Friday, November 17, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Caught Up

I got a good chuckle out of the following 3 0 blitz game, also by COMTIBoy (see "Jerome Gambit: The Jerome Treatment (Redux)").

Sometimes we can get so caught up in our ideas and plans that we overlook - something.

The essential skill a Jerome Gambit player needs to hone is an awareness of when that "something" arrives at the board.

COMTIBoy - BravoDelta
3 0 blitz, FICS, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.c3

As someone who generally plays the "classical" Jerome Gambit lines (i.e. 5.Nxe5), I am not very familiar with this move, and I was sort of surprised to find 1,601 examples in The Database. In those games White scores 41%. However, with 36 games in The Database, COMPTIBoy has a more respectible 53% outcome. 


Not the first move that comes to mind, and I think there is a bit of psychology behind it - not at all surprising in a 3-minute game.

Surprisingly, there are 48 games with this line in The Database. Perhaps not surprisingly, White scores 60%. 

6.d4 exd4 7.cxd4 Bb4+ 8.Nc3 Bxc3+ 9.bxc3 d6 

White's pawn center and the uneasy position of Black's King almost - but not yet - compensates for the sacrificed piece. The attacker needs some open lines.

10.e5 dxe5 11.Ba3+ Nge7 12.d5 Na5 

Just the kind of chaos White wants in a fast blitz game, especially when you consider that "best" for Black is something like 12...Kf7 13.dxc6 Qxd1+ 14.Rxd1 Nxc6, giving back the piece to be able to exchange Queens and remain a boring pawn ahead.

13.Nxe5 Kg8 14.Qa4 

Blitz attacking rule #1: Keep making scary moves.


Blitz defending rule #1: Beware of poisoned pawns.

15.Qe8 checkmate

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Jerome Gambit: The Jerome Treatment (Redux)

You are playing a blitz game against a player rated about 175 points above you. Even worse, he plays an unorthodox line almost immediately. What do you do?

Well, if you are a Jerome Gambit fan, you provide a little instruction on how wild play can become - and you wrap up the win in under 10 moves!

COMTIBoy - valentinbasel
3 0 blitz, FICS, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Na5 

If you play the Jerome Gambit, you will eventually meet this move.

It looks like Black would like to see 4.Bb3, when he can win the Bishop pair with 4...Nxb3. Of course, White can play the straight-forward 4.Nxe5, instead, grabbing a pawn and protecting his Bishop - not to mention attacking Black's f7.

There is another option for White, one explored a number of times on this blog, starting with "A Snack" about 6 years ago.


The Jerome treatment. This leads to a roughly equal game, although White's attacking chances are to be preferred in quick play.

By the way, for a couple of earlier games by COMTIBoy facing the Blackburne Shilling Gambit, see "Incomplete" and "The Missing Element".

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Ke6 

Of course, Black wants to evict the enemy Knight, even though this move gives White the edge. His safest, and best, move is 5...Ke7, which is somewhat counterintuitive, as it blocks the diagonals of his Queen and Bishop; but it maintains an even game.

If you do not have experience in defending this line, the nuances are liable to escape you.

6.d4 d6 7.Qg4+ Kf6 8.Bg5 checkmate 

Gosh. That took less time than it takes to tell...

Certainly Black needed to try 7...Ke7, although after 8.Qg5+ Nf6 9.Nf3 Nc6 10.e5 dxe5 11.dxe5 Kf7 12.exf6 White would have recovered his sacrificed piece and retained an edge.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Jerome Gambit: A Day in the Life

I have shared many games where White plays the notorious Jerome Gambit, patiently musters his forces, waits for the defender to make a mistake - and then pounces. After all, I like the Jerome Gambit, and it is fun to watch players use it and succeed.

Yet, I have not been shy about sharing the many refutations of the opening, as well. A line of play can be both exciting and dangerous for the user.

So, as a bit of balance, here is a three minute game that shows Black has chances, too. ☺ (He should: he is rated +200 above White.)

Readers should follow the links to see more alternative ideas for White.

Chess-For-All - Sveti14
3 0 blitz, lichess.orgm 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5. Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Kf8 

The Jerome Variation of the Jerome Gambit, played by Alonzo Wheeler Jerome against David Jaeger in correspondence, 1880.

7.Qxe5 d6 8.Qg3 Nf6 9.Nc3

I was surprised to find only 13 games in The Database with this move, with White scoring only 46%. (Still, that is a bit of a step up from the 42% score for White after his 7th move.)


Also seen: 9...Nh5 in Wall,B - Ahmadi,S,, 2010 (0-1, 59) and 9...Ng4 in perrypawnpusher - klixar, blitz, FICS, 2007  (1-0, 33). 

10.O-O Re8

Black has also done well with 10...Rf8 as in perrypawnpusher - truuf, blitz, FICS, 2011 (0-1, 32) and Wall,B - Guest874250,, 2014 (0-1, 32). 

11.d3 Kg8

Taking care of business by castling-by-hand.

Also seen: 11...Qe7 as in mrjoker - creeredes, Internet Chess Club,
2008 (0-1, 26) 


Adopting the come-and-get-me strategy that puts the onus on Black to make something out of his material advantage. Sometimes this can be a part of a psychological push by White that unsettles his opponent - but, not today. Perhaps he should have ignored the move and gone ahead with winning the "minor exhange" with 12.Na4.

12...Qe7 13.Kh1 

This reminds me of the quote by the Joker in "The Dark Knight" movie: "Come on. I want you to do it. I want you to do it. Hit meHit me! I want you to hit me!"

13...Qf7 14.Be3 Nh5 15.Qh4 Bb6 

16.Nd5 Nf6 17.Nxb6 axb6 18.a3 d5 19.f3 Be6


Time to try to stir things up a bit.

20...Nd7 21.Bd4 

A move that is easy to understand, but repositioning the Bishop might have been better done by playing 21.Rae1 first, and if  21...c5, then  22.Bd2, eventually coming to c3. This subtle idea is brought to you by Stockfish 8.



Impatient - but, remember this is a 3 0 game.

The recommended line by Stockfish 8 would have been hard to work out, even in a slower game, with White finally developing pressure on the Kingside to offset Black's gains on the Queenside: 22.Qg3 c5 23.Bc3 d4 24.Be1 c4 25.f4 Nc5 26.f5 Bd7 27.Rd1 Bb5 28.Rf3 Rac8 29.Bb4 cxd3 30.cxd3 Rfe8 31.Rd2 Qb3 32.Kg2 Nd7 33.Rff2 Rc1 34.Kh2 Ne5 35.f6 Qf7 36.Rf5 gxf6 37.g5 Qg7 and Black would still be better. 

22...dxe4 23.dxe4 Bc4 24.Rf2 Rae8 25.Re1 Rxe4 26.Rxe4 Bd5

The a8-h1 diagonal is deadly.

27.Rfe2 Re8 28.Be5 Bxe4+ 29.Rxe4 Qd5 


30.Qe1 Nc5 White resigned


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Rooks at Large

The most well-known defense against the Jerome Gambit is the one that J.H. Blackburne used in a game over 130 years ago. As we have seen on this blog many times, however, it is a tricky defense, and the better player usually wins, despite the "objective" assessment of the line (i.e. it is dynamically equal). This caveat is especially apparent in the following game, where Black errs early - but White makes some later slips, only scoring the full point after much further work. It is not a safe game for Rooks.

ehmorris3 - F-Dynamics
10 0,, 2017

1.e4  e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6. Qh5+ g6 7. Qxe5 d6

Blackburne's Defense, famous since Amateur - Blackburne, London, 1884. Black offers a Rook, with the plan to trap White's Queen, and, while she is entombed, to attack White's King.

8.Qxh8 Be6 

It is difficult to grasp the idea behind this move, unless it is simply to follow up the sacrifice with further development. Perhaps Black believes that his opponent will need time to put his Queen back into play. White immediately moves to make sure his Queen will be free.

9.Qxh7+ Kf8 10.d4 

Sacrificing a pawn to prepare for further development.

Instead, 10.Qxg6 was seen in perrypawnpusher - saltos, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 40) and Wall,B - VJCH, FICS, 2013 (1-0, 16).

An alternative, 10.O-O, was seen in mosinnagant - mumbaII, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 38) 

10...Bxd4 11.Bh6+ 

The idea. White has to be careful about his own Rook on the a1-h8 diagonal, however.


An earlier game had gone 11... Ke8 12.Nc3 Qf6 13.O-O Bf7 14.Nd5 Qe6 15.Nxc7+ Kd8 16.Nxe6+ Black resigned, Petasluk - cuadriculas, FICS, 2008

12.Qxh6+ Ke8  13.Qxg6+ Bf7 

A very dynamic position, with White better. The first player has the advantage of a safer King and is three pawns and the exchange ahead in material - but his Queenside is about to be demolished.

In the meantime, where should White's Queen go? There is only one safe square that keeps his advantage.


White needed to play 14.Qf5!? in order to be able to answer 14...Bxb2 with the fork 15.Qb5+, when he can then pick up the Bishop. Once Her Majesty  is safe, White can then play c2-c3 or Nb1-c3 to keep the enemy attack on b2 stifled.

14...Bxb2 15.c3 Bxa1 16.O-O Bxa2  

White's original idea might have been to block Black's Bishop in at a1, and then capture it, but that will not work out.

This odd position is about equal.

17.Na3 Bxc3 

Black surrenders his piece too quickly He could have tried 17...Bb2 18.Nb5 a6 19.Nd4 Qf6 20.f4 c5 and held the advantage - according to Stockfish 8. It is really hard for me to judge this unbalanced position.

18.Qxc3 d5 19.Qe5+  Kd7  

Each side has 3 connected passed pawns!  

20.Nb5 Kc8 21.Rd1 Kb8  

Black has castled-by-hand, but in doing so has entombed his Rook. He will not be able to escape checkmate.

22.exd5 b6 23.d6 cxd6 24.Rxd6 Kb7 

Yes, things are this bad. However, even after surrendering the Queen, there will still be checkmate.

25.Rxd8 Rxd8 26.Qe7+ Kc8 27.Nd6+ 

There was also 27.Qc7#, but White has the game in hand.

27...Rxd6 28.Qxd6 Kb7 29.h4 b5 30.h5 Black resigned

Friday, November 10, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Straying From the Right Move, Good and Bad

When I play the Jerome Gambit, I struggle to play the "right" move all the time. I have largely exhausted my creativity at moves 4, 5 and 6. From there, on, it's a question of survivial.

Some players have a different approach - they explore alternatives, within reason but with the idea of exploration for its own sake.

An example is the following game. The attacker strays and creates; the defender strays and does not survive.

Wall, Bill - Guest1061862, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bxd4 7.Qxd4 Qf6 8.Qc3

Black's idea is to play ...Nf3+ and capture White's Queen, if it is unprotected, so that is White's primary concern - how to react to that threat. 

Is there a "best" move here? I am not sure. In this position Bill has also tried 8.Qc58.Qe3, 8.Be38.Qd2 and 8.Nd2 - all successfully.

8...d6 9.Qxc7+ Ne7 10.O-O Rf8 

Black prepares to castle-by-hand. This is a very good idea. His main concern should not be losing a pawn or two, but protecting himself against the dangers along the 7th rank and f-file. 

11.f4 Ng4 

Worrying about the wrong piece. Black could confidently play, instead, 11...Kg8 when White's annoying f-pawn is suddenly pinned (12.fxe5? Qxf1 checkmate), giving the defender time to retreat his Knight to c6. 

12.e5 dxe5 

Going along with White's plan. It was time for Black to safeguard his King and return a piece: 12...Qh4 13.h3 Kg8 14.hxg4 Bxg4, and the game is about equal. Instead, he gives up his Queen.

13.fxe5 Qxf1+ 14.Kxf1 Kg6+ 15.Kg1 Re8 

Black has a piece and a Rook for his Queen. (He is also down a couple of pawns.)  

16.h3 Nh6 17.Qd6+ Kf7 18.Bxh6 Black resigned

Black can see far enough - 18...gxh6 19.Qf6+ Kg7 20.e6 - to know that he will have to surrender another piece (20...Rf8 21.Qxe7 or 20...Bxe6 21.Qxe6), and there is no future in this game.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Who'd A Thunk It?

I just received another Jerome Gambit game played on the internet by Vlasta Fejfar ("vlastous"). The following game show the need for patience in certain lines of that wild, crazy attack. A certain amount of sitzfleisch helps, too. After a period of calm, White suddenly activates his Rooks, and Black does not react well to the danger.

[By the way, this is post #2,500 on this blog. As Mortimer Snerd - or Edgar Bergen - said, "Who'd a thunk it?"]

vlastous - Nyanyiwa
internet, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Kf8 7.Qxe5 d6 8.Qf4+ Qf6

The defense 6...Kf8 is solid and sensible. It can lead to a position where the Queens come off the board before a dozen moves have been played. "Objectively" Black's extra piece is worth more than White's two extra pawns, but in the rough-and-tumble of club play - especially when the first player has knowledge or experience of such lines - there is play to be had for the gambiteer.

9.d3 Qxf4 10.Bxf4 Nf6 11.Nc3 

White has his two "Jerome pawns". Black's extra piece gives him the "two bishops" which are helpful in open positions.

From a psychological point of view, White should consider keeping the game closed, developing his pieces, increasing his control of space - but, otherwise, acting as if Black is the attacker, and letting him make the first mistake.

Other ideas:

11.c3 Bb6 (11...h6 12.Nd2 g5 13.Bg3 Nh5 14.d4 Bb6 15.Nc4 Nxg3 16.hxg3 Kg7 17.f3 Be6 18.Nxb6 axb6 19.a3 h5 20.Kf2 h4 21.gxh4 Rxh4 22.Rxh4 gxh4 23.Rh1 Rh8 24.f4 Bg4 25.f5 Kf6 26.Ke3 d5 27.Kf4 Be2 28.e5+ Kg7 29.g4 hxg3 30.Rxh8 g2 31.Rh3 g1=Q 32.Rg3+ Qxg3+ 33.Kxg3 Kh6 34.Kf4 Bh5 35.e6 Kg7 36. Ke5 c6 37.f6+ Kg6 38.f7 Kg7 39.Kd6 Bg6 40.Ke7 Black resigned,  Philidor1792 - guest2052, Internet, 2012) 12.Nd2 Bd7 13.Nc4 Kf7 14.Nxb6 axb6 15.f3 Rhe8 16.Kf2 b5 17.a3 Be6 18.Ke3 Rad8 19.d4 Bb3 20.Kd2 h6 21.Rae1 g5 22.Be3 Nh5 23.g3 Kg6 24.Re2 Rf8 25.Rf2 Rf7 26.f4 gxf4 27.gxf4 Rdf8 28.Rg1+ Kh7 29.f5 Rg8 30.Rxg8 Kxg8 31.Bxh6 Nf6 32.Rf4 Rh7 33.Bg5 Rxh2+ 34.Ke3 Kf7 35.Rh4 Rxh4 36.Bxh4 c6 37.Kf4 Bc2 38.e5 Nd5+ 39.Kg5 dxe5 40.dxe5 Nc7 41.Bg3 Bd3 42.e6+ Nxe6+ 43.fxe6+ Kxe6 44.Kf4 Kd5 45.Ke3 Bf1 46.Kd2 Kc4 47.Kc1 Kb3 48.Bf2 drawn, Philidor 1792 - guest2498, 2014

11.O-O Kf7 (11...Bg4 12.Nc3 Bd4 13.Be3 Bxc3 14.bxc3 b6 15.f3 Be6 16.d4 Re8 17.Bf4 Nh5 18.Be3 Kf7 19.Rfb1 Rhf8 20.Bc1 Kg6 21.d5 Bd7 22.Bd2 c6 23.c4 Nf4 24.Kh1 h6 25.Rb3 Rc8 26.g3 Ne2 27.Rd3 c5 28.c3 b5 29.Re3 bxc4 30.Rxe2 Rxf3 31.e5 dxe5 32.Bxh6 gxh6 33.Rxe5 Rxc3 34.Re7 Rd8 35.Kg1 Rc2 36.Rb1 Rxa2 37.Rb7 c3 38.Rb1 c2 39.Rbe1 Bh3 40.R7e5 c4 41.Rc1 Rb8 42.Re2 Rbb2 43.Kf2 a5 44.d6 Kf6 45.Kf3 c3 46.Ke3 Bf5 47.Kd4 Rb3 48.d7 Ra4+ 49.Kc5 Bxd7 50.Rcxc2 Rb5+ 51.Kd6 Rd4+ 52.Kc7 Rd3 53.Ra2 Bg4 54.Re4 Rd2 55.Rf4+ Kg5 56.Raa4 Bh3 57.Rf8 c2 58.Rc4 Rxh2 59.Rg8+ Kf6 60.Rf8+ Kg7 61.Rf3 Be6 62.Rcc3 Re2 63.Kd6 Rb6+ 64.Kc5 Rb1 65.Kd4 Rd1+ 66.Kc5 Re5+ 67.Kc6 Bd5+ 68.Kd6 Re6+ 69.Kd7 Rc6 70.Rfe3 Kf6 71.Rxc2 Bf3+ 72.Rd2 Rxd2+ 73.Rd3 Rxd3+ 74.Ke8 Rc8 checkmate, GNUChess - GNUChess, OS-RGCX-182777, 2003) 12.Nc3 Bd7 13.Be3 Bxe3 14.fxe3 Ke7 15.Rf3 Rhf8 16.Raf1 c6 17.d4 Ng4 18.Rxf8 Rxf8 19.Rxf8 Kxf8 20.Nd1 Be8 21.h3 Nf6 22.Nc3 Bg6 23.e5 dxe5 24.dxe5 Ne4 25.Ne2 Ke7 26.Nf4 Bf7 27.b3 g5 28.Nd3 c5 29.g4 c4 30.Nb2 cxb3 31.axb3 Ke6 32.Nd3 Kd5 33.Kf1 Nc5 34.c4+ Kc6 35.Ke2 Nxb3 36.Nb2 Nc5 37.Kf3 a5 38.e4 a4 White resigned, blackburne - Argento1960,, 2004; and

11.Be3 Bb4+ 12.Bd2 Bxd2+ 13.Nxd2 Kg8 14.O-O-O c5 15.Nc4 Ne8 16.Ne3 Be6 17.h4 Nf6 18.h5 b5 19.h6 g5 20.f3 Kf7 21.d4 b4 22.Rhe1 Rhe8 23.g3 Ke7 24.d5 Bd7 25.e5 dxe5 26.Nc4 Nh5 27.g4 Bb5 28.d6+ Kd8 29.d7 Rf8 30.Nd6 Bc6 31.gxh5 Bxf3 32.Rd3 e4 33.Rd5 Kxd7 34.Nxe4+ Kc6 35.Rxc5+ Kb6 36.Rc4 Rae8 37.Rxb4+ Ka5 38.a3 Rf4 39.Nxg5 Rxe1+ 40.Kd2 Re2+ 41.Kd3 Rxb4 42.axb4+ Kxb4 43.Nxf3 Re6 44.c3+ Ka5 45.b4+ Ka4 46.b5 Rxh6 47.c4 Rxh5 48.Nd2 Kb4 49.Nf1 Rh3+ 50.Ne3 Rxe3+ 51.Kxe3 Kxc4 52.b6 axb6 53.Ke4 b5 54.Kf4 b4 55.Kg5 b3 56.Kh6 b2 57.Kxh7 b1=Q+ 58.Kh6 Qf5 59.Kg7 Qg5+ 60.Kf8 Kc5 61.Ke8 Qg7 62.Kd8 Kd6 63.Ke8 Qg8 checkmate, GNUChess - GNUChess, OS-RGCX-182777, 2003. 

11...a6 12. f3 Kf7

Things quickly went south for Black after 12...Be6 13.Bg3 g5 14.e5 dxe5 15.Bxe5 Kf7 16.Bxf6 Kxf6 17.Ne4+ Black resigned, Wall,B - Guest2651667,, 2015

13.Bg3 Re8 14.Bf2 Bb4 15.a3 Bxc3+ 16.bxc3 b6

Black has surrendered the Bishop pair to injure White's pawn structure. He still has a long way to go to collect more than a half point, however. In the meantime, White startssome action on the Kingside.

17.Kd2 Bd7 18.g4 h6 19.h4 d5 20.g5 hxg5 21.hxg5 Ng8 

White is ready for some action on the Kingside, starting with a surprise.

22.g6+ Kxg6

Immediately, Black slips. He would have done better side-stepping the pawn with 22...Ke6, but he misses White's plan (perhaps because White has been so "quiet" with his play. The capture allows White a useful gain of tempo in response.

23.Rag1+ Kf7 24.Rh7 Ke7 

You can see the rest of the game from here. Whites Rooks spring to life.

25.Rgxg7+ Kd6 26.Rxd7+ Kc6 27.Rxc7+ Kb5 28.exd5 Nf6 

Black is suddenly 4 pawns down, 3 of them passed, but he hopes to use this Knight fork to win one back. Alas he slips.

29.Rh6 Nxd5 30.c4+ Black resigned