Friday, May 10, 2013

The Classics I (a first look)

In recent posts I have suggested that those who play, and those who face, the Jerome Gambit, would benefit from becoming familiar with "the classics" of that line.

That got me thinking: What would those classics be?

I have come up with a preliminary sketch. I think all of the games (except one) have appeared on this blog.

0. Jerome - Dougherty

Alonzo Wheeler Jerome has written that his first Jerome Gambit was played against George Dougherty. Although I have not yet been able to find the game, it most likely occurred before the April, 1874 issue of the Dubuque Chess Journal, where the first analysis of the Jerome Gambit was presented. Of Dougherty I know little, but the following notice occurred in the Dubuque Chess Journal, May 1875

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Chess Challenge
George J. Dougherty, of Mineola, Queen's County, New York, hereby respectfully invites John G. Belden, Esq., of Hartford, Conn., to play him two games of chess by Postal Card, at his convenience, Mr. Belden taking the attack in one game and Mr. Dougherty in the other; the object being to test the soundness of Jerome's Double Opening, published in the April No. (50) of this Chess Journal.

1. Jerome - Shinkman, Iowa, 1874

The first published Jerome Gambit played by Jerome that I have been able to uncover (in the July issue of the Dubuque Chess Journal) was a loss by White.

2. Jerome - Whistler, correspondence, 1876

Largely lost to the chess-playing public, the correspondence match between Jerome and Lt. G.N. Whistler (one game survives) tested the latter's defense to the Jerome Gambit. Alas, a crushing defeat for White - who rarely, if ever, seemed to remember to mention the line thereafter.

3. Vazquez - Giraudy, exhibition, Mexico, 1876

In perhaps the most outrageous Jerome Gambit played, the Mexican champion, giving Rook odds, checkmated his opponent in 18 moves.

4. Vazquez - Carrington, 2nd Match, Mexico, 1876

This is actually a "composite" listing, as the Mexican champion played the Jerome Gambit three times (games 1, 5 and 9) in his match with William Carrington, winning them all.

5.  D'Aumiller - A. P., Livorno, 1878

This miniature played in Livorno, Italy - lasting 19 moves, at which point White announced a mate in 4 - was published in the May 1878 issue of Nuova Rivista degli Scacchi, showing that the Jerome Gambit had already hurdled the ocean.

[to be continued]

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Glance

A glance at a recent Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit Declined suggests that all is still well for White - although, perhaps not as well as the game would indicate.

Cydeco - Nikilady
blitz, FICS, 2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nd4 4.Bxf7+ Ke7 5.Bc4 Black forfeited by disconnection

Monday, May 6, 2013

Take your chance when you get it...

When I get a new bunch of games, I like to see what has been happening in some of the most important lines. The following game explores Whistler's Defense, a very dangerous line for White to deal with. Once again, we see that although a refutation may exist in the books, it may not easily make it to the board. The first player loses only after missing his chance to escape.

franciskov - danielhidrobo 
blitz, FICS, 2013

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ g6 7.Qxe5 Qe7 

A wicked "improvement" on the 7...d6 of Amateur - Blackburne, London, 1885 - first played almost a decade earlier, but largely forgotten.


White should not be able to take the Rook and live.


An innocuous sideline is 8...Qf6 9.Qxh7+ Kf8 10.0-0 Black resigned, Wall,B - Sepoli, 2010


9.Kf1 is better, as in Jerome,A - Norton,D, Correspondence 1876 (½-½20)


Black does not realize what an opportunity he has in 9...Qxg2. See blackburne-perrypawnpusher/JG3 thematic, 2008 (0-1, 17), but don't overlook Wall,B - Mathieubuntu, FICS, 2011 (½-½,14).

9...Qg4+ 10.f3 Qxg2 is a similar kick in the head, Jerome,A - Whistler,G, Correspondence 1876 (0-1, 15). 


Taking a shot at the enemy Queen, but overlooking his light-square weakenesses. Necessary was 10.Qxh7+ Kf6 11.f3, safe-guarding both his Queen and King, when he can cobble together a defense, according to Rybka: 11...Qg4 12.Rg1 Qd7 13.Qh8+ Qg7 14.Qxg7+ Kxg7 15.Re1. White is up the exchange and two pawns.

Now Black finishes things off.

10...Bg4+ 11.f3 Bxf3+ 12.gxf3 Qxf3+ 

13.Re2 Re8 14.Qxh7+ Kf8 15.Nc3 Qf1+ 16.Re1 Qxe1 checkmate