Sunday, January 24, 2021

Jerome Gambit: Keep Up, or Lose on Time

angelcamina (you have seen his games on this blog before) likes to play the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) at bullet speed - one minute per game, no increment.

His opponents sometimes just lose to the strength of the attack. Other times, they work to "solve" the Jerome, but this takes time off their clock, so they slip and drop material and lose. Or, they simply run out of time. 

Here is a recent game, with a couple in the notes, to see how it's done.

angelcamina - chessgenius71

1 0 bullet,, 2021

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ng6

Or 6...Kf8 7.Qxe5 Qe7 8.Qf4+ Ke8 9.Qxc7 (risky but thought-provoking) Bxf2+ (Unnecessary) 10.Kxf2 Nf6 11.d3 Ng4+ 12.Kg3 h5 13.h4 Rf8 14.Bg5 Nf6 15.Nc3 d6 16.Qxe7+ (exchanging Queens does not fix things) Kxe7 17.Nd5+ Ke8 18.Nc7+ Kd7 19.Nxa8 Nxe4+ 20.dxe4  b6 21.Nxb6+ axb6 22.Rhf1 Bb7 23.Rxf8 Black resigned, angelcamina - mistrustful,, 2021

7.Qd5+ Ke8 8.Qxc5 Qe7 9.Qe3 d5 

A good idea, both helping development and attacking (thus, limiting) White's pawn center.

10.d3 dxe4 11.dxe4 Nf6 12.f3  

He has also played 12.Nc3 c6 13.O-O Kf7 14.f4 Re8 15.e5 Nd7 16.b3 Qc5 17.Qxc5 Nxc5 18.Ba3 b6 19.Bxc5 bxc5 20.Ne4 Rd8 21.Rae1 Rd2 (ouch) 22.Nxd2 Ba6 23.Rf2 Rd8 24.Ne4 Rd4 25.Nd6+ Ke6 (understandable, but it was safer to retreat) 26.f5+ Kd5 27.fxg6 hxg6 28.Nf7 g5 29.Nxg5 Re4 30.Rxe4 White won on time, angelcamina - Rakammerer80,, 202l. 

12...Be6 13.b3 Kf7 14.Ba3 Qd7 15.Nd2 Qb5 16.O-O-O Rad8 

17.c4 Qa5 18.Kb2 Rd7 19.e5 Nxe5 20.Ne4 Rxd1 21.Ng5+ Kg6 22.

Black has done very well, but it does not matter, as here White won on time. Bullet chess can be cruel.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Jerome Gambit: Beware Free Hugs

I was recently challenged to a game by an online player new to, and excited about, the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+). He took White, and I decided to play my favorite defense, although, in retrospect, I could have chosen something that would have allowed him to bash me all over the board...

Anyhow, I probably should have suggested "Jerome Gambit: What About the Rook?" as pre-game precautionary reading.  

 NN - perrypawnpusher, 20211

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ g6 

This move often leads to either the Blackburne or Whistler Defense, and in either case there will be a dangerous offer of a Rook.

7.Qxe5 Qe7 

Whistler's Defense.


I have touched upon the dangers of this move in the aptly titled post "There Are Some Risks We Should Not Take."

8...Qxe4+ 9.Kf1 Qh4 

I recommended this move in a blog post about 6 years ago. According to The Database it has been played only twice, since, with effect.

A couple of years ago I saw it in analysis in one of the Hindi Chess Videos - see "Jerome Gambit: Interesting Sideline".

10.g3 Qh3+ 11.Kg1 Qe6 

A blunder, after which the game should only be drawn. Instead, 11...b6 (or 11...b5) would lead to checkmate, once Black's Bishop gets on the a8-h1 diagonal.

Also seen: 

11...d5 12.Qe5 Bd6 13.Qxd5+ Be6 14.Qf3+ Nf6 15.Qg2 Qh5 16.Nc3 c6 17.d3 Bh3 18.Be3 Bxg2 19.Kxg2 Re8 20.Rae1 Nd5 21.Nxd5 Qxd5+ 22.Kg1 Bc5 23.b3 Qf3 24.h4 Bxe3 25.fxe3 Rxe3 26.Rxe3 Qxe3+ 27.Kh2 Qf2+ 28.Kh3 h5 29.Rh2 Qf1+ 30.Rg2 Kf6 31.d4 Kf5 32.Kh2 Kg4 33.c3 Kf3 34.Rc2 Qd3 35.Rg2 Qxc3 36.g4 Qxd4 37.gxh5 Qxh4+ 38.Kg1 gxh5 39.a4 Qe1+ 40.Kh2 h4 41.a5 Qf1 42.Rc2 Qe1 43.Rg2 h3 44.Rc2 Qg3+ 45.Kh1 Kg4 46.b4 Qf3+ 47.Kh2 Qf4+ 48.Kh1 Qe4+ White resigned, ZahariSokolov - MadonnaFn, FICS, 2015; and

11...b512.d4 Bb7 13.Qxh7+ Qxh7 14.Nd2 Qh3 15.f3 Bxd4 checkmate, ZahariSokolov - ekwador, FICS, 2017


I was shocked to see this move (the time control was 3 days per move, so the play was not continuous) because I had set the position up wrong, and thought that my opponent had played 11.Ke1, not 11.Kg1.

Instead of the text, White had 12.Qxh7+ Kf8 13.d4, forcing Black to consider a draw by repetition, e.g. 13...Qe1+ 14.Kg2 Qe4+ 15.Kg1 Qe1+ etc. Otherwise, Black can play on, down the exchange and a pawn.

Now Black can force checkmate.

12...Qe4+ 13.Kg1 

Or 13.Kf1 Qxh1+ 14.Ke2 Qe4+ 15.Kf1 d5 16.Qxh7+ Kf8 17.Qxc7 Qh1+ 18.Ke2 Bg4+ 19.Kd3 Qf3 checkmate

Or 13.Kh3 d5+ 14.g4 Qxg4 checkmate

13...Qe1+ 14.Kg2 Qxf2+ 15.Kh3 d5+ 16.Kh4 Be7+ 17.Qf6+ Bxf6 checkmate

Now, I get to play the Jerome. I wonder what defense he will play?

Friday, January 22, 2021

Happy Birthday to Me

Sharp-eyed Readers may have noticed that I have recently changed my photograph in the "About Me" section of this blog. The sweatshirt is a birthday gift from my son, Jon, and daughter-in-law, Himani. So, when it comes to the Jerome Gambit, I not only wear my heart on my sleeve, I gladly wear the moves on my chest.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Jerome Gambit: Analysis or Game?

Following up on the previous post, I want to take another dive into the Jerome Gambit archives.

Cheltenham Examiner

Wednesday February 21, 1906 page 6 

[Chess notation changed to algebraic] 

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

This gambit is an American invention (though the actual moves may have been tried before America was discovered, or soon after. But the first-known analysis of their effects was American). It is unsound, but a suitable opening for the better of two players - having the attack - if he wants amusement, or to handicap himself slightly. After ...Kxf7 White could reply 5.d4, to bring his Bishop into action, but this is not as good as  

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 

Black can play ...Ke6 or ...Kf8. The latter gives him a safe game, but ...Ke6 should win also, though it often loses when Black is a weak player. That is, often in proportion to the number of games played at this opening, which number is small. Black won the following 

6.Qh5+ Ke6 

6...Ng6 can be safely played instead, with care. 

7.Qf5+ Kd6 8.d4 Bxd4 9.Na3 c6 10.c3 Qf6 11.cxd4 Qxf5 12.exf5 Nf7 13.Bf4+ Ke7

It is always interesting to note under which conditions the Jerome Gambit is considered "playable".

The suggestion, above, of 5...Kf8, is as old as Alonzo Wheeler Jerome's analysis in the March 1874 issue of the Dubuque Chess Journal; and first played in Jerome - Brownson, Iowa, 1875 (1/2 - 1/2, 29).

However, the Cheltenham Examiner article has the first - and only, so far as I have found - recommendation that I have seen for 5...Ke6. The writer's assessment that the move "should win" is a bit optimistic, if White finds 6.Qg4+ Kxe5 7.d4+ Bxd4 8.Bf4+ Kf6 9.Bg5+ Kf7 10.Bxd8, when Black has 3 pieces for a Queen and a pawn, in a complicated position - see  Wall,Bill - Guest4105968,, 2018 (1/2 - 1/2, 50).

Also, the note that "Black won the following" suggests that the line is from a game, not mere analysis (see "Jerome Gambit: Poetry or Prose?"). To date, I haven't found such a game. More research ahead!

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Jerome Gambit: Poetry or Prose?

I recently ran across a copy of  Chess: Its Poetry and Its Prose A Practical and Theoretical Treatise on the Arts of Composing and Solving Chess Problems, with Numerous Illus., Diagrams, Containing Essays on the Principles of Porblem Composition, Practical Composition, the Art of Solving, with Solutions and Critical and Explanatory Notes, Also Elementary Instructions for Beginners by Arthur Ford Mackenzie (1887).

In a short section titled "Glimpses of the Openings" I found 10 openings mentioned, and was pleased to see that the Jerome Gambit was one of them. I have changed the notation from descriptive to algebraic.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

This move constitutes the gambit. It is the invention of an American, whose name it bears. The sacrifice of the Bishop is unsound if Black play properly, but, to an inexperienced player, defeat follows in most cases very rapidly.


Of course it is correct to capture the Bishop, and the game will probably proceed thus:

5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 


7.Qf5+ Kd6 8.d4 Bxd4 9.Na3 c6 10.c3 Qf6 11.cxd4 Qxf5 12.exf5 Nf7 13.Bf4+ Ke7 

and Black is now out of all immediate danger, and is numerically much stronger than White.

It is relevant to mention that MacKenzie notes

Valuable works are Cook's Synopsis of the Chess Openings, and Horowitz' Chess Studies and End-games.

Indeed, the line of analysis above comes directly from Cook's Synopsis (1882, 1884) - which, in turn, was taken from S.A. Sorensen's seminal Jerome Gambit article in the May 1877 issue of Nordisk Skaktidende.

I, for one, would like to think of the Jerome Gambit as poetry, rather than prose, although, in all fairness, it is more likely doggerel than sonnet.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Jerome Gambit: Ready

If Black is unfamiliar with the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) he may deploy a whole variety of defenses that have quick refutations. It is useful for the Gambiteer to know how to meet them, and be ready to finish the game powerfully.

The following game is one such example.

Wall, Bill - Guest1850067, 2020

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 

7.f4 Bd6 

Hoping to protect the Knight, but that only leads to greater difficulties. He needed to play 7...Qf6 or 7...d6.

8.Qf5+ Ke7 9.fxe5 Bc5 

Bill has also seen:

9...Nh6 10.exd6+ Kxd6 11.Qd5+ Ke7 12.0–0 c6 13.Qe5 checkmate, Wall,Bill - Christopher, FICS, 2010; and

9...Bb4 10.c3 Ba5 11.Qg5+ Ke8 12.Qxg7 Black resigned, Wall,Bill - Guest3669889,, 2013.

10.d4 Bxd4 11.Bg5+ Black resigned

Black will lose his Queen.

Hoping to lose only his Knight leads to greater problems: 11...Nf6 12.Bxf6+ gxf6 (otherwise the Queen will be lost) 13.Qxf6+ Ke8 14.Qxh8+ Ke7 15.Qxh7+ Ke6 16.Rf1 and Black will not be able to escape checkmate.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Jerome Gambit: Uneven (Part 2)


[continued from previous post]

perrypawnpusher - dmarkg

"Piano Piano" tournament,, 2020

It is time to attack, before Black's King escapes to one of the wings.

18.Rae1 Kd8 19.g4 

Tentative. It was okay to proceed with 19.Re6.


After the game Stockfish 11 suggested 19...Ned5 with the idea of exchanging off one of the attacking pieces. That would not solve Black's major problem the weakness of the pawn at d6 (and the King next to it).

20.Re6 g6 

To undermine the pawn supporting White's Rook, but accidentally undermining his own Rook. After 20...Nc8 to protect the d-pawn there could go 21.Ne4 Nxe4 22.Qxe4 a6 23.c4 Kb8 24.Bf4 Ka7 unpinning the d-pawn, when White would have to put his Queenside pawns in motion starting with 25.b4. 

21.Rxf6 g5 22.Ne4 h5 

Looking to open a file to attack the King.


Not wrong, but tentative. The move was 23.Rxd6.

23...hxg4 24.hxg4 Rh4 25.Bxg5 Rh7 26.Qg3 Rah8 

Hope springs eternal.

27.Rxd6 Qe8 

To save the Queen, but all moves allow checkmate. This one, rather quickly.

28.Rxc6+ Kxc6 29.Qd6+ Kb5 30.Nc3+ Kc4 31.Qc5 checkmate