Saturday, August 25, 2012


Philidor1792 - guest 1123
Internet game, 2012

In this Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) endgame, Black has an extra Knight to offset White's two Kingside (connected, passed) pawns. His well-placed King is also a serious asset. Should he take a moment to secure his monarch with 25...b5?

(While it may look "positionally motivated", 25...b5 was followed by 26.Nf6, checkmate.) 

Friday, August 24, 2012


Philidor1792 - guest2067
Internet, 2012

Black is ahead a piece (for a pawn) in this Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) game. 
Should he gobble up that tasty White Rook at d1?

(Not a good idea. The game continued 24...Bxd1 25.Rh8+! Kxh8 26.Qh2+ Qh4 27.Qxh4+ Bh5 28.Qxh5+ Kg8 29.Qh7 checkmate)


Thursday, August 23, 2012


I recently received 15 new Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) games from Philidor1792 of Russia. They cover a range of opening lines, from those problematic for White to those that are looking more optimistic.

Philidor1792 pointed out, however, that since the word had gotten around that he plays the Jerome Gambit, more and more opponents have been avoiding that line of play.


That is worth a moment of reflection.

Running away from the Jerome Gambit...

Who'd a thunk it?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fun I Had Been Missing

A couple of years ago (see "BSG: Later on in the Discussion") I referred to the Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit over-the-board game, Helmut Wieteck - Klaus Dutschke, Lahnstein, 1999, giving the bare moves, but not looking further into it.

Recently, I realized how much fun I had been missing by not playing it over. Come, look.

Wieteck, Helmut - Dutschke, Klaus
Lahnstein, Rheinland-chS, 1999

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nd4 

The so-called Blackburne Shilling Gambit, attributed to the British master, apparently because of his delight in tactics, and his play in offhand games where the wager of a shilling was standard fare. However, I have not been able to find anyone who has discovered a game where J.H. Blackburne actually played this line.

The so-called Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit, as the play of White's light-squared Bishop and Queen is similar to that of the pieces in the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+). Again, this nomenclature, like the line itself, is rather bogus, as there is no indication that Alonzo Wheeler Jerome ever played this line, either.

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Ke8 6.Qh5+ g6 7.Nxg6 Qf6

If you have not faced the BSJG before, it might not be immediately clear that the best move for Black is 7...hxg6, with a tense, but largely even, game.

Now things get out of hand, quickly.

8.Nxh8+ Ke7 9.d3 

Already there are a couple of wild alternatives: 

9.Qxh7+ Qg7 10.Ng6+ Kf7 11.Nxf8 Nxc2+ 12.Ke2 Nxa1 13.Qxg7+ Kxg7 14.Na3 Kxf8 15.d3 d5 16.Bf4 Nf6 17.f3 c6 18.Rxa1; and

9.e5 Qxh8 10.Qh4+ Ke6 11.Qxd4 Qxe5+ 12.Qxe5+ Kxe5

In each case, White is better. 


Looking for complications, but 9...Qxh8 was probably best.

10.Na3 Bxc1 11.Rxc1 

This does fine for White, but there was poison in 11.Qxh7+, as it would cost Black his Queen after 11...Kf8 12.Ng6+ Qxg6 (12...Ke8
13.Qxg8+ Qf8 14.Qxf8 mate) 13.Qxg6

11...Qxh8 12.Qc5+ Ke8 13.Qxc7 Nf3+ 

Hoping to escape under the cover of chaos.

14.gxf3 Qxb2 15.Kd2 Qxa3 16.Rhg1 Qxa2 17.Qe5+ Kd8 18.Qh8 Qa5+ 19.c3 Qa2+ 20.Rc2 Qe6 21.Qxg8+ Qxg8 22.Rxg8+ Kc7 

The smoke has cleared, and White is up the exchange and a couple of pawns. The pawns decide things quickly.

23.f4 b6 24.f5 a5 25.f6 Black resigned

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Little Intimidation Goes A Long Way

The following miniature is a reminder: if you are going to play Jerome Gambit style openings, be brave.

smartchess - rambis 
blitz, FICS, 2000

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Na5 

If you play the Italian Game, you will eventually run into this move. Its intention is 4.Bb3 Nxb3, exchanging off your powerful Bishop. A completely respectable response is 4.Nxe5, grabbing a pawn. Of course, it is more fun to apply the "Jerome treatment".

4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Ke6 6.d4 

"Objectively" Black is slightly better here, but White – who is rated about 250 points higher than his opponent  – should have no fear.

6...Qh4 White resigned

Perhaps a bit premature... With 7.Qf3 White could adequately defend – in fact, he could quickly work his way to a better position with a handful of moves: 7...Nf6 8.Qf5+ Ke7 9.Bg5 d6 Scary, but White has it all under control 10.Bxh4 Bxf5 11.exf5 dxe5 12.dxe5 Told you 12...Nc4 13.exf6+ gxf6 14.Nc3 and all is well.

Monday, August 20, 2012


In the following game, White's attack advances... slowly. Time after time, Black can counter it – if he listens to the "whispers" that warn him. In the moves we see an example of the adage, it is easier to attack than defend, while in the notes we see the possibilities of heroic defense

FelixShmidel - terma
blitz, FICS, 2007

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Nf3 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bxd4 7.Qxd4 Nc6 

8.Qd5+ Kf8 9.Nc3 Nge7 

Probably 9...Nf6 was better, but Black plans to aim this Knight at the f-file: f5 now, and f4 shortly thereafter (and then f5 again).

10.Qd2 Ng6 11.O-O d6 12.f4 Nge7 


Rybka 3 is not usually wild in its suggestions, but here it prefers 13.b4!?, with the intent of advancing the pawn to b5, kicking the Knight at c6, while opening b2 for its dark-squared Bishop. Should Black capture the pawn, it would be a tempo lost, and a subsequent Nc3-e2 by White would uncover an attack on the Black Knight and cause another lost tempo; while the White Bishop could still go to b2. This is how White should equalize, the computer indicates.


While Rybka now sees the game as equal, we can hear whispers of the kind of compensation that the Jerome Gambit player sometimes receives. White's "Jerome pawns" restrain Black's light-squared Bishop, which in turn blocks Black's Queenside Rook. Both risk being late to the battle.


By no means the "winning breakthrough", but a positional necessity: opening the enemy Kingside.

14...gxf6 15.Qh6+ Kg8 

Rybka's assessment of the situation is even-handed: Black should attend to his King's safety with 15...Ke8, returning some material for an even endgame: 16.Rxf6 Rg8 17.Bg5 Bg4 18.h3 Kd7 Safe!19.hxg4 Nxg4 20.Qh5 Rxg5 21.Qxg5 Nxf6 22.Qxf6 Qh8 23.Rf1 Qxf6 24.Rxf6 c6 25.Kf2 Re8

Black's King placement with the text (keeping out of the center) is one more step toward a slippery slope. While he no doubt counts on his e5 Knight and c8 Bishop to prevent White's Rook from coming quickly to the g-file, his monarch locks out another piece from play.  

16.Qxf6 Be6 

Inexplicable. Possibly a time-error or a mouse slip?

In any event, the computer sees White's attack as unfolding slowly enough that Black can counter it easily – by developing his pieces, tending to his King's safety, and returning material: 16...N7c6 17.Qh6 Ng4 18.Qh5 Be6 19.Nd5 Qe8 20.Qg5+ Qg6 21.h3 Qxg5 22.Bxg5 Bxd5 23.exd5 Nce5 24.hxg4 Nxg4.

17.Qxe6+ Kg7 18. Bh6 checkmate

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sound So Easy

Here is the latest Jerome Gambit that I received from Bill Wall, with the comment: It looks like an interesting game as I threw everything I could on the Kingside to expose his King.  I found a way to swap some pieces for his Queen.  I almost missed getting mated by his doubled Rooks, or at least a draw by perpetual check if I didn't find 30.h3 (I think 30.h4 draws after 30...Rg3).  After that, my Queen picks up pieces and I push a pawn to get another queen, forcing his resignation.

He always makes it sound so easy...

Wall,B - Guest1718599, 2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Kf8 

From Bill:  Here is my most recent Jerome Gambit on playchess.  He played 6...Kf8?! rather than 6...Ke6, the stronger move.  I can almost say that if my opponents do not find ...Ke6, they are not going to win.  

7.Qxe5 Qe7 8.Qf4+ Nf6 

Continuing to offer the exchange of Queens with 8...Qf6, was seen in perrypawnpusher - molerat, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 23) and Wall,B - Guest340293,, 2012 (1-0, 41) as well as elsewhere.

8...Ke8, as in perrypawnpusher - Chesssafety,, 2012 (1-0, 25), seems riskier, but has the benefit of vacating the f-file for Black's Rook 

9.Nc3 c6 

It seems necessary to mention 9...d6, from Wall,B - Davis,A,, 2010 (½-½, 65), as it was one of the few games where Bill "lost" even a half-point while playing the Jerome Gambit. The game is in The Database.

10.0-0 Kg8?! 

Bill recommends, instead, 10...Bd6 11.Qh4. 

The tempo surrendered by the text allows White to advance his "Jerome pawns". 

11.e5 Ne8 

Or 11...Nd5 12.Nxd5 cxd5 13.d4

12.Qc4+ Kf8 13.d4 Bb6 

14.Be3 d5 

Black's pawn gets a foothold in the center, at the cost of giving White a protected, passed pawn – not a bad price, as he opens up the game for his two Bishops (one of them is "extra", too).

Readers should cue the squeaky violins in the background, as a form of foreshadowing, however. A White pawn at e5 in a Jerome Gambit game often means that a pawn storm is coming on the Kingside, and Black's King should remain aware.

15.Qd3 Be6 16.f4 g6 17.f5 

This may have come as a surprise to Black, having just played a move that was supposed to prevent it. There is no need for the second player to panic – yet – but the wall of "developed" pieces that blocks his King from escape has to be a bit unsettling.

17...gxf5 18.Ne2 Ng7 19.g4 Qd7 

Instead, 19...Ke8 20.gxf5 Nxf5 21.Rxf5 Bxf5 22.Qxf5 would leave Black up an exchange for a pawn.

The text leads to an equal game, if followed up correctly.

20.gxf5 Bxf5?! 

Better was 20...Nxf5 21.Ng3, which leads, after 21...Rg8 22.Rxf5+ Bxf5 23.Rf1 Ke7 24.Rxf5 to a similar exchange-for-a-pawn material advantage, although White would have some interesting tactical tries against the enemy King.

21.Ng3 Ke7 22.Nxf5+ Nxf5 23.Rxf5 Rhg8+ 

Black tries to show that he has the attack, but it is not so.

24.Kh1 Raf8 25.Bg5+ 

The text move is good, but Bill pointed out that better was 25.e6 which causes Black's game to unravel, for example. 25...Kxe6 26.Re1 Rxf5 27.Bg5+ Kf7 28.Re7+ Qxe7 29.Qxf5+ Ke8 30.Bxe7 Kxe7.

25...Ke8 26.e6 Qxe6 27.Re5 Qxe5 28.dxe5 Rxg5 

White's Queen is stronger than Black's Rook and Bishop, but the second player is not ready to surrender.

29.Qxh7 Rfg8 

Bill points out that this threatens 30...Rg1+ 31.Rxg1 Rxg1 mate 


Just so. The more "energetic" 30.h4?! would allow Black to draw with 30...Rg3!, when the checkmate threats would force White to repeat the position either with King moves or Queen checks (or both).

Now White's Queen gobbles up some pawns, which make his own footsoldiers even more dangerous.

30...R8g7 31.Qh8+ Kd7 32.Re1 Bc5 33.Qb8 Ke6 34.Qc8+ Kf7 35.Qxb7+ Kg8 36.Qxc6 Bb6 37.Qxd5+ Kh7 

38.Qe4+ Kh8 39.Rf1 Rg1+ 40.Rxg1 Rxg1+ 41.Kh2 Rg7 42.e6

42...Bc7+ 43.Kh1 Bd6 44.Qd4 Be7 45.c4 a5 46.c5 Kh7 47.c6 Rg3 48.c7 Rxh3+ 49.Kg2 Rh4 50.Qd3+ Kg7 51.Qg3+ Kf8 52.c8Q+ Black resigned