Friday, January 31, 2014

Disappointment Against the Jerome Gambit: The Fish Escapes

I think my opponent was disappointed with his last move. I don't blame him. He had been playing a good game, and had every reason to hope for success. I don't know which is worse, losing to the Jerome Gambit (and the fish who plays it) or failing to punish someone (the fish) who plays the Jerome gambit.

perrypawnpusher - tjaksi
blitz, FICS, 2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 

More enterprising than in our first game, when my opponent played 6...Ng6,  perrypawnpusher - tjaksi, blitz, FICS, 2013 (1-0,16)

7.Qf5+ Kd6 8.f4 Ng6 9.Qd5+ Ke7 10.Qxc5+ d6


Curiously, after 11 moves we have reached a position in which White has an extra move (f2-f4) in comparison to the 6...g6 line: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ng6 7.Qd5+ Ke7 8.Qxc5+ d6 9.Qe3. (We didn't reach this position in our earlier game, as Black's King had gone to f6 on move 7.) See "Chances".

11...Nf6 12.0-0 

White could also play 12.d4 as in perrypawnpusher - thinan, blitz, FICS, 2010 (1-0,31), but the text might be a little bit better.

After the game Houdini suggested 12.f5 Ne5 13.d4 Nc6 14.0-0 Re8 15.e5 Kf8 16.e6, and although White's "Jerome pawns" have advanced, Black still would have the advantage. 

12...Re8 13.f5 Ne5 14.d4 Neg4 

The Knight probably should retire with 14...Nc6, as 15.e5 can be met by 15...Kf8. But who can resist the opportunity to harass the Queen?


Looking to create mischief on the Kingside, but better was 15.Qd3 as in perrypawnpusher - spydersweb, blitz, FICS, 2012 (1-0, 24). 

15...Kf7 16.Nc3 c6 

This does not look, at first glance, like a complicated position, but, after the game, I asked Houdini what White should do, setting the search level to 20 ply. It started out boldly with predictions for advantage for White after 17.h3 Nh6 18.Rf3 but 18...Qb6!? seemed to change things and the recommended 19.Rg3 (or the secondary 19.Kh2) didn't come up with much after 19...Rg8 20.Bf4 Qxd4+ 21.Kh2 d5. I wonder if White should try 17.h3 Nh6 18.Qf4!? with the idea of 19.g4 and an advance on the Kingside.


My plan was to make room for 18.Bg5, putting pressure on the Knight at f6, and, indirectly, the Knight at g4. The problem with this, as alluded to in the previous note, is that Black can now reply 17...Qb3!? and begin to demolish White's center, e.g. 18.Rd1 c5 19.Nd5 Nxd5 20.exd5 Nf6 and if 21.Bg5 then Black's Rook infiltrates with 21...Re4.


An unfortunate oversight in a promising position, hanging a piece.


Here, Black forfeited by disconnection. I can understand his frustration; still, after 18...d5 he would be down only a pawn, and his King is properly placed to defend against it.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Trading Down Against the Jerome Gambit

If someone makes an exchange and comes out ahead, that is considered "trading up". Do the opposite, and that is considered "trading down". Why would someone want to do the latter against the Jerome Gambit?

Wall,B - Guest2115687, 2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ g6 7.Qxe5 Bxf2+

As I've written elsewhere,
Just about everyone who plays the Jerome Gambit faces this "bail out" variation at one point or another. Black manages to exchange Queens at the cost of returning a piece, and with the prospect of playing on, a pawn down. White can no longer play "his" attack; but he also no longer has an "objectively" lost game.
8.Kxf2 Qh4+

Last year Bill's brother, Steve, faced the more direct 8...Qf6+ 9.Qxf6+ Nxf6 in Wall,S - Guest658246, 2013 (1-0, 34).


A couple of years ago Wall,B - Guest1443273, 2012 (1-0, 36) continued 9.Kf1 Qf6+ 10.Qxf6+ Nxf6 etc.

9...Qf6+ 10.Qxf6+ Nxf6 

11.Nc3 Re8 

Instead, Bill suggests 11...d5.


Threatening 13.Nb5 and Nc7 

12...d6 13.Bg5 Ng4+

He would do better to concentrate on development with 13...Be6.

14.Kg2 h6

Or 14...c6 15.Rhf1+.

15.Raf1+ Kg7 16.Bd2 Bd7 17.Nd5

Threatening 18.Nxc7, forking the Rooks. 

17...Rac8 18.Bc3+ Kg8 

Now White offers one final trade, which turns out to be deadly.

19.h3 c6 20.hxg4 cxd5 21.Rxh6 

Threatening 22.Rh8 mate. Black resigned.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Not Ready for the Jerome Gambit

In the following game I gave my opponent "Jerome Gambit odds", but he did not seem very impressed and certainly did not sense any danger. Not everyone knows what to do with the gift of a couple of pieces.

perrypawnpusher - opazovalec

blitz, FICS, 2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Bc5 5.Bxf7+

The Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit.

5...Kxf7 6.Nxe5+ Ke8 

A relatively rare idea - there are only 9 previous examples in The Database.

7.Nxc6 bxc6

As with the line 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Ke8, Black does a bit better with the capture 7...dxc6.

8.d4 Bb4 9.O-O Bxc3 10.bxc3 


Not sensing any danger. After all, the Jerome Gambit is the "worst chess opening ever".

11.Re1 d5 12.f3 Bf5 13.fxe4 Bxe4

Pawn structure is similar, but King safety is not.

14.Qh5+ Kf8 15.Rf1+ Kg8 16.Qf7 checkmate