Friday, April 28, 2017

Jerome Gambit: You Can't Always Tell

Pushing a Rook pawn can be wise or unwise; you can't always tell. A lot depends upon the position. A quick look will not always let you know. You might just reject such a move, on principle, only to learn later that it was best. 

Wall, Bill - Szachowski, 2017

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Nf6

7.dxe5 Bxf2+

I referred to this move as "interesting" in a previous post.

An alternative is the straightforward 7...Nxe4 8.Qd5+ Kf8 (8...Ke8 9.Qxe4 Bxf2+ 10.Kxf2 Rf8+ 11.Kg1 d5 12.exd6+ Kd7 13.Nc3 Qf6 14.Bf4 g5 15.Rd1 cxd6 16.Rxd6+ Black resigned, Wall,B - NN,, 2016) 9.Qxe4 d6 10.O-O Be6 11.Nc3 a6 12.Be3 Bb6 13.Rad1 d5 14.Nxd5 Bxd5 15.Rxd5 Qe7 16.Bxb6 cxb6 17.Rfd1 Qe6 18.Rd6 Qxa2 19.Qf5+ Qf7 20.Rd8+ Ke7 21.Qd7 checkmate, Wall,B - TenAndOnly10,, 2016

Stockfish 8 prefers 7...Qe7.

8.Kxf2 Nxe4+ 9.Kg1 d5 10.Qf3+

On par with the earlier 10.Nc3 Nxc3 11.Qf3+ Ke8 12.Qxc3 Be6 13.Be3 c6 14.Rd1 Rf8 15.h3 Qh4 16.Rd4 Qg3 17.Rd3 Qg6 18.Kh2 Kd7 19.Qb4 b5 20.Qd6+ Black resigned, Wall,B - MyDrunkAccount,, 2016.

10...Kg6 11.Nc3 Rf8 12.Qd3 Bf5 13.Nxd5 c6

Stockfish 8 suggests that Black would maintain a slight edge with 13...h6, which is not the kind of move one usually chooses against a gambit.

14.Nf4+ Kf7 15.Qc4+ Ke8 16.Be3 g5 17.Nh5 Bg6

The reinforcement arrives - just in time to face a forced checkmate.

18.Qe6+ Qe7 19.Ng7+ Kd8 20.Rd1+ Black resigned

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Lack of Development, Congestion, Disaster

Gambits are all about development and attack. Failing to defend against gambits is often about lack of development, and its consequences. Witness the following game.

Wall, Bill - WGMS
FICS, 2017

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bb6 

Again, a reasonable line. See "A Reasonable Line".

7.dxe5 Ne7 

Not the only line Bill has faced, to wit -

7...Qh4 8.Qf3+ Ke7 (8...Ke8 9.Nc3 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,, 2016) 10.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,, 2016)
9.Nc3 Nh6 10.Nd5+ Kd8 11.O-O Bd4 12.g3 Qh3 13.Bg5+ Ke8 14.Nxc7 checkmate, Wall,B-Guest6766281,, 2017;

7...d6 8.O-O Be6 9.Qf3+ Ke8 10.Nc3 a6 11.Be3 dxe5 12.Qh5+ Bf7 13.Qxe5+ Qe7 14.Qxg7 Qf6 15.Bh6 Bd4 16.e5 Qg6 17.Qf8+ Kd7 18.Qxa8 Qxh6 19.Rfd1 c5 20.Qxb7+ Ke8 21.Qb8+ Ke7 22.Ne2 Bh5 23.Nxd4 Bxd1 24.Nf5+ Black resigned, Wall,B - TenAndOnly10,, 2016; and

7...Qe7 8.Qf3+ Ke8 9.Nc3 Qxe5 10.O-O Nf6 11.Bf4 Qh5 12.Qg3 d6 13.Qxg7 Rf8 14.Nd5 Qf7 15.Bh6 Nxd5 16.Qxf8+ Qxf8 17.Bxf8 Kxf8 18.exd5 Bf5 19.c3 Re8 20.Rfe1 Be4 21.Rad1 Kf7 22.Kf1 Re5 23.f3 Bg6 24.Rxe5 dxe5 25.Ke2 e4 26.b4 exf3+ 27.Kxf3 Bh5+ 28.g4 Bg6 29.c4 a6 30.d6 cxd6 31.Rxd6 Bb1 32.Rxb6 Bxa2 33.Rxb7+ Ke6 34.Rb6+ Kd7 35.c5 Black resigned, Wall,B - NN,, 2016.

8.Qf3+ Ke8 9.O-O Rf8 10.Qh5+ g6 11.Qxh7 g5 12.Qh5+ Rf7 13.Bxg5 

Despite Black's dogged Kingside defense, it is likely that White's four pawns are worth more than Black's extra piece.

13...c6 14.Nd2 Qc7

Getting out of the pin on the Knight, but Black needed the freedom that would come with 14...d5.


Targeting the d6 square, which Black overlooks.

15...a5 16.Nd6+ Black resigned

Black can avoid mate only by giving up his Queen.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Plenty of Ways to Block Development

The classic development problem for Black in the Jerome Gambit is to have his d-pawn stay unmoved, which blocks in the light-squared Bishop, which keeps a Rook at home. The following game shows an interesting variant: a Knight retreats to the back row, un-developing, keeping the Rook out of play. The result is an exciting sacrificial attack on Black's King. The defender can return material, but the imbalance that would result would favor White - enough so that Black resigned.

Wall, Bill - Number555777, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bxd4 7.Qxd4 Nc6 8.Qd3 

A novelty, according to The Database, which is a bit of a surprise. 

Bill has played a couple of other Queen moves:

8.Qd5+ Kf8 9.Nc3 Nf6 10.Qc4 d6 11.O-O Ne5 12.Qb3 c6 13.f4 Nf7 14.Be3 Qe7 15.Rae1 Be6 16.Qb4 a5 17.Qd4 Ng4 18.Bc1 c5 19.Qd3 h5 20.h3 Ngh6 21.f5 Bd7 22.Nd5 Qd8 23.f6 g6 24.Ne7 Ne5 25.Qxd6 Nhf7 26.Qxc5 b6 27.Qd5 Be8 28.Bf4 Qxd5 29.exd5 Bb5 30.Rf2 Nd7 31.Nxg6+ Kg8 32.Nxh8 Kxh8 33.Re7 Kg8 34.Be3 Rc8 35.b3 Nde5 36.Bxb6 Black resigned, Wall,B - Guest7503555,, 2017; and

8.Qc4+ Ke8 (8...Kf8 9.O-O Qf6 10.Nc3 Qd4 11.Qe2 Nge7 12.Nb5 Qb6 13.Be3 Qa5 14.c4 a6 15.Bd2 Qb6 16.Qf3+ Kg8 17.Qb3 axb5 18.c5+ Black resigned, Wall,B - Guest526975,, 2016) 9.O-O d6 10.Nc3 Qe7 11.Re1 Ne5 12.Qd4 c5 13.Qd2 Nf6 14.f4 Nc4 15.Qe2 Be6 16.e5 Bg4 17.Qxc4 Black resigned, Wall,B-Kas55,, 2016.

8...Nf6 9.Nc3 d6 10.O-O h6 11.f4 Re8 12.Bd2 Kg8 13.Rae1 a6

Black has wisely safeguarded his King by castling-by-hand. The moves of his a- and h-pawns, however, all in the name of defense, could eventually prove troublesome if development becomes an issue.

For now, the defender still has the better position.

14.Nd5 Be6 15.Bc3 Bxd5 16.exd5 Nb8 

How suddenly things change! The retreat allows White to attack. 

17.Bxf6 gxf6 18.Qg6+ Kf8 19.Qxh6+ Kg8 20.Qg6+ Kf8 21.Re5 

Very nice! When your opponent can play a move like this, you know you are in deep trouble.


Or 21...Rxe5 22.fxe5 dxe5 23.Rxf6+ Qxf6 24.Qxf6+ Ke8 25.Qxe5+, etc as the Queen dominates the opponent's two pieces; or 21...Qe7 22.Rxe7 Rxe7 23.Rf3 and the other Rook penetrates. 

22.fxe5 Nd7 23.exf6 Black resigned

Black will have to give up Knight and Queen for White's Rook, and then White's Queen plus three extra pawns should outplay Black's two Rooks.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Pathfinding

Sometimes a player will find a path through the forest that is the Jerome Gambit. Later, others will clarify the way. In the following game, Bill Wall makes the way a bit clearer.

Wall, Bill - Nikelin, 2017

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bd6 

7.dxe5 Bxe5 

The best response was 7...Bb4+.

8.Qh5+ Ke6 9.Qf5+ Kd6 10.Na3 

This is right, the Knight should go to a3, not c3, as we shall see.


In HauntedKnight - VSRajput, FCIS, 2015, White had the right idea in responsing to 10...Bf6, but then lost his way: 11.Nc4+ Ke7 12.Bf4 d6 13.Qb5 Qe8 14.O-O-O Qxb5 15.b3 Be6 16.Ne3 Qb4 17.g4 Qa3+ 18.Kd2 g5 19.Bg3 h5 20.h4 gxh4 21.Bxh4 hxg4 22.Bxf6+ Nxf6 23.Rxh8 Rxh8 24.f4 gxf3 25.Rf1 Nxe4+ 26.Kd3 Ng5 27.c4 Qxa2 28.Re1 Qxb3+ 29.Kd2 Ne4+ 30.Kc1 Qc3+ 31.Nc2 Nf2 32.Kb1 Kf6 33.Rf1 Rh1 34.Rxh1 Nxh1 White resigned

11.Nc4+ Ke7 12.Bg5

White missed his chance after 12.Qxe5+ Qxe5 13.Nxe5 d6 14.Bg5+ Ke6 15.Nc4 b5 16.Ne3 h6 17.Bh4 g5 18.Bg3 Nf6 19.f3 b4 20.b3 Ba6 21.O-O-O Bb5 22.h4 Nh5 23.Be1 Nf4 24.hxg5 hxg5 25.Rxh8 Rxh8 26.Bxb4 Rh2 27.Rg1 Ne2+ 28.Kd2 Nxg1 29.Bc3 Nxf3+ 30.Kc1 Rh1+ 31.Kb2 Nh4 32.g3 Ng6 33.Nd5 c6 34.Ne3 Rh3 35.Nf5 Ne5 36.a4 Be2 37.Nd4+ Kd7 38.Nxe2 Rh2 39.Nd4 c5 40.Nf5 Nd3+ 41.Ka3 Nb4 42.Bxb4 cxb4+ 43.Kxb4 Rxc2 44.Nd4 Rg2 45.e5 dxe5 46.Nf3 Rxg3 47.Nxe5+ Ke6 48.Nc4 Rg4 when White forfeited on time, noatun - Papaflesas, FICS, 2008.

12...d6 13.Bxf6+ gxf6 14.Qf3 Black resigned

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Jerome Gambit: It Is Not Enough...

I have said this before, many times: It is not enough to know that the Jerome Gambit is refuted; it is not enough to know the move that refutes it; it is not enough to play the refutation - as Black, you have to win the game.

It is helpful for the defender to know that out of 12,686 games in The Database that start 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+, White wins only 45%. The following game, however, is one of those times.

Wall, Bill - Guest7715764, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Qh4 

This is probably the strongest response to 6.d4, although you wouldn't know it by Bill's record against it: 13 - 0 - 1. 

7.O-O Nf6

This is one of a number of continuations for Black, here focusing on development rather than saving a piece - one has to go, anyhow.

8.dxc5 Qxe4 9.Nc3 Qb4 

You may ask yourself, "What does White have here?" Good question. The game will be over in a dozen moves, so watch closely.

10.Nd5 Qxc5 11.Nxf6 Kxf6 12.Be3 Qc6 

This seems simple enough, but it allows White to win back his sacrificed piece and achieve an even game.

Remember the old adage: When White has equalized in the Jerome Gambit, he has the advantage.

13.Bd4 Rf8 14.f4 Kg6 15.Bxe5 

Who is better now? Look at Black's d-pawn blocking his light-squared Bishop which is blocking his Rook... While Black works on this situation, his King falls deeper into danger.

15...d6 16.Qd3+ Bf5 17.Qg3+ Kf7 18.Qxg7+ Ke8 19.Rfe1 

19...dxe5 20.Rxe5+ Be6 21.Rae1 Black resigned

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Jerome Gambit: A Casual Stroll

Bill Wall recently sent me a few more of his Jerome Gambits. As he said, some are good, some are bad. None are quite as outrageous as the following.

Wall, Bill - Neilson, Criag
Florida, USA, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

This appears to be an over-the-board game, which already makes it very interesting.

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ 

Interesting. Bill moves away from his favorite 6.d4.

6...g6 7.Qxe5 Qe7 8.Qxh8 

Wow! Into the mouth of the beast!

One of the many reasons the Jerome Gambit is considered "unplayable" is Whistler's Defense (7...Qe7!). The Rook is supposed to be untouchable.

Not for Bill Wall. "Danger" is his midde name. He considers things like the Pamplona bull run to be a casual stroll down some interesting avenues.


After 8...Qf6 the game did not last long: 9.Qxh7+ Kf8 10.O-O Black resigned, Wall,B - Sepoli,, 2010


The alternative, 9.Kd1, was seen in Jerome,A-Whistler,G, correspondence, 1876 (0-1, 15) - but also in Wall,B - Mathieubuntu, FICS, 2011 (1/2-1/2, 14).

9...Nf6 10.d3 Qd4

This looks like an improvement over 10...Qf5 in Jerome,A - Norton,D, correspondence, 1876 (1/2-1/2, 20). 

11.Be3 Qxb2 12.Bxc5 Qxa1 

It looks like things will come down to which King is the most vulnerable.

13.Qf8+ Ke6 14.Qe7+ Kf5 15.Ke2 Qe5+ 16.Qxe5+ Kxe5

Very interesting. Is Black for choice because his King is better developed? Or will the blocked-in-light-squared-Bishop-blocking-the-Rook theme give White an edge?

17.Re1 d6 18.Kf3+ Kf5 19.Bd4 Kg5

A dangerous slip.

20.h4+ Kf5 21.Re7 Nd5 


22.g4 checkmate