Monday, October 6, 2014


Playing the Jerome Gambit is a lot like giving your opponent a weapon - and then stepping in and bopping him on the nose before he figures out how to use it. If you are fast or skilled (or lucky) enough, you can walk away with a win.

IagainstI - kingphilippineda

blitz, FICS, 2013

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ g6 7.Qxe5 Qe7 

This is Whistler's Defense, as opposed to the much better known 7...d6, Blackburne's Defense. The offered Rook is poison.


When Alonzo Wheeler Jerome played this move against D.P. Norton in a correspondence game in 1876, the American Chess Journal, June 15th, noted that it was "[P]layed experimentally; and analysis will probably show the capture to be unsound." White was fortunate to draw the game, however.


Black immediately lost his way with 8...Qf6 9.Qxh7+ Kf8 10.O-O Black resigned, Wall,B - Sepoli,, 2010. Bop! 


Even worse is 9.Kd1 although you couldn't tell by the result of  Wall,B - Mathieubuntu, FICS, standard 40 0, 2011 (1/2 - 1/2, 14). Bop!

A  more representative 9.Kd1 game is blackburne - perrypawnpusher, JG3 thematic,, 2008 (1-0, 17). The earliest example, equally educational, is Jerome,A - Whistler,G, correspondence, 1876 (0-1, 15).


9...Nf6 was the start of White getting off the hook in Jerome,A - Norton,D, correspondence, 1876 (1/2, 1/2, 20). Bop!

Likewise, the text gives White a breather, and that is all that he needs to reverse his fortunes.

Instead, Black needed to continue to both attack and defend with 9...Qh4.


The only move.

10...Qxc2 11.Qxh7+

Now White's Queen is more dangerous, and Black's King is more at risk.

11...Kf8 12.Bh6+ Nxh6 13.Qxh6+ Kf7 14.Qf4+

Or 14.Qd2 Qa4 15.Nc3 d6 16.Nxa4 Black resigned, in Abijud - Jeru, blitz, FICS, 2005. Bop!

14...Ke8 15.Nd2 Qxd3+ 16.Kg1 Bd6 17.Re1+ Kd8

Black resigned

Mate will arrive in a couple of moves.

Even against the better defense 17...Be7, Black's unsafe King would guarantee more suffering, e.g. 18.Qf6 Qd6 19.Qh8+ Kf7 20.Nc4 when the entry of White's Knight will either cost Black his Queen, or lead to checkmate. Bop!

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