Saturday, June 9, 2012


A recent game from FICS again shows the dangers associated with an alternative to defending the Jerome Gambit, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Na5, the "Line of Play Everyone Should Know About"

meijinmike - Shahin
blitz, FICS, 2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Na5 

4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Ke6 6.d4 

6.Qg4+ is a playable alternative.

6...d6 7.d5+

Offering a taste of poison. Black should now flee from temptation with 7...Ke7.

7...Kxe5 8.Qh5+ g5 

8...Kf6 was seen in iplayforsean - Leftang, blitz, FICS, 2008.

9.f4+ Kd4 10.0-0 

This relaxed move wins nicely. Readers might want to look at the three retrograde moves, 10.Qd1+,  10.Qe2, and 10.Qf3, and find the mates associated with them as well.

10...Kc5 11.Be3+ Kb5 12.Qe2+ Nc4 13.Na3+ Ka6 14.Qxc4+ Black resigned

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Formidable Task

As I suspected earlier, playing the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) against an opponent rated 400 points above me (in one of the two Italian Opening tournaments that I am involved in at proved to be a formidable task. I did not make the best of my chances, while my opponent played steadily and pocketed the full point.

Losing the following game leaves me at 4 - 1 in the first tournament, needing a win in my remaining game (I have Black) to move on to the next round. The Jerome Gambit has scored 2-1 for me, with my other tournament wins coming in the endgame with Black.

In the other tournament, I am sitting with 1 win against four losses. One of the incomplete games should be another endgame win with Black. One is a Jerome Gambit that just started (I have White), and, with luck, the last one will be a Jerome as well. 

perrypawnpusher (1740) - JoseSoza (2080)
Italian Game tournament,, 2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Bc5 5.Bxf7+

The Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit.

5...Kxf7 6.Nxe5+ Nxe5 7.d4 Bxd4 8.Qxd4 d6 9.O-O Re8 10.Bg5

This is possibly a slight improvement over 10.f4 from perrypawnpusher - KaZC, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1/2-1/2, 61) and perrypawnpusher - Fazmeister, blitz, FICS, 2011 (1-0, 36).

10...Nc6 11.Qd3 Be6 12.f4 Kg8 13.Rae1 Bf7


I was not sure what to do here, so I tried the text, thinking at least it would not hurt me. Black's response gave me something to work with.

14...Qc8 15.Bxf6 gxf6 16.Qg3+

After the game Rybka suggested a Rook feint on the Kingside to grab a pawn on the Queenside: 16.Re3 Qd7 17.Rh3 Rad8 18.Rff3 Ne7 19.f5 Kh8 20.Qe3 Ng8 21.Qxa7 Qc6 22.Qf2 Qc5. That's a bit above my playing level.

16... Kh8 17.Qh4 Qd8 

18.Nd5 Bxd5 19.exd5 Rxe1 20.Rxe1 Nd4 21.Qf2 Nf5 22.g4 

I was pretty sure that this was not the "best" move (Rybka later recommended 22.Qf3) but I was hoping that Black would retreat and misplace his Knight.

22...Ng7 23.Qd4 Qd7 24. f5 Re8 25.Kf2 

The game is slipping away. Rybka cold-bloodedly suggested 25.Rxe8+ Nxe8 26.Qxa7 Qe7 27.Qxb7 Qe2 28.h3 h5 29.Qb4 Qd1+ 30.Kf2 Qxc2+ 31.Ke1 Qd3 32.Qd2 Qg3+ 33.Kd1 Qb3+ 34.Kc1 Qc4+ 35.Kb1 hxg4 36.hxg4 Qxg4 37.Qc2 Qf3 38.Qc6 Ng7 39.a4 when White still has some play.

25...Rxe1 26.Kxe1 Qe7+ 27.Kf2 h5 28.h3 b6 

I decided to play on, as long as Black's Rook was misplaced. When that was exchanged, I decided to play on as long as Black's Queen was misplaced. Later, I played on because Black's Knight was misplaced...

29.Qe3 Qe5 30.Qxe5 dxe5 31.c4 Ne8 32.b4 Nd6 33.c5
bxc5 34.bxc5 Ne4+ White Resigned

A very solid demonstration by my opponent.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Further Explorations (Part 6)

I have provided a link to an interesting Opening Report on the Noa Gambit, aka the "Open Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit", nka ("never known as") the Fischer Attack, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Nxe4 5.Bxf7+, for interested readers. 

(Okay, I lied. One more graphic from the good people at the Cafe Press website.)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Further Explorations (Part 5)

As far as I know, there was never a strong movement to discard the title "Noa Gambit" and, instead, name the following opening the "Fischer Attack." Go figure. (Of course, Bobby was only 12 when he played this game.)

Robert James Fischer - David Ames
Lincoln ch-US jr  Rd: 4, 1955

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bc4 Nxe4 5.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 6.Nxe4 d5 7.Neg5+ Kg8 8.d4 h6 9.Nh3 Bg4 

10.dxe5 Nxe5 11.Nf4 c6 12.h3 Nxf3+ 13.gxf3 Bf5 

14.Be3 Bb4+ 15.c3 Ba5 16.Rg1 Qe8 17.Nxd5 Qf7 18.Nf4 Re8 

19.Qb3 Bc7 20.Qxf7+ Kxf7 21.Nh5 g6 22.Ng3 Bxh3 23.0-0-0 Rd8 24.Rxd8 Bxd8 25.Rh1 Bg2 26.Rxh6 Rxh6 27.Bxh6 Bxf3 28.Be3 draw

(Graphic? Last one. Honest. Check out the Cafe Press website.)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Further Explorations (Part 4)

One challenge to naming 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Nxe4 5.Bxf7+ the "Noa Gambit" as opposed to the "Open Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit" (see "Further Explorations" Part 1, 2, and 3) is the following, earlier, game.

Zoltowski,E - Zukertort,J 

Berlin, 1869

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.Bxf7+ 

5...Kxf7 6.Nxe4 Be7 7.Nfg5+ Bxg5 8.Qh5+ g6 9.Qxg5 d5 10.Qxd8 Rxd8 11.Ng5+ Kg7 

12.d3 Nd4 13.0-0 Nxc2 14.Rb1 Re8 15.b3 Bf5 16.Rd1 Nb4 17.Ba3 Nxd3 

18.g4 Nxf2 19.Rxd5 Nxg4 20.Rbd1 Ne3 21.Rd7+ Bxd7 22.Rxd7+ Kh6 23.Nf7+ Kh5 24.Bc1 Nf5 25.Ng5 h6 26.Rh7 Rad8 0-1

So, should the title of the line stay with the traditional, or follow the earlier game example, or be based on similarity in tactical themes?

Who was that future World Champion who played the line, anyhow?

(Still grabbing graphics from a the Cafe Press website. Check them out.)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Further Explorations (Part 3)

As we continue "Further Explorations" (see Part 1 and Part 2), recall that Tim Sawyer chose the name "Open Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit" over the "Noa Gambit" for the line 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Nxe4 5.Bxf7+.

Most likely "Noa Gambit" refers to the following game by Josef Noa (1856 - 1903)

Noa,J - Makovetz,G
DSB-07 Kongress, Dresden, 1892

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Nxe4 5.Bxf7+ Kxf7 6.Nxe4 d5 7.Ng3 e4 8.Ng1 h5 9.d4 h4 10.Nf1 Qf6 

11.c3 Ne7 12.Ne3 Kg8 13.Ne2 c6 14.h3 g5 15.Rf1 Bh6 16.f3 exf3 17.Rxf3 Qg6 

18.b3 Rh7 19.Ba3 g4 20.hxg4 Bxg4 21.Nxg4 Qxg4 22.Ng3 Rf7 23.Bxe7 Rxe7+ 24.Ne2 Qxg2 25.Rf2 Qg1+ 26.Rf1 Qg3+ 27.Rf2 Rf8 0-1

As distinctive as this game is, the opening-namers (whoever they are) over the years missed an earlier game example.

We will look at that game in the next post, and then look at an example of the "Open Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit" played by a future World Champion...

(Yep, I grabbed another graphic from the Cafe Press website. Check them out.)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Further Explorations (Part 2)

Tim Sawyer's "Open Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit" game (See "Further Explorations Part 1")  on his "Playing Chess Openings" website comes with an introduction

In a recent Internet Chess Club game, my opponent "jeromed" chose to play a form of Jerome Gambit. Here White gets the piece back. In that way it is more Queen's Gambit than King's Gambit, but it has an aggressive feel. Bill Wall lists it as a "Noa Gambit, Four Knights", but it is so Jerome-ish that I am borrowing that name, especially in view of my opponent's ICC handle. 

The game:

jeromed - Sawyer
blitz 3 0, Internet Chess Club, 2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Nc3 

Even after Black side-stepped the Giuoco Piano into the Two Knights Defense, White is looking to play an Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit with 4...Bc5 5.Bxf7+.

It is interesting to give Tim Harding's additional perspective on White's move, from his "Kibitzer" column "Open Games Revisited: The Two Knights" at, as he sees more than the "fork trick"

4.Nc3 can also be met by 4...Nxe4; this is possible because if 5.Nxe4 d5 forks knight and bishop and so regains the sacrificed material. However, if White is not a beginner then he has probably played 4.Nc3 with the intention of offering the tricky Boden-Kieseritsky Gambit, 4...Nxe4 5.0-0 Nxc3 6. dxc3, when natural moves don’t work for Black... The gambit should be unsound, but the second player must be very careful in the early stages.

4...Nxe4 5.Bxf7+ 

Tim notes
The Jerome Gambit idea. Usually White plays 5.Nxe4 d5 6.Bd3 dxe4 (6...Nb4!= Kaufman) 7.Bxe4 Bd6= (7...Ne7!? is an interesting alternative. 

5...Kxf7 6.Nxe4 d5 7.Ng3!? Bd6 8.d3 Rf8 


Tim, sympathetically: 
White can quickly castle kingside: 9.0-0 Kg8 10.h3 h6 11.c4 Fighting for e4 for the Ng3. 11...Be6 12.cxd5 Bxd5 13.Ne4 Nd4 14.Nxd4 exd4 15.Qg4 with a playable game for White, although it seems Black a little stands better.

9...Qe8 10.Qd2 Kg8 11.0-0-0 Bg4 12.h3 Bxf3 13.gxf3 Rxf3 14.Rhg1 Qf7 15.Nh1 Kh8 16.c3 d4 17.c4 Rf8 

18.Bh4? e4 19.dxe4? Bf4 White resigned

(Okay, so I grabbed the "Cheszilla" graphic from a the Cafe Press website, after all. Still worth checking them out.)