Friday, May 26, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Winning Ugly is Still Better Than Losing Ugly (Part 2)

Zombie face vector graphics

perrypawnpusher - IlToscano,, 2017

Adopting a "Come and get me" attitude, I decided to let my opponent do the attacking. After all, he is playing against a refuted opening. Piece of cake, right?

16.h3 Be6 17.b3 Rhf8 18.Bd2 Rae8 19.O-O-O Kd7 20.Rhf1 Kc8

So, who is the Jerome Gambit "expert"? Black has developed all his pieces and has even castled-by-hand on the Queenside. He clearly is better.

It was hard for me to be patient (keep the psychological onus on my opponent) and keep the position as closed up as possible. With his next move, my opponent indicated he wanted to move on the Kingside.

21.Kc2 Nh5 22.Ng5

Starting my own incursion. Plus, I had been reading James Schuyler's Your Opponent Is Overrated, and he had been writing about the "superfluous piece" - and I decided that my Rook on d1 fit that category, so I thought a Rook exchange would help a bit.

22...Rxf1 23.Rxf1 Bg8 

So, the "extra" White Rook has "disappeared" from d1, and Black only has one developed Rook, instead of two. Actually, I'm not sure how much that matters - and see my 26th move.

24.c4 h6 25.Nf3 Ng3 26.Rd1

Black's Knight goes back to its old post, White's Knight goes back to its old post, and White's Rook goes back to its old post. So, what are we going to do next?

26...g5 27.Bc3 Be3 28.Re1 Bf4 29.Bd2 Bxd2 30.Kxd2 c6 

I couldn't figure out what to do with my dark-squared Bishop, and it seemed less effective on the a1-h8 diagonal than Black's Bishop on the c1-h6 diagonal, so I wound up trading them off. At least Black's remaining Bishop is limited by my pawn wall.

31.a3 Kd7 32.b4 a6 33.a4 Kc7 34.a5 Nh5 

Oh, bother, not again.


Either the Kingside will get closed up again, or a few pawns will get exchanged. Despite my earlier decisions, I took some comfort in the age-old recommendation: When ahead in material, exchange pieces; when behind in material, exchange pawns.

35...g4 36.Nd4 Nf4 37.Rf1 Nxg2 38.Rg1 Nf4 39.Rxg4 Ne6 40.Nf5 h5 

The Kingside is closed up again. If anything, it is more open to White's pieces infiltrating.

41.Rg6 Kc8 

An oversight. My opponent had taken several "vacations" from play, and may have come back to the board mixing up variations in his head. Or maybe he figured there wasn't much to the Jerome Gambit, so why sweat it...

42.Nxd6+ Kd7 43.Nxe8 Black resigned

Unfortunate in a couple of ways. Black had played very well up until his 41st move. He also missed a chance (he hardly could have known) to allow me to make a mistake, myself. After 43...Bf7!? I thought I would have to return the exchange, and had planned 44.Rxe6?!+ Kxe6 when White would be a couple of pawns ahead, but the game would still be interesting.

Looking deeper after the game, with the help of Stockfish 8, I know now that 44.Nf6+ Ke7 45.Rh6 would allow White to stay the exchange (plus a couple of pawns) up, but the locked-in position of the Rook had kept me from looking further at that line.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Winning Ugly is Still Better Than Losing Ugly (Part 1)

Zombie face vector graphics

I just finished another Jerome Gambit game in the third round of the Giuoco Piano Thematic tournament at, It was not pretty at all. You could say that I was losing - up until my opponent resigned. Of course, that is the "objective" evaluation of the Jerome, anyhow.


perrypawnpusher - IlToscano
Giuoco Piano Thematic,, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 7.Qf5+ Kd6 8.f4 Qf6 

This defense is solid and good. It also avoids the complexities of 8...Qh4+, which I faced in perrypawnpusher - constipatedguru, blitz, FICS, 2017 (1-0, 20).

9.fxe5+ Qxe5 10.Qf3 

Staying away from 10.Qxe5+ which has given me mixed results, and a loss most recently: perrypawnpusher - djdave28, Italian Game Tournament,, 2014, (1-0, 22); perrypawnpusher - djdave28, Italian Game Tournament, 2015, (1-0, 32); and perrypawnpusher - Altotemmi, Giuoco Piano Tournament,, 2016, (0-1, 51) 


Easily an improvement over 10...Ke7, which I faced in perrypawnpusher - gtomlinson, blitz, FICS, 2007 (1-0, 28) and 10...h6, which I faced in perrypawnpusher - paulpee, blitz, FICS, 2012 (1-0, 71).


About the same as 11.Nc3 as in perrypawnpusher - Dogyou, blitz, FICS, 2009 (1-0, 21). 


Black wishes to avoid the embarassment of getting his Queen pinned to his King - a trick that might work in blitz (see below) but this game was played at 3 days per move.

Or Black could play 11...Ke7 as in perrypawnpusher - PREMK, blitz, FICS, 2005(1-0, 14); perrypawnpusher - karleinkarl, blitz, FICS, 2012 (0-1, 16);  and perrypawnpusher - vz721, Italian Game thematic,, 2013 (1-0, 29); 

Or 11...Rf8 as in perrypawnpusher - BronxBoyII, blitz, FICS, 2009 (1-0, 18); perrypawnpusher - udofink, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 13);  perrypawnpusher - mconst, blitz, FICS,  2010 (1-0, 42); and perrypawnpusher - recreation, blitz, FICS, 2011 (1-0, 13);  

Or 11...Bb4+ as in perrypawnpusher - ViennaMike, blitz, FICS, 2009 (1-0, 19); 

Or 11...Re8 as in perrypawnpusher - Estebang, blitz, FICS, 2009 (1-0, 28) 

Or 11...Bd4 as in perrypawnpusher - Rossgil, blitz, FICS, 2009 (1-0, 26) 

12.c3 Bb6 13.Bf4 Qh5 14.Nd2 

I was not pleased to see the Queens leave the board, but I didn't have a better idea.

14...Qxf3 15.Nxf3 d6 

I added all of the game links above to show that I was supposed to be familiar with this line, and therefore supposed to know what I was doing against IlToscano. Yet, he has done very well, and the one pawn that I have for my sacrificed Bishop is clearly inadequate compensation.

I decided that I should again do what far better players than me have done in similar Jerome Gambit situations - abandon the "attack at all costs" idea, and let my opponent, who has the advantage, do the attacking. If he was not going to slip up when defending, perhaps he might err when atacking? Psychology is always a part of Jerome play.

[to be continued]

Monday, May 22, 2017

Lewis Gambit

I have been enjoying watching the series of "Dirty Chess Tricks" videos on YouTube, by Gunjan Jani, especially "Dirty Chess Tricks 13" on the Lewis Gambit, 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Bc5 3.d4.

This is an opening line that I have touched upon in this blog, starting with "SOS", writing about Secrets of Opening Surprises, Volume 10, which contained an article by Jeroen Bosch on the Lewis Gambit.  

The earliest examples I have of the gambit are from an 1841 Staunton - Cochrane match, which makes it a possible inspration for Alonzo Wheeler Jerome in creating his Jerome Gambit, after the Lewis line 3...exd4 4.Bxf7+. The similarity to the Abrahams Jerome Gambit - 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Bc5 3.Bxf7+ - is apparent. See "Proto-Jerome Gambits? (Part 4)".

There is also a similarity to a line in the Von der Lasa Gambit, 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+, as seen in J.H. Blackburne - E.J. Evelyn, blindfold, London, 1862 (1-0, 32). And let's not overlook the "Macbeth Attack".

Jani rightly points out the possibilities of the Lewis Gambit transposing to the Max Lange Gambit, the Max Lange Attack, and the Italian Gambit.

(GM Boris Alterman has a video on the Lewis Gambit as well. Dangerous Weapons: 1.e4 e5 by GM John Emms, GM Glenn Flear, and IM Andrew Greet has good coverage of where the Lewis Gambit can go if Black does not allow a Bxf7+.)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Smitten

A bit of chess advice from C.J.S. Purdy: Examine moves that smite. In the following game my opponent shows some familiarity with the Jerome Gambit, and smites hard at my position - alas, at one point losing his footing, with less than successful results.

perrypawnpusher - constipatedguru
5 5 blitz, FICS, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 7.Qf5+ Kd6 8.f4 Qh4+ 

Black ignores the (lack of) safety of his King as well as his attacked Knight, and plays a smiting move that is often dangerous to White.

9.g3 Nf3+

Again, a strong, attacking move.

10.Kf1 Nxh2+ 

Black can get away with this, but it is not best.

11.Kg2 Ne7 

But here he slips, although a number of my opponents have lost their way in the past as well:

11...Qe7 as in perrypawnpusher - intssed, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 12);

11...Qh6 as in perrypawnpusher - JTIV, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 32);

11...Qg4 (best) as in perrypawnpusher - jgknight, blitz, FICS, 2011 (1-0, 68);

11...Nf6 as in perrypawnpusher - mikelars, blitz, FICS, 2011 (1-0, 12); and

11...Qf6 as in perrypawnpusher - IlToscano,, 2016 (1-0, 18).

12.Qe5+ Kc6 13.gxh4 Ng4 14.Qc3 Kb6

Black has two pieces for his Queen. It is not enough.

15.d4 Bd6 16.e5 Nd5 17.Qb3+ Bb4 18.Qxd5 

You have to know that if Bill Wall were playing the White pieces he would have played something like 18.Nc3!?

18...d6 19.c3 c6 20.Qf3 Black forfeited on time

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Energetic, for A Refuted Opening

Why does Bill Wall continue to play the Jerome Gambit, an opening that has many refutations? Probably because of games like the following, that almost seem to play themselves...

Wall, Bill - Facundo, 2017

 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bb4+ 

Black keeps playing this move, so White needs to keep aware.

7.c3 Bxc3+ 8.Nxc3 Ng6 

The Knight went to c6 in Wall,B - Caynaboos, FICS, 2011 (1-0, 26) and Wall,B - ChessFlower,, 2012 (1-0, 27). 

9.O-O d6 

Or 9...N8e7 as in Wall,B - NN, 2016, (1-0, 18) and Wall,B - Jamato,, 2017 (1-0, 55);

or 9...Nf6 as in Wall,B - Boris,, 2012 (1-0, 31) and Wall,B - FJBS, FICS, 2015 (1-0, 14). 

10.f4 Nh6

A novelty, keeping the Black Queen's diagonal open - but an error.

11.f5 Ne7 12.Qh5+ Kg8 13.f6

13...Ng6 14.Bxh6 gxh6 15.Qxh6 Kf7 16.Qg7+ Black resigned

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Reputation Unchanged

Image result for free clip art disgust face

I have not played a Jerome Gambit game at blitz speed since last year, so when I recently had the opportunity, I looked quite rusty. In the endgame in time trouble, I repeated the position, suggesting a draw - but my opponent, who might have been miffed at facing such a disreputable opening, declined, with a losing continuation.

It is not so much a game to be "proud" of as one to have survived. I provide it for historical reasons.

perrypawnpusher - Compani
5 5 blitz, FICS, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Kf8 7.Qxe5 Bb6 

Fascinating. There are only two other games with this line in my 55,000+ game Database.


An immediate slip by me. Much better was 8.d3 as played in perrypawnpusher - Urumpel, blitz, FICS, 2011(1-0, 23) 

8...d6 9.Qf4+ Qf6 10.c3 

I was not happy to see the Queens go off the board.

10...Qxf4 11.Bxf4 Kf7

White has two pawns for his sacrificed piece, but he will have to work hard to get something going in this Queenless middlegame.

12.Nd2 Nf6 13.O-O-O Rf8 14.Bg5 

Thematic, but to be considered was 14.f3, with the idea of challenging Black to make something out of his advantage, by attacking White's solid center.

14...Ng4 15.Bh4 Kg8

Black has castled-by-hand and is better.

16.Rdf1 c5 17.h3 Nf6 18.d5 a5 19.f4 

Putting  my faith  in the  "Jerome  pawns" after all. 

19...Bc7 20.g4 b5 21.Bg3 Re8 22.Re1 b4 23.c4 a4 

Black doesn't seem to mind that my Queenside pawns keep slipping by his. It is time for my center pawns to get moving in response.

24.e5 dxe5 25.fxe5 Nd7 26.d6 Ba5 27.e6 Nf6 28.d7 Bxd7 29.exd7 Rxe1+ 30.Rxe1 Nxd7 


The "Jerome pawns" have won back the sacrificed piece, and White may even be a bit better here. As will become clear, however, both I and my opponent were getting low on time.

31...Nb6 32.b3 axb3 33.axb3 Rd8 34.Bc7 Ra8 35.Re6 

Here 35.Be5 was the right move. 


Better was 35...Nxc4

36.Bxa5 Rxa5 37.Kb2 Ra8 38.Ne4 Rf8

The position is even. It is always possible to misplay an ending, however.

39.Rd6 Rf4 40.Rxd7 Rxe4 41.Rd3 Kf7 42.Kc2 Ke6 43.Kd2 g5 44.Rd8 Kf7 

Better than this retreat was 44...Rf4 keeping things even. 



45...Kg6 46.Rd6+ Kf7 47.Rd7+ 


47...Kg6 48.Rd6+ Kf7 49.Rd7+ Kg8 

My opponent does not want to settle for a draw through repetition of position, but this retreat further puts his King out of play and gives me a winning advantage, as a pawn will fall.

Remember, we were moving quite quickly at this point.

50.Rd5 h6 51.Rxc5 Rf4 52.Re5 Rf2+ 53.Re2 Rf3 54.Re3 Rf4 55.Kd3 Kf7 56.c5 Rf6 57.Kc4 Rc6 58.Kxb4 Re6 59.Rxe6 Kxe6 60.Kb5 Black resigned

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Jerome Gambit: More Videos

When I mentioned the video "Is Jerome Gambit Sound?" April 5,  a few posts ago, I neglected to list the three other Jerome Gambit videos that Mato Jelic had posted earlier at YouTube.

They were pointed out to me by Roland Kensdale at the English Chess Forum.

"Must See Jerome Gambit" concerns the game "NN vs Blackburne, England, 1880" - the best-known and most exciting Jerome Gambit. (As we have only very recently learned, the year was more likely 1884).

Check out also "The Birth of  Jerome Gambit", focused on "Alonzo Wheeler Jerome vs William A Shinkman, correspondence 1874". This is the earliest game that I have a score of, although Jerome, himself, said he first played his gambit against G.J. Dougherty.

The "Practical Application of Jerome Gambit" features the game "Bill Wall vs Itboss , Online, 2016" 

All of Mato Jelic's videos are great fun and well worth viewing.