Thursday, July 24, 2014

It Happens...

Concerning the following game, I have already written...

you play the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ ) long enough, you will eventually play the 6.d4 variation (4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4) and one day you will come face-to-face with the best in-your-face variation for Black since J.H. Blackburne offered his Rook...

Sometimes, when you play the Jerome Gambit, you encounter an opponent who knows one of the refutations and who plays very well against you. It happens.

Wall,B - Guest6296711, 2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Qh4 

This line doesn't have a name attached to it, but I have referred to it in earlier posts as "A Pie-in-the-Face Variation". The earliest example that I have of it in The Database is Sorensen - Anonymous, Denmark, 1888 (1-0, 27).

It is interesting to note that The Database has 1213 games reaching the position after 6.d4, with White scoring 50%. Of those games, only 17% of the time does Black continue with 6...Qh4 - but he scores 70% with it.

7.0-0 Qxe4 

The weaker alternative, 7...Ng4, was seen in Sorensen,S - X, Denmark, 1888 (1-0, 27), Sir Osis of the Liver - perrypawnpusher, JG3 thematic,, 2008 (0-1, 38) and Wall,B - Rajiv,, 2010 (1-0, 33). 

8.dxc5 Nf6 9.Nc3 Qc4 

Instead, Black played 9...Qc6 in Wall,B - Gorodetsky,D,, 2010 (1-0, 18) and Wall,B - felineMMXI, blitz, FICS, 2011 (1-0, 18). 


This is a small improvement over 10.Re1 Qxc5 11.Be3 Qc6 in Deep Sjeng 1.5 - Junior 7, The Jeroen Experience, 2003 (0-1, 46).

Black's extra piece outweighs White's two extra pawns. 

10...Re8 11.Bd4 d6 12.b3 Qa6 13.cxd6 Qxd6 14.Nb5 Qc6 15.Nxa7 Rxa7 16.Bxa7 b6 

17.Qd4 Ba6 18.c4 Nf3+ 

Black finishes off with sacrificial flair.

19.gxf3 Qxf3 20.Qd1 Re2 21.Qd8 Qg4+ 22.Kh1 Bb7+ White Resigned

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Montgomery Major Attack and Friends

I received an email the other day concerning Montgomery Major, whose name is attached to a gambit - the "Montgomery Major Attack" - that was touched upon in this blog about 4 1/2 years ago.

The line develops out of the Tennison Gambit, going 1.e4 d5 2.Nf3 dxe4 3.Ng5 e5 4.Nxf7 Kxf7 5.Qh5+. 

Of course, my interest was the way in which the opening showed certain Jerome Gambit (J. H. Blackburne might have said "Kentucky Opening") tendencies - although the piece sacrificed was a Knight, not a Bishop.

Much to my surprise, other than a half dozen bullet (1 minute, 0 increment) games at, I have found only one example of the opening.

Watts,J (1835) - Zeidler,S (2235)
West Wales op Swansea, 1999

1.e4 d5 2.Nf3 dxe4 3.Ng5 e5 4.Nxf7 Kxf7 5.Qh5+ g6 6.Qxe5 Nf6 7.Bc4+ Kg7 8.d4 Nc6 9.Qg5 h6 10.Qg3 Nxd4 11.0-0 b5 12.Rd1 bxc4 13.Rxd4 Qxd4 14.Qxc7+ White Resigned

This, in turn, reminded me of the Damiano Defense 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f6, which can continue 3.Nxe5 fxe5 4.Qh5+. 

The Damiano came up in a couple of my games while I was attempting to reach a Jerome Gambit - starting 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 f6. These were examined in "A Jerome Gambit Declined" and "Frustration is the Grandmother of Invention".

Sunday, July 20, 2014

One False Move

It is easy to view the Jerome Gambit (for White) as a superhighway to oblivion - any easy exit is one that the first player should take. On the other hand, the Jerome Gambit (for Black) can be a stroll down Easy Street - as long as you avoid falling down a manhole.

fehim - AndrewAJ

blitz, FICS, 2013

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Kf6

Black is too casual in his defense, having much better in 6...Kf8, 6...Ke6, 6...Ng6 or 6...g6. The Database has 39 games with this position, with White scoring 77%.

Given that White scores 44% in the 10,600 regular Jerome Gambit games in The Database, the statistics strongly suggest that Black has made a bad move.


The best move, appearing in The Database 23 times, with White scoring 83%.

7...Ke7 8.Qxe5+ Kf7 9.Qd5+ Ke8 10.Qxc5 d6 11.Qh5+ g6 12.Qe2 Nf6

White has regained his sacrificed material, with interest, and is better.

13.0-0 Bg4 14.f3 Bh5 15.e5 dxe5 16.Qxe5+ Qe7 17.Qxe7+ Kxe7

From here on out, White plays the Queenless middle game steadily with extra material, and Black is not able to overcome his disadvantage. A few slips brings the game to a close.

18.d3 h6 19.b3 Rhe8 20.Bb2 Nd5 21.Nd2 Ne3 22.Rfe1 Kf7 23.Rac1 g5 24.Ne4 Nd5 25.c4 Nf4 26.Rcd1 Rad8 27.d4 Bg6

28.Nc5 Ne2+ 29.Kf2 Nxd4 30.Rxe8 Kxe8 31.Rxd4 Rxd4 32.Bxd4 b6 33.Ne6 Kd7 34.Nf8+ Black resigned

Friday, July 18, 2014

Creative Exercise

Both players in the following game engage in creative play. As is fitting, the one who adds a little "Jerome" to his efforts is the one who wins.

AndrejRussia - casaralta

blitz, FICS, 2013

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Nf3 h6 

The Semi-Italian Opening. White has a number of moves - e.g. 4.0-0, 4.Nc3, 4.c3, 4.d3, 4.d4 - that can advance his game. Most allow Black to play 4...Bc5, opening up the opportunity to transpose to the Jerome Gambit with 5.Bxf7+.


Reminiscent of some ideas of Philidor1792. See "Essence of Evans / Jerome / Halloween", for example. It is interesting that Houdini 3, at 22 ply, gives only one response - 4...Bxb4 - that leads to an advantage for Black, and only by about 1/3 of a pawn.


Couriouser and curiouser. Black transposes to a Blackburne Shilling Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nd4), where his extra ...h7-h6 may or may not be more helpful than White's extra b2-b4.

Here are a few relevant games:

4...Bxb4 5.c3 Ba5 6.Bxf7+ Kxf7 7.Qb3+ Kf8 8.O-O d6 9.d4 Qe7 10.d5 Nb8 11.Qb5 Bb6 12.Be3 Bd7 13.Qb3 Na6 14.Nbd2 Rb8 15.Nc4 Nc5 16.Bxc5 Bxc5 17.a4 Nf6 18.Ncd2 Kf7 19.Nh4 Rhf8 20.c4 Kg8 21.Qg3 Nh5 22.Ng6 Qf6 23.Qf3 Qxf3 24.Nxf3 Rf7 25.Ngh4 Nf4 26.Nf5 Bxf5 27.exf5 Rxf5 28.Nh4 Rf6 White resigned, wardcleophus - Kiera, blitz, FICS, 2013;

4...Nxb4 5.Bxf7+ Kxf7 6.Nxe5+ Kf6 (6...Ke8 7.Qh5+ g6 8.Qxg6+ Ke7 9.Qf7+ Kd6 10.Nc4+ Kc6 11.Ne5+ Kb6 12.Nc3 Nxc2+ 13.Ke2 Nxa1 14.Na4+ Ka6 15.Nc5+ Kb5 16.Qc4+ Kb6 17.Qb4# karapetov - goterpaws, FICS, 2009;  6...Ke6 7.Bb2 Nf6 8.Qf3 Nc6 9.Qf5+ Kd6 10.Nf7+ Black resigned, karapetov - drissE, FICS, 20097.c3 (7.d4 d6 8.Qf3+ Bf5 9.Qxf5+ Ke7 10.Qf7# karapetov - hicoyoke, FICS, 2009Nc6 8.Ng4+ Kf7 9.O-O Bd6 10.d4 Be7 11.d5 Nb8 12.Ne5+ Kf6 13.Ng4+ Kg6 14.Be3 d6 15.e5 Bg5 16.Nd2 Bxg4 17.Qxg4 Nd7 18.h4 Nxe5 19.Qg3 Nf6 20.hxg5 Nfg4 21.gxh6 Rxh6 22.Bxh6 Kxh6 23.f4 Black resigned, BJCAS - codh, FICS, 2013;

4...Nf6 5.b5 Nd4 (5...Na5 6.Bxf7+ Kxf7 7.Nxe5+ Ke6 (7...Ke8 8.Ng6 Rg8 9.O-O Nc4 10.d3 Nd6 11.e5 Nxb5 12.exf6 Qxf6 Black resigned, BJCAS - teddydog, FICS, 2009) 8.d4 d6 9.Ng6 Rg8 10.O-O Kf7 11.Nxf8 Rxf8 12.f4 Kg8 13.Qf3 Bg4 14.Qg3 Qd7 15.a4 Nxe4 16.Qh4 Nc4 17.h3 Bf5 18.g4 Bh7 19.f5 Qd8 20.Qe1 d5 21.Na3 Ncd6 22.c4 dxc4 23.Nxc4 Nxc4 24.Qxe4 Re8 25.Qd3 Ne5 26.Qb3+ Kh8 27.dxe5 Qd4+ 28.Be3 Qxe5 29.Rae1 Qg3+ 30.Kh1 Qxh3+ 31.Kg1 Qxg4+ 32.Kf2 Qxf5+ 33.Ke2 Qg4+ 34.Kd2 Rad8+ 35.Kc1 Rxe3 36.Rxe3 Qg6 37.Rfe1 Qg5 38.Kb2 Rd2+ 39.Kc1 Rd5 40.Kb2 Rd2+ 41.Ka1 Bg8 42.Re8 Qf6+ 43.R1e5 Qxe5+ White resigned, xivarmy - walls, FICS, 2009) 6.Bxf7+ Kxf7 7.Bb2 Nxf3+ 8.Qxf3 Bd6 9.Nc3 Rf8 10.Nd5 Kg8 11.Nxf6+ Rxf6 12.Qb3+ Kh8 13.O-O Be7 14.Bxe5 Re6 15.f4 d6 16.b6 axb6 17.Bd4 Rxe4 18.Qc3 Bf6 19.Bxf6 Qxf6 20.Qxc7 Qf8 21.Qxb6 Ra6 22.Qb2 d5 23.d3 Rxf4 24.Rxf4 Qxf4 25.Rf1 Qd6 26.Qb5 Bd7 27.Qxb7 Rb6 28.Qa8+ Rb8 29.Qa5 Qb6+ 30.Qxb6 Rxb6 31.Rf8+ Kh7 32.h4 Rb1+ 33.Rf1 Rxf1+ 34.Kxf1 Ba4 35.c3 Bc2 36.d4 Bb1 37.a4 Bd3+ 38.Kf2 Kg6 39.Ke3 Bc2 40.a5 Ba4 41.a6 Kf6 42.Kf4 Ke6 43.g4 Kd6 44.g5 h5 45.Kf5 Bc2+46.Kf4 Black forfeited on time, umeshajm - lsatlow, FICS, 2013. 

5. Bxf7+ 

The Jerome Gambit treatment.

5...Kxf7 6.Nxe5+ Ke6 

7. Ng6 Bxb4

Instead, 7...Qg5 8.Nxf8+ (not 8.Nxh8, Qxg2 winning) Kf7 9.O-O Kxf8 would be about equal. 

8.Qg4+ Kd6 9.e5+ Kd5 10.c4+

Even stronger is 10.c3 c5 11.cxd4, but White is thinking about Black's King. 


A bit better was 10...Kc5, but Black's King would remain at risk. 

11.Na3+ Bxa3 12.Bxa3 c5 

This move is to protect the Knight, but it hems the King in.

13.Rc1+ Kb5 14.Rxc5+ Kb6 15.Qxd4 d6 16.Rxc8+ Ka6 17.Rxd8 Black resigned

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


The following game shows some interesting play by White, burying Black's Bishop - the risk the second player takes when he opts to play 6...bxc6 instead of 6...dxc6. Still, Black is doing fine until he sends his Queen off on what turns out to be a suicide mission, to liberate the entombed piece. Ouch!

chessmanjeff - ouucch

blitz, FICS, 2013

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

4...Kxf7 5. Nxe5+ Kf8

This is as old as Jerome - Brownson, Iowa, USA, 1875 (1/2-1/2, 29) and was enthusiastically endorsed by Lt. Sorensen in his 1877 article on the Jerome Gambit in Nordisk Skaktidende. See "Critical Line: 5...Kf8 (1)".

The Database has 171 games, with White scoring 53%.


Instead, 6.Qh5 would reach the Banks Variation. See "Critical Line: 5...Kf8 (2)".


Not as accurate as 6...dxc6. See "Critical Line: 5...Kf8 (3)".

7.d4 Bb6 8. O-O d6 

The alternative, 8...Qf6, was seen in Petasluk - Snorkledorf, blitz, FICS, 2006 (1-0, 24).


White plays positionally against Black's dark-square Bishop. Alternatives include 9.f4, as in perrypawnpusher - hdig, blitz, FICS, 2007 (1-0, 17); 9.Nc3, as in perrypawnpusher - mika76,, 2008 (1-0, 17); and 9.Qf3+, as in MrJoker - Melbourne, blitz, ICC, 2011 (1-0, 37).

9...c5 10.d5  Qf6 11.Nc3 a5 12.f4 Ne7

Instead, 12...Qd4+ would keep Black's edge.

13.e5 Qg6 14.e6 Ke8 15.Qf3

Houdini suggests the pawn sacrifice 15.f5!?, seeing White as better after 15...Nxf5 16.Qa4+ Kd8 17.Bd2 Nd4 18.Rae1 Nxe6 19.dxe6 Bxe6.

15...Rf8 16.Ne4 Nf5 17.Qh3 Nd4 18.Ng5

A slip which should be punished by the Queen offer 18...Qxg5!, as 19.fxg5 Ne2+ 20.Kh1 Rxf1 would be checkmate.

18...h6 19.Nf7 Qe4 

Houdini prefers that, instead of pawn-hunting, Black return the exchange with 19...Rxf7 20.exf7 Kxf7, when he still is better.

The second player, however, is focused upon freeing up his imprisoned dark-square Bishop, and absolutely nothing will get in the way of completing that mission.

20.Bd2 Ne2+ 21.Kh1 Qxc4

22.Qh5 Qxd5 

Freeing the c5 pawn to advance, freeing the Bishop... But ignoring the danger to his King - and Queen.

23.Qxd5 Black resigned

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Whole Lot of Information

As the number of posts on this blog approaches 1,900, I realize that I do not remember everything that I have written here.

Take the following game - a "modern" Jerome Gambit variation, so-called because the analyses and games of Alonzo Wheeler Jerome (late 19th century, early 20th century) featured the "classical" move 5.Nxe5, as opposed to the choices of many modern (especially internet) players, which include 5.Nc3, 5.c3, 5.d3 and, as in the following game, 5.d4.

I was not familiar with the line of play when I worked through the game, but it turns out that this blog whole lot of information about it.  

VLDHDZ - KlassAct
standard, FICS, 2013

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.d4

I almost always play 5.Nxe5+, so it surprised me to discover that there are about 1,800 games in The Database with this move. White scores 38%.

This is in contrast with the over 5,100 games with the "classical" line where White scores 53% - if you combine the results of Nxe5+ with or without the additional development of White's and Black's other Knight (i.e. Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit) .

A look at the move 5.d4 can be seen in "A Closer Look at the Big Picture (Part 3)" and the related, historical "Brilliant But Not Sound". 


This is an interesting, but relatively rare response.

More often seen is 5...exd4,  and I have a number of references for Readers: "Play 'em Like You got 'em", "Quick As A Flash", "Nothing Going On", "Still Nothing Going On", "Return of Jerome Gambit for Dummies (Part 6)", "Return of Jerome Gambit for Dummies (Part 7)" and "Utterly Fascinating".

Black also has 5...Bxd4, looked at in "Losing a Half Point / Fog of War" and "Still An Interesting Game".

Finally, there is the not-recommended 5...Nxd4, as seen in "Good to the End", "One More Thing", and "Do Not Wander Too Far From Home".

Similarities to the Italian Gambit, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.d4 - best covered in The Italian Gambit (and) A Guiding Repertoire For White - E4! (2006), by Jude Acers and George Laven - are clear.

6.d5 Nd4 

Probably better is the retreat 6...Nb8, when the game is about even after 7.Nxe5+ Kf8.

7.Nxe5+ Ke8 

8.Qxd4 Bf6 9.Bf4 d6 10.Qa4+ Black resigned

White's Queen escapes from the pin, and when the White Knight withdraws, the first player will be up a couple of pawns with a safer King.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Not Quite The Same Thing

I am playing my last game in the first round of the current Italian Game tournament at To date I have scored 5/7 -- including 2/3 with the Jerome Gambit -- and need only a draw (with White) to move on to the next round of play.

Alas, my opponent was not interested in allowing the Jerome Gambit, opting for the Two Knights Defense instead: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6

Still, I was able to maneuver things so that, after 4.d4 Nxe4 5.dxe5 d6 I was able to play the Jerome-ish 6.Bxf7+, when, after 6...Kxf7 7.Qd5+ Be6 8.Qxe4 I will be ahead material, and Black's King will be displaced. (The game continues.)

That is not quite the same thing as being in the Jerome Gambit after 8 moves (there I would be "objectively" lost) but it may be good enough to move me into the next round of play, where I can try my luck at playing a few more Jeromes.