Monday, September 21, 2015

Keep Fighting

When you are new to playing the Jerome Gambit, you are bound to miss some of its "subtleties", as, most likely, will your opponent. The best advice, as with all gambits, is to "Keep fighting".

The player of the white pieces in the following game has only one Jerome in The Database. Yet his play could be a lesson to veterans of the opening.

Sutarsa - atizzle

blitz, FICS, 2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 

This move, as opposed to 6.Qh5+, was Alonzo Wheeler Jerome's preference when he started playing the opening.

The Database has 1,346 games with 6.d4; White scores 51%. By comparison, it has 3,520 games with 6.Qh5+; White scores 55%.


Black's move, a bold counter-gambit seen as early as 1888 in Sorensen - NN, Denmark, is what makes White's 6th move risky - although you will have to take my word for it.

The move shows up only 214 times in The Database (16% of the 6.d4 games) and White scores a misleading 68%.

On the other hand, in a blitz or club game, you might like your odds as White.


This is a dangerous position for White. Best is 7.O-O

7...Qxe4+ 8.Be3 Nf6

Black's move is solid and good, but the consistent 8...Qxg2 is better. 

9.O-O Neg4 10.Nc3 Nxe3 11.fxe3 Qxe3+ 12.Kh1 Rf8 

Black has only one other game in The Database himself, from four years earlier, but he understands the necessity of safeguarding his King - here, by castling-by-hand.

White has to act fast. While behind in material, he can at least take small encouragement in his opponent's undeveloped Queenside.

13.Qd5+ Qe6 14.Qg5 Kg8 15.Rae1 Qc6

This simple "get out of the way of the Rook" move is the cause of Black's upcoming troubles. Instead, 15...h6 16.Qg6 Qf7 would help him consolidate.

16.Re7 Rf7

The alternative isn't much better: 16...Ne8 17.Rxf8+ Kxf8 18.Nd5 Qxc5 19.Rxe8+ Kxe8 20.Nf6+ gxf6 21.Qxc5.

17.Nd5 Qxd5

Black slides toward checkmate instead of surrendering his Queen. Instead, he could have tried 17...h6 18.Nxf6+ Qxf6 19.Rxf6 Rxe7 (19...hxg5 20.Re8+ Kh7 21.Rxf7) 20.Qd5+ Re6 21.Rxe6 dxe6 22.Qd8+ Kh7 23.Qxc7 or 17...Kf8 18.Rxf7+ Kxf7 19.Qh5+ Kf8 20.Nxf6 gxf6 21.Re1 Qe6 22.Rxe6 dxe6 with dreary prospects. Both lines are worth playing over to see the attack unfold.

18.Qxd5 Nxd5 19.Re8+ Black resigned.

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