My most recent two Jerome Gambit games seem to illustrate the two classes of battle that I get enmeshed in.
Sometimes my opponent plays well, and there comes a time when I need to act decisively - or lose the game.
Sometimes the game has a multitude of complex alternatives - and the player who misses out on the last one drops the point.
First, and example of the first.
perrypawnpusher - BeeFiftyTwo
blitz, FICS, 2013
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Bc5 5.Bxf7+
The Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit.
5...Kxf7 6.Nxe5+ Nxe5 7.d4 Bxd4 8.Qxd4 d6 9.0-0 h6
Transposing to the Semi-Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit.
10.f4 Nc6 11.Qd3 Re8
I have reached this position 15 times before and each time played 12.Bd2, scoring 70%, which is about my result for the IFKJG, but not as good as my result in the S-IFKJG.
For some reason, I decided to try something different.
12.b3 Kg8 13.Bb2 Bg4 14.h3 Bh5 15.Rae1 Bf7 16.Nd5 Nxd5 17.exd5 Nb4
With only a pawn for my sacrificed piece, I needed some "cooperation" from my opponent, and here it is. The iron is hot.
If you had told me that Houdini now recommends 18.Qg3 Bg6 19.Qxg6 with advantage to White, I would not have argued (although I might have chuckled). I had looked at 18.Qg3, and was not afraid of Black returning a piece - I expected that instead he would play the logical follow-up to his Bishop maneuver, 18...g6.
In my calculations I missed the fact that 19.Qc3 would then be crushing - actually forcing a checkmate in no more than 8 moves!
The difference: had I first forced ...g7-g6, this would not have been playable.
19.Qxf6 gxf6 20.a3 Nxd5 21.c4 Ne3 22.Rf3 Nf5 23.Rxe8+ Rxe8 24.Bxf6 Re3 25.Kf2 Rxf3+ 26.Kxf3 d5
White's situation is not hopeless - my opponent was becoming short on time. A slim hope.
Probably better was 27.c5
27...Nd6 28.c5 Nb5 29.a4 Na3 30.g5 hxg5 31.fxg5 Nc2 32.Ke2 d4 33.Kd3 Bxb3 34.Bxd4 Nxd4 35.Kxd4 Bxa4
At this point my only hope was the clock, but it was not to be. My opponent moved quickly on his 2-second increment... The rest of the game would only be relevant if I had won on time. Maybe not even then.
36.h4 Be8 37.Kc4 a6 38.Kb4 Kg7 39.h5 Bxh5 40.c6 b6 41.Kc4 Bf3 42.Kb4 Bxc6 43.Kc4 Kg6 44.Kb4 Kxg5 45.Kc4 Kf5 46.Kb4 Ke5 47.Kc4 a5 48.Kb3 b5 49.Kc3 Bd5 50.Kb2 b4 51.Kb1 a4 52.Kb2 a3+ 53.Kb1 b3 54.Ka1 b2+ 55.Kb1 Be4+ 56.Ka2 b1Q+ 57.Kxa3 Bd5 58.Ka4 c6 59.Ka5 Qb5 checkmate