Often I find myself explaining the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) to people in conversations that go something like this...
So, this Jerome Gambit thing, it must be some kind of great opening that wins all the time?
Well, actually, it's known as the "worst chess opening ever".
Oh... It must make you feel sad, losing all the time with it.
In truth, I win more than 3/4 the time. Maybe, 80 - 85%.
Aha! Beating up on all those weakies, I imagine!
Sometimes I give "Jerome Gambit odds" to players weaker than me, to even things up. Sometimes I play above my head, too. Looking at the strength of my opponents, I should score maybe 60%.
But you score 80% or more? What's THAT all about?
Members of the Jerome Gambit Gemeinde become experienced in the field of "the psychology of error".
The simplest idea is "the ticking time bomb". Willy Hendriks explains something like it in his Move First, Think Later: Sense and Nonsense in Improving Your Chess, only, of course much better than I do. Basically, stronger players err less often than weaker players.
Think of each player having a ticking time bomb that goes off whenever he or she makes an error. Grandmaster "booms" are relatively infrequent. Beginning player "booms" are much more frequent, like a series on a snare drum.
Or ticks of a clock?
In some cases, yes. Anyhow, even after the Jerome Gambiteer has presented an opponent with the gift of a "won" position, if White can use an understanding of the tactics and strategy of the opening to delay further "booms" on that side of the board, the opponent will have a chance to chime in.
"Boom" and the game is even?
Yes, and sometimes "boom" again, and White has the advantage. Or, sometimes it's simply "boom" and White wins.
That doesn't seem like "real" chess.
Well, Grandmasters would never play the Jerome Gambit, right, but there is much truth in Andy Soltis's book Catalog of Chess Mistakes when he points out the large number of games (especially at the club level) that are "lost" rather than "won".
Ouch. What else is involved in "the psychology of error"?
There is a whole lot more. For example...
[to be continued]