Saturday, December 28, 2013

Jerome Gambit-Inspired Play (Part 6)

The Bishop sacrifice at f7, the Queen checks followed by the capture of Black's Knight - if the following game wasn't inspired by the Jerome Gambit, it should have been. (Of course, Philidor 1792 plays the Jerome Gambit!)

The tactical mayhem at the end is as entertaining as it is bewildering.

Philidor 1792 -guest343

3 0 blitz,, 2013

1.e4 Nf6 2.Bc4 

Philidor 1792 returns to the Krejcik Gambit in Alekhine's Defense (see an earlier example). As I've mentioned, it's Jerome-ish enough to have been touched on a couple of times earlier in this blog, in "I want my Jerome Gambit!" and "Another Krejcik".

The Krejcik might be a bit unorthodox, but in 3-minute games it can be deadly.

2...Nxe4 3.Bxf7+ Kxf7 4.Qh5+ g6 5.Qd5+ e6 6.Qxe4 Bg7

The position may or may not be balanced - but how much time did each player take to get here?

7.Qf4+ Qf6 8.Qxc7 Nc6 9.Nf3 Rf8

Black prepares to castle-by-hand, an idea always in vogue in Bxf7+ openings, but in doing so he misses the tactical shot 9...Qxf3!?, when 10.gxf3 Be5 would force 11.Qxe5 Nxe5. Either the idea did not appeal to the second player, or he overlooked it. In any event, the opportunity is available for the next 4 moves, as well.

10.O-O Kg8 11.Nc3 d5 12.d3 Qf5 13.Bd2 Ne5 

14.Nd4 Qg4 15.f4 Nxd3 16.Nxe6 Bxe6 17.cxd3 Bd4+ 18.Kh1 Rf5

Black adds a Rook to the aggressive actions of his Queen and two Bishops, so his intentions are clear. He is even willing to let White snipe another  pawn, in order to get the other Rook into play.

19.Qxb7 Raf8 20.Rae1

Houdini prefers 20.Qb4, as the start of a difficult defense that eventually sees White trade off a lot of the attacking pieces, keeping a pawn advantage. Philidor 1792's move is more "human" and keeps the game in balance.



Houdini also suggests 21.Qe7, "forcing" Black (i.e. the best response it sees) to sacrifice a Rook to obtain a draw, with 21...Rxh7+ 22.Kxh7 Qh5+ 23.Kg3 Qg4+, etc. - but who plays chess like that? Neither player is thinking "draw" at this point.


Of course, the draw is still there with 21...Rxh2+ 22.Kxh2 Qh4+ 23.Rh3 Bxh3 24.gxh3 Qf2+ 25.Kh1 Qf3+, etc.


The only move, says Houdini, to avoid checkmate in 32. How annoying!


Black cannot find the best continuation - no doubt, time was short and getting shorter - lets slip a piece, and with it the game. What was there was 22...Bg4!?, although White can afford to give up the exchange with 23.Ref1, when 23...Bxf3 24.Rxf3 still leaves Black searching for a way to break through.

23.Rxe6 g5 24.Nxd5 g4 25. Ne7+ Kh8 26.Nxf5 gxf3 27.Nxh4 f2 28.Re1 



Fighting to the end!

29.Qb8+ Black resigned, as mate is unavoidable.

Well played, gentlemen!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Jerome Gambit-Inspired Play (Part 5)

Actually, it is a bit of a stretch to call the following blitz game some sort of a Jerome Gambit - but the swash-buckling nature of it (and the ornery center pawns) may well have been inspired by that wild opening. Let's give it a chance...

Philidor 1792 - guest1063
3 0 blitz,, 2013

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Bb3 Be7 

Similar to Philidor 1792's play against guest1063 - see "Jerome Gambit-Inspired Play (Part 4)" - but this time looking more like a Hungarian Defense than a Two Knights Defense. 

Does that make a difference? Philidor 1792 now bypasses the Jerome-ish Bxf7+ and tries a tactic similar to that in the Chicago Gambit, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nxe5, etc. and the Halloween (Müller - Schulze) Gambit, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nxe5, etc.

5.Nxe5 Nxe5 6.d4 Ng6 7.e5 Ng8 


With all of the subltety of the Scholar's Mate.


And, just like that, White has full compensation for his piece ("Who dares, wins"), according to Houdini, who prefers 8...d5 9.exd6 Bf6 10.Qe2+ Kf8 11.dxc7 Qxc7 with advantage to Black. 

9.Qd5 Nh6 

And here Black turns over the game to his opponent. Wily Houdini suggests, instead, 9...d6 10.Qf7+ Kd7 11.exd6 cxd6 12.h4 Nh6 13.Bxh6 gxh6 14.h5 Nf4 15.g3 Rf8 16.Ba4+ Kc7 17.Qc4+ Kb8 18.gxf4 d5 leading to an unclear mess which may be balanced. 

10.Bxh6 Rf8 11.Bxg7 c6 12. Qc4 d5 13. exd6 Qxd6
14. Bxf8 Black resigned 

After Black captures the Bishop on f8 he will be down the exchange and two pawns.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas! (A Hysterical/Historical Jerome Gambit, Part 1)

Season's Greetings to the Jerome Gambit Gemeinde, and readers everywhere! 

Below is my latest Jerome Gambit game, which includes the "gift" of annotations from the article submitted (and revised, and revised, and revised, and revised, and reassessed) to Stefan Bucker for his magazine Kaissiber. [There is a ton of interesting reading to be found in the above links - and the links below, as well - although I still have not been able to definatively link Alonzo Wheeler Jerome to Winston Churchill.]

perrypawnpusher  - spince
blitz, FICS, 2013

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Kf8

I have faced this defense 16 times, scoring 12 points - 75%, which is still a bit short of my overall Jerome Gambit score of 82% (regular Jerome Gambit 83%, Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit 90%, Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit 74%, Semi-Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit 77%).

As early as his first article with analysis (Dubuque Chess Journal 4/1874), Alonzo Wheeler Jerome considered the possibility that Black might refuse to capture the second piece, and play for King safety instead with 5...Kf8

This was, in fact, the defense that Jerome, himself, credited to G. J. Dougherty, ("a strong amateur, against whom I first played the opening") of Mineola, New York, in a yet unfound game; that O.A. Brownson, editor of the Dubuque Chess Journal, played against Jerome in an 1875 game (Dubuque Chess Journal 3/1875); that magazine editor William Hallock used against D.P. Norton in an 1876 correspondence game played “by special request” to test the gambit (American Chess Journal 2/1877); that William Carrington tried in his 1876 match vs Mexican Champion Andres Clemente Vazquez (Algunas Partidas de Ajedrez Jugadas en Mexico, 1879); and which Lt. Soren Anton Sorensen recommended as “more solid and easier to manage” in his seminal Jerome Gambit essay (Nordisk Skaktidende 5/1877).

It is interesting that early in Jerome's Gambit's life, there were players willing to accept one "gift" but who were skeptical of accepting two "gifts".


Bill Wall has experimented with 6.Nd3 in Wall,B - Tim93612,, 2010 (1-0, 36) and 6.0-0 in billwall - DeDrijver,, 2012 (1-0, 20).

White also has the option of playing 6.Qh5, the Banks Variation, as in Banks - Rees, Halesowen, 2003, when Black can transpose with 6…Nxe5  as recommended by the American Chess Journal, (3/1877) - "The continuation adopted by Jerome, Qh5 looks promising."

Pete Banks ("blackburne" online), a stalwart member of the Jerome Gambit Gemeinde (and still the strongest player I know who has played the Jerome regularly over-the-board in rated contests), brought international attention to Alonzo Wheeler Jerome's invention by writing to International Master Gary Lane, who commented at length on the opening, and on a couple of Banks' games, in his March ("The Good Old Days") and April ("Chess Made Easy") 2008 "Opening Lanes" columns at IM Lane also mentioned one of Banks' games in his The Greatest Ever chess tricks and traps (2008), which reprised some of the earlier material.

It is humorous to note that in his "Opening Lanes" column Lane wrote, after 5.Nxe5+, "I think anyone with good manners playing Black would now kindly ask their opponent if they wanted to take their move back" while in his book he changed this to "I think anyone with good manners playing Black would now go to another room to carry on laughing."

Apropos the Banks Variation itself (i.e. playing 6.Qh5 in response to 5...Kf8), IM Lane noted in "The Good Old Days" that "6...Qe7 is a good alternative [to 6...Qf6 of Banks - Rees], because it stops the checkmate and protects the bishop on c5."

A few months later, 6...Qe7 was tested successfully in a game, splott - mika76, 20081.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Kf8 6.Qh5 Qe7 7.Ng6+ hxg6 8.Qxh8 Qxe4+ 9.Kf1 Qd4 10.Ke1 Qxf2+ 11.Kd1 d6 12.h3 Qxg2 13.Re1 Qf3+ 14.Re2 Bf2 15.d3 Nd4 16.Nc3 Qh1+ 17.Kd2 Nf3 checkmate. Clearly White, the very-slightly-higher rated player, was taken aback by the move. I asked mika76 if he had been influenced by IM Lane's recommendation, but he said he had come up with the move himself.


Jerome, in his 1874 analysis, gave 6…bc 7.d4 “putting Black’s KB out of play”. This was supported by, among several games, perrypawnpusher - mika76,, 2008 (1-0, 18)

[To Be Continued on New Year's Day.] 
[Comments and Emails are Welcomed and Encouraged.]

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Jerome Gambit-Inspired Play (Part 4)

A solid belief of the Jerome Gambiteer is "In complications we trust". A lot of action goes on in the following game, but Philidor 1792 again shows himself to be the master of the clock in 3-minute games. By the last move, Black has frittered away almost all of his advantage - but, more importantly, all of his time.

Philidor 1792 - guest1063
3 0 blitz,, 2013

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6

The game has transposed to a Two Knights Defense, although I have to mention the alternative: 3...Nxe4 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Kg8 6.0-0 d6 7.Qe2 dxe5 8.Qc4+ Black resigned, Zulkifli, Tg - Lai, Wendy, Kuala Lumpur open, 1992. 

4.Bb3 Bc5 5.Bxf7+ 

Now we have sort of a "postponed" Jerome Gambit, with White playing the Jerome a move down (Black has the extra ...Nf6).

5...Kxf7 6.Nxe5+ Nxe5 7.d4 Bxd4 8.Qxd4 d6

There are actually 4 other games in The Database with this position, in each case White having played d2-d3, then d3-d4.

9.f4 Nc6 10.Qd3 Re8 11.Nc3 Bf5 12.0-0 Nxe4

Much better was 12...Bxe4.

13.Qd5+ Kg6 14.Rf3 Qf6 15.Nxe4 Rxe4 16.Rg3+ Kh6

White wants to attack, and Black, as his clock ticks down, has to defend.

17.Rh3+ Bxh3 18.f5+ Kh5 19.Qxe4 Qxf5 20.Qe3 Rf8 21.Bd2 Bg4 22.h3 Bxh3 23.gxh3 Ne5 

24.Kg2 g5 25.Bc3 h6 26.Re1 Qf4 

Not the strongest, but Black is running short of time, and swapping Queens would simplify a position in which he has a 2-pawn advantage.

27.Bxe5 dxe5 28.Qxe5 Qf2+ 29.Kh1 Qf3+ 30.Kh2 Qf4+ 31.Qxf4 Rxf4 

32.Kg3 Kg6 33.Re7 Rc4 34.c3 h5 35.Re8 g4 36.hxg4 hxg4 37.Rg8+ White won on time