Saturday, October 29, 2016

Jerome Gambit: Little Surprises


While the Jerome Gambit might, on the surface, appear to be a "simple" chess opening - so brutal as to be completely transparent - it can have its little surprises, which is part of what makes it attractive. Take the following game...

procyk - deriver69
Jerome Gambit Tournament,, 2016

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

4...Kxf7 5.c3 Nf6 6.O-O d6 7.d4 exd4 8.cxd4 Bb6 9.Qb3+ Ke7 

It is interesting that Stockfish 7 prefers 9...d5 here, while a couple of other computers in game situations preferred 9...Kf8, e.g. 10.Qd3 (10.d5 Ne5 11.Nxe5 dxe5 12.Nc3 Ng4 13.h3 Bxf2+ 14.Rxf2+ Nxf2 15.Kxf2 Qh4+ 16.Kg1 Qg3 17.Nb5 Qxb3 18.axb3 c6 19.Nc7 Rb8 20.Be3 Bd7 21.Bxa7 Rd8 22.Rf1+ Kg8 23.Bc5 cxd5 24.exd5 h6 25.Re1 Rc8 26.d6 Rh7 27.b4 g6 28.Nd5 Rf8 29.Rxe5 Rhf7 30.Re1 Re8 31.Ne7+ Kh7 32.Ra1 Ref8 33.b3 Rf4 34.Ra7 Rb8 35.Bb6 Rf7 36.Bc7 Rbf8 37.Rxb7 Bxh3 38.Bb6 Bc8 39.Ra7 Be6 40.d7 Rf1+ 41.Kh2 Rd1 42.d8=Q Rdxd8 43.Bxd8 Rxd8 44.b5 Rd3 45.Nc6+ Kg8 46.b6 Rxb3 47.b7 Bc4 48.b8=Q+ Rxb8 49.Nxb8 Be6 50.Nc6 h5 51.Kg3 Kf8 52.Kf4 Bd5 53.Ne5 Bxg2 54.Nxg6+ Ke8 55.Kg5 Bf3 56.Nf4 Kd8 57.Nxh5 Kc8 58.Rg7 Be4 59.Kf4 Bc6 60.Ke5 Bf3 61.Nf4 Bc6 62.Ne6 Kb8 63.Kd6 Be4 64.Nd4 Kc8 65.Rc7+ Kb8 Black resigned, Rybka 2.3.2a - DrunkenMaster 1.2, 2009) 10...Qe7 11.Nc3 Bg4 12.Be3 Nb4 13.Qd2 Bxf3 14.gxf3 Kg8 15.Na4 Nc6 16.Rac1 Qf7 17.b4 Qg6+ 18.Kh1 Qh5 19.Qd1 Rc8 20.Nxb6 axb6 21.Rg1 Nxb4 22.Qb3+ Kf8 23.Qxb4 Qxf3+ 24.Rg2 Qxe4 25.Bg5 Qd5 26.Bxf6 gxf6 27.Qd2 h5 28.Qf4 f5 29.f3 Rh7 30.Rg6 Ra8 31.Rf6+ Ke8 32.Rxf5 Qg8 33.Qe4+ Kd8 34.Qxb7 Rc8 35.Rf6 Ke7 36.Rf4 Kd8 37.Re4 Qf7 38.f4 Rg7 39.Rce1 Rg8 40.Qc6 Qd7 41.Qd5 Qg4 42.Re7 Qg6 43.Qc6 Qg1+ 44.Rxg1 Rxg1+ 45.Kxg1 Kxe7 46.f5 Kf6 47.Qg2 Re8 48.Qg6+ Ke7 49.Qg7+ Kd8 50.f6 Kc8 51.f7 Black resigned, SOS 5.1 - DrunkenMaster, 2009.

In any event, Black appears to be doing well, having an extra piece for the cost of a pawn. True, his King has not found safety, but isn't that a trivial thing?


White pins the Knight, setting up a hit on it with the e-pawn. It turns out that he can make the advance right away: 7.e5 dxe5 8.dxe5 Ne4 9.Ng5!? Here's a shocker; White recovers his piece. Stockfish 7 recommends 9...Qg8 10.Qxg8 Rxg8 11.Nxe4 h6 and White has a small edge.

7...Bg4 8.e5 dxe5 


Deviating from the foretold 9.dxe5. Maybe he can still get a pawn to e5?


Black believes he has an antidote to all the mischief regarding the e5 pawn's attack on the pinned Knight at f6, but he should have played it - 9...Be6 - right away, as after 10.Nxc6+ bxc6 11.Re1 Qd6 he would be doing fine.

10.dxe5 Be6 11.exf6+ gxf6 12.Qa3+ Kf7 

White has recovered his piece, and Black's King remains slightly exposed. If the first player can safeguard his Bishop, he should be able to keep the game level.


This looks fine, but Stockfish 7 recommends the pin, 13.Qf3, instead, i.e. 13...Qd4 14.Nd2 Bg4 15.Qb3+ Be6 16.Qf3 and an invitation to draw by repetition. Existential anxiety?


This proves to be the winning idea, but the computer prefers 13...Qd4 14.Bg3 h5 15.Qc3 h4 16.Qxd4 Bxd4 17.Bxc7 Bxb2 18.Nd2 Bxa1 19.Rxa1 Bd5 when Black is clearly better.

14.Nc3 Bd4 15.Ne2 Qd5 16.Rad1 

Suddenly realizing that he had overlooked something, here White resigned

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Jerome Gambit Positional Play

The first thing that comes to mind at the mention of the Jerome Gambit is not "positional play". Yet, in the following game Bill Wall works to delay the development of Black's light-squared Bishop (a state of affairs that is often deadly for the second player) even at the cost of trading Queens. 

Wall, Bill- NN, 2016

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bxd4 7.Qxd4

With both defense and a trap in mind.

8.Qc5 Qd6 9.Qxd6 

Black's Bishop will not be travelling on the c8-h3 diagonal.

For 9.Qc3 see Wall, B - Guest3967134,, 2015Also 8.Qe3 as in Wall,B - Tsyalex,, 2015 (1-0, 20); and 8.Qd1 as seen in an unfinished correspondence game Jerome,A - Norton, D.P., 1876, and the later Jerome,A - Jaeger,D, correspondence, 1879, (1-0, 35).

Don't overlook "Why Did He Play That Move?"

9...cxd6 10.Bf4

The alternative, 10.O-O, was seen in Wall,B - berserkergang, FICS, 2011(1-0, 21).

10...Nf6 11.Nc3 b6 12.O-O-O Ke6 13.Nb5 


Black protects the pawn at d6, but not the space at c7. Perhaps he has his eyes on his own fork at f2.

14.Nc7+ Ke7 15.Nxa8 Nxf2 16.Bg5+ Kf7

Not as good is 16...Ke6, i.e. 17.Rhf1 Ned3+ (not 17...Nxd1 18.Nc7#) 18.cxd3 Nxd1 19.Nc7+ Ke5 20.Kxd1 Bb7. Black's Bishop is finally developed, but he is worse.

Black continues, but his oversight on move 21 seals the game.

17.Rhf1 Kg6 18.Rxf2 Kxg5 19.Nc7 Bb7 20.Nb5 a6 21.Nxd6
Be4 22.Nxe4+ Black resigned

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Jerome Gambit: Compensation

The following game is from the second round of the Jerome Gambit tournament. Despite good effort in a difficult variation, White is not able to pry away the full point.

kristjan - procyk
RedHotPawn, 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.d3 h6 

The game has transposed to a Semi-Italian Jerome Gambit line where White temporized with d2-d3, i.e. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 h6 4.d3 Bc5 5.Bxf7+ Kxf7.

White now decides on the "classical" second piece sacrifice. It is interesting to note that a first round game, deriver69 - procyk, transposed into the continuation 6.0-0 (0-1, 25).

6.Nxe5+ Nxe5 7.Qh5+ Ke6

Alternatives include:

7...g6 8.Qxe5 Be7 9.Qxh8 Bf6 10.Qh7+ Bg7 11.e5 d6 12.f4 Bf5 13.Nc3 Nf6 14.exf6 Qxf6 15.O-O c6 16.g4 Rh8 17.Qxh8 Bxh8 18.gxf5 gxf5 19.Be3 b5 20.Bxa7 h5 21.Be3 h4 22.a4 d5 23.d4 b4 24.Ne2 Qg6+ 25.Kf2 c5 26.a5 c4 27.a6 h3 28.a7 Qg2+ 29.Ke1 Black resigned, Wall,B - Riichmarj,, 2010

7...Ng6 8. Qxc5 (8.Qd5+ Ke8 9.Qxc5 N8e7 10.f4 Rf8 11.O-O d6 12.Qh5 Kd7 13.Nc3 c6 14.Be3 Kc7 15.b4 Bd7 16.b5 cxb5 17.Nxb5+ Bxb5 18.Qxb5 a6 19.Qb2 Nc6 20.Bb6+ Kb8 21.Bxd8 Black resigned, Wall,B - Ashley,, 2010) 8...d6 9.Qe3 Nf6 10.h3 (10.O-O Rf8 11.Nc3 Kg8 12.b4 Ng4 13.Qd4 N6e5 14.Qd5+ Kh8 15.f3 Qh4 16.fxg4 Rxf1+ 17.Kxf1 Qxh2 18.Bb2 Bxg4 19.Ke1 Qg1+ 20.Kd2 Qxg2+ 21.Kc1 Qf1+ 22.Kd2 Nf3+ 23.Ke3 Qh3 24.Qxb7 Ne5+ 25.Kd4 c5+ 26.bxc5 dxc5+ 27.Kxe5 Qh5+ 28.Kd6 Rd8+ 29.Kc6 Rc8+ 30.Kb5 c4+ 31.Kb4 Qe5 32.Rb1 Rb8 33.Nb5 Qxb2+ 34.Rxb2 Rxb7 35.Kxc4 a6 36.a4 axb5+ 37.axb5 White resigned, DREWBEAR 63 - TWODOGS, JGTourney4, ChessWorld, 2009) 10...Bd7 11.Bd2 Bc6 12.Nc3 Rf8 13.O-O-O Kg8 14.f4 Nd7 15.g4 Nxf4 16.Qd4 Ne6 17.Qg1 Ng5 18.h4 Nf3 19.Qg3 Nxd2 20.Rxd2 Ne5 21.Ne2 Rf3 22.Qg2 Qe7 23.Nd4 Rf4 24.g5 Rg4 25.Qe2 hxg5 26.hxg5 Qxg5 27.Qh2 Kf7 28.Rf1+ Ke7 29.Nf5+ Kd7 30.Nd4 a5 31.b3 a4 32.b4 b6 33.Rf5 Qe3 34.Nxc6 Kxc6 35.Kb2 a3+ 36.Kb3 Qd4 37.c3 Qe3 38.Rdf2 Qxd3 39.Rd2 Qc4+ White resigned, ZahariSokolov - laspac, FICS, 2014.

8.Qf5+ Kd6 9.Nc3

Development is a good thing in a gambit, but White might have had more luck with 9.f4. There are only two games with that move in The Database, but White won both.


Black also succeeded with 9...a6 10.Bf4 Qf6 11.Bxe5+ Qxe5 12.Qf8+ Kc6 13.f4 Qxc3+ White resigned, jibeng - ehvmc, FICS, 2010.


Again White goes with develoment. Seen elsewhere was 10.f4 Qf6 11.fxe5+ Qxe5 12.Bf4 Bd4 13.Bxe5+ Bxe5 14.O-O Nf6 15.Rad1 Ke7 16.d4 d6 17.Qg6 Bxh2+ 18.Kxh2 Be6 19.e5 dxe5 20.dxe5 Bf7 21.exf6+ gxf6 22.Qe4+ Kf8 23.Rxf6 Re8 24.Rxf7+ Kxf7 25.Rd7+ Kf6 26.Qh4+ Ke6 27.Rxb7 a6 28.Qc4+ Kd6 29.Qxa6 Rc8 30.Ne4+ Kd5 31.Qd3+ Ke5 32.g3 Rcd8 33.Re7+ Kf5 34.Qf3+ Kg6 35.Qf7 checkmate, ZahariSokolov - mmamaju, FICS, 2014 



Likely better was 11.O-O-O, although the position would still be difficult. 

11...Qxe5 12.Qf3 Nf6 13.O-O-O Bd4 White resigned

The ending comes abruptly, but White may have decided that he simply did not have enough compensation for his two pieces. It will take some work to get any kind of attack on the King going.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Ecstacy and Agony of the Jerome Gambit

This previous post is worth repeating 
for those who may have missed it.
I mean, how often do you see "balderdash in the highest sense" 
to describe a chess opening?

Image result for graphic facepalm

Grandmaster Jon Speelman's "Agony Column" at the ChessBase news site presents games submitted by average players. Each week he shows one player's "agony" game, where the outcome was not a happy one; and the same player's "ecstacy" game, where the result was more enjoyable.

GM Speelman's analysis is, as always, instructive, enlightening, fair and enjoyable.

This week he takes a look at two of my Jerome Gambit games.

Wow. "And lived to tell the tale", as they say.

Be sure to stop by the site and read the column! Be sure to check out the "Discuss"comments as well.