Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Best Jerome Gambit Game of the Year (Part 2)

We continue from the previous post, considering a game that has lept to the top of the heap for Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) games this year.

As indicated, Readers are encouraged to dispute my assessment by sending in other great Jerome Gambit games...

Wall, Bill - Guest871838, 2014


Of the offer of the Rook with 7...d6, Blackburne wrote in Mr. Blackburne's Games at Chess (1899), "Not to be outdone in generosity." The cost to White of taking the Rook is to have his Queen locked out of the action, at a time when Black's pieces begin to swarm the Kingside.

Blackburne's book also contained the following: "NOTE. I used to call this the Kentucky opening. For a while after its introduction it was greatly favoured by certain players, but they soon grew tired of it."

A resonable explanation of the reference to the "Kentucky opening" has appeared previously in this blog (see "A New Abrahams Jerome Gambit" for a summary). 

As for the "certain players" who "greatly favoured" the Jerome Gambit, it is difficult to identify them by games played, as I have discovered the games of only a dozen or so players (other than Jerome, himself) who played the opening between when it was introduced in 1874 and the publication of Blackburne's book in 1899. Andres Clemente Vazquez, of Mexico, has four games in The Database, while E.B. Lowe, of Great Britain, has three.

Blackburne might well have been referring to authors who included analysis of the Jerome Gambit in their opening books, in which case George H.D. Gossip, of Theory of the Chess Openings (1879) and The Chess Player's Vade Mecum (1891) ; William Cook, of Synopsis of Chess Openings (1882, 1888); E. Freeborough and C. E. Rankin of  Chess Openings Ancient and Modern (1889, 1893, 1896);and Mortimer of The Chess Player's Pocket book And Manual of the Openings (1888 - 1906); are all likely suspects. Certainly, more research is still needed.


This is Blackburne's counter attack, threatening 9...Qxf2+ 10.Kd1 Bg4 mate.


Munoz and Munoz, in their notes to Amateur - Blackburne, London, 1885, in the Brooklyn Chess Chronicle, suggested "He should have attempted to free his pieces by P to Q4 [d4] before castling." 

The move 9.d4 received a good look in "Updating the Jerome Gambit (Part 1)", including references to L. Elliot Fletcher’s energetic Gambit’s Accepted (1954), an internet article on Amateur - Blackburne (at by Brazil's Hindemburg Melao, and some musings and analysis from Bruce Pandolfini, in his 1989 Chess Openings: Traps & Zaps !


The door closes on White's Queen.


Melao mentioned that Idel Becker, in his Manual de xadrez (1974), attributed the move 10.d4 to Euwe (source not mentioned). Melao was skeptical about the move, giving Black’s counter-attack 10…Bh3 11.gxh3 Rxh8 12.dxc4 Qxh3 13.f3 g5 14.Rf2 g4 15. Bf4 gxf3 16.Bg3 h5 17.Nd2 h4 18.Nf3 Qg4 with advantage for Black. He preferred 10.Qd8 - another suggestion (without further analysis) by Munoz and Munoz in the Brooklyn Chess Chronicle, August 1885, who opined "The only hope he had was 10.Q to Q8 [10.Qd8], thus preventing the deadly  move of Kt to Kt5 [...Ng4]."

Bill Wall mentioned that 10.d3 loses to 10...Bh3 11.Qxa8 Qg4 12.g3 Qf3 as was brutally demonstrated in RevvedUp - Hiarcs 8, 2 12 blitz, 2006 (0-1, 12).


Most consistent for Black is 10...Bb6, covering the c7 pawn and enforcing the embargo on the Queen. White should return a pawn to free Her Majesty with 11.e5 dxe5 12.Qd3 as in Wall,Bill - Foo,Nathan, Palm Bay, FL, 2010 (1-0, 33). 

[to be continued]

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