Saturday, September 26, 2020

Jerome Gambit: A Recent Day in the Life


The following game is another one of those "day in the life" kind of things, as there are opening issues, middle game issues, endgame issues, time error issues... And yet, somehow, the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) player comes out ahead again.

Does he play the Jerome because he is lucky, or is he lucky because he plays the Jerome?


MrBizkit - joelvzg

3 0 blitz, Chess.com, 2020


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


4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ng6 

7.Qd5+ Ke8 8.Qxc5 N8e7 9.d4


White builds his pawn center while cutting off his Queen's retreat to e3.

Also recently seen

9.Qe3 Rf8 10.d4 Kf7 11.O-O Kg8 12.Nc3 Nc6 13.d5 Nce5 14.Nb5 a6 15.Na3 b5 16.b3 b4 17.Nb1 a5 18.Nd2 d6 19.Nc4 Ba6 20.Nxe5 Nxe5 21.f4 Bxf1 22.fxe5 Ba6 23.c4 Rf1+ 24.Kxf1 Black resigned, MrBizkit - Blessed1111, 3 0 blitz, Chess.com, 2020;

9.d3 b6 10.Qc4 Bb7 11.Bg5 Rf8 12.O-O h6 13.Bh4 Qc8 14.Bg3 c5 15.Nc3 Nc6 16.Nd5 Kd8 17.e5 Ncxe5 18.Bxe5 Nxe5 19.Qe4 Qc6 20.Qxe5 Kc8 21.Ne7+ Kd8 22.Nxc6+ Bxc6 23.Rfe1 Kc8 24.Qe7 Kb7 25.Qxg7 Rg8 26.Qe7 Rxg2+ 27.Kf1 Rxh2 28.Re3 Rh1+ 29.Ke2 Ka6 30.Rf3 d5 31.Kd2 Re8 32.Rf6 Rxe7 33.Rxc6 White won on time, ianfencer - Schipio, 1 0 bullet, lichess.org, 2020; and

9.O-O b6 10.Qc3 Rg8 11.d3 Bb7 12.Bg5 d6 13.f4 Qd7 14.Bxe7 Qxe7 15.Nd2 Kd7 16.Qb3 Rad8 17.a4 Kc8 18.Nc4 Kb8 19.a5 Qh4 20.g3 Qf6 21.axb6 cxb6 22.Qa3 Kc7 23.Qxa7 Ra8 24.Qxb6+ Kd7 25.Qxb7+ Ke6 26.Rxa8 Rxa8 27.Qxa8 h5 28.Qc8+ Kf7 29.Qd7+ Kg8 30.Nxd6 Kh7 31.Ne8 Qf8 32.Nxg7 Qxg7 33.Qxg7+ Kxg7 34.b4 Ne7 35.b5 Kf6 36.b6 Nc6 37.b7 Ke7 38.Rb1 Ke6 39.b8=Q Nxb8 40.Rxb8 Black resigned, soraneptune - paketash, 3 0 blitz, Chess.com, 2020.

9...b6 10.Qc3 Bb7 11.Qf3 Rf8 12.Qg4 d5 


Black's development is strong, keeping White's Queen over-worked (a basic critique of the Jerome Gambit is Her Majesty's wandering). His King is still in the center, however - and anything can happen in a 3-minute game.

White needs to be ready to make that "anything" happen.

13.O-O dxe4 14.Nc3 Qxd4 15.Be3 Qf6 16.Rad1 Rd8 17.Nb5 Kf7 18.Bg5 


White has sacrificed a couple more pawns, and his pieces are swarming, just as Black tries to castle-by-hand. What would be more natural than to offer to exchange Queens, to relieve the pressure? So Black errs...

18...Qf5 19.Qxf5+ Nxf5 20.Bxd8 Kg8 


Black's King is now safe, but he is down the exchange. He is not troubled, and pursues active play.

21.Bg5 h6 22.Bd8 e3 


Scary, especially if time is running short. Komodo 10 has other preferences, but this is a good "make my opponent think" move when the clock limits how deep analysis can go. 

23.Bxc7 

White could have captured the pawn with 23.fxe3, as the fork of the Rooks is an illusion - 23...Nxe3 24.Rxf8+ exchanges off one of the targets.

The game remains messy.

23...e2 24.Bd6 Nxd6 25.Nxd6 Ba6 26.c4 exf1=Q+ 27.Rxf1 Rf6 28.Ne4 Re6 


Things have changed. We are back to White having 2 pawns for a piece. In master vs master games, the advantage is often with the side with the extra piece, but in club games the pawns often give chances - although, in this case, with one extra pawn on the Kingside and one on the Queenside, there is a lot of work ahead.

29.Re1 Rc6 30.b3 Ne5 31.f4 Nd3 32.Rd1 


Offering a pawn for active Rook play, but Black is not interested - he prefers to trap his Knight (time trouble, no doubt).

32...Nb2 33.Rd7 

Instead, 33.Rd2 would trap the Knight, forcing 33...Nxc4 34.bxc4 Rxc4.

 33...Bc8 34.Rd8+ Kh7 35.Re8 

Still possible was 35.Rd2.

35...Rg6

A slip - followed by one by White - but the time pressure was too much.

36.Re7 Bh3 37.g3 Nd3 38.f5 Re6 39.Nf6+ 


Marvellous. Actually, any move wins, because here White won on time. 


Friday, September 25, 2020

Jerome Gambit: A Certain Amount of Bravery



 Playing the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ ) requires a certain amount of bravery. White sacrifices a couple of pieces for an attack, and this may lead to an overwhelming game - or a difficult loss. In the meantime, Black can defend quietly and stubbornly, or wildly - or he can offer to return some of the sacrificed material, after he has poisoned it.  

The following game is a good example of White going into complications that best requires previous study. However, the time control for the game is 1 minute, no increment, and in such an environment players can take risks knowing that attempts at refutation will cost the opponent too much time, or a shortage of time will keep the opponent from analyzing deeply. It's a risky strategy, but so is playing the Jerome Gambit.

And, what if Black knows the proper defense and counter attack? Well, then, it is best that he remember it accurately, or it will all be for naught...


Anonymous - Anonymous

1 0 bullet, lichess.org, 2020


1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 


4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ g6 

Usually the start of either Blackburne's Defense or Whistler's Defense.

7.Qxe5 d6 

Blackburne's, it is. (Whistler  played 7...Qe7.)

8.Qxh8 Qh4


 
This was Henry Joseph Blackburne's idea, and he eventually produced the most well known Jerome Gambit game, Amateur - Blackburne, London, 1884, a crushing, sacrificial win for Black. Further play and analysis, however, showed that White had at least a draw, if not an advantage, amidst the complications. (The Database, for example, has 277 game examples, with White scoring 55%.)

Recent games have shown Black varying from Blackburne's plan, to their misfortune

8...Qf6 9.Qxh7+ Ke8 10.Qxg8+ Kd7 11.O-O Kc6 12.Nc3 Qg5 13.d3 Qe5 14.Qd5+ Qxd5 15.exd5+ Kd7 16.Be3 c6 17.dxc6+ bxc6 18.Bxc5 dxc5 19.Rfe1 Bb7 20.a3 Rg8 21.g3 g5 22.Re5 g4 23.Rxc5 Kd6 24.Ra5 a6 25.b4 c5 26.bxc5+ Kc6 27.Rb1 Bc8 28.Rb8 Kd7 29.Rxa6 Bxa6 30.Rxg8 Black resigned, Papilloma - Waruna78, 5 0 blitz, lichess.org, 2020;

8...Bg4 9.Qc3 Qe7 10.f3 Be6 11.d4 Bb6 12.O-O c5 13.d5 Bd7 14.Nd2 Rc8 15.Nc4 Nf6 16.Nxb6 axb6 17.Be3 Bb5 18.Rfe1 Bd7 19.Bg5 Black resigned, Anonymous -Anonymous, 3 2 blitz, lichess.org, 2020; and

8...Ke6 9.Qxh7 Nf6 10.Qxg6 Bb4 11.c3 d5 12.cxb4 Black resigned, cian_hudder - Lalo_Musayeva, 10 0 blitz, Chess.com, 2020. 

9.O-O 

As I have posted, before, about a main alternative 

Munoz and Munoz, in their notes to Amateur - Blackburne, London, 1885, in the Brooklyn Chess Chronicle, suggested "He should have attempted to free his pieces by P to Q4 [9.d4] before castling." 
The move 9.d4 received a good look in "Updating the Jerome Gambit (Part 1)", including references to L. Elliot Fletcher’s energetic Gambit’s Accepted (1954), an internet article on Amateur - Blackburne (at www.superajedrez.com) by Brazil's Hindemburg Melao, and some musings and analysis from Bruce Pandolfini, in his 1989 Chess Openings: Traps & Zaps !

9...Nf6 10.Nc3 


The Knight looks like it is heading to d5, to hit the enemy Knight and secure the release of his Queen.

Here, though, it is useful to know the recommended 10.Qd8 Bb6 11.e5 dxe5 12.Qd3, and Her Majesty has escaped, with a slight advantage.

10...Ng4

The proper way to bring the  pain.

11.h3 

Now, how did that Blackburne game go? Did he capture with the Bishop or the Knight?

11...Nxf2 

Bummer. After 11...Bxf2+ 12.Kh1 Bf5, instead, White would lose his Queen.

Talk about complications. White now has the rescue move 12.e5, when 12...dxe5 13.Qxe5 would not only free his Queen, it would allow White to force a draw by repetition, checking the enemy King - unless Black answered with 13...Bf5, when Black would be able to split the point after 14.Qxc5 Nxh3+! and he can repeat the position with checks. Of course, after 12.e5 Bf5 13.Qf6+ Qxf6 14.exf6 would lead to an even game, although Stockfish 11 suggests that White may have an edge, unless Black tries 14...Nxh3+ 15.Kh2 Nf2+...

But, wait! White has another, better move.

12.d4 


Ah, yes. (See the note to White's 9th move.)

What exactly can Black do, now?

For starters, he has the delightful 12...Bf5, which puts a third and fourth piece en prise, and almost works, except for 13.Rxf2, when it turns out that White can afford to give up his Queen: 13...Rxh8 14.dxc5 and White will gather in the Bishop at f5, as well, giving him a Rook and two pieces for the enemy Queen.

Instead, 12...Bxh3 looks equally Blackburnian, but 13.Bg5! is a complete answer.

The fortunes of the players has reversed, and White is now clearly better. 

12...Bxd4 

This allows the escape of White' Queen and the end of Black's tactical surprises. 

13.Qxd4 Kg8 14.Qxf2 Qe7 

Black is down a Rook and a Knight - and, soon, a King.

15.Bg5 Qe8 16.Bh6 Be6 17.Qf6 Bf7 18.Qg7 checkmate


That is quite a lot of Jerome Gambit, for 1 minute of play on each side. And, as they say, Fortune favors the bold.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Jerome Gambit: A Positive Influence


I had a nice exchange of emails with a Reader a while back, wrapped around a couple of interesting Jerome Gambit-ish games. It is nice to see the Jerome have a positive influence on players' games. I have added diagrams, and my responses are in Blue - Rick

As an ex England youth player who recently got back into chess, I was very happy to recently find and start trying the Jerome.

I played a game against a friend online, whilst not quite a traditional Jerome, I feel many of the tactical ideas are traditional and highlights the sharpness of such lines. We see similar positions arising if black does not play Nxe5 in the traditional line. Feel free of course to use it in any blog posts you wish if it is of interest to you.
Having been bested by jerome-esque ideas, my friend also took up the line and played a solid game himself 
ashwin2305 - Chipmonk8
1 0 bullet, Chess.com, 2020

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Bc5 

3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Nxe5 Bxf2+ 


5.Kxf2 Nxe4+ 6.Ke1 Qf6 7.Nxf7 Qf2 checkmate



ashwin2305 - GlobalWarmingOP
3 0 blitz, Chess.com, 2020

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 


4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Ng6 7.e5 Nd5 8.Qf3+ Ke6


9.c4 Nb4 10.d5+ Kxe5 11.O-O Bc5 12.Re1+ Kd6 13.Bf4+ Nxf4 14.Qxf4 checkmate



It seems fair to say that Jerome-style tactics left opponents kerfuzzled...

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Bc5 is known as the Busch-Gass Gambit, although it resembles a reversed Jerome Gambit, especially after 4...Bxf2+. I suppose that the bishop sacrifice in a 1-minute game was comparable to being awakened from a deep sleep by a fire alarm: What? Where? Why? Many opponents can "solve" the Jerome Gambit and its relatives, given enough time. In fast chess, there is often not enough time.

Nice checkmate in 9, by the way.

I think it was great that your friend was willing to give it a try in his own game. I have begun to call 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Bxf7+ a sort of "impatient Jerome Gambit", as White doesn't wait for ...Bc4 before sacrificing his bishop. [Black] was probably just settling into a comfortable and familiar Two Knights Defense when he was shaken by the sac. I had to smile when Black played 8...Ke6, avoiding the calamity 8...Kg8 9.Qd5#. Still, a checkmate in 14 is pretty nice, too.


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Jerome Gambit: Which Tier? Unbreakable?

 


In a previous post, I mentioned that in a light-hearted YouTube video, GM Hikaru Nakamura and IM Levy Rozman assessed different chess openings and assigned them to different levels in a tier.

Oh, and GM Nakamura, in assembling an "Intermediate Opening Tier List", bypassed "Legendary", "Solid", "Legit", and "Maybe Not", to place the Jerome Gambit in "Tricks Only" - above "Garbage" because, as he said, "I don't think it loses by force".

It should not be surprising that their "Chess Opening Tier List for the Grandmaster Level" places the Jerome Gambit at the very bottom of the "Garbage" tier. Despite GM Nakamura's blitz win with the Jerome, against another grandmaster, the opening is too sketchy for top level play.

However, the "Beginners Chess Opening Tier List(thank you for the tip, Yury Bukayev) is a whole different thing - as is the play of beginners, of course. Where to place the Jerome Gambit, amont "Legendary", "Unbreakable", "Legit", "Really, Bro", "Tricks Only" and "Garbage"?

As IM Rozman opined

This was not very good when grandmasters were involved, but at the beginner level... obviously there's Only Tricks if Black plays the right way, but, man... it might be a bottom tier "Legit" opening... I mean, it could be "Really, Bro", it could be because I feel like soon everybody is going to know about it.

GM Nakamura responded 

This is true. Once everybody knows about it, it won't be as good... as it has been. Like, I don't know, I really don't know where it goes... 'Cause for now it's really something not not not known. I think once people... actually get a chence to look at it and study it they will realize it loses by force. I think I'm going to put it top of "Unbreakable".

This discussion reminds me of an early blog post, "But - Is this stuff playable??", (where I reframed the question  as "Under what conditions might the Jerome Gambit be playable?") and "Yes, The Jerome Gambit is Playable".

Of course, every Jerome Gambit game these days is a debate about the playability of the opening, and many Readers have demonstrated that the answer is often, "Yes, indeed." 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Jerome Gambit: Carelessness


The Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) is a chess opening with a list of refutations. Yet, it is growing in popularity among club players who not only like the exciting play it produces - they like the wins the Jerome brings as well.

How does someone lose to a refuted opening? There are many ways, but a major one is carelessness.

The following game is a good example of the defender's position being better, right up to the point where he is checkmated.

It is also a good example of White being constantly alert, making threats, and taking advantage of his opportunities.


oussamaakar - pradon

2 1 blitz, lichess.org, 

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 


6...Bb6 7.dxe5 Qh4 

Also seen recently was 7...Qe7 8.Qd5+ Ke8 9.Nc3 c6 10.Qd1 Qxe5 11.O-O Kd8 12.g3 Nf6 13.Bf4 Qe8 14.Re1 Bc7 15.e5 Nh5 16.Bg5+ Nf6 17.exf6 Black resigned, Monsieur_TRICATEL - Dynamo6, 3 2 blitz, Chess.com, 2020. 

8.Qf3+ Ke8 9.O-O Ne7 


Black is doing well. He needs to pay attention to his development and King safety. His game will not win itself.

10.g3 Qh3 11.Bg5 

Why is White playing this move?

11...Rf8 12.Qa3 Qg4 

Oooooh...

13.Qxe7 checkmate




Monday, September 21, 2020

Jerome Gambit: 2020 Championship

I just discovered that Chess.com will be having a 2020 Jerome Gambit Championship! The details are below. I note that the TD, E4fortheL, is expecting up to 250 players (!) so there should be room for as many Readers of this blog who would like to join in.

I have already signed up.

2020 Jerome Gambit 

Championship


TD: E4fortheL

Time Control
Players
Games Rated
Avg Rating
Rating Range
Points Available
Max Group Size
Complete
# Advance
Round
Simultaneous Games
Completed Games
Tie Breaks
Remaining Games
Max Avg. Time/Move
Max Timeout %
This is a "No Vacation" tournament!

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Jerome Gambit: The Proper Medicine

After an interesting opening, White outplays his opponent in the following game. Solid strategy and effective tactics can cure even the most "refuted" of openings.

Emit79 - dimbenes1

10 0 blitz, Chess.com

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 h6 


The Semi-Italian Opening.

4.Bxf7+ 

This is one of what I call the "impatient Jerome Gambit", lines where White does not wait for ...Bc5 before sacrificing his Bishop. It gains in immediacy of surprise, but lacks a target on c5 that sometimes allows White to recover some material.

Both 4.0-0 Bc5 5.Bxf7+ and 4.Nc3 Bc5 5.Bxf7+ are referred to at the Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit.

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 

Black survived the odd 5...Ke7 with 6.O-O (6.Ng6+) Nf6 (6...Nxe5) 7.d4 (7.Nxg6+) Nxe5 8.dxe5 Nxe4 9.Qg4 d5 10.exd6+ Qxd6 (10...Nxd6) 11.Qxe4+ Be6 12.Bf4 Qb6 13.b3 Rd8 14.Nc3 Kd7 15.Rad1+ Kc8 16.Rxd8+ Kxd8 17.Rd1+ Kc8 18.a4 Bc5 19.Nb5 Bxf2+ 20.Kh1 Re8 21.c4 (21.Nxc7) a6 (21...Bd7) 22.a5 (22.Nxc7) Qc5 (22...Qc6) 23.Nxc7 Rf8 24.Nxe6 Re8 Black won on time, MrBizkit - erkhestheasswhooper, 3 0 blitz, Chess.com, 2020.

6.Qh5+ Ke7 


Also seen recently was 6...g6 7.Qxe5 Nf6 8.Nc3 d6 9.Qf4 Bg7 10.b3 Qe7 11.Bb2 Kg8 12.f3 Ng4 13.O-O Ne5 14.Nd5 Qd7 15.Nf6+ Bxf6 16.Qxf6 Qb5 17.Bxe5 Qc5+ 18.Kh1 dxe519.Qxg6+ Kf8 20.Qf6+ Kg8 21.f4 Qd4 22.fxe5 Qxe4 23.Qf7 checkmate, Taymur - NarvalAlbatre, 5 0 blitz, lichess.org, 2020. 

Black did better with 6...Ng6 (there is no Bishop to capture on c5, see the note to move 4) 7.Qd5+ Ke8 8.O-O N8e7 9.Qh5 d6 10.Nc3 Be6 11.d3 c6 12.Be3 d5 13.exd5 Nxd5 14.Qxg6+ Kd7 15.Nxd5 cxd5 16.c3 Qf6 17.Qg3 g5 18.c4 dxc4 19.dxc4 Bd6 20.Rfd1 Ke7 21.Qxd6+ Kf7 22.Qc7+ Qe7 23.Rd7 Bxd7 24.Bc5 Qd8 25.Qd6 Qe7 26.Qd5+ Be6 27.Qf3+ Qf6 28.Qxb7+ Kg6 29.Re1 Rab8 30.Qe4+ Bf5 31.Qd4 Rhe8 32.Qxf6+ Kxf6 33.Rxe8 Rxe8 34.Bxa7 Re1 checkmate, vrajeshpadiyar - petrochemicals, Chess.com, 2020

7.Qxe5+ Kf7 


Now "objectively" best is 8.Qf5+ Ke7 9.Qe5+ Kf7 10.Qf5+, etc., with a draw by repetition.

8.d4 d6 9.Qh5+ Ke7 10.Nc3 Nf6 11.Nd5+ Nxd5 12.exd5 Qe8

13.Qh4+ Kd7+ 14.Be3 Be7 15.Qg4+ Kd8 16.Qe2 Bf5 17.O-O a6 


White has two pawns for the sacrificed piece, and his King is a bit safer than Black's. Whose attack will succeed?

18.Qc4 Kd7 19.Qa4+ Kc8 20.Qb4 Kb8 21.c4 Ka7 22.c5 Rb8 23.Rfe1 Ka8 24.a4 Qg6 

25.Bf4 Rhf8 

This looks like a mouse-slip.

26.Rxe7 Be4 27.Bg3 Rf5 28.Re6 Qg5 29.Rxe4 Rbf8 

Black has his heavy pieces in place, but White's attack arrives first.

30.a5 h5 31.c6 bxc6 32.dxc6 Rb5 33.Qc4 

A slip that his opponent doesn't notice. Better was 33.Qc3. Now Black has 33...d5.

33...Rh8 34.Rae1 h4 

35.Bf4 Qg4 36.Qf7 h3 37.Re8+ Rxe8 38.Rxe8+ Ka7 39.Qxc7+ Rb7 40.Qxb7 checkmate