Friday, March 15, 2013

Keep Up - Or Get Trampled

The Jerome Gambit lends itself nicely to blitz chess, especially 5-minute games. Black can keep up - or get trampled.

Philidor1792 - guest128

5+0, 2013

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 7.Qf5+ Kd6 8.d4 

This move, less well known than 8.f4, is as old as Jerome - Norton, correspondence, 1877 (0-1, 41), as notorious as Tonetti - Ruggeri, Rome, 1890 (1-0, 23), and a favorite of Philidor1792, who has, by my count, 9 wins, 2 draws, and 0 losses with it.

White asks, "what's another pawn among frenemies?"

8...Bxd4 9.c3

Philidor1792 has also looked at 9.Na3. For coverage, see "An Intriguing Letter" Parts 1, 2 & 3; "Some History of the Jerome Gambit" Parts 1, 2 & 3; "Jerome Gambit: Early Opening Tomes" Parts 1, 2 & Addendum; and "Full Circle" Parts 1 & 2 

9...Bb6 10.f4 


Black no doubt feels good about being able to play a forward-going move, but this is not his strongest option.

11.Kd2 Nxf4

Black suddenly realizes that his intended 11...Nxc1 falls to 12.Qe5+ Kc6 13.Qd5 checkmate. Still, it is not time for despair.

12.Qxf4+ Kc6 13.e5 


"Luft!" Black imagines. 

14.Qa4+ Kc5 15.b4+ Kc4 16.b5+ Kc5 17.Qb4 checkmate

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 Italian Game Tournament (Round 3)

The third round of the Italian Game Tournament has begun, with seven players still in competition.

In my 4-player group I am facing JoseSoza (2040), with an over-all record of 8-1-3, tops among players still active in the tournament;  wuolong (1749), with an over-all record of 7-3, fourth best among active players;  and Svarga (1287), with an over-all record of 5-5-0, sixth best among active players.

At 1823, with an over-all record of 8-3-1, I have the second best record among active players in the tournament.

Of course, two of my three losses so far in the tournament have been with the Jerome Gambit, against JoseSoza, so nobody should be surprised how our next game (I have White in all three games to start this round) went - except me, of course: It started 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Nc3 (angling for an Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit) Be7. Oh, dear, no Jerome Gambit...

Further bad luck, my game vs Svarga has concluded 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Black lost on time. That's another way to avoid the Jerome Gambit!

However, wuolong has picked up the gauntlet, and allowed me an Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit!1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Bc5 5.Bxf7+.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Received Wisdom?

While it is interesting to look over the Jerome Gambit lines selected by the ChessBase "Opening Report" (the last three posts) based upon the games in The Database, it is important to remember that the collected "wisdom" presented is drawn from mostly amateur play - what is popular may not be what is "best".

History can be misleading.

For example, the main line of play, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ng6 has always seemed to me to be easier for White to play (if subjectively less scary for Black to endure) than the lines after 6...Ke6.

Furthermore, do not be impressed by the "100%" score for White that shows up for the line 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.f4. After 6...Qh4+ 7.g3 Qg4 8.Qxg4 Nxg4 White will have a hard time whipping up any kind of attack with Queens off of the board and only two pawns in return for his two sacrificed pieces.

Finally, the recommendation for Black after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.0-0 - 6...Nc6 - Allows 7.Qh5+, winning the defender's dark-squared Bishop. Better is 6...Qf6, as 7.d4 is no threat, easily answered by 7...Bxd4! since 8.Qxd4 would lose to 8...Nf3+