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.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

How Strange.

Knowing a lot about the Jerome Gambit, Bill Wall can fight against it, when he has to. How strange: he makes it look easy with the White pieces, and he makes it look easy with the Black pieces!

Bhutti - Wall,B, 2011

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Bc5 3.Bxf7+ 

The Abrahams Jerome Gambit. Plucky to play it against Bill Wall.

3...Kxf7 4.Qh5+ Kf8 5.Qxe5 d6 6.Qg3 

A couple of additions to The Database: 6.Qf4+ Qf6 (6...Nf6 7.d3 Nc6 8.Nc3 Nd4 9.Kd2 Be6 10.a3 Bb3 11.Nf3 Nxc2 12.Rb1 Bxf2 13.Ng5 Be3+ White resigned, Stevens,J - Wall,B, Internet, 2001) 7.d3 Nc6 8.Nf3 Nd4 9.Qxf6+ Nxf6 10.Nxd4 Bxd4 11.Nc3 Bxc3+ 12.bxc3 Bd7 13.Rb1 Bc6 14.Bg5 Kf7 15.0-0 Rhe8 16.f3 Rab8 17.Rb3 Re5 18.Be3 a6 19.Rfb1 Rb5 20.Bd4 Rxb3 21.cxb3 Re8 22.c4 h6 23.Kf2 Nh5 24.Ke3 g5 25.b4 Nf4 26.g3 Ne6 27.f4 Nxd4 28.Kxd4 gxf4 29.gxf4 Kf6 30.Rg1 Re7 31.c5 dxc5+ 32.bxc5 Rd7+ 33.Ke3 h5 34.d4 Re7 35.e5+ Kf5 36.Rg5+ Ke6 37.f5+ Kd5 38.Rxh5 Bb5 39.e6 Bd7 40.f6+ Kxe6 41.fxe7 Kxe7 42.d5 Be8 43.Rh7+ Kd8 44.Kf4 Bb5 45.Ke5 a5 46.Ke6 Black resigned, Wall,B - Guest3119, Internet, 2005.


Another defense was 6...Qf6, seen in Philidor 1792 - guest321,, 2014 (1-0, 26).

7.c3 Nf6 8.d3 Bd7

Or 8...Kf7 as in Philidor 1792-guest543,, 2014 (½-½, 42).

9.Bg5 d5

Tricky - but it works.

10.e5 Qe8 11.d4 Ne4 12.Qf3+ Kg8 13.Bf4

Best to steer clear of 13.dxc5 Nxe5 14.Qe3 Ng4 15.Qe2 Nexf2, etc.

13...Nxd4 14.cxd4 Bxd4 15.Nc3 Bxe5 16.Bxe5 Qxe5 17.Nxe4 Bf5

 18.Ne2 Bxe4 19.Qg4 h5 20.Qh3 Qxb2 21.Rc1 Re8 

White resigned

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Steam Rolled

After my last game with Philidor1792 (see "A Flurry of Punches"), of course we had to have another, and, of course, he had to play the Jerome Gambit...

My experience was something like being flattened by a steam roller.

Philidor1792 - perrypawnpusher, 2015

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.0-0

A "modern" Jerome Gambit, without the "classical" 5.Nxd5+. It still has a lot of bite, as I learned.

Worth reviewing are the two earlier posts: "But – Is this stuff playable??" (Part I and Part II)

5...Nf6 6.c3

We have seen the plucky 6.Ng5+ in  Philidor 1792 - guest143,, 2014 (1-0, 34).


Planning to castle-by-hand.

It might have been better to push the Rook one square further, with 6...Re8, although my opponent has dealt with this, too, in Philidor1792 - Chicken_Monster, 1100 KINGS vs Team Russia,, 2014 (1-0, 38) and Philidor 1792 - NN, 2015 (1-0, 40).

I wasn't about to try 6...Nxe4 as in  Philidor 1792 -guest826,, 2015 (1-0, 29) and  Philidor 1792  -guest826,, 2015 (0-1, 33).

7.d4 exd4 8.cxd4 Bb6 

9.d5 Ne7 10.d6

An excellent idea - the pawn is well invested.

10...cxd6 11.Nc3 Ng6

It was probably better to complete "castling" with 11...Kg8 - if not on this move, then the next one.

12.Qb3+ d5 13.Nxd5 Nxd5 14.Qxd5+ Ke8

Not only is Black's King back in the center - look at his locked-in light-squared Bishop, a clear sign of danger in the Jerome.

15.Bg5 Ne7 16.Qd6 Bc7 17.Qa3 h6 18.Bh4 g5 19.Bg3 Bxg3 20.hxg3 Qb6 21.Rad1 Rf6 

I was not making much progress. Philidor1792 calmly continued.

22.e5 Rc6 23.Nd4 Qc5 24.Qd3 Qxe5

Silly. Black doesn't need material (or open lines against himself). He should pursue exchanging Queens with 24...Qc4.

25.Rfe1 Qf6 26.Nxc6 bxc6 

Black's position is wretched, despite some returned material.

27.Qa3 d5 28.Re3 Kd7 29.Rde1 Nf5 30.Rf3 Qd6 31.Rxf5 Qxa3 32.bxa3 Kc7 

The Queens are finally off the board, but Black is down the exchange, and only his King is developed.

33.Rf6 Bd7 34.f4 gxf4 35.gxf4 h5 36.Rf7 Re8

This silly blunder ends the suffering.

Even the more appropriate 36...Kd6 would have led to a complicated endgame where White could be expected to continue to outplay his opponent.

Black resigned

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Flurry of Punches

Years ago I read a first person account by a small time boxer who managed to wrangle some sparring time with Muhammad Ali. After some warm up exchanges, The Champ was momentarily distracted by a loud noise - a slamming door, a falling chair - and the author landed a solid punch on him. I hit Ali! I hit Ali! the writer enthused. Of course, that was all he remembered, as Ali almost immediately returned a knockout punch...

Imagine my excitement when the app on my phone indicated that Philidor1792 wanted to play a game. Sure! I thought. We took more time on our moves than some of the 3 0 games of his that I have posted here, but the result was still the same: a flurry of punches and a KO.

perrypawnpusher - Philidor1792, 2015

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Bc5

The Busch-Gass Gambit, which can turn out similar to a reversed Jerome Gambit, a move down.

3.Nxe5 Nc6 

Chiodini's Gambit.


I don't know if this move is good or not, but there was no way that I was going to follow along with Black's offer of 4.Nxc6. which would lead to a kind of reversed Boden Kieseritzky Gambit.

Instead, I would prefer to see something calm now like 4...Nxe5 5.d4 Bd6 6.dxe5 Bxe5 7.Bd3 Nf6, a reversed Italian Four Knights.

No such luck. Philidor1792 came to complicate.

4...Nf6 5.Nf3 Nd4 6.e5 

This risky pawn move is good, but I did not appreciate why.

6...Ng4 7.Bc4

I had anticipated Black's upcoming sacrifice, but I would have done better to prevent - not provoke - it with 7.Ne4, protecting f2.

7...Nxf2 8.Kxf2 d5 

9.Bxd5 Nxf3+ 10.d4 Nxd4 11.Be3 O-O

Here it looked for a moment like the game might settle down, after exchanges on d4 and a pin-and-win on d5, to a positional advantage for Black.


12.Bxd4 Qh4+ 13.g3

After the game Stockfish "reassured" me that 13.Ke3 would have led to an even game, or one where Black had only a slight advantage. I don't think it would have helped me much, though.

13...Bxd4+ 14.Kg2 Qh3+ 

White resigned