Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Monday, December 29, 2014

Alert! Alert!

In my last post I mentioned that I have a Google "alert" set for "Jerome Gambit". I griped that it rarely returned anything, and when it did, it mostly gave a link to one of the posts on this blog (not always a current one).

However, once again it linked me to a game at The contest is a one-minute, "bullet" game featuring the Jerome Gambit!

dwcgc at is a player from the Netherlands with a taste for unorthodox chess openings - played very quickly (in the following game, slightly slower than a second a move). Take a look.

dwcgc- MorgailenkoBULLET
1 0 bullet,, 2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bxd4 7.Qxd4 Ng6 8.0-0 Nf6 9.f4 d6 10.f5 Ne5 11.Bf4 Qe7 12.Bxe5 Qxe5 13.Qxe5 dxe5 14.Nc3 b6 15.Nd5 Nxd5 16.exd5 Bb7 17.Rae1 Rhe8 18.c4 e4 19.g4 Re7 20.Rf4 Rae8 21.Kf2 Kf6 22.Ke3 Kg5 23.Ref1 c5 24.Rh1 h6 25.h4+ Kf6 26.g5+ hxg5 27.hxg5+ Ke5 28.Rg1 Rf7 29.f6 Kd6 30.Rgf1 gxf6 31.gxf6 Rh8 32.Rf5 Rh3+ 33.Kd2 Rh2+ 34.R1f2 Rg2 35.Ke2 Rxf2+ 36.Kxf2 Bc8 37.Ke2 Bxf5 38.Ke3 Rxf6 39.Kf4 Bg6+ 40.Ke3 Rf3+ 41.Kd2 Bh5 42.Ke1 e3 43.Ke2 Rh3+ 44.Kd3 Rh2 45.Kc3 e2 46.Kb3 e1Q 47.Ka3 Qg3+ 48.b3 Black lost on time

I also found a recent game with dwcgc playing the Busch-Gass Gambit (see "Worth a Second Look... "Part 1Part 2 and Part 3), a sort-of "reversed Jerome Gambit."

DanDan2016 - dwcgc
1 0 bullet,, 2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Bc5 3.Bc4 Bxf2+ 4.Kxf2 Nf6 5.Qe2 c6 6.Ng5 d5 7.exd5 cxd5 8.Bb3 Qb6+ 9.Qe3 Ng4+ 10.Ke2 Nxe3 11.dxe3 0-0 12.Rf1 Be6 13.Nc3 Nc6 14.Nxd5 Bxd5 15.Bxd5 Qb5+ 16.c4 Qc5 17.Nxf7 Rxf7 18.Bxf7+ Kh8 19.Bd5 Ne7 20.b3 Nxd5 21.cxd5 Qxd5 22.Ba3 h6 23.Rad1 Qb5+ 24.Ke1 Qa5+ 25.b4 Qxa3 26.Rd7 Qxb4+ 27.Ke2 Qb5+ 28.Kd2 Rd8 29.Rxd8+ Kh7 30.Rff8 Qb4+ 31.Kd1 Qa4+ 32.Ke2 Qg4+ 33.Kd3 Qxg2 34.Kc4 Qxh2 35.Kd5 Qg2+ 36.Kxe5 Qc6 37.Kf5 Qg6+ 38.Kf4 Qg5+ 39.Kf3 Qxd8 40.Kf2 h5 41.Rxd8 h4 42.Ra8 h3 43.Rxa7 h2 44.Kg2 h1Q+ 45.Kxh1 Black lost on time

Saturday, December 27, 2014


I have a Google "alert" set for "Jerome Gambit". It rarely returns anything, and when it does, it mostly gives me a link to one of the posts on this blog - not always a current one.

The other day, however, it linked me to the following game at The game is given there as an example of "Bishop's Opening, Jerome Gambit," which is a bit of a misnomer, in that Alonzo Wheeler Jerome did not play or analyze the line (as far as I have been able to discover in 13 years of research into the Jerome Gambit).

I have called the line the "Abrahams Jerome Gambit" (see Part 1 and Part 2 among several references), after the British chess player and author Gerald Abrahams (1907 - 1980) who referred to it as the Jerome Gambit in at least two of his books.

In the following game, White is not able to develop an attack worthy of the piece sacrificed, and eventually loses on time in an undermanned endgame. 

vitula - Pigmalion

5 0 blitz,, 2014

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Bc5 3.Bxf7+ Kxf7

"Bishop's  Opening,  Jerome  Gambit" according to the site.

4.Qh5+ Kf8 5.Nc3

From The Database:

5.Qxe5 d6 (5...Qe7 6.Qf4+ Qf6 7.Qg3 Ne7 8.Nf3 Bd6 9.Qh3 Ng6 10.g3 White resigned, Eveque - igigfufu, FICS, 2011) 6.Qg3 Qf6 (6...Nf6 from Philidor 1792 - guest543,, 2014 [1/2-1/2, 42]) 7.Nc3 c6 8.Nge2 b5 9.d4 Bxd4 10.Bg5 Bxc3+ 11.Nxc3 Qg6 12.0–0–0 h6 13.Qxd6+ Qxd6 14.Rxd6 Bb7 15.Rd8+ Kf7 16.Bf4 g5 17.Bxb8 Rh7 18.f4 Ne7 19.Rf1 g4 20.f5 Kf6 21.e5+ Kg5 22.Ne4+ Kh4 23.e6 Ng8 24.Bg3+ Kh5 25.h3 Rxd8 hg+  Kxg4 26.Rf4 Kh5  Rh4, checkmate, Philidor 1792 - guest321,; or

5.Qf5+ Nf6 6.Qxe5 Bd6 7.Qd4 Nc6 8.Qc3 Nxe4 9.Qf3+ Nf6 10.d3 Kf7 11.Nh3 Re8+ 12.Be3 Bc5 13.0-0 Bxe3 14.fxe3 Ne5 15.Ng5+ Kg8 16.Qf4 d6 17.d4 Nh5 18.Qe4 Qxg5 19.Rf5 White resigned, rnlgnd - PeterBondurant, FICS, 2011.

5...Qf6 6.Nf3 d6 7.0-0 g6 8.Qg5 Qxg5 9.Nxg5 h6 10.Nf3 Nf6

11.d3 Bg4 12.Nd2 Nbd7 13.h3 Be6 14.Nb5 Bb6 15.Nc3 Ke7

16.a4 Bd4 17.Nb3 Bxc3 18.bxc3 b6 19.Ba3 g5 20.Nd2 c5 21.d4 Rhg8 22.d5 Bf7 23.f3 Bg6 24.c4 Nh5 25.Rfb1 Nf4

26.Kf2 Nf6 27.a5 Rgb8 28.Rb5 bxa5 29.Rxa5 Rb7 30.Bc1 Nd7 31.Rb5 Rxb5 32.cxb5 Nb6 33.Ra6 Be8 34.g3 Ng6 35.c4 h5 36.Bb2 Bd7

37.h4 g4 38.Kg2 gxf3+ 39.Nxf3 Bg4 40.Ng5 Nf8 41.Bc1 Nxc4 42.Rc6 Nd7 43.Rc7 Ncb6 44.Ne6 a5 White lost on time

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

"Is he serious, or is he bluffing?"

I recently received another collection of Jerome Gambit, Jerome-ish, and Jerome-inspired games from Philidor 1792. The following game is a good example of the defender asking himself "Is he serious, or is he bluffing?" and not finding a good answer over-the-board. In a 3-minute game, there is often not a lot of time...

Philidor 1792 -Guest839182
3 0 blitz,, 2014

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 7.f4 Bd6

This unusual line, with the Black Bishop calling to mind White's play in the "fork trick", was looked at in "Dealing With the Unusual in the Unusual". It should bring a smile to White's face.


Here come the pawns! Is White serious?

A quick check with The Database shows that White is 7-2 with the move 8.Qf5+, which is probably the strongest move.


Instead of withdrawing his Knight with 8...Nf7 or 8...Nc6, or seeking complications with 8...Bb4+, in each case with advantage, Black decides to kick the White Queen first. This gives White a second chance.

9.Qf5+ Ke7 10.fxe5 Nxe4

Panic. Black's position now falls like a house of cards.

11.Qxe4 Bb4+ 12.c3 Ba5 13.Bg5+ Ke8 14.Bxd8 Kxd8 15.Qh4+ Ke8 16.O-O d6 

Black resigned

Sunday, December 21, 2014

In Pawns We Trust

In quick blitz games, it might be easier to "push pawns" than "calculate tactical variations". This may be one of the many secrets to Philidor 1792's success with the Jerome Gambit. In the following game, the "Jerome pawns" once again assert themselves. 

Philidor 1792 - Guest842066
3 0 blitz, 2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ng6 7.Qd5+ Ke8 8.Qxc5

8...Qe7 9.Qxe7+ N8xe7

Philidor 1792 is always ready to take the "Jerome pawns" against the extra piece in the endgame. Curiously, The Database also has at least one MrJoker game with this line from each year 2008, 2009,
2010, 2011 and 2012.

10.d4 d6 11.f4 Bd7 12.O-O d5 13.e5 h5 14.g3 Nf5 15.c3 Nf8 16.Kg2 Ne6 


White works to lift it. 

17.Na3 Bc6 18.h3 Kd7 19.Nc2 a5 20.Bd2 b6 21.g4 hxg4 22.hxg4 Nh4+ 23.Kg3 g5

Putting too much faith in the planned blockade? This lets the White f-pawn advance menacingly, and Black's game shudders.

24.f5 Nd8 25.Bxg5 Nb7 26.Bxh4 Rag8 27.Bf6 Rh7 28.Rh1 Rxh1 29.Rxh1 Ke8 30.e6 Nd8 31.Be5 Ke7 32.Rh7+

Black resigned

Friday, December 19, 2014

Too Smart (Not Smart Enough) For My Own Good

Sometimes when I am playing the Jerome Gambit I think I should take Nike's advice and "Just Do It!"... Over-thinking something has its problems. In the following game, by the time I figured out what I was supposed to remember, the game had wandered off.

perrypawnpusher - catmandu

blitz, FICS, 2014

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 Nf3+

A sharp and realatively unknown idea - this game is only the 10th example in The Database. It seemed familiar to me, though - and it actually was. I had responded with 8.gxf3 four years ago in perrypawnpusher - wertu, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 20).


During the game against catmandu, however, I thought I remembered perrypawnpusher - AirmanLeonidas, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 18), where, in my annotations, I had suggested that capturing with the Queen was better.

This was not entirely correct: against AirmanLeonidas I was playing the Semi-Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit - with 0-0 and ...h6 added to the current position - so that certain lines were playable then, but not now.


At this point I realized that 9.e5 would not work (it hadn't worked in stretto - NoWar, FICS, 2007 [0-1, 28] or yorgos - ANDGREG, FICS, 2009 [0-1, 51] either, I learned later); and that the idea starting with 9.Nb5 followed by 10.Qb3+, as in my game against AirmanLeonidas, would stumble upon the fact that my King in this game was still on the e-file.

I could have made more of a game of it with 9.Ne2 Be5 10.Qd3 c6 11.f4 Bc7 but of course Black would still be better.

Without any particular idea in mind, I just started "making moves". 

9.Bg5 Rf8 10.0-0

After the game Houdini suggested the move complicated (hence, giving me more chances) 10.Ne2 Bxb2 11.Qb3+ Kg6 12.h4 h6 13.Nf4+ Kh7 14.Qxb2 Qe8 15.0-0-0 Qxe4 16.g3 Qc4 17.Bxf6 Rxf6 with Black still for choice. 


Black has castled-by-hand, and compensation for White's piece sacrifice is insufficient.

11.Nd5 Nxd5 

One last oversight.

12.Qb3 Qxg5 White resigned

Next time, instead of trying to do all that remembering, I'll just focus on playing the game.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Nothing To It

Chess players who first encounter the Jerome Gambit often decide that there is nothing to it. They accept the first sacrificed piece. They accept the second sacrificed piece. They casually block White's brash Queen check with their g-pawn. Then they settle down to figure out how to play the rest of the game.

Too often, it is already too late.

perrypawnpusher - tripledubs
blitz, FICS, 2014

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ g6

7.Qxe5 Nf6

Defenders familiar with the Jerome Gambit will try 7...d6 (Blackburne's Defense) or 7...Qe7 (Whistler's Defense) or some defense of their own concoction.

In the game, Black, in returning one piece, sees that his Rook is endangered, and so protects it - returning a second piece. 


White is two pawns ahead. He will be temporarily uncomfortable while behind in development (whose gambit is this, anyhow?) but his opening can be considered a success.


Best is 8... Nxe4 as in perrypawnpusher - LibertasProVita, blitz, FICS, 2009 (1-0, 45) and perrypawnpusher - ibnoe, blitz, FICS, 2012 (1-0, 16).

Also playable is  8... Qe7 as in perrypawnpusher - marbleschess, blitz, FICS, 2009 (1-0, 48).

A bit better than the text is 8...d6 followed by ...Nxe4 as in perrypawnpusher - MsD, blitz, FICS, 2007 (0-1, 27), perrypawnpusher - brain50, JG3 thematic 2008 (1-0, 24) and perrypawnpusher - tiagorom, blitz, FICS, 2009 (1-0, 41).

9.d3 d5

More strident than 9... d6 as in perrypawnpusher - Alternative, blitz, FICS, 2005 (1-0, 63), perrypawnpusher - andrecoenen, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 15), and perrypawnpusher - Gryllsy, blitz, FICS, 2014 (1-0, 33).


This is an improvement over 10.O-O of Vuquoclong - VonKortez, FICS, 2013 (1-0, 22) and  10.Bg5 of UNPREDICTABLE - ornito, FICS, 2011 (1-0, 36).

10...c6 11.Bg5

Better is 11.Nc3 or 11.O-O, as the text allows Black to grab back a pawn with the combination 11...Nxe4 12.fxe4 Qxg5.

11...dxe4 12.dxe4

Thoughtless, expecting the game to "play itself". Better and more principled would be 12.fxe4 because then 0-0 would put more pressure on the Black Knight at f6.

12...Be6 13.Nc3 Kg7 14.O-O Qc7 15.Bxf6+ Kxf6


Here I overlooked a nice tactic with 16.Nb5!? based on Black's pinned c-pawn, his attacked Queen, and the placement of his Rooks.

16...b6 17.Qf2 Red8 18.a3 Rd7 19.Rxd7 Bxd7 20.Rd1

So far I have been pretty good at doing nothing, but here I could have tried 20.Qh4+ Kg7 21.Qe7+ Kg8 22.Rd1. The funny thing is that I kind of get there, eventually.

20...Rd8 21.Qh4+ Kg7 22.Qg3

Cowardice. Better 22.Qe7+ Kg8 23.e5.


It was probably better to exchange Queens.

23.Qe5+ Kg8 24.Qd6 Qa6 25.e5 Qc4 26.e6 Qc5+
27.Qxc5 bxc5

Black resigned

The Bishop is lost.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Chess Life for Kids

I write a regular column for the United States Chess Federation's Chess Life for Kids magazine.

I noticed that in Don Maddox and Ranae Bartlett's article, "The Bridge", in the December 2014 issue, the following game appeared. It is from a team match played, via Skype, between elementary students in Madison, Alabama, USA and Xiamen, China.

Wilhelm,J - Lexuan,W
Madison, AL - Xiamen, China Skype match, 2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Nc3 Na5

Readers who are familiar with this kind of move, or who recall "Another Coffin, Another Nail" or "Kick Me" know what will happen next.

5.Bxf7+ Kxf7 6.Nxe5+ Ke8

FM Bradley Denton, writing in Chess Life for Kids, recommended, instead, 6...Kf8 7.Qh5 Qe8 8.Nxd7+ Bxd7 9.Qxc5+ Ne7 10.Qxa5, although White would still be better.

 7.Qh5+ g6 8.Nxg6 hxg6 9.Qxh8 Kf8 10.d3 Qf6 11.Bh6+ Kf7 12.Qh7+ Ke6 13.Qxg8+ Kd6


Missing the killer move 14.Bf8+! that would wrap things up. That's okay, White still has things in hand, up the exchange and three pawns.  

14...Qxf8 15.Bxf8+ Kc6 16.Bxc5 Kxc5 17.0-0 d6 18.f4 Bd7 19.f5 

Jerome pawns, forward!

19...gxf5 20.exf5 Rf8 21.f6 Nc6 22.Rae1 Nd4 23.Re7 Kc6 24.Rg7 Nxc2 25.f7 Be6 26.Rf6 Bc4 

This slip hastens the end.

27.dxc4 Nb4 28.Rg8 Rxg8 29.fxg8Q Na6 30.Qd5+ Kd7 31.Rf7+ Kc8 32.Qe6+ Kd8 33.Qd7 checkmate

(Yes, Readers, I once wrote "The Worst Chess Opening Ever!" - on the Jerome Gambit - for the June 2010 and August 2010 issues of Chess Life for Kids. I don't remember, off hand, if they ran my article on "The Knucklehead Gambit," however...) 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Most of the Time

If you are facing Bill Wall and the Jerome Gambit, it will not do to make good moves most of the time. You have to make good moves all the time - or you will lose, most of the time. The following game is a good example.

Wall,B - Guest4644930, 2014

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Kf8

The Jerome Gambit, Jerome variation, first outlined in the Dubuque Chess Journal, July 1874.

7.Qxe5 Qe7

After 7...d6, three of Bill's games later transposed into the current game: Wall,B -GoldCoinCollector, 2010 (1-0, 17); Wall,B - GuestZCLK, FICS, 2011 (1-0, 15); and Wall,B - Schichua,S, FICS, 2013 (1-0, 22). 

8.Qf4+ Qf6 9.Qg3 d6 10.0-0 

Instead, 10.Nc3 Ne7 11.0-0 was Wall,B - Josti,, 2013, (1-0, 26), while 10.c3 was seen in Wall,B - Guest340293,, 2012, (1-0, 41). 

10...Nh6 11.c3 Bd7 12.d4 Bb6 13.Nd2 Nf7 14.Nc4 Ke7 15.a4 Rae8 

Black had defended well, and plans on castling-by-hand on the Queenside, as well as returning a piece for some pawns. All well and good, but, as things turn out, more prudent would have been the preventative 15...a5,even at the cost of having his pawn structure broken up. 

16.a5 Bxd4 17.cxd4 Qxd4 18.b3 Kd8 19.e5 

Uncomfortable. Black is doing everything "right", yet this move upsets him. He defends by further extracting his King from the center, while 19...Nxe5 should have kept the game about even.

19...Kc8 20.Bb2 Qg4 21.Qc3 Nxe5

Now this falls to a tactical shot.

22.Nxd6+ Kb8 23.Nxe8 Rxe8 24.Rfe1 Bc6 25.Qg3 Qb4 26.Bxe5

Black resigned