Saturday, May 28, 2016

I Need to Keep Learning About the Jerome Gambit

The following game is my third Jerome Gambit in the Giuoco Piano tournament. With two wins and a draw, I am happy with "my" opening - but, as the following game shows, my middlegame play needs improvement! 

perrypawnpusher - dzetto00
Giuoco Piano tournament,, 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

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

Here we have the Jerome Defense to the Jerome Gambit, dating back to a couple of correspondence games, Daniel Jaeger - Alonzo Wheeler Jerome, 1880 (Black won both).

7.Qxe5 Qe7 8.Qf4+ Ke8 9.O-O

Instead, 9.Nc3 Nf6 10.O-O Bd6 was how perrypawnpusher - Chesssafety, Italian Game,, 2012 (1-0, 25) continued. Of Black's 10th move I noted "an interesting idea that sets up tactical chances on the Kingside" although I criticized White's next move, 11.Qe3 - "Carrying on as if everything is "normal", while Black actually can play 11...Ng4 now, with serious threats."


Less aggressive was 9...d6 in Petasluk - ilanel, blitz, FICS, 2014 (0-1, 49)


Trying to follow the lesson of  perrypawnpusher - Chesssafety,, 2012. For once I did not want Black's Knight to "harass" my Queen (after 10.Qe3) with a move like 10...Ng4.

10...c5 11.d3 h6 12.Nc3 Nf6 

Black has defended against Bc1-g5, as well as d2-d4.

White's strategy should be to quickly get his Rooks working on the e- and f-files - especially since Black's King and Queen are precariously placed. Unfortunately, that will mean developing his dark-squared Bishop to either a meaningless square (d2) or exchanging it off and easing Black's "traffic jam" (i.e. the Bishop at d6 blocks the pawn at d7 which blocks the Bishop at c8 which blocks the Rook at a8).

13.Bf4 Bxf4 14.Qxf4 d6 15.Rae1 Nh5 16.Qd2 Be6 17.f4

Finally White has a Jerome-looking position! My big challenge was could I make use of the time that my opponent spent on 10...c5, 11...h6 and 15...Nh5 ? The answer is "yes" - and "no".

17...Kd7 18.e5 Rhf8 19.d4

Hoping to open up central files against the King and Queen.


A surprise.

20.Rxf4 Nxf4 21.Qxf4 Qg5

Another surprise; and, actually, not the best move.

I exchanged Queens here, as I thought it would mean at least a drawn endgame, with some chances to win. It seemed to be a good idea at the time.

22.Qxg5 hxg5 23.d5

My original idea had been to exchange Queens and then play 23.exd6 Kxd6 24.dxc5, but then I saw that 23...cxd4 for Black, instead, messed up things. I then looked at 23.dxc5 dxc5, but I was concerned that the open position would favor Black's Bishop and make things drawish (or worse).

I finally came upon an idea that was paradoxical (and wrong) - a line where I thought I could get serious play in a closed position.

23...Bf5 24.e5+ Ke7 25.Rf1 Rf8 drawn

I had totally overlooked the simple idea of Black using the Rook for protection of the Bishop. Instead, I was caught up with the ideas behind 25...Bxc2? 26.Rf7+, etc. (I lost our first game by similarly overlooking a move, thinking he had to block a check with his Rook - when I would have good play - when he simply used his Knight, and I was busted.)

My opponent suggested that we had reached a draw, and I agreed by offering one, which he accepted.

By the way, the proper response to 21...Qg5 was 22.Qf3!?, continuing the attack on Black's King, by making use of a diagonal as well as the central files, e.g. 22...Rb8 23.dxc5 Qf5 24.Qd1, but that is computer analysis that I need to study another day...

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Is A Draw Enough For White in the Jerome Gambit?

Cruise Clip Art

Given that the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) is a "refuted" opening, should White grab the chance for a draw if he sees one? Or does this go against the whole idea of playing a wild, destabilizing and gambling opening?

Is there a point where the Gambiteer should realize that things have gotten difficult enough that he should save a half point, rather than surrender the whole thing?

The following game is an interesting example of these issues.

deriver69 - golddog2
Giuoco Piano Jerome Gambit Tournament 2016.

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

4...Kxf7 5.O-O Nd4

An odd move, reminiscent of the Blackburne Shilling Gambit; but perhaps not too odd: there are 10 previous examples in The Database, and White won 6, lost 4.

6.Nxe5+ Ke7

Better was 6...Kf8 7.c3 Nc6 8.Nxc6 bxc6 9.d4 Bb6 which is about equal according to Stockfish 7.


Instead, after 7.c3 Ne6 8.d4 Bb6 Stockfish 7 says White has the advantage.

7...d6 8.Bg5+ Nf6 9.Ng4 Bxg4 10.Qxg4 Nxc2

Here we have a typical messy Jerome Gambit position. Stockfish suggests that Black should take the time to get his King out of the pin, with 11...Kf8.

11.Nc3 Nxa1 12.Rxa1

White overlooks (or ignores?) the fact that his sacrifice allows him now to draw with 12.Bxf6+ Kxf6 13.Nd5+ Kf7 14.Qf5+ Kg8 15.Qe6+ Kf8 16.Qf5+ etc. But - was he even looking for a draw?

12...c6 13.e5 dxe5 14.Re1 Bd4 15.Ne4

White continues to pressure the Knight at f6.

Black would do well to further consolidate with something like 15...Qd5. Instead, he decides to be a bit more aggressive - and this gives White an opportunity that he does not miss a second time.

15...Qb6 16.Bxf6+ gxf6 17.Qg7+ Ke6 18.Qxf6+ Kd7 19.Qg7+ Ke6 20.Qf6+ Kd7 21.Qg7+ Ke6 22.Qf6+ Kd7 23.Qg7+ Ke6 24.Qf6+ Kd7 25.Qg7+ drawn by repetition

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Sang Froid

The ongoing Jerome Gambit tournament continues to produce interesting and educational games.

Be sure to follow the games in the notes, too, for extra excitment!

golddog2 - deriver69
Giuoco Piano Jerome Gambit Tournament, 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Qh4 7.Nc3 

Sang froid. White answers Black's wild counter-attack (which leaves two pieces en prise; see "A Pie-in-the-Face Variation") with a rare, but simple developing move. Anything is worth a try in such a precarious position.

For the adventurer with White, despite what a computer player might say about the position, it is reassuring to know that in 222 games in The Database, White scored a scintillating 67%!


Instead, 7...Nd3+ was the odd idea of the coputer Milobot, in a crazy game that veered all over the place: 8.cxd3 (8.Qxd3) 8...Bf8 (8...Bxd4) 9.Qf3+ (9.Qb3+ or 9.O-O) 9...Qf6 10.Qh5+ Qg6 11.Qd5+ Ke8 12.O-O a6 13.f3 Ra7 14.Bf4 b5 15.Bxc7 Nh6 (15...Rxc7 16.Qe5+ Kd8) 16.f4 Qf7 (16...Rxc7) 17.Rae1 (17. Qe5+) 17...Qg6 (17...Rxc7) 18.f5 Qg4 $18 19.Qe5+ Be7 20.Bd6 Qxg2+ 21.Kxg2 Kf8 22.Qxe7+ Kg8 23.Qf8 checkmate, LeoJustino - MiloBot, FICS, 2012. Wow.

7...Ng4, like the text in the game, also preserves Black's advantage 8.Qf3+ (8.g3 Qf6 9.Qxg4 Bxd4 10.Nd5 Qxf2+ 11.Kd1 d6 12.Qh5+ g6 13.Qh4 Qf3+ 14.Kd2 Qxh1 15.c3 Qg2+ 16.Kd3 Be5 17.Bh6 Qh3 18.Qd8 Qxh6 19.Qxc7+ Ke8 20.Rf1 Qg7 21.Qc4 Be6 22.Nc7+ Kd7 23.Qxe6+ Kxc7 24. Rf7+ Qxf7 25.Qxf7+ Kc6 26.Qc4+ Kd7 27.Qf7+ Ne7 28.Qb3 b6 29.Qb5+ Nc6 30 b4 Rhf8 31.Qd5 Rf3+ 32.Ke2 Raf8 33.b5 Rf2+ 34.Ke1 Bxc3+ 35.Kd1 Rd2+ 36.Ke1 Rxd5+ White resigned, CoachCrupp - mathgk, FICS, 2010) 8...N8f6 9.dxc5 Nxh2 10.Qh3 Qxh3 11.gxh3 Nf3+ 12.Ke2 Nd4+ 13.Kd3 Nc6 14.a3 b6 15.Be3 Ba6+ 16.Kd2 Ne5 17.Rad1 Rhe8 18.Kc1 Nc4 19.cxb6 cxb6 20.Bf4 Nxe4 21.Nxe4 Rxe4 22.Rxd7+ Ke6 White resigned, Darthnik - picator, FICS, 2011


The wildness continued after 8.O-O with 8...Ng4 9.h3 h5 10.Qf3+ Qf6 11.hxg4 hxg4 12.Qxg4 Bxc3 13.bxc3 Qh4 14.Qf5+ Nf6 15.f3 d6 16.Qf4 Qxf4 17.Bxf4 b6 18.e5 Nd5 19.Bd2 Ba6 20.Rf2 dxe5 21.dxe5 Rae8 22.f4 g6 23.Re1 Ke6 24.g4 Rhf8 25.Kg2 Ne7 26.Kg3 Bb7 27.c4 c5 28.Bc3 Ba6 29.Re4 Rd8 30 a4 Rd1 31.Rh2 Rg1+ 32.Kf3 Bb7 33.Ke3 Rxg4 34.Rf2 Black forfeited on time in a winning position,  PLURkidIT - CEZRUN, FICS, 2007.

8...Bxc3+ 9.bxc3 Qxe4+ 10.Qe2 Qxe2+ 11.Kxe2 Ne7 

A lot of the tension has been taken out of the position, and with only a pawn for his sacrificed piece, White needs to find a way to make use of his open lines and Black's slightly unsafe King.

This time, he is not successful.

12.c4 b6 13.g4 Bb7 14.f3 Rae8 15.Bb2 Ng6 

16.Kf2 Nxe5 17.Bxe5 Rxe5 18.Rad1 d6 19.Rd3 Rhe8 20.Rf1 Re2+ 21.Kg3 Rxc2 22.Rd4 Ree2 23.h3 g5 24.f4 Re3+ 25.Rf3 Rxf3 checkmate

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Gambling With the Gambler

It is not for nothing that Gary K. Gifford coined the nickname "The Jerome Gamble" for 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+. White takes a big risk with "Jerome's Double Opening".

Defenders must be warned, however, as they were in the American Supplement to Cook's 'Synopsis'  (1885) that it is "not an attack to be trifled with".

Both players in the game below threw fortune to the wind. Each will no doubt learn from their insights and oversights.

rigidwithfear - deriver69
Giuoco Piano Jerome Gambit Tournament
RedHotPawn, 2016

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

4...Kxf7 5.d4 Nxd4 

Black's two alternatives for capture, 5...exd4 and 5...Bxd4, are stronger. Leaving the pawn at e5 open for capture gives Whites' ideas - and chances.



Feisty - and foolish. The equivalent to drawing to an inside straight.

Instead, 6...Kf8 is the safest and leaves Black with the advantage.


White does not realize his good luck. Instead, he had 7.Qg4+!? which promises good things:  7...Kxe5 (Forced; 7...Kf6 leads relentlessly to checkmate: 8.Qf4+ Nf5 9.Qxf5+ Ke7 10.Qf7+ Kd6 11.Nc3 Bxf2+ 12.Ke2 c6 13.Nc4+ Kc5 14.Kd3 Qa5 15.Qxf2+ Kb4 16.a3+ Qxa3 17.bxa3#;  there is little hope in 7...Ke7 8.Qxg7+ Kd6 9.Nf7+ Kc6 10.Nxd8+ or 7... Kd6 8.Nf7+ Ke7 9.Nxd8 Nxc2+ 10.Kd1 Bd4 11.Kxc2 d6 12.Qg3 Kxd8) 8.Bf4+ Kf6 (8...Kxe4 9.Nc3 checkmate, Darrenshome - WildErmineblitz, FICS, 2006 [1-0, 9]) 9.Bg5+ Kf7 7.Bxd8 and the Black Queen is gone, anyway.


Black is not familiar with this gambit, and so he defends. His best chance was to counterattack with 7...Qh4+ 8.g3 Qh3 and he would be better.

8.Qg4+ Ke7

Avoiding 8...Kf6 9.Qg5+ Ke6 10.f5+ Kxe5 11.Bf4+ Kxe4 12.Nc3 checkmate, similar to Darrenshome - WildErmineblitz, FICS, 2006, mentioned above.

9. Qg5+

Ouch. He had 9.Qxg7+ Ke6 10.Qf7 checkmate


The "only" move, but a saving one. Now the odds turn against the Gambler again.

10.Qxg7 dxe5 11.Qxh8 Nxc2+ 12.Ke2 Bg4+ 13.Kf1 Qd1 checkmate