Tuesday, June 7, 2016

To Jerome or Not Jerome


Although the Jerome Gambit Declined, 1.e5 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kf8/e7 is rare (2.5 %, about 300 examples in the roughly 12,400 Jerome Gambit games with this move order in The Database), I always respond with the ordinary 5.Bb3, callously abandoning gambit play.

This is in contrast to how I face the Blackburne Shilling Gambit, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nd4, - by sacrificing with 4.Bxf7+ instead of the perfectly normal options 4.Nxd5, 4.0-0,  4.c3 or 4.d3 - or also chancing 4.Bxf7+ against the nameless 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Na5 when the sedate 4.Nxe5 would do fine.

Similarly, against the Semi-Italian opening, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 h6, I prefer the waiting moves 4.0-0 or 4.Nc3, giving Black the chance to come to his senses and play 4...Bc5 when I can still gambit the Bishop with 5.Bxf7+.

Yet, in the Semi-Italian opening there is also the not-waiting choice 4.d4 which is the subject of the following game, one played by Darrenshome at lichess.org that I recently discovered.

Darrenshome - Gagar1n
4 0 blitz, lichess.org, 2014

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 h6

The Semi-Italian Opening.


For some background on this move, check out "A Look At the Semi-Italian Opening" Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.


For a look at troubled alternative, 4...d6, see "The Jerome Gambit Treatment - Unbelieveable!" as well as the "Addendum" and "A Bit More".


So far we have been following the blindfold simultaneous game Morphy - Bousserolles, Paris, 1859, according to the ChessBase Big Database 2016, which continued 5...Nge7 6.Qb3 d5 7.exd5 Nb8 8.d6 Qxd6 9.Bxf7+ Kd8 10.cxd4 Nbc6 11.Nc3 Na5 12.Qa4 Nac6 13.O-O Bd7 14.Be3 Qf6 15.Bc4 Kc8 16.Rfe1 Nd8 17.Qb3 a6 18.Ne5 b5 19.Bd5 c6 20.Ne4 Qh4 21.g3 Qh5 22.Nd6+ Kc7 23.Bf3 Qh3 24.Rac1 Kxd6 25.Bf4 Be6 26.Nd3+ Kd7 27.Rxe6 Nxe6 28.Bg4 Qxg4 29.Ne5+ Ke8 30.Nxg4 Nxd4 31.Qe3 Black resigned

5...dxc3 6.Nxc3

Here we have a Scotch Gambit or Goring Gambit-style position where Black's ...h6 puts him further at risk. One example I have found is Levy - Bouaziz, Oerebro, 1966, which continued 6...Bb47.O-O Bxc3 8.bxc3 d6 9.Qb3 Qf6 10.Nd4 Bd7 11.f4 Na5 12.Qb4 Nc6 13.Qb2 Nge7 14.e5 Qg6 15.Qxb7 Rb8 16.Qxc7 Rc8 17.Qxd6 Qxd6 18.exd6 Nxd4 19.cxd4 Rxc4 20.Re1 Be6 21.dxe7 Rxd4 22.Rb1 Kd7 23.Rb7+ Kc6 24.Rxa7 Rd5 25.Be3 Rb8 26.Rc1+ Kd6 27.Rb7 Re8 28.Rcb1 Rd3 29.R1b6+ Kd5 30.Rb5+ Kc6 31.Kf2 Ra3 32.R5b6+ Kd5 33.Rb2 Raa8 34.Rd2+ Kc6 35.Rb6+ Kc7 36.Rc2+ Kd7 37.Rb7+ Kd6 38.Bc5+ Kc6 39.Rbb2 Kd5 40.Bb4 Rac8 41.Rxc8 Bxc8 42.Rd2+ Kc6 43.Rd8 Bd7 Black resigned

Part of what got me interested in presenting Darrenshome's game was the opportunity to look at the alternative, outrageous Jerome-ish move, 6.Bxf7+the subject of posts on Chess.com in 2010 by metallictaste - see "My own chess opening: rebuking the anti-fried liver!" [The name "anti-fried liver" refers to 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 h6, what I call here, after Euwe, the Semi-Italian Opening - Rick]

metallictaste's idea can be seen in 6...Kxf7 7.Qd5+ Ke8 (if 7...Ke7 8.e5 d6 9.Ng5 hxg5 10.Bxg5+ Nf6 11.exf6+ gxf6 12.Bxf6+ Kxf6 13.Nxc3) 8.Nxc3 (8.Qh5+ Ke7 9.Ng5 Nf6 [9...Qe8! was suggested by PrawnEatsPrawn at Chess.com] 10.Qh4 Nf6 11.Nxc3 Kd8 12.O-O Be7 13.Nf3) 10.Qf7+ Kd6 11.Nxc3 Ne5 12.Nb5+ Kc6 13.Be3 Kxb5 14.Qb3+ Kc6 15. Qc3+ Kd6 16.Qc5 checkmate, metallictaste - anon, chess.com, 2010.

Some opening lines - and the Jerome Gambit is a perfect example - continue to be invented and re-invented, so it is fun to delve into The Database and discover:

7.Nxc3 Ke8 8.O-O Bb4 9.Nd5 Nge7 10.Qd4 Nxd5 11.Qxg7 Rf8 12.exd5 Ne7 13.Bxh6 Nf5 14.Qxf8+ Bxf8 15.Bxf8 Kxf8 16.Rfe1 d6 17.Re2 b6 18.Rae1 Ng7 19.Nd4 Ba6 20.Nc6 Qh4 21.Re7 Nf5 22.Rxc7 Nd4 23.Ree7 Nxc6 24.Rf7+ Kg8 25.Rh7 Qc4 26.Rhg7+ Kf8 27.Rgf7+ Ke8 28.Rxc6 Qf1 checkmate, Darrenshome - raykou, FICS, 2007;

7.Nxc3 Bc5 8.Qd5+ Kg6 9.Qxc5 Nf6 10.e5 Ne4 11.Qe3 d5 12.Nxc3 Nxc3 13.Qxc3 Be6 14.Nd2 Rf8 15.f4 Kh7 16.f5 Bxf5 17.Nf3 Qe7 18.Bxh6 gxh6 19.Nh4 Be6 20.Qd3+ Kg7 21.Qg6+ Kh8 22.Qxh6+ Qh7 23.Ng6+ Kg8 24.Qxh7+ Kxh7 25.Nxf8+ Kg8 26.Nxe6 Nxe5 27.Nxc7 Rc8 28.Ne6 Re8 29.Nd4 Nd3 30.Nb5 a6 31.Nd6 Re6 32.Nf5 Nxb2 33.Rab1 Rb6 34.Rf2 Nc4 35.Rxb6 Nxb6 36.Nd6 d4 37.Nxb7 d3 38.Rd2 a5 39.Nc5 Nc4 40.Rxd3 Nb2 41.Rd8+ Kf7 42.Ra8 Nc4 43.Ne4 Ke6 44.Nc5+ Kd5 45.Nb7 a4 46.Rxa4 Kc6 47.Rxc4+ White ran out of time and Black had no material to mate, draw, Darrenshome - arkascha, FICS, 2007; and

7.O-O Nf6 8.e5 Ne4 9.Qd5+ Ke7 10.Qxe4 d6 11.Nxc3 Be6 12.Qh4+ g5 13.Bxg5+ hxg5 14.Qxh8 Kd7 15.exd6 Kxd6 16.Rad1+ Ke7 17.Rxd8 Rxd8 18.Nxg5 Nd4 19.Nxe6 Nxe6 20.Re1 Kd6 21.Rd1+ Ke7 22.Rxd8 Nxd8 23.Nd5+ Kd6 24.Qd4 Ne6 25.Qb4+ Nc5 26.Qf4+ Kxd5 27.Qxf8 c6 28.h4 Kc4 29.h5 Na4 30. 3+ Kc3 31.bxa4 Black resigned, Darrenshome - arkascha, FICS, 2007.

6...Bc5 7.Bxf7+ 

The Jerome-like tactical response to Black's last move.

7...Kxf7 8.Qd5+ Ke8 9.Qh5+ 

Varying from his earlier 9.Qxc5 d6 10.Qh5+ Kf8 11.O-O Nf6 12.Qb5 a6 13.Qe2 Bg4 14.Nd5 Nxd5 15.exd5 Ne5 16.Be3 Nxf3+ 17.gxf3 Bh3 18.Rfe1 Qe8 19.Bf4 Qg6+ 20.Bg3 Kg8 21.Qe7 Kh7 22.Qxc7 Rhe8 23.Rxe8 Rxe8 24.Qxb7 Qc2 25.Bxd6 Qd2 26.Bg3 Re1+ 27. Rxe1 Qxe1 checkmate, Darrenshome - soacgyngo, FICS, 2007

9...Kf8 10.Qxc5+ d6 11.Qe3 Nf6 

White has a comfortable edge after less than a dozen moves, a pleasant outcome in either the Jerome Gambit or the Scotch/Goring Gambit.

12.O-O Bg4 13.Nd4 Nxd4 14.Qxd4 Qe7

Black has a defensive plan: exchange pieces and utilize the Bishops-of-opposite-colors endgame to draw. However, a moment of distraction while dealing with the advancing "Jerome pawns" leads to disaster.

15.Be3 Qe5 16.Qb4 b6 17.f4 Qe6 18.e5 Nd5 19.Nxd5 Qxd5 20.f5 Qxe5 21.Qxg4 Qxe3+ 22.Kh1

Black's extra pawn is offset by his King's uneasy placement. White should be able to push and hold the draw. Instead, Black, feeling the danger along the f-file, slips.

22...Ke7 23.Rae1 Black resigned

His Queen is pinned and lost.

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