Saturday, November 28, 2015

A Lesson Learned From the Jerome Gambit

A few years ago I wrote in this blog
I think if the bodacious Blackmar Diemer Gambit (1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxd4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3) can be referred to as a "high school for tactics" then the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) can at least be dubbed a "pre-school for tactics".
Every once-in-a-while I wonder if playing the Jerome is helping or hurting my chess play. Then I play a game like the following, and I stop worrying (for a while, anyhow).
A recently-completed game in the ongoing Italian Game tournament gave me the opportunity to apply something that I learned from the Jerome Gambit to the Black side of the Evans Gambit. Let me explain.

EduardoMilanez - perrypawnpusher, Italian Game tournament, 2015

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 

The Evans Gambit. We have looked at the Evans Jerome Gambit a good number of times in the past - but not today.

4...Bxb4 5.c3 Ba5 6.d4 exd4 7.O-O Nge7 8.cxd4 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5

10.Ng5 O-O 11.Nxh7 Kxh7 12.Qh5+ Kg8 13.Bxd5 Bg4 14.Qxg4 Qxd5 

As Black I was happy with better development and an isolated Queen pawn to play against.

15.Rd1 Rfe8 16.Be3 Re4 17.Qg3 Nxd4 18.Bxd4 Rxd4 

I was happy to win the pawn, but what was really nagging me was White's Knight still at home on b1, blocking in his Rook at a1. It reminded me of how much trouble Black gets into when he faces the Jerome Gambit, and he doesn't develop his light-squared Bishop, in turn blocking in his Queen's Rook. So many Jerome Gambit attacks have succeeded against defenders who left those pieces in the "garage" too long.

I started playing to keep the Knight buried in my game.

19.Rf1 Rd3 20.Qf4 Re8 21.h3 Re4 22.Qc1 Rc4 23.Qb2 

My next move lets the Knight out, but at a cost.

23...Bb6 24.Na3 Rg3 White resigned

White will have to give up his Queen for a Rook, i.e. 25.Qxb6 axb6 26.fxg3 Qxc5 snagging the hapless steed.

So: I was asking myself at one point in this game "What plan should I have?" and I thought about a lesson I had learned from the Jerome Gambit!

And: perhaps at times in the game my opponent underestimated me - which is also something I have dealt with repeatedly while playing the Jerome Gambit.

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