Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Excitment of Discovering the Jerome Gambit

There is an old, not-so-funny joke, that goes
If someone who speaks three languages is called trilingual, and someone who speaks two languages is called bilingual, what do we call someone who speaks one language? 
An American.
Well, maybe that is more true of my generation - my ASL is rusty, and I speak French like a Spanish cow - than the younger generation (both my sons speak English and Spanish, while the younger also speaks Haitian Kreyòl and reads French); but I often find that my online searches for Jerome Gambit material land me in places where my language skills leave me at a disadvantage.

The other day, for example, I visited Baidu Tieba, the largest Chinese online community, with a chance to examine a chess game on the Chess Forum. In Chinese.

The presenter shared a game - I did not get the names of the players - and he (or she) was clearly excited by the play of the Jerome Gambit.

I am adding some lines and diagrams to show some of my excitement as well.

NN - NN Chess Forum

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

The presenter gave this move a "!?", which warmed my heart.

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bb6

Black is intimidated by White's play, which is good for the attacker.

7.dxe5 d5

Striking out, while the more common responses (from The Database) are 7...Qe7 and 7...Ne7. (I can find only one example of 7...d5, in jfhumphrey - JelloOz, blitz, FICS, 2010 [1-0, 34] ).

8.exd5 Bf5

The presenter gives this move a "??" saying that Black is unaware of White's upcoming offensive, but the move actually is playable. Of course, the standard developing move 8...Ne7 is also good.

 9.Qf3 Ne7 10.g4 


Here is where Black actually goes astray, by defending mechanically. Instead, with 10...Qxd5 there can be the exchange of Queens as well as a return the sacrificed piece, e.g. 11.Qxd5+ Nxd5 12.gxf5 Rae8 Very important for the defense. White's "Jerome pawns" are surprisingly vulnerable here. 13.f4 g5 14.Rf1 gxf4 15.e6+ Kf6 16.Bxf4 Nxf4 17.Rxf4 Kg5 18.Rf3 Rhf8 19.Nc3 Rxf5 20.Rg3+ Kh6 21.0-0-0 Rxe6 

analysis diagram

with an even game, according to Stockfish 6. That would be a lot to expect from a defender who might well be seeing the Jerome Gambit for the first time, however.

11.gxf5 gxf5

Again, 11...Qxd5 is the more accurate defense, although White now has 12.fxg6+ when after 12...Ke8 13.Qxd5 Nxd5 14.Bg5 White is able to do better with the "Jerome pawns" i.e. 14...hxg6 15.Nd2 Bd4 16.0-0-0 Bxf2 17.Ne4 Be3+ 18.Bxe3 Nxe3 19.Rd3 Nf5 20.Rhd1 When Stockfish 6 shows a possible ending 20...Rh4 21.Nc5 Rxh2 22.Rd7 Ne3 23.Ne4 Rxc2+ 24.Kb1 Rxb2+ 25.Kxb2 Nxd1+ 26.Rxd1 Rd8 27.Rxd8+ Kxd8 

analysis diagram

Black has the two pawns for the extra piece, but White is "objectively" better. 

12.Nc3 Rg8 13.Qh5+

13...Kf8 14.Bh6+ Rg7 15.Qg5 Nxd5

The presenter gives this move a "?", but the only defense to put off checkmate, 15...Ng6, still leaves Black worse.

16.Qxg7+ Ke8 17.e6 Nxc3 18.Qf7 checkmate

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