15.dxc5=] 15...Nxa6 16.Rab1 f6 17.exf6 gxf6 18.Bf4 c4?! [Black is better with 18...cxd4 19.cxd4 Rfc8=/+] 19.Rfe1 Rfe8 20.Re2 Kf7 21.Rbe1 Rac8 22.Bd6 [I am playing quickly, but I am not playing good moves. 22.f3+/= ] 22...Nc7 23.Bxc7?! Rxc7 24.f4 b5 25.a3 Rce7 26.Kf2 e5 27.dxe5 fxe5 28.fxe5 Kg6 [28...Ke6=] 29.e6?! [29.Kg3+/=] 29...Kf6 30.g3 Rxe6 31.Rxe6+ Rxe6 32.Rxe6+ Kxe6 33.Ke3 Ke5 34.Kf3? [34.g4!=] 34...a5? [34...d4!-+ wins for Black.] 35.Ke3 h6? [35...h5!=] 36.h3? [36.g4!+- wins] 36...h5 37.g4 hxg4? [37...h4!=] 38.hxg4 b4 39.cxb4 axb4 40.a4? [Too cute. The win is easy after 40.axb4+- ] 40...d4+ 41.Kd2 b3 42.cxb3 cxb3 43.a5 b2 44.Kc2 Ke4 45.Kxb2 Ke3 46.a6 Ke2? [By now I realized that the game was a draw on the board, though I believe I was ahead on time. I was surprised to see him waste the tempo allowing me to win. 46...d3!= ] 47.a7 d3 48.a8Q d2 49.Qe4+ 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Blackmar-Diemer Ryder "Refuted?"

Jocelyn Bond comments about whether the Ryder Gambit (1.d4 d5 2.e4 exd4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Qxf3) and asks whether it has been refuted by 5...Qxd4 6.Be3 Qg4 7.Qf2 e5?

"This e5 variation is a refutation of the Ryder? 2 pawns up, it is big material advantage.
I think in the other variations...i think about
5...Nc6 6.Bb5 seems ok for White
5...c6 6.Be3 is often played against me and
5..e6 6.Bf4 (6...Qxd4? 7.Nb5 is strong) 6...Bd6 7.Bg5 seems standard here
5...g6! 6.Bf4 seems to be a good plan for black. but i like to place my bishop on e5....
Anyway Tim you are very kind to do a blog on the Ryder accepted...
I heard about the Schiller book but nothing more... it seems excellent... Do you know if he says that the ryder is refuted by Qxd4?"

"Refuted" in chess opening terminology has to do with theory or evidence. Basically, a variation is refuted if: when you play it, you lose.
There are three types of "refuted" variations:
1. When computer analysis overwhelmingly favors your opponent's side.
2. When the performance ratings are significantly below expectations.
3. When you lose regularly with this variation against your opponents.

Let's look at each one individually in regards to the Ryder Gambit and 7...e5 line.
1. Computer analysis favors Black, but not quite by two pawns. White usually has compensation for only one of the two pawns sacrificed. That is bad for White.
2. Performance rating for the Ryder is above expectations, but after 7...e5 below. 5.Qxf3 scores 60% with a performance rating +52 points above actual rating (1346 games), but after 7...e5 White scores 47% with a performance rating -42 points below actual rating (272 games). This means about 1 in 5 players as Black have followed up 5.Qxf3 with all three moves, Qxd4/Qg4/e5. Those who play this way have scored well with Black. In the games where the other four players varied, White did well.
3. Are your opponents likely to regularly find very good moves for Black? The higher they are rated, the more likely they are to know this stuff. Diemer was still winning with the Ryder Gambit in his 80s, so there is practical value, along with real risk.

One author that recommends 7...e5! for Black is IM James Rizzitano in his book "How to Beat 1 d4" ("A sound and ambitious repertoire based on the Queen's Gambit Accepted"). Rizzitano sites a few games as examples, the first one being Alex Lane - Tim Sawyer, played in one of Tom Purser's thematic BDG tourneys in 1997. Lane chose 8.Be2. Better seems to be 8.Nf3 or 8.a3, but Black stands better in theory. To sum up I quote International Master James Rizzitano again: "The Ryder Gambit is unsound and the reader should be extremely sceptical of any claims to the contrary."

Lane-Sawyer, corr BDG thematic (2), 1997 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Qxf3 Qxd4 6.Be3 Qg4 7.Qf2 e5 8.Be2 Qf5 9.Qg3 Bb4 10.0-0-0 Bxc3 11.bxc3 0-0 12.Bd3 e4 13.Bc4 Qa5 14.Ne2 Be6 15.Bb3 Bg4 16.Bd4 Nbd7 17.Rhe1 c5 18.Bxf6 Nxf6 19.Rd6 c4 20.Bxc4 Bxe2 21.Bxe2 Qxa2 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Monday, May 28, 2012

Blackmar-Diemer Avoided Paleface Attack

I have been playing many 3 minute blitz games per day. My focus has been to play opening moves where I have the best performance rating. As of today, I have the same performance with 1.d4 and 1.e4. I am working more on my 1.d4 repertoire right now.

After 1.d4 Nf6, my best lifetime performance rating in the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit Avoided has been the Paleface Attack 2.f3. This month I played 2.f3 most often, but it is only one rating point above my 2.Nc3 lines with 2.c4 is just a few ratings points below that. With other moves 2.Nf3, 2.Bf4 and 2.Bg5 I have had much less success. All other 2nd moves I have tried beyond those six have not worked well for me.

In the game below, Black delays ...dxe4 until move six. After that I do get a kingside attack which eventually wins. I kicked myself that I missed 19.Qe4!, but at 3 0 speed (playing a move every 2 seconds or so) I often see a good move a couple seconds after I make a move.

Sawyer-vladdfallavenna, ICC 3 0 Internet Chess Club, 23.05.2012 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 d5 3.e4 e6 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Bg5 [Two alternatives are the solid 5.e5 ; or the gambit 5.Be3 ] 5...Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 dxe4 7.fxe4 h6 8.Bxf6 Qxf6 9.Nf3 0-0 10.e5 [Or 10.Bd3+/= ] 10...Qe7 11.Bd3 c5 12.0-0 Nc6 13.Qd2 cxd4 14.cxd4 Nb4 15.Be4 Nd5 16.c4 Nb6 17.Bd3 [17.Rac1] 17...Bd7 18.Qf4!? g5? [18...Bc6 19.Rac1+/=] 19.Qg4 [Even stronger was 19.Qe4! f5 20.exf6 Rxf6 21.Ne5+-] 19...f6 20.exf6 Qxf6 21.Ne5 Qe7 22.Rxf8+ Rxf8 23.Ng6 Qa3 24.Nxf8 Qxd3 25.Nxd7 Qc3? 26.Qxe6+ Kh8 27.Qf6+ Kh7 28.Qf7+ [28.Nf8+ Kg8 29.Qg6+ Kxf8 30.Rf1+ leads to a quick mate.] 28...Kh8 29.Rf1 Qxd4+ 30.Kh1 Qxd7 31.Qf8+ Kh7 32.Rf7+ 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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104 London System Repertoire: 1.d4 d5 Classical

Here on Main Line Monday we finish up the London System Repertoire by compiling prepared responses to the most common Classical moves Black will try. This usually involves Black playing 1.d4 d5 2.Bf4 with a combination of ...e6/...c5/...Nf6 in any order.

Note that I follow the recommendation to play 2.Bf4 vs 1..d5 but 2.Nf3/3.Bf4 vs 1...Nf6. For most lines it rarely matters, but for some it is better to play this way. Holding back Nf3 (say after 1.d4/2.Bf4/3.e3) allows the White queen to cover h5, thus avoiding for the moment Nf6-Nh5xB.

Next week we will cover one related line in the Slav Defence (3.cxd5 cxd5) which can transpose to some London lines. Then we move on to something completely different.

[Event "London System"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2012.05.28"]
[Round "?"]
[White "104 London"]
[Black "1.d4 d5 2.Bf4 Nf6 3.e3"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "D02"]
[Annotator "Sawyer,Timothy E"]
[PlyCount "23"]
[SourceDate "2012.01.29"]

1. d4 d5 2. Bf4 Nf6 3. e3 e6 (3... c5 4. c3 Nc6 (4... Qb6 5. Qb3 Qxb3 (5... c4
6. Qxb6 axb6 7. Nf3 Nc6 8. Na3 Bf5 (8... Ra5 9. Bc7) 9. Nb5) 6. axb3 cxd4 7.
exd4 Nc6 8. Nf3 Bf5 9. Nbd2) 5. Nd2 Qb6 (5... cxd4 6. exd4) 6. Qb3 c4 (6... Bf5
7. dxc5) 7. Qc2) (3... c6 4. c4 Bf5 (4... e6 5. Nc3) 5. Nc3 e6 6. Qb3 Qb6 7. c5
Qxb3 8. axb3 Nbd7 9. b4) (3... Bf5 4. c4 c6 (4... e6 5. Nc3 Nc6 (5... c6 6. Qb3
) (5... Bb4 6. Nf3) 6. Nf3 Bb4 (6... Be7 7. Be2) (6... a6 7. Rc1) 7. Bd3) 5.
Nc3 e6 6. Qb3 Qb6 (6... Qc8 7. Nf3 Nbd7 8. Nh4) 7. c5 Qxb3 8. axb3 Nbd7 9. b4)
(3... g6 4. Nf3) (3... Nc6 4. Nf3) (3... Bg4 4. Nf3) 4. Nd2 c5 (4... Bd6 5. Bg3
O-O 6. Bd3 c5 7. c3 cxd4 (7... Nc6 8. Ngf3) 8. exd4) (4... Be7 5. Bd3 O-O 6. c3
) (4... c6 5. Bd3) 5. c3 Nc6 6. Ngf3 Bd6 (6... Be7 7. Ne5 O-O (7... Nxe5 8.
dxe5 Nd7 9. Bd3 O-O 10. Qh5) 8. Bd3 Bd7 (8... Nxe5 9. dxe5 Nd7 10. Qh5) (8...
Nd7 9. Nxc6 bxc6 10. Nf3) 9. Qf3 Rc8 10. Qh3) (6... cxd4 7. exd4 Bd6 8. Bxd6
Qxd6 9. Bd3 O-O 10. O-O e5 (10... Qf4 11. Re1) (10... Bd7 11. Re1) 11. dxe5
Nxe5 12. Nxe5 Qxe5 13. Re1) (6... Qb6 7. Qb3 Be7 (7... Qxb3 8. axb3) 8. h3) (
6... a6 7. Bd3 Be7 8. h3 O-O 9. O-O) (6... Nh5 7. Bg5 Qb6 8. dxc5 Bxc5 (8...
Qxb2 9. Nd4 Qxc3 10. Rc1) 9. b4 Bd6 10. Nc4) (6... Bd7 7. Bd3 Be7 8. Ne5) 7.
Bg3 O-O (7... Bxg3 8. hxg3 Qd6 9. Bb5) 8. Bd3 Qe7 (8... Re8 9. Ne5 Bxe5 (9...
Qc7 10. f4 Ne7 11. O-O) (9... Qe7 10. O-O Nd7 11. f4) 10. dxe5 Nd7 11. Nf3 Qc7
12. O-O Ndxe5 (12... g6 13. e4) 13. Nxe5 Nxe5 14. Qh5) (8... b6 9. Ne5 Bb7 10.
f4 Ne7 11. O-O) 9. Ne5 Nd7 (9... Bxe5 10. dxe5 Nd7 11. f4 f6 12. Nf3) 10. f4 f6
11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. O-O *

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Brown Requests Blackmar-Diemer

The Carlisle tournament was directed by USCF expert Richard P. Brown. When we came to the final round, we were paired vs each other. Also, Brown and I entered that round tied at 1.5 points with Russell Palkendo, whom I drew in round 2.

Richard Brown was a fan of the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. He noticed that I had prepared to play 1.e4 as White instead of the 1.d4. Thus he made me an offer: We could agree to an unrated 1/2 point bye in the third round if during that round I would agree to play him an unrated BDG where I have White and Brown has Black. I agreed.

We played a BDG Teichmann following the main line for 10 moves. Then I get sidetracked and misplay the attack failing to find good moves that were there. Brown was a higher rated USCF expert and I was a lower rated USCF expert. He outplayed me and won easily. As for the tournament, Russ Palkendo won his final round, so Brown and I tied for second. We probably won $5 or so for 2nd place. I dropped one rating point.

Sawyer - Brown, 4th Saturday Carlisle Open (3), 25.05.1996 begins 1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 c6 8.Be3 e6 9.Bd3 Nbd7 10.0-0 Be7 11.g4 [Here I deviate from the traditional main line of the Teichmann Exchange Variation which is to double the rooks with 11.Rf2 0-0 12.Raf1; Another common idea is 11.Ne4 ] 11...0-0 12.g5 [Consistent. Or 12.Rf2 Nd5 13.Nxd5 cxd5 14.Raf1] 12...Nd5 13.Qe4?! [Correct is 13.Nxd5! keeping the Be3 instead of the Nc3. White can follow up with 14.h4 with good attacking chances.] 13...g6 14.h4 [14.Nxd5 is still good.] 14...Nxe3 15.Qxe3 c5! White is trying to keep things closed, but it fails tactically. 16.d5? c4! 17.d6 Bxd6 18.Ne4 Bc7 19.Kg2 [Saving the bishop with 19.Bxc4? costs White the queen after 19...Bb6-+] 19...cxd3 20.Nf6+? [White is busted. The alternative also loses: 20.Qxd3 f5 21.gxf6 Nxf6 22.Qxd8 Bxd8-+] 20...Nxf6 21.gxf6 Qd5+ 22.Rf3 Be5 23.Kh3 Bxb2 [23...dxc2!-+] 24.Raf1 dxc2 25.Qh6 Bxf6 26.Rxf6 Rac8 27.Qf4 Rc4 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Rachel Crotto & Michael Rohde

The 1974 United States Junior Chess Open played at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania was about my 12th chess tournament. I finished 4.5-3.5. After this, the only USCF rated tournaments I played prior to 1981 were three events in Maine, Tennessee and Alabama in 1977. To improve faster, you should play more than I did.

I never played chess as a child. I had voted in the 1972 US Presidential Election and was still playing as a "Junior" in 1974! Naturally I was already one of the oldest players in the 1974 US Junior Open. You had to be under age 21, and I was, by a few weeks. I had the privilege of playing several future masters and experts: Bob Bayus, Frank Teuton, Thomas Costigan, Meeks Vaughan Jr, and Leo Schirber.

Beyond that I got to play two other significant players: future grandmaster Michael A. Rohde and Rachel Crotto, one of the top female players in the country. They were both much younger than I. Michael Rohde I played in the blitz championship. I remember he responded to my Caro-Kann 4.Nxe4 Nd7 with 6.Ng3, playing solidly and keeping the pieces on the board. When he was ready, Rohde mounted a successful kingside attack.

Rachel Crotto and I played several blitz games for fun. We met on the first day and spent a lot of time together in between rounds. At that time, I was a country bumpkin and she was a city girl. She was rated about 300 points above me then. Rachel Crotto went on to earn a USCF National Master Certificate and to become a Women's International Master. Like most from our generation, she has long since retired from active play. Below is the only game I recorded that we played, a very rare (for me) Pirc Defence as Black.

Crotto-Sawyer, Lancaster, PA 09.08.1974 begins 1.e4 d6 2.d4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.Nf3 Nd7 5.Bc4 Ngf6? [If you want to play an early ...Nd7, then it makes sense to bring out the other knight via e7: 5...e6 6.0-0 Ne7] 6.e5 dxe5 7.dxe5 Ng8 8.e6 [Even stronger is 8.Bxf7+! Kxf7 9.Ng5+ Ke8 10.Ne6 with smothered mate to the queen.] 8...fxe6 9.Ng5 Ne5 10.Qxd8+ Kxd8 11.Bxe6 h6 12.Bxc8 Kxc8 13.Ne6 Bf6 14.Nd5 c6 15.Ndc7 Rb8 16.Bf4 h5 17.0-0-0 Nd7 18.Rd3 [White has a mate in four: 18.Rxd7! Kxd7 19.Rd1+ Bd4 20.Rxd4+ Kc8 21.Rd8#] 18...g5 19.Rhd1 Nh6 20.Rxd7 Nf7 21.Na6 Be5 22.Bxe5 intending 23.Rc7 mate. A very nice game for White. 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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