Thursday, June 11, 2015

A Nigerian Abrahams Jerome Gambit

The other day I came across a chess thread on a Nigerian website,, with a post by InesQor, who wrote 
I just finished a chess game on this new site I found (lichess) and the game was really odd to me.
I won, but I'm wondering if the Jerome gambit my opponent played could ever have been played better than it was. Or else, if it is so terrible an opening?! Better players in the house, what do you think?...
Caveat: I haven't played chess in a while so I'm not in the best of form: playing fast (thus, there are some blunders.)
I am not sure that I am a better player than you are, but I am glad to be of some assistance, InesQor!

Anonymous - Anonymous

3 0 blitz,, 2015

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Bc5 3.Bxf7+ Kxf7

The site lichess identifies this as "Bishop's Opening, Jerome Gambit". My preference is to refer to it as the "Abrahams Jerome Gambit" as opposed to the Jerome Gambit proper (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+).

The point is largely moot here, as with White's and Black's next moves, the game transposes to the "regular" Jerome Gambit.


White would have better chances of an attack after 4.Qh5+, although Black still would be better.

The fact is that the Jerome Gambit is pretty much a terrible opening, although in a 3-minute blitz game between club players, it has some practical value.

4...Nc6 5.d3 

This move marks the game as a "modern" Jerome Gambit variation, as opposed to the "classical" lines which feature 5.Nxe5+ - a move that was almost always played back in the time of Alonzo Wheeler Jerome. However, modern players are not always willing to sacrifice a second piece.

5...Nf6 6.Bg5 Rf8 7.c3 Kg8 

Black has played very well, developing his pieces and castling-by-hand. It is up to White to show that he has any kind of compensation for his sacrificed piece.

8.Qb3+ Kh8 9.h4 Qe8 10.h5 Qe6 

Black offers to exchange Queens, snuffing out White's attacking chances. He could have gone further with the counter-attack 10...Ng4!?, sowing confusion in his opponent's ranks.

11.c4 Nxh5

A very sharp idea, if followed up correctly.

12.Rxh5 Bxf2+

Black misses 12...Qg4! with a chance to recover his sacrificed material (with interest), moving toward a strong attack on White's King. If he does not take advantage of his Queen's opportunities, White will recover - and the first player still has an extra piece.

13.Kxf2 Nd4 14.Qd1 d5

Things are looking complicated - and in a 3-minute game!

White has a chance to work on a counter-counter-attack, with 15.Be3, e.g. 15...dxe4 16.dxe4 Qg4 17.Qh1.

The game now bounces back and forth - time must have been running short for both players.

15.cxd5 Qb6 

A scary move - a strong tool in blitz - but the Queen would be better placed on g6. White's response is all bluff, however.

16.Rxh7+ Kxh7 17.Qh1+ Kg8 18.Kg3 Ne2+ 19.Kh4

Allowing checkmate, but White was worse in any event.

19...Qf2+ 20. Kh5 Ng3+ 21. Kg6 Nxh1 22. Nxe5 Rf6+ 23. Bxf6 Qxf6+ 24.Kh5 Qh6 checkmate

Very nice!

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