Sunday, January 4, 2015

All or Nothing! notebook (1)

Working on my book, All or Nothing!, The Jerome Gambit, has forced me to take a better look at variations that I have generally dismissed.

The first line to get more attention is one that I have thought little about, the Jerome Gambit Declined.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kf8 

In the broader sense of things, it seems odd that Black would give up an "objectively" won game (White has sacrficed one piece and may sacrifice a second) to be down material, all at move 4.

In fact, the line is rarely played: of 10,670 games in The Database that have White's first four moves, above, only 245 - roughly 2% - contain 4...Kf8. Less than 1/2 % contain 4...Ke7.

Yet, Black may have his reasons, if only based in psychology. For starters, he does not give White the wild play he is looking for - in fact, Black becomes the gambiteer, offering a pawn and position for slightly better development. White must take further risks if he want's to challenge that situation.

White's best move in response to Black declining the Bishop is to play 5.Bb3 (or the similarly-motivated 5.Bc4 or 5.Bd5) settling for a solid pawn plus and eventual play against Black's displaced King. Also good for White is 5.Bxg8, exchanging rather than retreating the Bishop.

It is quite possible that Black declines the Jerome Gambit in hopes that White will continue to offer the piece with 5.Nxe5!? or 5.0-0!? with the plan to transpose into the Jerome Gambit accepted, where Black eventually takes the Bishop, having taken two moves to do so, instead of the usual one. This is convoluted thinking, that White, having been spared a losing game, will want to persist in seeking his attack/disadvantage, rather than settle for an advantageous non-Jerome Gambit position...

The Jerome Gambit: it has its own logic!

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