Saturday, November 3, 2012

Proto-Jerome Gambits? (Part 3)

Of course, as Alonzo Wheeler Jerome was developing his Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e4 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) there is always the possibility that he was influenced by the games of the Italian chessplayer Gioachino Greco (c. 1600 – c. 1634), who started off his own gambit with 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Bc5 3.Qe2, with the possibility of 3...Nf6 4.Bxf7+ followed by 5.Qc4+ picking up the Bishop on c5. 

Actually his idea was to follow up with 4.f4.

The idea of Qe2 for White in the Jerome Gambit has shown up in a number of games, however. See: "Home Cooking" for one set of examples, and "Adolf Albin Plays the Jerome Gambit (Part 1)" and "(Part 2)" for another interesting game. Of course, there are any number of games by Bill Wall, including this one.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Proto-Jerome Gambits? (Part 2)

Although there is no record, it is quite likely that Alonzo Wheeler Jerome played chess during his time as a soldier during the American Civil War, and he may even have developed his gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) then.

It is also quite possible that Jerome encountered (or played) what is now known as the "Scholar's Mate", 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Bc5 3.Qh5, with a look toward 4.Qxf7#; although he may have known it at the time as the Kentucky Opening (see "Kentucky Opening" Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 as well as "The Kentucky / Danvers Opening").

Following the Kentucky, if Black defended with 3...Qe7, White would still have the gambit 4.Bxf7+ Qxf7 5.Qxe5+, winning two pawns for the piece, as in the Jerome. The difficulty with this line, however, is that Black can answer with 5...Qe7, and after the exchange of Queens Black's King can still castle to safety. 

In casual  or club play, someone more skilled with pawns than his opponent was skilled with piece play might still be able to hold on with White; but one can already see, as AWJ may well have, that the Jerome Gambit would, at least in one way, be an "improved Kentucky Opening". 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Proto-Jerome Gambits? (Part 1)

Alonzo Wheeler Jerome, as far as I have been able to determine, did not leave an indication as to what openings inspired him to develop 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+.

Certainly one of the first possible lines that could have caught his eye was in the old Bishop's Opening symmetrical variation: 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Bc5 3.Bxf7+.

Some sources refer to this line, too, as the Jerome Gambit, although they must be relying on the Bxf7+ trope, as there is no indication (yet turned up) that AWJ played the Bishop's Opening version of his "Double Gambit". I have elsewhere referred to it as the "Abrahams Jerome Gambit".

Not that the line doesn't have some bite...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Coffeehouse Chess Videos

David Kane (Kuasm) has started a series of "Coffeehouse Chess" videos at YouTube, focusing upon openings that are dodgy and dubious, showing refutations and then basic ideas, for those who want to play the lines for fun or in casual chess.

So far he has covered the Englund Gambit (1.d4 e5) and the Blackburne Shilling Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc3 Nd4). They are certainly worth viewing.

He has said that he will look at the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+). I am especially looking forward to this one.