Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A New Abrahams Jerome Gambit

The following game is typical of Philidor1792: an interesting opening line, pawn play against the extra piece, some sharp tactics - all executed at blitz pace. 

Philidor1792 - guest543

3 0 blitz,, 2014

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Bc5 3.Bxf7+ 

I have referred to this as the Abrahams Jerome Gambit (see Part I and Part II), after Gerald Abrahams, who, in his The Chess Mind (1951) and The Pan Book of Chess (1965) referred to the line as the Jerome Gambit or Jerome's Gambit. Other authors may have made this attribution, earlier - I would be glad to hear from Readers.

To date, I have not been able to find a game or analysis by Alonzo Wheeler Jerome with the line. My guess is that Abrahams decided that the presence of Bxf7+ was enough to make it Jerome's.

This kind of mis-attribution has occurred before. Joseph Henry Blackburne, in annotating his famous destruction of the Jerome Gambit (see "Nobody Expects the Jerome Gambit!"), referred to it as the "Kentucky Opening".

After some investigation (see "The Kentucky Opening" Parts 1, 23 and 4, as well as "The Kentucky/Danvers Opening"), I ran across analysis of 1.e4 e5 2.Qh5 - "the Kentucky Opening" - published in the Dubuque Chess Journal at around the same time the magazine was introducing the world to the Jerome Gambit 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+. My conclusion

[T]he Queen move in the Jerome Gambit, and the Queen move in the Kentucky Opening are an outstanding – but similar – feature in each opening, something which likely caught Blackburne's eye.

3...Kxf7 4.Qh5+ Kf8 5.Qxe5 d6 6.Qg3 Nf6

7.d3 Nc6 8.c3 Kf7 9.Ne2 Re8 10.f3 d5 11.d4 Bb6 12.e5 Nh5

13.Qf2 g6 14.g4 Ng7 15.Na3 Ne7 16.Nc2 h5 17.h3 Be6 18.Bg5 Qd7 19.Kd2 hxg4 20.hxg4 Rh8 

The position resembles an unusual French Defense Advance Variation!

21.Ne3 c5 22.Qg3 cxd4 23.cxd4 Ba5+ 24.Nc3 Rac8 25.a3 Bb6 26.Nc2 Nc6 

27.Kd3 Na5 28.Raf1 Nc4 29.Bc1 Ba5 30.Ne3 Bxc3 31.bxc3 Qb5 32.Kc2 Qa4+ 33.Kd3 Nxa3 34.f4 Qb3 35.Bd2 Nc4 

White is in trouble, and seeks counterplay against Black's King.

36.f5 gxf5 37.gxf5 Nxd2 

Just the break White was looking for! Now he has a forced checkmate, featuring a Queen sacrifice.

38.fxe6+ Kg8 39.Qxg7+! Kxg7 40.Rhg1+ 

Alas! White is short of time, and goes for the repetition of position and the draw. With a few more seconds he would have found 40.Rfg1+ Kf8 41.Rxh8+ Ke7 42.Rg7+ Kxe6 43.Rh6 checkmate.


Black, in turn, misses the saving 40...Kh6.

41.Rh1+ Kg8 42.Rhg1+ 

See the note to White's 40th move.


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