Saturday, July 9, 2016

Jerome Gambit: Overcoming Annoying

Once again, Vlastamil Fejfar, of the Czech Republic, plays the Jerome Gambit in a correspondence game, faces the "annoying" or "silicon" defense - and wins.

Fejfar, Vlastamil - Svoboda
corr Czech Cup, 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 7.f4 d6 

This "annoying defense" has been the choice of several of Vlasta's opponents in the past. See: Fejfar, V. - Chvojkacorr Czech Republic, 2016 (0-1, 32); Fejfar,V - Pressl, corr Czech Republic, 2015 (1/2-1/2, 15); Fejfar,V - Kyzlink, corr Czech Republic, 2015 (1-0, 22) and  Fejfar,V - Goc,P, 2015, (1/2-1/2, 70).

8.fxe5 dxe5 9.Qh3+ Kd6 

I pointed out before that at 25 ply, Stockfish 6 showed the tiniest preference for 9...Ke7 over 9...Kd6, but liked 9...Kf7 best of all.

To update this, I checked with Stockfish 7 at 30 ply, and found its preferences to be, in order, 9...Ke7, 9...Kd6 and 9...Kf7, but the spread was less than 1/10th of a pawn in evaluation.

For a more "human" insight, I checked The Database.

I found 47 games with 9...Ke7. Black scored 47%.

I found 20 games with 9...Kd6. Black scored 27%.
I found 75 games with 9...Kf7. Black scored 27%.

For practical purposes, and with the support of Stockfish, Black might prefer 9...Ke7.


10.Qg3 was Fejfar, V - Goc, Pavel, 2015 (1/2-1/2, 70)

10...Ke7 11.Qg3 Kf7 12.Qxe5 Bd7 

This is an odd move. (Could it have been a typo for the more reasonable 12...Bd6?) It hands back a piece, giving White a two pawn advantage with little compensation.

Instead, ...Bd4 was seen in Fejfar,V - Goc,P, 2015, (1/2-1/2, 70), by a slightly different move order. 

13.Qh5+ g6 14.Qxc5 Qh4+ 15.Qf2+ Qxf2+ 16.Kxf2 Nf6 17.d3 Rhf8 18.Nc3 Kg7 

White needs to complete his development, but, otherwise, he has no problem - his King is relatively safe, his pawn structure is sound.

19.Ke2 Bg4+ 20.Ke3 Be6 21.h3 Nh5 22.Ne2 Rae8 23.b3 Nf6 24.Ba3 Rf7 25.c4 Rd8 26.Raf1 Rfd7 27.Nf4 Bg8 28.Bb2 Rf8 

29.e5 Re7 30.Kd2 Ne8 31.e6+ Black resigned

Black's pieces trip over each other, and he is bound to lose a piece, i.e. 31...Kh6 32.Nd5!? Rxf1 33.Rxf1 Rxe6 34.Rf8 c6 (the Rook has nowhere to go) 35.Nf4 Re7 36.Rxg8

Nicely done.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

When Moving The Queen In The Opening Is Necessary

Image result for free clipart of queen

A legitimate criticism of the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) and the Blackburne Shilling Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nd4) is that their main lines rely on altered piece development. Yet, as they say, there is a time for everything...

Paulotx - RicardoCMa
3 0 blitz,, 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nd4

The Blackburne Shilling Gambit. Black plans on bringing his Queen out quickly.


The Blackburne Shilling Jerome Gambit. In the Jerome Gambit, White brings his Queen out quickly, too.

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Ke7 6.Qh5

In a 3-minute game it can make sense to attack-attack-attack, but in all fairness it is important to point out that either 6.O-O d6 7.Nc4 Qe8 or 6.c3 d6 7.Nc4 Nc6 8.d4 Qe8 would lead to even games and were preferrable.

(White's idea might have been that he knew that his a1 Rook is poisoned: 6...Nxc2+ 7.Kd1 Nxa1 8.Qf7+ will lead to checkmate.)


As you might gather from the previous note, Black's proper response was 6...Qe8, with advantage. First defend, then counter attack.

7.Nxg6+ hxg6 8.Qxh8 Kf7

Short sighted. Black does best to block the enemy Queen in with 8...Nf6, and, then, after 9.Na3 Kf7 10.c3 Ne6 11.d3 Bxa3 12.Qxd8 Nxd8 13.bxa3 b6 14.f3 Ba6 15.c4 Ne6 his disadvantage would be less than in the game.

9.Qxd4 Qg5

Black gets to play his thematic Queen move, but it is ineffective here, and he is down too much material (the exchange and 3 pawns).

10.O-O d6 11.d3 Qg4 12.f3 Qh4 

White is in no hurry. He will consolidate his position and then move forward.

13.Qf2 Qf6 14.Nd2 Bg7 15.f4 Bd7 16.Nf3 Ne7 17.Ng5+ Kg8 18.Qh4 Black disconnected and forfeited

White has a material advantage and an attack against the enemy King.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Jerome Gambit Declined

I know that I have adopted a "Take the money and run" approach to the Jerome Gambit declined - 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Ke7/f8 - believing, somewhat cowardly, if pragmatically, that if the defender prefers not to enter an "objectively" won game, but to settle for one where he has a small disadvantage, that White should retreat his attempted-to-sacrifice Bishop. (See "To Jerome or Not Jerome", "It Still Happens - But It Doesn't Have To" and "This Is Your Last Chance" for recent discussions.)

My latest Jerome Gambit game shows that it can be a challenge to squeeze something out of that advantage, however. Especially with the clock ticking loudly in a blitz game, and my nerves failing me (happens to the attacker, too, not just the defender) - until my opponent joined me in mistakes.

perrypawnpusher - Spirochete
2 12 blitz, FICS, 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Bc5 5.Bxf7+ Ke7 

The Italian Four Knights Jerome Gambit, declined: If you want me to take the Bishop, then I won't.

6.Bb3 Re8

I was surprised to find only one other IFKJG declined with 6.Bb3 in The Database: 6...Nd4 7.Nxd4 Bxd4 8.Nd5+ Nxd5 9.exd5 d6 10.c3 Bb6 11.d3 Qf8 12.Bg5+ Kd7 13.Qg4+ Ke8 14.Qg3 h6 15.Be3 g5 16.O-O-O Bxe3+ 17.Qxe3 Qf4 18.Rhe1 Rf8 19.f3 Qxh2 20.Rd2 Qg3 21.Red1 h5 22.Qe4 Rf4 23.Qg6+ Rf7 24.Qxh5 Bf5 25.Ba4+ Ke7 26.Qh1 Qf4 27.Kb1 Qxa4 28.a3 Raf8 29.g4 Bh7 30.Ka2 Kd8 31.Qh5 Qe8 32.Qxg5+ Kc8 33.Qe3 Kb8 34.Qh6 Bg8 35.g5 Rxf3 36.c4 Bf7 37.Qh4 Bg6 38.Ka1 Qf7 39.Ka2 Qf5 40.Ka1 Rf4 41.Qg3 Rg4 42.Qe3 Qxg5 43.Qe1 Bh5 44.Rc1 Rg1 45.Qxg1 Qxd2 46.Rf1 Rxf1+ 47.Qxf1 Qd1+ 48.Qxd1 Bxd1 White resigned, HauntedKnight - Bernano, FICS, 2013.

7.O-O Kf8 8.d3 d6 9.Bg5 Nd4 10.Nd5 Nxb3 11.axb3 Re6 12.Nxf6 gxf6 13.Bh6+ Ke7 14.Nh4 

White has an edge, based on the awkward placement of Black's King (the extra pawn on b3 isn't worth much), but there is still a lot of work to be done.


This drops a pawn. Better to make me grind it out, with 14...Qg8 15.Be3 Bxe3 16.Nf5+ Kd8 17.Nxe3 Qg5.


Beginning a whole series of poor moves. Nerves!?

Much better was 15.Bg5+ Rf6 16.Qh5 Kd7 17.Nxf5 adding the exchange to my material edge.

15...Kd7 16.Qh5 Qg8 

Black should not be allowed to develop a counter attack, but, to his credit, he does.


Not the wisest. Thematic was 17.Be3 Bxe3 18.Nxe3 c6 19.f4.

It is not that White is worse - he is better - but that I seem to have misplaced my head. (Blame it on time trouble.)

17...Rg6 18.Qe7+

Useless. White should bite the bullet with 18.Qh4 Rxg2+ 19.Kh1 Qg4 20.Qxg4 Rxg4 21.Rg1 and be happy with his edge. (It's there, somewhere.)

18...Kc6 19.g3 

The Queen should have retreated 19.Qh4.

Black should now win a piece after 19...Bxf5.


Both my opponent and I now missed Knight checks at e7 that could have settled things a bit. (Blame it on time trouble.)

20.Qh4 Qf7 21.Be3

Better 21.Ne7+ 

21...Bb6 22.Bxb6

Better 22.Ne7+

22...cxb6 23.Kh1

Uh, 23.Ne7+.


Better to grab the pawn with 23...Bxf5 24.exf5 Qxf5


Headless pawn-grabbing. It was still time to use the e7 square, this time with 24.Qe7 Qxe7 25.Nxe7+.

24...Rg4 25.Qh3 h5 26.Qg2 

It turns out, despite appearances, that White is defending well enough to begin a counter attack.

26...Bxf5 27.exf5+ d5 28.c4 


A slip on Black's part. (Blame it on time trouble.)

29.Qxd5+ Black resigned


Sunday, July 3, 2016

I Have Never Seen That Move Before. It Must Be Good. Or Bad.

" * "

There are so many strange and wonderful insights that can be applied to the Jerome Gambit, even if they originally were connected to something else. I want to point out some quotations that I have pulled together: collection 1, collection 2.

As for the following game, if you play the Jerome Gambit long enough, you will encounter the club player who is astonished by 4.Bxf7+ and immediately decides that since he has never seen the move before, this reflects a complete lack of preparation on his part, and that he is doomed...

The same worry can be applied, for White, to Black's 8th move. What in the world is this?? I have never seen this move before. Yet, White is used to strange moves, and a few moments of reflection will bring the proper conclusion: It is bad.

kosta88 - peternc, 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 7.Qf5+ Kd6 8.f4 Nh6

This move is not in the standard preparation for Jerome Gambiteers. It attacks White's Queen. It opens up the f-file for Black to bring a Rook to attack, or a Queen to exchange. 

And it is wrong.

9.Qxe5+ Kc6 10.Qd5+

Or 10.d4 Ng4 11.Qxc5 checkmate, UNPREDICTABLE - acuriel, FICS, 2009)

10...Kb6 11.Nc3

Better than 11.d4 Qe7 (11...Bxd4 as in perrypawnpusher - hotintheshade, blitz, FICS, 2009 [1-0, 46]) 12.Be3 d6 13. dxc5+ dxc5 14. b4 c6 15. Bxc5+ Ka6 Black forfeited by disconnection, senseidea - Liosikne, FICS, 2012.

White realizes that he will get his second sacrificed piece back and he will have play against the enemy King.


Two alternate tries at defense:

11...Qh4+ 12.g3 Qf6 13.Na4+ Ka6 14.Nxc5+ Kb5 15.a4+ Kb6 16.a5+ Black resigned, sabreman - Lovebuzz, FICS, 2014; and 

11...d6 12.Na4+ Ka6 13.Nxc5+ dxc5 14.Qxc5 b6 15.Qe3 Kb7 16.d4 Kb8 17.O-O Bb7 18.c4 Ng4 19.Qd3 c5 20.d5 Re8 21.h3 Nf6 22.e5 Nxd5 23.cxd5 Bxd5 24.Be3 Kb7 25.b3 h6 26.Rae1 g5 27.fxg5 Rxe5 28.gxh6 Qg8 29.Rf2 Rf8 30.Ree2 Ref5 31.Rxf5 Rxf5 Black resigned, perrypawnpusher - Ondras, FICS, 2012.

12.Na4+ Kb5 Black resigned