Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Jerome Gambit: In Pawns We Trust

In the Jerome Gambit White gives up a piece or two for a couple of pawns. Often he must rely on those pawns for active play against his opponent. In the following game the play first seems less-than-active, but that eventually changes, much to Black's misfortune.

IgorSolonicin -prokaznik
4 5 blitz,, 2016

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ng6 7.Qd5+ Ke8 8.Qxc5 d6 9.Qe3 Nf6 10.f3

Steinitz said that the player with the advantage must attack, or risk losing that advantage. White prepares to face that attack, relying on solid "Jerome pawns" instead of planning an attack of his own with f2-f4.

10...Kf7 11.O-O

Equally good is 11.d4 as in Wall,B - Guest3544144,, 2013  (1-0, 35)


Or 11...Re8 12.h3 Kg8 13.d4 Be6 14.d5 Bd7 15.Nc3 a6 16.Qg5 Bb5 17.Re1 Bd7 18.Qg3 Ne5 19.Qf2 Ng6 20.Bg5 Rf8 21.e5 dxe5 22.Rxe5 h6 23.Ne4 hxg5 24.Rxg5 Nxe4 25.Rxg6 Qg5 26.Rxg5 Nxf2 27.Kxf2 Bf5 28.Re1 g6 29.Re7 Rf7 30.Rxc7 Kg7 31.d6 Rxc7 32.dxc7 Rc8 33.g4 Rxc7 34.gxf5 Rxc2+ 35.Kg3 Kf6 36.Rxg6+ Kxf5 37.Rg7 Ke5 38.Rxb7 Kd4 39.Rb3 Rc3 40.Rxc3 Black forfeited on time, Alekarpo - ImKindOfAlright,, 2016.

Also, 11...Be6 was seen in Wall,B - Guest1105387,, 2014 (1-0, 30).

12.Qb3+ d5 13.d4 Kg8 14.e5

Or 14.Nc3!?

14...Nh5 15.g3 b6 16.Qe3 Ba6 17.Re1 Qe8 18.f4 Ne7

Black misses his chance. He should try 18...Nhxf4 19.gxf4 Nxf4 20.Qg3 Ne2+ 21.Rxe2 Bxe2.

19.Qf3 g6 20.Nc3 Ng7 21.Nxd5 Qd8 22.Nxe7+

Or 22.Nf6+!? Kh8 23.d5.

22...Qxe7 23.c3 c5 24.d5 

24...c4 25.Be3 Bb7 26.Kf2 Nf5 27.Rad1 Rad8 28.d6 Bxf3 29.dxe7 Nxe7

Missing the important 29...Bxd1 30.exf8=Q+ Kxf8 and giving up his advantage.

30.Kxf3 Nf5 31.Bd4 Rd5 32.g4 Nxd4+ 33.Rxd4 Rfd8 34.Red1
Rxd4 35.Rxd4 Rxd4 36.cxd4 

36...Kf7 37.d5 b5 38.Ke3 a5 39.Kd4 h6 40.h4 Ke7 41.Kc5 Black resigned

Monday, August 22, 2016

Jerome Gambit: Even in the Most Dire of Circumstances

After a tough loss with the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) in the ongoing Giuoco Piano thematic tournament at - outplayed by an opponent 200 or 300 rating points above me (not the usual "Jerome Gambit odds") - I like to play through games like the following one, where White seems to always come up with something, even in the most dire of circumstances, and in a three minute game, too!

RobertoRufino - laumassambani
3 0 blitz,, 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.d4 exd4 6.Ng5+ 

I never understand how people get away with Ng5+ in the Jerome. Probably I should find out.

6...Kf8 7. Qf3+ Qf6 8.Qg3 d6

9.Nd2 Nge7 10.O-O h6 11.Kh1 hxg5 12.f4 Ke8 13.Nc4 gxf4 14.Bxf4 Be6 

15.Bxd6 Qh6 16.Bxc5 Kd7 17.Ne5+ Nxe5 18.Qxe5 Nc6 

19.Qg3 b6 20.Bxd4 Rh7 21.Rad1 Ke7

And, just like that, White has a forced checkmate. Wonderful!

22.Be3 Qh5 23.Bg5+  Ke8 24.Qxc7 g6 25.Qxc6+ Bd7 26.Qxa8+ Bc8 27.Qxc8 checkmate

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Jerome Gambit: The Power of Surprise

I almost always root for the Jerome Gambit player (sometimes I defend against the Jerome) but in the following game I was pleased to see Black's 9th move - the best way to give White difficulties after an inexact defense. It's the first time that I have seen it played.

The game itself - 5 minute blitz - was a tense affair, with a late inexactitude by White costing him the game.

nineteenletterslong - vuurtoren
5 0 blitz,, 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ g6 7.Qxe5 Nf6

Not the right idea, but understandable given the quick nature of the game.


There are 61 games with this position in The Database.


Interestingly, the best response, 8...Nxe4, shows up in only 14 of those games - 23%. That's the power of surprise in an opening.


There are 15 games with this move in The Database. 


There were 0 games with this correct move - until this one. The Knight is safe, as a Queen capture will be strongly met by 10...Re8.

10.O-O Bf5 11.d3

More adventurous was 11.g4!?

11...Nf6 12.Nc3 Re8 13.Qf3 c6 14.Bd2 Qa5 15.Rfe1 Qb4 16.b3 Qh4 17.Rxe8 Rxe8 

White has a small advantage - a pawn.

18.g3 Qh3 19.Qg2 Qh5 20.h3  

Better is 20.f3, as the text loses a pawn. 

20...Qxh3 21.Qxh3 Bxh3 22.Bg5 d5 23.Bxf6 Kxf6 24.Kh2 Bc8 25.Kg2 b6 26.f3 Bb7 27.g4 c5 28.Kg3 h5 29.gxh5 gxh5 30.Nd1

Despite his Bishop vs Knight, and outside passed pawn, Black's edge was small until this move. White could have kept things going with 30.Rh1

30...Rg8+ 31.Kh4 Rg1 32.c4 dxc4 33.dxc4 Bxf3 34.Rc1 Rxd1 35.Rxd1 Bxd1 

Black is clearly winning.

36.a3 a6 37.b4 cxb4 38.axb4 Kg6 39.c5 bxc5 40.bxc5 a5 41.c6 a4 42.c7 Bg4 43.Kg3 a3 44.Kf4 a2 45.Ke5 a1=Q+ 46.Kd6 Qd4+ 47.Kc6 h4 48.c8=Q Bxc8 49.Kc7 Qc5+ 50.Kd8 Bb7 51.Ke8 Bc6+ 52.Kd8 Qd6+ 53.Kc8 Qd7+ 54.Kb8 Qb7  checkmate

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Excitment in a Jerome Gambit Sideline

I recently encountered a 10-minute game played online at that featured a rather unusual line of play for White in the Jerome Gambit - and to be "unusual" in such an unusual opening means that the play got complicated and messy, just the kind of thing that a Jerome Gambit player enjoys taking advantage of!

I have placed all (few) game examples from The Database in the notes, to give Readers an idea of how stressed play can become in the variation.

StatsRowan - firstrow
10 0 blitz,, 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Nf3 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 7.f4 Nf6 8.Qf5+ 

The usual (and recommended) move is 8.Qxe5+, but White has an interesting idea in mind. In quick games "interesting" often equals "dangerous" and regularly becomes "entertaining". 

8...Kf7 9.fxe5 d6 

Here we have White's idea and Black's response: White's Queen stays on the f-file and pins Black's Knight, planning to win it with the pawn that has gone to e5; while Black opens up an attack on the Queen.

The alternate move of the Black d-pawn has also been seen. From The Database: 9...d5 10.Qf4 (10.exf6? Bxf5 11.exf5 Qxf6 12.Rf1 Qh4+ 13.g3 Rhe8+ 14.Kd1 Qg4+ 15.Rf3 Qxf3#, Tysonx - cmstub, FICS, 2010; 10.Qf1 dxe4?! [10...Re8!?] 11.exf6 Qxf6? 12.Qc4+ Be6 13.Qxc5 c6? 14.Rf1 Bf5 15.Nc3 Black resigned, Superpippo - Gars, FICS 2002) 10...dxe4?! 11.exf6 Bd6 12.Qe3 (12.Qh4!?) 12...gxf6 13.O-O Qe7 14.Nc3? (14.d4 exd3 15.Qxd3 +/=) 14...Bc5 White resigned, DrRai - abudhabi, FICS, 2013


Or 10.Qf4 dxe5 11.Qxe5 Bd6 12.Qd4 Bg3+ 13.hxg3 Qxd4 14.d3 Re8 15.Nc3 Bg4 16.Ne2 Bxe2 17.Kxe2 Nxe4 18.Rf1+ Nf6+ 19.Kd1 Qg4+ 20.Rf3 Re6 21.Bf4 Rae8 22.Rc1 Re1+ 23.Kd2 R8e2+ 24.Kc3 Rxc1 25.Bxc1 Rxg2 26.Rf1 Rxg3 27.Rf4 Qe6 28.b3 Qe5+ 29.Kb4 Qe1+ White resigned, unixo - nurfaza,, 2008

10...dxe5 11.Nc3 Bg4 

Also seen: 11...c6 12.d3 Bb4 13.O-O Bxc3 14.bxc3 Rf8 15.Bg5 Kg8 16.d4 Qb6 17.Kh1 Nd7 18.Qg3 Rxf1+ 19.Rxf1 exd4 20.Bh6 g6 21.Qd6 Qd8 22.Qxd4 Qe7 23.h3 b5 24.e5 Bb7 25.e6 c5 26.Qxd7 Qxd7 27.exd7 Bc6 28.Rf8+ Rxf8 29.Bxf8 Bxd7 30.Bxc5 a6 31.Kg1 drawn, bobbob78 - panga74,, 2008

12.Qg3 Qd7 

Or 12...Rf8 13.h3 Bh5 14.d3 Qd4 15.Rf1 Kg8 16.Bd2 Nxe4 17.Rxf8+ Rxf8 White resigned, Petasluk - Belive, FICS, 2006

13. Qxe5 Rhe8

This routine, not-so-deeply-analyzed move brings trouble.

14.Qxc5 Nxe4 15.Qc4+ Be6 16.O-O+ Kg8 17.Qxe4 Bd5

More trouble. Possibly time problem.

18.Qxd5+ Qxd5 19.Nxd5 c6

The last slip.

20.Nc7 Black resigned

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Return of the Negative Halo Effect in the Jerome Gambit

As I have pointed out before on this blog, when people notice a good trait in a person, they often assume other positives. However, with the Jerome Gambit often a negative halo effect occurs – if the early moves are bad, the defender reasons, many of the following ones must be bad, too. So - why waste time figuring out the Jerome Gambit?

The following game is a good example of this dilemma for Black.

perrypawnpusher - NN

Giuoco Piano Thematic Tournament, 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 7.f4 Bd6 

Black has two extra pieces. Why not give one back? How hard can the defense be?


8.d4  worked for White in  Philidor 1792 - Guest839182,, 2014, (1-0, 16), but I prefer the text.

8...Ke7 9. fxe5 Bc5 

10.d4 Bb4+ 

The Bishop is not having a good day.

11.c3 Ba5 12.Bg5+ Nf6 13.exf6+ gxf6 14.Qxf6+ Ke8 15.Qxh8+ Black resigned

Black will lose his Queen and be checkmated: 15...Kf7 16.0–0+ Kg6 17.Bxd8 a6 (or just about anything else) 18.Qg8+ Kh6 19.Qg5 checkmate

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Jerome Gambit: Surprise!

Image result for picture surprised face
Add another win - and a loss - to my score in the ongoing Giuoco Piano tournament (see "In Search of Eine Schach-Blindenhund...") and it is clear, once again, that the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) is a fun and effective "surprise weapon", but can be a bit of a struggle with someone who does not rattle easily.

In fact, my 51-move loss to Altotemmi (he crushed me with an Evans Gambit, too, and leads the tournament at this point) will require some re-tooling of a particular opening variation... (I am already working on it.)

In the meantime, another critical line in an important game has got me thinking overtime as well.

Who knew that the Jerome Gambit could be as challenging as a "real" chess opening? 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Jerome Gambit: Crushing Attack on the King

Not too long ago I received a request for a copy of The Database from someone who plays the Jerome Gambit. I quickly emailed it off! Shortly later I received a very nice game from him, which I am very happy to share - see below.

Internet, 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bxd4 7.Qxd4 d6 8.O-O Nf6 

9.Nc3 Re8 10.Bg5 c6

Black would like to keep White's Knight off of d5, where it can join in the attack on the piece at f6. However, a move later he decides to use the same pawn to harass the enemy Queen. This kind of use of time can cause problems.

11.f4 c5 12.Qf2 Ned7 13.Rae1 Kg8 14.Qg3

Black has prudently castled-by-hand, but his development lags, so that even though he has an extra piece, the game is even.


Stockfish 7 suggests the humorous 14...Nh5 15.Qf2 Nhf6 16.Qg3 Nh5 etc with a draw. I am sure that White was looking for more than a draw!

White now breaks in the center, and the attack is on.

15.e5 dxe5 16.fxe5 Nxe5 

This move adds to Black's pain.

17.Bxf6 Qd7 18.Bxe5 Bb7 19.Rf5 Re7 

Of course, if 19...Qxf5 then 20.Qxg7 checkmate.

20.Rg5 Rae8

Black said he was expecting his opponent to play 20...g6 and then he was going to crash through in a few moves with h4-h5-hxg6. He was sure 21.Rxg6+ also wins but he didn't want to exchange so many pieces (21...hxg6 22. Qxg6+ Rg7 23. Bxg7 Qxg7 24. Qxg7+ Kxg7 25. Re7+) just to be up a Knight and needing to march the g and h pawns up the board.

21.Rd1 Black resigned 

As White noted, if Black tries to save the Queen with 21...Qc8 then 22.Rxg7+ Kf8 (22...Rxg7 23.Qxg7#; 22...Kh8 23.Rg8#) 23.Rg8+ Kf7 24.Qg7+ Ke6 25.Qf6 checkmate