Sunday, October 12, 2014

Further Updating the Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit


Today we return to a rare line in the Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit, on behalf of HauntedKnight of FICS, who has over 230 Jerome Gambit and Jerome-related games in The Database.

HauntedKnight - keeper
blitz, FICS, 2012

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 h6


The Semi-Italian Opening.

4. O-O Bc5 5.Bxf7+ 

The Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit.

5...Kxf7 6. Nxe5+ Nxe5 7. d4 Qh4


Mentioned previously in "Updating the Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit". The move is reminiscent of what I have called a "Pie-in-the-Face Variation" in the regular Jerome Gambit: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5+ 6.d4 Qh4!?

The question here, in the Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit, is, how much does giving White a useful move (0-0) and having Black waste a move (...h6), change what is a clear plan of refutation in the Jerome Gambit proper.

8.dxe5

For starters, White gets to capture one of Black's pieces in this variation. In the regular Jerome Gambit line, of course, capturing the Knight with 7.dxe5 would lead to 7...Qxf2#. (There is actually one such game in The Database.) Capturing the Bishop with 7.dxc5 in the regular line would lead to 7...Qxe4+ (best) and White was lucky to score 28% out of 52 games in the Database.

In the current game, White's King is castled, and thus safer. Still, he should have captured the other Black piece with 8.dxc5, leading to an almost-balanced game.

Instead, this move and his following move turn Black's Bishop into a monster. In unexplored territories - remember, this is the only 7.d4 Qh4 Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit game in The Database - there are often monsters.

8...d6 9.exd6

White had to try to hang on with 9.Nc3. 

9...Bxd6 

White now fights valiantly, but to no avail.

10.f4 Nf6 11.e5 Ng4 12.h3 Bc5+ 13.Kh1 Nf2+ 14.Rxf2 Qxf2 15.Qh5+ g6 16.Qd1 

White can only annoy the Black King, and then fall back on defense.

16...Bf5 17.Qd5+ Be6 18.Qd1 Rad8 19.Nd2 Bd5 20.Qf1 Qxf1+

Black is content to simplify; perhaps it was a question of time on the clock. With 20...Qg3 he would have a checkmate in 7 moves. 

21.Nxf1 Kg7 22.Be3 Bxe3 23.Nxe3 Bc6 24.Kh2 Rhf8 25.g3 g5 26.Nf5+ Rxf5 White resigned


Despite the outcome of this game, White should not fear 7...Qh4, but go ahead and capture the Bishop with 8.dxc5, followed by development of his pieces and then the advance of his "Jerome pawns".

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