Monday, September 22, 2014

Don't, Here, Either

As a parallel to the previous post, I thought I would take another look at the Jerome Gambit Declined, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ and now 4...Kf8 or 4...Ke7. It seems overly generous for Black to decline a piece (and a possible offer of a second one), but sometimes defenders do not want to play a line - whatever its value - that the attackers want them to.

There are 245 games in The Database where Black declines the Jerome Gambit with 4...Kf8, with White scoring 56%. To break that down,  after the retreat 5.Bb3 (Houdini's choice), White scores 61%. The piece exchange, 5.Bxg8, has White score 57%. The complicating 5.Nxe5 scores 50% for White.

By comparison, there are 40 games in The Database where Black declines the Jerome Gambit with 4...Ke7, with White scoring a more encouraging 71%. Again, breaking that down, after the retreat 5.Bb3 (Houdini prefers the three retreats of 5.Bd5, 5.Bc4 and 5.Bb3), White scores 100%, as he does after the exchange 5.Bxg8. The complicating 5.Nxe5 scores 0%.

In summary, if Black does not take the Bishop in the Jerome Gambit, both computer analysis and game play suggest that White should either retreat it or exchange it, with good-to-very-good prospects.

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