I chuckled when I was putting together the earlier blog post, "Opening Discussion, Not Quite Closed". The idea that there were several very good moves to be played in an opening position, and I chose none of them -- and won the game, anyhow -- seemed very appropriate in a Jerome Gambit blog.
Anyone who has browsed through the 51,000+ games in The Database has come away with an appreciation of the fact that Jerome Gambiteers frequently play second (or third, or fourth, or fifth...) best moves successfully. Some of that is due to their creativity, or their familiarity with the strategies of the opening. Some of that is due to the time control (blitz) or level of play (club chess).
Finally, some of White's success is due to the strangeness of the Jerome Gambit itself, which forces defenders to continually figure things out - or perish. I am reminded of the following anecdote from the "Blackmar Diemer Gambit World", #43, January, 1991, told by IM Gerard Welling, and reprinted in "Tom's BDG Pages"
At the Hastings Chess Congress in 1937 Emil Josef Diemer created a stir in a game with an English gentleman. Diemer had a bad position, but after a move by his opponent he replied quickly, then jumped up, and to the chagrin of his opponent exclaimed: "Precisely the blunder that I have been expecting!"
bemillsy - Dpouchy
blitz, FICS, 2012
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+
4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Ke6 6.Nxc6 dxc6
6...bxc6, as in fehim - Pawnshop, FICS, 2009 (0-1, 48) could have been punished by 7.Qg4+!?
Possibly the best move. I mention that, because of the following games, where White varied:
7.d4 Be7 8.Qg4+ Kf7 9.Qh5+ Kf8 10.O-O Nf6 11.Qe2 Be6 12.e5 Nd5 13.c4 Nb4 14.a3 Na6 15.Nc3 Qxd4 16.Rd1 Qxc4 17.Qf3+ Kg8 18.Be3 Bg4 19.Qg3 Bxd1 20.Bh6 Qg4 21.Rxd1 Qxg3 22.hxg3 gxh6 23.Rd7 Kf7 24.f4 Rad8 25.Rxd8 Rxd8 26.Kh2 Rd2 27.b4 Rd3 28.Nb1 Rb3 29.Nd2 Rxa3 White resigned, blackburne - DREWBEAR 63, ChessWorld JG6, 2011. White has 155 games in The Database.
7.d3 Qf6 8. O-O Ne7 9. c3 Rd8 10.d4 Bb6 11. Nd2 Kf7 12. Qb3+ Kf8 13. Nf3 c5 14. e5 Qc6 15. Bg5 Re8 16. Bxe7+ Rxe7 17. d5 Qd7 18. c4 Qg4 19. h3 Qg6 20. e6 c6 21. Rad1 cxd5 22. cxd5 Bc7 23.Rfe1 b6 24. d6 Bxd6 25. Rxd6 Bb7 26. Rd7 Bc8 27. Rd8+ Re8 28. e7 checkmate, UNPREDICTABLE - jrauch, FICS, 2010. White has 450 games in The Database.
7.O-O Nf6 8.d3 Qd4 9.c3 Qd7 10.d4 Be7 11.e5 Ne8 12.f4 Rf8 13.Qh5 Kd5 14.c4+ Kxc4 15.Na3+ Kd5 16.Qxh7 Qg4 17.Be3 Bf5 18.Qh3 Qe2 19.Qg3 Be4 20.Rfe1 Qxb2 21.Bf2 Nf6 22.Qb3+ Qxb3 23.axb3 Ng4 24.Nc4 Rxf4 25.Rf1 Bb4 26.Rad1 Raf8 27.Be3 Rxf1+ 28.Rxf1 Rxf1+ 29.Kxf1 Nxh2+ 30.Kg1 Ng4 31.g3 Nxe3 32.Nxe3+ Kxd4 33.Kf2 Be1+ 34.Ke2 Bxg3 35.e6 Kc3 36.e7 Bg6 37.Nf5 Be5 38.Nh4 Bd3+ 39.Ke3 g6 40.e8=Q Bd4+ 41.Kf4 Black resigned, perrypawnpusher - johnde, blitz, FICS, 2010. White has 548 games in The Database.
Possibly the weakest of his choices. Better defense was found after 7...Kf6 8.Qh4+ g5 9.Qg3.
Instead, 8.Qh5+ wins back a piece by forking the King and Bishop.
8... Nf6 9. c3 Re8 10. d4 Bb6
Cooperative. The alternative, 10... Rxe4+, looks stronger.
White battles on, eventually dropping the exchange, which puts him a Rook down - but he does not lose hope.
11.Bg5 Kg8 12.Bxf6 gxf6 13.O-O c5 14.Qg3+ Kh8 15.d5 Rxe4 16.Nd2 Rg4 17.Qf3 c4 18.Ne4 f5 19.Ng3 f4 20.Ne2 Qg8 21.Nxf4 Rg5 22.Rfd1 Bg4 23.Qe4 Bxd1 24.Rxd1 Re8 25.Qxc4 c6 26.g3 Bc7 27.Ne6 cxd5 28.Qxc7 Rxe6 29.Qxb7 a5 30.Kg2 h5 31.Rxd5 h4 32.Rd7 Rh6 33.Qe4
A glance shows Black attacking fiercely - with his extra Rook.
Where is E. J. Diemer when you need him? Is this precisely the blunder that bemillsy had been expecting?? Now White has a draw.
34.Qd4+! Rg7 35.hxg3 Rhg6
Black needed to mildly accept a draw by repetition with 35...Kh7 36.Qe4+ Kh8 37.Qd4 Kh7 30.Qe4+ etc. Now White is better.
Homer - I mean, bemillsy - nods. He is right, his advancing pawn will be important, but after he plays 36.Rd8 to win Black's Queen for a Rook. Q + 5Ps will then out-play 2Rs + P.
Black takes his opportunity to avoid the above killing fork, but should have done so with a Queen move like 36...Qe6 or 36...Qa8+, when he would be better again.
Now White again has a plucky draw by repetition: 37.Qh4+ Rh6 38.Qe4+ Kh8 39.Qd4 etc.
Making things difficult again, if Black correctly recaptures with the Queen. White would have plenty of checks to deliver to the enemy King, but eventually the extra Rook would prevail over the extra pawns.
37...Rxg7 38.Qh4+ Kg6 39.f4
White does not accept the 39.Qe4+ line, drawing, and looks for a mate that is not there. (This does have the feel of a blitz game as time runs down.)
39...Kf7 40.Qh5+ Kf8 41.Qf5+ Rf7 42.Qc8+ Kg7 43.Qxg8+ Kxg8
White puts his trust in what must still be considered his "Jerome pawns".
44.Kf3 Rd7 45.Ke3 Kf7 46.g4 Kf6 47.b3 Ke6 48.a3 Re7 49.b4 a4 50.b5 Kd6+ 51.Kd4
The pawns look scary, especially with a ticking clock, but "objectively" the Rook still has time to pick them off, one-by-one.
Suddenly, Black's chances have crashed according to Stockfish 6, and the best he can hope for is now 52.g5 Rd7+ 53.Ke4 Re7+ 54.Kd4 Rd7+ and a draw by repetition. Instead of re-positioning his King, it looks like he needed to get his Rook into a pawn-flanking position.
On the other hand, advancing the pawns on the wing where there is an in-place stopper will not bring victory. I do not think there is anything left for White now.
52...Rd7+ 53.Ke5 Rd3
54.g5 Rxa3 55.f5 Re3+ 56.Kd5 a3 57.f6 a2 58.f7 Rf3 White forfeited on time