Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Updating the Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit

I have had a long-term interest in the Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit, so-called because it can arise from the move order - among others - 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.0-0 h6. (For example, see "A Jerome Look At The Semi-Italian Opening" Parts 1, 2, and 3).

More than a third (37%, actually) of the games in The Database with this move order were played by me, and I've scored 89% with the line.

I thought it was a good time to take another look at some recent games and update my knowledge.

ndrwgn - latang
standard, FICS, 2013

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 

I was surprised to see that Houdini 3 prefers this move to my choice, 7.Qh5+. I have played 7.d4 in only 3 of my 54 Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit games. Shows what I know.


I wondered how often Black played 7...Qh4!? in this position, similar to 6...Qh4!? in the main line Jerome Gambit with 6.d4 (instead of 6.Qh5). It turns out that there is only one game example in The Database, HauntedKnight - keeper, blitz, FICS, 2012 (0-1, 26). This line deserves further exploration.

8.Qxd4 d6

There are 9 examples of ndrwgn playing this position in The Database, and he has scored 56%.

9.f4 c5 

"Meeting A Threat With A Threat", but 9...Nc6 was a more stable alternative. The text causes immediate difficulties. 

10.Qd5+ Be6 11.fxe5+ Ke8 12.Qxe6+ Ne7 13.exd6 Qb6 14.Qxe7 checkmate

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