Friday, December 30, 2016

Jerome Gambit: White Beware

Not all of the traps and surprises are for Black in the Jerome Gambit. The following game has a nasty snare that White steps in; and it is doubly dangerous in a blitz game. Be aware: chessmanjeff is no stranger to the Jerome Gambit, either; The Database has 239 of his games.

chessmanjeff - hugore
5 0 blitz, FICS, 2016

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Kf8

This very early defense to the Jerome could come as a surprise to an unprepared White. For some history of the line, see the post "Merry Christmas! A Hysterical/Historical Jerome Gambit Part 1".


The Banks variation, most recently covered in the post "Jerome Gambit: Battle of Wits" where 6.Nxc6 was given as best - and then Black has the surprise 6...Qh4!?. Mayhem ensues. 


Another surprise. Black offers the exchange. White should not accept!


An alternative, hoping to return to "normal" lines, was not successful: 7.Nxc6 dxc6 8.O-O Nf6 9.Qf3 Qxe4 10.Qc3 Bd4 11.Qb4+ c5 12.Qb5 c6 13.Qa5 b6 14.Qa3 Qxc2 15.Nc3 Be6 16.Ne2 Be5 17.d4 Bd6 18.dxc5 Bxc5 19.Qf3 Bd5 20.Qh3 Qxe2 21.Bg5 Qg4 22.Bxf6 Qxh3 23.Bxg7+ Kxg7 24.gxh3 Rhg8 White resigned, HooahMan - elidede, FICS, 2015.

Play should continue, instead, 7.Qf3+ Nf6 8.Nxc6 bxc6 9.d3 d5 10.Nc3 Bg4 11.Qg3 dxe4 12.O-O exd3 13.cxd3 h5 according to Stockfish 8.

7...hxg6 8.Qxh8 Qxe4+

Checkmate is now forced.

This point was overlooked in an earlier game, which is given with light notes: 8...Qf6?! 9.O-O d6 10.d4? (10.c3!?) 10...Nxd4 11.Nc3 Nxc2 12.Nd5 Qd8 13.b4 Bd4 14.Rb1 c6 15.Bb2? (15.Nf4!?) 15...Bxb2 (15...cxd5) 16.Rxb2 Nd4 17.Rd1 Nb5 18.a4 cxd5 19.axb5 Qf6 20.Rb3 dxe4 21.f3 Be6 22.Ra3 d5 23.fxe4 Ke7 24.exd5 (24.Rf3!? Qe5 25.exd5) 24...Bg4 25.d6+ Kd7 26.Rf1 Qd4+ 27.Kh1 Qxb4? 28.Qxg7+ Ke6 29.Qxg6+ Kd5 30.Rd3+ Kc4 31.Qxg4+ Kxb5 32.Rf5+ Ka4 33.Qxb4+ (33.Qd1+ Qb3 34.Qxb3#) 33...Kxb4 34.Rf4+ Kc5 35.d7 Rd8 36.Rc4+?! Black forfeited on time, HooahMan - elidede, FICS, 2015.


Another earlier cautionary tale: 9.Kf1 Qd4 10.Ke1 Qxf2+ 11.Kd1 d6 12.h3 Qxg2 13.Re1 Qf3+ 14.Re2 Bf2 15.d3 Nd4 16.Nc3 Qh1+ 17.Kd2 Nf3 checkmate, splott - mika76,, 2008.

9...d6 10.Re1 Qg4+ 11.f3 Qxg2 12.Re8+ Kxe8 13.Qxg8+ Kd7 14.Qxg7+ Ne7

The "only move" to preserve the win, actually. Take a look at 14...Ke6 15.Qg8+ Ke5 16.Qg7+ Kf4 17.d4+ Kxf3 18.Qf7+ Bf5 19.Qd5+ Be4 20.Qf7+ Kg4 21.Qf4+ Kh5 22.Qh6+ Kg4 23.Qg5+ Kh3 24.Qh6+, drawn by repetition. Amazing!

15.c3 Qxf3+ 16.Kc2 Qe4+ 17.d3 Qe2+ 18.Bd2 b6 19.d4 Ba6 20.dxc5 Bd3+ 21.Kb3 bxc5 22.Bg5 Rb8+

Missing 22...Bc2+ 23.Ka3 Qa6 but it doesn't matter at all.

23.Ka4 Bc2+ 24.b3 Bxb3+

Or 24...Qa6 checkmate.

25.axb3 Qb5+ 26.Ka3 Qxb3 checkmate

Wow! Let's not do that again, shall we?

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Jerome Gambit: Update The Database, Keep the Themes

I am updating The Database to include FICS games through the end of 2016. In the process, I ran across the following game which illustrates the ups and downs of playing the Jerome Gambit in blitz. White has over 200 games in The Database, and his play shows many Jerome themes - including a "sudden" mating attack to close the game.

snthor - AntonZ
blitz, FICS, 2016

1.Nf3 Nc6 2.e4 e5 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.O-O 

The "modern" Jerome Gambit, which skips the "classical" 5.Nxe5+ and is much more free form than forcing; the idea being that, given the freedom of choosing a line of play, instead of being forced into it, Black does not do his best.

5...d6 6.c3 h6 7.d4 exd4 8.cxd4 Bb6 

White has the better center pawn structure, and hopes to make progress against Black's slightly weakened King, whose careful ...h7-h6 often proves to have some weaknesses.

9.Qb3+ Kf8 10.Be3 Nf6 11.Nc3 Bg4 12.e5 dxe5 13.Nxe5 Nxe5 14.dxe5 Nd7 

Here we see a situation typical of a blitz game. If he had more time, Black would probably have avoided the exchanges that brought White's pawn to e5, which threatens Black's Knight, which loosens Black's Bishop... 


White builds his attack, and in the process misses the fork 15.Qb4+. Remember, this is a blitz game.

15...Qe7 16.f3 

I am trying out Stockfish 8, and here it recommends a breathless line of play that would probably appear in a slower time limit game: 16.Nd5 Qe6 17.Bxb6 axb6 18.Qb4+ c5 19.Qf4+ Qf5 20.Re4 Qxf4 21.Rxf4+ Kg8 22.Rxg4 Nxe5 23.Re4 Nc6 24.a3 Rd8 and White is a bit better.

16...Be6 17.Qc2 Re8 18.Bxb6 Nxb6 19.f4 

The "Jerome pawns", backed by Rooks, begin to look threatening. If he is careful, Black can handle them, but White knows they have power.

19...Qc5+ 20.Kh1 Nd5 21.f5 Bc8 22.Rc1 

Distracted by Black's Knight, for a moment White overlooks the thematic 22.f6!?

22...Nxc3 23.bxc3 Qxe5 24.f6 


Fascinating. As if Black realizes that White wants to open up lines, so he refuses to (or so he believes). As if the pawn on h6 has been searching for justification for almost 20 moves, and now "explains" itself.

This is a blitz game, the perfect time for the Jerome Gambit, and here is what we see regularly: Black offers White a chance to get back into the game; in fact, White is now winning.

25.Qg6 Rg8 26.Qxh6+ Kf7 27.Qh7+ Ke6 28.Rce1 

Even more crushing is 28.f7, but White does fine without it, winning Black's Queen. Then comes the King hunt and the checkmate.

28...Qxe1 29.Rxe1+ Kd6 30.Qd3+ Kc6 31.Qc4+ Kb6 32.Rb1+ Ka5 33.Qb4+ Ka6 34.Qb5 checkmate


Monday, December 26, 2016


Recently chessfriend Yury Bukayev pointed out that somehow, somewhere along the way, this blog had lost its "Links" section on the right side... Odd.

Thanks, Yury! I have started to repair the problem.

By the way, December 2016 is the month with the most visitors to this blog, since it began on June 10, 2008. Readers - thank you!

And - I'm sitting on top of the standings in the Giuoco Piano tournament, one point ahead of the field (thanks, in part, to the Jerome Gambit). However, IlToscano has two games left, so he can catch and pass me... Serves me right: against the next-to-last-place player, I allowed a pawn fork of two of my pieces, and resigned. How strange, given that in the Jerome Gambit I routinely give up more material than that! What was I thinking??