Saturday, August 20, 2016

Jerome Gambit: The Power of Surprise

I almost always root for the Jerome Gambit player (sometimes I defend against the Jerome) but in the following game I was pleased to see Black's 9th move - the best way to give White difficulties after an inexact defense. It's the first time that I have seen it played.

The game itself - 5 minute blitz - was a tense affair, with a late inexactitude by White costing him the game.

nineteenletterslong - vuurtoren
5 0 blitz,, 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ g6 7.Qxe5 Nf6

Not the right idea, but understandable given the quick nature of the game.


There are 61 games with this position in The Database.


Interestingly, the best response, 8...Nxe4, shows up in only 14 of those games - 23%. That's the power of surprise in an opening.


There are 15 games with this move in The Database. 


There were 0 games with this correct move - until this one. The Knight is safe, as a Queen capture will be strongly met by 10...Re8.

10.O-O Bf5 11.d3

More adventurous was 11.g4!?

11...Nf6 12.Nc3 Re8 13.Qf3 c6 14.Bd2 Qa5 15.Rfe1 Qb4 16.b3 Qh4 17.Rxe8 Rxe8 

White has a small advantage - a pawn.

18.g3 Qh3 19.Qg2 Qh5 20.h3  

Better is 20.f3, as the text loses a pawn. 

20...Qxh3 21.Qxh3 Bxh3 22.Bg5 d5 23.Bxf6 Kxf6 24.Kh2 Bc8 25.Kg2 b6 26.f3 Bb7 27.g4 c5 28.Kg3 h5 29.gxh5 gxh5 30.Nd1

Despite his Bishop vs Knight, and outside passed pawn, Black's edge was small until this move. White could have kept things going with 30.Rh1

30...Rg8+ 31.Kh4 Rg1 32.c4 dxc4 33.dxc4 Bxf3 34.Rc1 Rxd1 35.Rxd1 Bxd1 

Black is clearly winning.

36.a3 a6 37.b4 cxb4 38.axb4 Kg6 39.c5 bxc5 40.bxc5 a5 41.c6 a4 42.c7 Bg4 43.Kg3 a3 44.Kf4 a2 45.Ke5 a1=Q+ 46.Kd6 Qd4+ 47.Kc6 h4 48.c8=Q Bxc8 49.Kc7 Qc5+ 50.Kd8 Bb7 51.Ke8 Bc6+ 52.Kd8 Qd6+ 53.Kc8 Qd7+ 54.Kb8 Qb7  checkmate

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Excitment in a Jerome Gambit Sideline

I recently encountered a 10-minute game played online at that featured a rather unusual line of play for White in the Jerome Gambit - and to be "unusual" in such an unusual opening means that the play got complicated and messy, just the kind of thing that a Jerome Gambit player enjoys taking advantage of!

I have placed all (few) game examples from The Database in the notes, to give Readers an idea of how stressed play can become in the variation.

StatsRowan - firstrow
10 0 blitz,, 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Nf3 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 7.f4 Nf6 8.Qf5+ 

The usual (and recommended) move is 8.Qxe5+, but White has an interesting idea in mind. In quick games "interesting" often equals "dangerous" and regularly becomes "entertaining". 

8...Kf7 9.fxe5 d6 

Here we have White's idea and Black's response: White's Queen stays on the f-file and pins Black's Knight, planning to win it with the pawn that has gone to e5; while Black opens up an attack on the Queen.

The alternate move of the Black d-pawn has also been seen. From The Database: 9...d5 10.Qf4 (10.exf6? Bxf5 11.exf5 Qxf6 12.Rf1 Qh4+ 13.g3 Rhe8+ 14.Kd1 Qg4+ 15.Rf3 Qxf3#, Tysonx - cmstub, FICS, 2010; 10.Qf1 dxe4?! [10...Re8!?] 11.exf6 Qxf6? 12.Qc4+ Be6 13.Qxc5 c6? 14.Rf1 Bf5 15.Nc3 Black resigned, Superpippo - Gars, FICS 2002) 10...dxe4?! 11.exf6 Bd6 12.Qe3 (12.Qh4!?) 12...gxf6 13.O-O Qe7 14.Nc3? (14.d4 exd3 15.Qxd3 +/=) 14...Bc5 White resigned, DrRai - abudhabi, FICS, 2013


Or 10.Qf4 dxe5 11.Qxe5 Bd6 12.Qd4 Bg3+ 13.hxg3 Qxd4 14.d3 Re8 15.Nc3 Bg4 16.Ne2 Bxe2 17.Kxe2 Nxe4 18.Rf1+ Nf6+ 19.Kd1 Qg4+ 20.Rf3 Re6 21.Bf4 Rae8 22.Rc1 Re1+ 23.Kd2 R8e2+ 24.Kc3 Rxc1 25.Bxc1 Rxg2 26.Rf1 Rxg3 27.Rf4 Qe6 28.b3 Qe5+ 29.Kb4 Qe1+ White resigned, unixo - nurfaza,, 2008

10...dxe5 11.Nc3 Bg4 

Also seen: 11...c6 12.d3 Bb4 13.O-O Bxc3 14.bxc3 Rf8 15.Bg5 Kg8 16.d4 Qb6 17.Kh1 Nd7 18.Qg3 Rxf1+ 19.Rxf1 exd4 20.Bh6 g6 21.Qd6 Qd8 22.Qxd4 Qe7 23.h3 b5 24.e5 Bb7 25.e6 c5 26.Qxd7 Qxd7 27.exd7 Bc6 28.Rf8+ Rxf8 29.Bxf8 Bxd7 30.Bxc5 a6 31.Kg1 drawn, bobbob78 - panga74,, 2008

12.Qg3 Qd7 

Or 12...Rf8 13.h3 Bh5 14.d3 Qd4 15.Rf1 Kg8 16.Bd2 Nxe4 17.Rxf8+ Rxf8 White resigned, Petasluk - Belive, FICS, 2006

13. Qxe5 Rhe8

This routine, not-so-deeply-analyzed move brings trouble.

14.Qxc5 Nxe4 15.Qc4+ Be6 16.O-O+ Kg8 17.Qxe4 Bd5

More trouble. Possibly time problem.

18.Qxd5+ Qxd5 19.Nxd5 c6

The last slip.

20.Nc7 Black resigned

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Return of the Negative Halo Effect in the Jerome Gambit

As I have pointed out before on this blog, when people notice a good trait in a person, they often assume other positives. However, with the Jerome Gambit often a negative halo effect occurs – if the early moves are bad, the defender reasons, many of the following ones must be bad, too. So - why waste time figuring out the Jerome Gambit?

The following game is a good example of this dilemma for Black.

perrypawnpusher - NN

Giuoco Piano Thematic Tournament, 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ke6 7.f4 Bd6 

Black has two extra pieces. Why not give one back? How hard can the defense be?


8.d4  worked for White in  Philidor 1792 - Guest839182,, 2014, (1-0, 16), but I prefer the text.

8...Ke7 9. fxe5 Bc5 

10.d4 Bb4+ 

The Bishop is not having a good day.

11.c3 Ba5 12.Bg5+ Nf6 13.exf6+ gxf6 14.Qxf6+ Ke8 15.Qxh8+ Black resigned

Black will lose his Queen and be checkmated: 15...Kf7 16.0–0+ Kg6 17.Bxd8 a6 (or just about anything else) 18.Qg8+ Kh6 19.Qg5 checkmate

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Jerome Gambit: Surprise!

Image result for picture surprised face
Add another win - and a loss - to my score in the ongoing Giuoco Piano tournament (see "In Search of Eine Schach-Blindenhund...") and it is clear, once again, that the Jerome Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+) is a fun and effective "surprise weapon", but can be a bit of a struggle with someone who does not rattle easily.

In fact, my 51-move loss to Altotemmi (he crushed me with an Evans Gambit, too, and leads the tournament at this point) will require some re-tooling of a particular opening variation... (I am already working on it.)

In the meantime, another critical line in an important game has got me thinking overtime as well.

Who knew that the Jerome Gambit could be as challenging as a "real" chess opening?