Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Jerome Gambit Ending: It's Drawn, Unless It Isn't (Part 1)


I won my last Jerome Gambit in the current Chess.com Giuoco Piano Thematic Tournament, so it is time, again, for me to sit and wait and see who catches or bypasses me.

In the meantime, it is fun to share the game, as it required some strategic re-thinking on my part, as well as a pleasant return to some endgame understanding that I acquired about 35 years ago, from a match game I played against my boss.

perrypawnpusher - keshavdmutkule
Giuoco Piano Thematic Tournament,  Chess.com, 2016

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. Bxf7+ 

The Giuoco Piano Thematic Tournament is a 10-player, double round robin, which means that I had 9 chances to play the Jerome Gambit - and, as it turned out, I played 8 at the same time to start the tournament! (I had Black against keshavdmutkule first.) I finished with 4 wins, 3 wins on time, and 2 losses.

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Kf8

Ah, yes, the Jerome Defense to the Jerome Gambit - both care of Alonzo Wheeler Jerome. The defense was played successfully in two correspondence games against Daniel Jaeger in 1880.

To date my record against it is 23-6-3, which is a score of 81%, which is pretty decent.

7.Qxe5 Qe7 

Solid. Black's Queen sometimes goes to f6 in different variations, but here it finds itself a different home. I have scored 6-2-2  (70%) against this.

7...d6 was seen in perrypawnpusher - ulisimbolon, Giuoco Piano Thematic Tournament, Chess.com, 2016, (0-1, 22). (keshavdmutkule would have had to look up that game on the Chess.com website, as it wasn't posted on this blog until recently.) 

8.Qf4+ Ke8

I faced 8...Nf6 in the earlier perrypawnpusher - ERICOLSON, FICS, 2007 (1-0, 33); perrypawnpusher - frencheng, FICS, 2010 (1/2-1/2, 31); and perrypawnpusher - jonathankochems, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 39).

The text move strikes me as a bit unusual, and it highlights one of Black's challenges in the Jerome - even if he is still better - and that is: where does his King go?

Of equal interest to me was if my opponent had found this blog, and, more specifically, my notes to my game with auswebby.   


I am not sure if the text is an improvement over 9.Nc3, seen in perrypawnpusher - Chesssafety, Chess.com, 2012 (1-0, 25) and perrypawnpusher - auswebby, Giuoco Piano Thematic, Chess.com, 2015 (0-1, 37), but the games could have transposed, anyway.


More sedate and more solid than 9...Bd6 as seen in perrypawnpusher - dzetto00, Giuoco Piano Thematic, Chess.com, 2016(1/2-1/2, 25). (Too bad. I was willing to face that line again.)

10.c3 Nf6 11.d4 Bb6 12.Re1 Kf7

Black plans to castle-by-hand on the Kingside.


I am used to attacking the Black King along the e-file or f-file, or advancing the "Jerome pawns" to cause chaos in the enemy's ranks.

In this game, however, I realized that there was not likely to be any kind of bashi-bazouk attack; instead, I was going to have to adopt the patient style that I have seen in some of Bill Wall's games, where he establishes a solid pawn center and waits for his opponent to bash himself against it. After all, Black has the advantage, so, by rights, he should be the one attacking, right?

13...Re8 14.Nc4 Kg8 15.Nxb6 axb6 16.f3

[to be continued]

No comments: