Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Seems Familiar, But...

The second Jerome Gambit game recently sent by Vlasta Fejfar looks so incredibly "normal" (by Jerome standards, anyhow) it was hard to believe that it became completly "unusual" before a dozen moves.

What was "normal", however, was Black's increasing uncertainty or confusion on defense, followed by increasing pressure by White's "Jerome pawns" - followed by a win by the attacker in under 30 moves.

vlastous - mostafa-salman
internet, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ Ng6 

7.Qd5+ Ke8 8.Qxc5 d6 9.Qe3 Qf6 10.O-O N8e7

And, just like that, we have reached a position that seems familiar, but appears in only 2 other games in The Database.

I could make this sound quite incredible by pointing out that The Database has 55,650 games - but that would be a bit unfair; so let me say that, of the 12,823 games in The Database that start with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ - well, there still are only 2 other examples.

11.f4 Nc6 

What's not to like about this move - which is a novelty?

It improves upon a couple of earlier games:

11...Kf7 12.f5 Ne5 13.d4 Nc4?! 14.Qb3?! (14.Qd3!?) 14...b5 (14...Qxd4+!?) 15.Nd2?! Qxd4+ 16.Kh1 Ke8? 17.c3? (17.Qxb5+!?) 17...Nxd2 White resigned, shugart - douthy, lightning, FICS, 2014; and

11...Bd7 12.f5 (12.d4!?) 12...Ne5 13.d4 Ng4?! 14.Qd3 a6 15.h3 Bb5? 16.Qc3? Bxf1 17.hxg4 Bb5 18.g5 Qf7 19.Qxc7 Rc8?! 20.Qxd6 Qc4 21.f6 Qf1+ (21...gxf6 22.gxf6 Ng6) 22.Kh2 gxf6 23.gxf6 Ng6 24.Qe6+ (24.Nc3!?) 24...Kf8? 25.Bh6 checkmate, perrypawnpusher - LeiCar, blitz, FICS, 2010

12.c3 Bd7 13.d4 Kd8

Understandably, Black's King wants to get off of the soon-to-be-opened e-file.

14.d5 Nce7 15.c4 Rf8 16.Bd2 Qf7 

Likewise, Black's Queen - which has been helping hold back White's e-pawn - decides to get off of the a1-h8 diagonal, where White's dark-squared Bishop appears to be heading.

White's central "Jerome pawns" are threatening to advance and cause problems, and it is not surprising that Stockfish 8 already sees the first player as having the advantage.

17.Nc3 Qf6 

Back on the diagonal - but it is also on the file! White strikes.

18.e5 dxe5 19.fxe5 Qb6 

Black's Queen could not capture the e5 pawn because of 20.Rxf8+. 

20.c5 Rxf1+ 21.Rxf1 Qxb2 

Slipping behind enemy lines (pawns) to grab a pawn. Very dangerous!

22.e6 Be8 23.d6 cxd6 24.cxd6 Qb6 

25.dxe7+ Nxe7 26.Qxb6+ axb6 27.Bg5 Rc8 28.Nd5 Black resigned

White's pieces are tied up and tied down, and material will be lost.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Triumph Over the Annoying Defense

I received a couple of Jerome Gambit games from chessfriend Vlasta Fejfar. The first involves a complicated, frustrating, and, ultimately, philosophical defense. The second is almost off-the-road adventuring.

Let's dive into the tough stuff first. After a theoretical opening "discussion" and "scientific" middle game, there follows a textbook attack and a pleasant checkmate. 

vlastous - franciscoribeiro
internet, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

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

The annoying "annoying defense" (see 1 and 2 for starters). Computers love it. Vlasta has a lot of experience facing it.

Black offers to return one of the two sacrificed pieces. Although his King appears a bit precarious, much of the dynamism in the game is drained off.

White need to go into the line with a plan - and a decision about what kind of outcome he is looking for.

8.fxe5 dxe5 9.Qh3+ Kd6 10.Qd3+ Ke7 11.Qg3 

Here the game Fejfar,V - Pressl, corr Czech Republic, 2015 was drawn.

Is a draw acceptable to White, who started the game with a Bashi-Bazouk attack, sacrificing two pieces? Is a draw acceptable to Black, who, only a few moves ago, had an "objectively" won game?

It is a typical Jerome Gambit irony that could be expressed in the idea: Both sides stand better (or worse).  


A little bit better is 11...Kf7, although Vlasta has experience with that line, too: 12.Qxe5 Bd7 (12...Bd4 13.Rf1+ Nf6 14.Qh5+ Kg8 15.Qe2 Be6 16.c3 Be5 17.g3 c5 18.d3 Qd6 19.Bf4 Bg4 20.Qe3 Bh3 21.Rf3 Bg4 22.Rf1 Re8 23.Nd2 Bxf4 24.gxf4 b5 25.e5 Nd5 26.Qg3 Qg6 27.Ne4 c4 28.Kd2 Bf5 29.Nd6 Rd8 30.dxc4 bxc4 31.Rae1 Qxg3 32.hxg3 Ne7 33.Ke3 Bd3 34.Rg1 Nf5+ 35.Nxf5 Bxf5 36.Rd1 Kf7 37.Rd4 h5 38.Rgd1 Rc8 39.Rh1 g6 40.Rh2 Ke7 41.a4 Rc6 42.Rd5 Be6 43.Rb5 Rc7 44.Rd2 h4 45.gxh4 Rxh4 46.Rd4 Rh3+ 47.Kf2 Rd3 48.a5 Rxd4 49.cxd4 Bd7 50.Rb8 Ke6 51.Ke3 Kd5 52.a6 c3 53.bxc3 Rxc3+ 54.Kf2 Bc8 55.Ra8 Rc7 56.Ke3 Rc3+ 57.Kf2 Kxd4 58.Rxa7 Ke4 59.Rg7 Kf5 60.a7 Ra3 61.Rf7+ Kg4 62.Rf8 Bb7 63.e6 Rxa7 64.e7 Bc6 65.e8=Q Bxe8 66.Rxe8 Kxf4 67.Rf8+ Kg4 68.Rc8 g5 69.Rc3 Kh4 70.Kg1 Ra2 71.Rb3 g4 draw, Fejfar,V - Goc,P) 13.Qh5+ g6 14.Qxc5 Qh4+ 15.Qf2+ Qxf2+ 16.Kxf2 Nf6 17.d3 Rhf8 18.Nc3 Kg7 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, Fejfar,V - Svoboda, corr Czech Cup, 2016 

He has also seen 11...Ke8 12.Nc3 Bd4 13.Rf1 Qd7 14.Nd5 c6 15.Ne3 Nf6 16.d3 Qc7 17.c3 Bxe3 18.Bxe3 Qe7 19.O-O-O Rf8 20.Rf3 Bd7 21.Rdf1 c5 22.Bxc5 draw, Fejfar - Kyzlink, corr Czech Republic, 2015.

You may have noticed in some of these games Vlasta was testing the Jerome Gambit in correspondence play - like Alonzo Wheeler Jerome did with his gambit over a century ago. A draw is a reasonable outcome.


For comparison,  a couple of other games:

12. Rf1+ Nf6 13. Qxe5 Bd6 14. Qg5 Bxh2 15. Nc3 Be6 $2 16. e5 h6 17. Qe3 Qe7 18. exf6 gxf6 19. d3 c5 $6 20. Bd2 Rd8 21. O-O-O b6 $6 22. g3 Kg7 23. Rh1 Rd4 24. Rxh2 h5 25. Re1 Kf7 26. Rhe2 Rd6 27. Ne4 Rc6 28. Qf3 Kg6 29. Ng5 fxg5 30. Qxc6 Kh7 31. Rxe6 Black resigned, Wall,B - Shah,V, chess-db, 2015; and

12.d3 Nf6 13.Rf1 Qe7 14.Nc3 c6 15.Bg5 Kf7 16.O-O-O Rf8 17.h3 Kg8 18.Rf3 Qe6 19.Rdf1 Be7 20.Kb1 Bd7 21.Nd1 Rae8 22.Qh4 b5 23.Ne3 Qd6 24.Qf2 Be6 25.g4 c5 26.Nf5 Bxf5 27.gxf5 Nh5 28.Bc1 Nf4 29.h4 c4 30.d4 Nh5 31.d5 b4 32.Qe2 c3 33.b3 a5 34.a4 bxa3 35.Rxc3 Black resigned, Wall,B - ubluk, Chess.com, 2012.


The alternative, 12...Bd6, was seen in a number of games in the legendary Fisher-Kirshner - KnightStalker match in 1993. When people send me Jerome Gambit games, they usually start with Amateur - Blackburne, London, 1884, and then follow with the Fisher-Kirshner - KnightStalker games.

The text is sharp and relatively unexplored. The only other game with it in The Database is the computer game WB Nimzo 2000b - La Dame Blanche 2.0c, Jerome Gambit thematic tournament, 2009 - which was a 109 move draw!

13.g3 Qe7 14.Qxe7+ Kxe7 

The game has left the path of the computers (which contained 14...Nxe7) and has transposed to 3 games played by Philidor1792 in 2012.


Alternately, d2-d3 was seen in Philidor1792 - NN, 5 0 blitz, 2012 (1-0, 30) and c2-c3 was seen in Philidor1792 - NN, 5 0 blitz, 2012 (1-0, 22) and Philidor1792 - NN, no time control, 2012 (0-1, 27).


Played to keep White's Knight off of d5. Probably better was 15...Nf6, but Black seems to have been nervous about a possible Bishop pin at g5 (see move 17).  

16.Na4 Bd6 17.d4 h6 18.O-O Bh3 19.Rf3 Nf6 

A puzzling move. Black gives back his extra piece and secures what should be an even position. Stockfish 8, instead, suggests castling-by-hand on the Queenside, 19...Rf8 20.Bf4 Kd8 21.Nc5 Kc8, with advantage.

It must be said that Black is employing the "scientific" idea (as he did on move 7) of accepting the sacrificed material, and then giving it back some time later.

20.e5 Bxe5 21.dxe5 Nd7 

Vlasta suggested that 21...Ng4 would have led to an even game. 

22.b3 Nxe5 

Black is in too much of a hurry to capture the pawn. It will cost him another piece.

23.Re3 Kd6 24.Ba3+ Ke6 25.Rae1 b5 26.Rxe5+ Kf6 27.Bb2 Kg6 28. Nc5 Rad8 

White is winning now - he has an advantage in material and a developing attack on the enemy King.

29.Re7 Rhg8 30.Ne6 Bxe6 31.R1xe6+ Kh7 32. Rxc6 Rd1+ 

One last Hurrah. White's pressure on g7 is deadly.

33.Kg2 Rb1 34.Bf6 a5 35.Rcc7 Kg6 36.Bxg7 Rd1 

37.Rc6+ Kg5 38.Re5+ Kg4 39.h3 checkmate

Friday, October 13, 2017

Jerome Gambit Declined: Just Move

A major shortfall of declining the Jerome Gambit is that Black passes up a "won" game for one in which he has a clear disadvantage - a pawn down, a King who cannot castle.

A minor shortfall, as the following game illustrates, is that White can play his game, move-after-move, without having to take a lot of chances, or even having to put a lot of thought into his move choices.

Wall, Bill - Guest1064582
PlayChess.com, 2017

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


The Database has 278 games, with this position. Curiously enough, despite his advantage, White scores only 55%. Still, this is better than the 45% that White scores in the Jerome Gambit accepted line. (Please remember that The Database largely reflects the actions of online club players.)

Bill has also faced 4...Ke7 in the eyeblink 5...Bxg8 Rxg8 6.d4 Black resigned, Wall,B - Guest2877685, PlayChess.com, 2015(The Database 42 games with this form of declining, with White scoring 73%) 


Bill has also played:

5.Bxg8 Kxg8 6.O-O Qf6 7.Nc3 Ne7 8.d4 exd4 9.Bg5 Qg6 10.Bxe7 Bxe7 11.Nd5 Bd6 12.e5 c6 13.exd6 cxd5 14.Re1 Qxd6 15.Re8+ Kf7 16.Rxh8 Black resigned,Wall,B - Guest558953, PlayChess.com, 2017;

5.Bc4 Bxf2+ 6.Kxf2 Nd4 7.Nxd4 exd4 8.Qf3+ Qf6 9.Rf1 Qxf3+ 10.Kxf3 Nf6 11.d3 Ke7 12.e5 Nh5 13.Bg5+ Nf6 14.exf6+ gxf6 15.Re1+ Kd6 16.Bf4+ Kc6 17.a4 d5 18.Bb5+ Kc5 19.Bxc7 a6 20.b4+ Kxb4 21.c3+ Kc5 22.cxd4+ Kb4 23.Bd6+ Ka5 24.Nc3 axb5 25.axb5+ Kb6 26.Bc5+ Kc7 27.Nxd5+ Black resigned, Wall,B - Guest1393049, PlayChess.com, 2013;

and 5.Qe2 (Bill has also played this move in the Jerome Gambit accepted: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Qe2 Nf6 6.Qc4+ d5 7.Qxc5 dxe4 8.Nxe5+ Nxe5 9.Qxe5 Re8 10.Qb5 Qd4 11.O-O c6 12.Qb3+ Nd5 13.Nc3 Be6 14.Qxb7+ Ne7 15.Re1 Bd5 16.b3 Kg8 17.Bb2 Rf8 18.Qxe7 Qxf2+ 19.Kh1 Rae8 20.Qg5 e3 21.Nxd5 exd2 22.Qxg7 checkmate, Wall, Bill - Asesino, Chess.com, 20105...Qf6 6.Bb3 Nd4 7.Nxd4 Bxd4 8.O-O d6 9.c3 Bb6 10.d3 Ke7 11.d4 Nh6 12.dxe5 Qxe5 13.Bxh6 gxh6 14.Nd2 h5 15.Nc4 Bg4 16.Qd3 Qc5 17.e5 Raf8 18.exd6+ cxd6 19.Rae1+ Kd8 20.Nxd6 Kc7 21.Re7+ Kb8 22.Rxb7+ Ka8 23.Qe4 Rxf2 24.Rxb6+ Black resigned,Wall,B - Buster, Chess.com, 2011.

5...d6 6.Nc3 Bg4 7.d3 Qf6 

8.Nb5 Rc8 9.Bg5 Bxf3 10.Qxf3 Qxf3 11.gxf3 h6 12.Be3 Nd4 13.Bxd4 exd4 

14.Be6 Re8 15.Bxg8 Rxg8 16.Nxc7

White is now up two pawns. He doesn't have an attack on the enemy King, but he doesn't need one.

16...Re7 17.Nd5 Re6 18.f4

Even here, the "Jerome pawns" can be of help.


Black goes after the open g-file, but it does not amount to anything.

19.Ke2 Kf7 20.f5 Rg4 21.Kf3 h5 22.h3 Rg5 23.h4 Rg4 24.Nf4 

Black's advanced Rook is in danger after all that pawn dancing: if now 24...Rh8 to protect the h-pawn, then 25.Nxh5, anyway.


Nothing is going to shore up the Kingside.

25.fxg6+ Ke7 26.Rag1 Rxf4+ 27.Kxf4 Rf8+ 28.Kg5 Black resigned

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Plenty of Ways to Go Wrong

One of the attractions of the 6.d4 line in the Jerome Gambit (a favorite of Bill Wall) is that Black has to figure out what to do with his dark squared Bishop. As the following game shows, there are plenty of ways to go wrong. White's mating attack is very attractive.

Wall, Bill - Holzkopp
PlayChess.com, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 

6...Bb4+ 7.c3 Bd6

Bill has faced a variety of alternatives:

7...Nc4 as in Wall,B - Anonymous, lichess.com, 2016 (1-0, 18);

7...Qe7 as in Wall,B - Guest3742987, PlayChess.com, 2015 (1-0, 50);

7...Bxc3+ as in Wall,B - Caynaboos, FICS, 2011 (1-0, 26); Wall,B -ChessFlower, PlayChess.com, 2012 (1-0, 27); Wall,B -Boris, Sparkchess.com,  2012 (1-0, 31); and Wall,B - FJBS, FICS, 2015 (1-0, 14); and

7...Be7 as in Wall,B - ChrSav, FICS, 2010 (1-0, 11).

Black's strongest response is 7...Qh4!?, which has been seen seen 10 times in The Database (with all wins for Black). See "Gloom and Doom",  "Beyond Gloom and Doom" and "Jerome Gambit: Unresolved".

8.dxe5 Bxe5 

Black would still retain an edge after 8...Be7.


9.Qh5+ has also been seen: there are 6 wins for White and one draw in The Database.


Or 9...Kf6 10.f4 Kg6 11.O-O Bf6 12.f5+ Kh5 13.Qd1+ Kh4 14.Rf4+ Kg5 15.Rf3+ Black resigned, Wall,B - Guest6953174, PlayChess.com, 2016. 

10.Qxe5 d6 11.Qd5 Nf6 12.Qd3 Be6 

White has an extra pawn and the safer King. Black has the better development.

13.O-O c6 14.b3 Kf7 15.Ba3 c5 

The position is complicated. Stockfish 8 suggests, instead, 15...Re8 16.Nd2 d5 17.e5 Ng4 18.Nf3 Kg8

16.f4 Qb6 17.c4 Qa5 

Overlooking White's tactical play in the center. 

18.e5 Ng4 
19.f5 Nxe5 20.fxe6+ Kxe6 21.Qd5+ Kd7 

22.Qxb7+ Ke6 23.Nc3 

A nice finish: Black cannot afford to capture either of the two offered pieces.

23...Qxc3 24.Qd5+ Ke7 25.Bxc5 Rad8 26.Rae1 Qa5 27.Qf7 checkmate

Monday, October 9, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Improved Play

One of the goals of this blog, beyond providing entertainment, is to add to the store of knowledge of the Jerome Gambit, and to help Readers improve their own play with the opening. It is also to highlight those who have made such improvements - and benefitted from them.

The following game is light and airy, but it is still possible to see improvement over past games.
Wall, Bill - Guest670135
PlayChess.com, 2017 

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bb6 

7.dxe5 Bxf2+ 

This is not a frequently played move, but, curiously enough, it was covered in a recent post here. It will be interesting to see what improvements have been made in Black and White's play..

Certainly 7...Qh4 and 7...Qe7 were playable alternatives.

8.Kxf2 Qh4+ 9.g3 Qxe4 

This is stronger than 9...Qe7 10.Rf1 Qxe5 11.Kg1+ Nf6 12.Nc3 d6 13.Nd5 c6 14.Nxf6 gxf6 15.Bf4 Qc5+ 16.Kg2 Be6 17.Qxd6 Qxd6 18.Bxd6 Rad8 19.e5 Bd5+ 20.Kg1 Ke6 21.Rxf6+ Black resigned, HauntedKnight - Wxbas, FICS, 2014.


This, in turn, is a little bit better than 10.Qh5+ g6 11.Qf3+ Qxf3+ 12.Kxf3 Ne7 13.Rf1 Kg7 14.Bg5 Nf5 15.Bf6+ Kg8 16.Bxh8 Kxh8 17.Nc3 Nd4+ 18.Kg2 Nxc2 19.Rf8+ Kg7 20.Rc1 Ne3+ 21.Kf3 Kxf8 22.Kxe3 d6 23.exd6 cxd6 24.Nd5 Be6 25.Nf6 Kg7 26.Ne4 Bxa2 27.Nxd6 b6 28.Rc7+ Kh6 29.h4 Rd8 30.Nf7+ Bxf7 31.Rxf7 a5 32.Rb7 Rd6 33.g4 g5 34.h5 Re6+ 35.Kf3 Rf6+ 36.Kg3 Rd6 37.Ra7 Rd3+ 38.Kf2 Rd2+ 39.Ke3 Rxb2 40.Ra6 Kg7 41.Ra7+ Kg8 42.h6 Rc2 43.Rg7+ Kh8 44.Rxg5 a4 45.Rf5 Kg8 46.Rb5 Rc6 47.g5 Kf7 48.Rf5+ Kg6 49.Kf4 Rc4+ 50.Ke5 Rc5+ White resigned, HauntedKnight - ravenga, FICS, 2014


Black cannot resist the opportunity to swipe at the enemy King, but this move is not well-considered. The Queen would be much safer after 10...Qc6.


For the record, this is an improvement over 11.Kg2 b6 12.Rf1 Bb7+ 13.Kg1 Black resigned, Wall,B - Guest2613563, PlayChess.com, 2017


This is not an improvement over 11...Ne7 12.Rf1 Qxf1+ 13.Qxf1+ Ke8 14.Bg5 Rf8 15.Qc4 c6 16.Bxe7 Kxe7 17.Nc3 b5 18.Qc5+ Ke8 19.e6 dxe6 20.Qxc6+ Black resigned, bemillsy - Dubnobase, FICS, 2012.

12.Rf1 Black resigned

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Improvisation

Often the Jerome Gambit comes as a surprise for your opponent, providing challenges that have to be solved over the board. An incomplete solution by Black (perhaps due to over-confidence) can lead to quick equality - or more - for White.

On the other hand, even successful experiences with the Jerome Gambit can lead White to explore new ideas in old positions.   

Wall, Bill - Guest625265
PlayChess.com, 2017.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bd6 

Facing a strange opening, Black's defensive idea is clear: White will capture the Knight with his d-pawn, and then Black will capture the pawn with his Bishop. The difficulty with this plan is that it isn't deep enough; it doesn't assess what will happen next, something that experience would teach.

Oh, and another problem for the defender is that Bill is 13 - 0 against this line. 

7.dxe5 Bxe5

It is educational to see what Stockfish 8 recommends here, instead: 7...Bb4+ 8.c3 Be7 9.Qf3+ Ke8 10.O-O d6 with a slight edge to Black.

Black's Bishop abandons the idea of capturing the pawn on e5, gives a nuisance check at b4 which encourages c2-c3, making that square unavailable for a White Knight, and then returns to safety at e7.

White's Queen check allows for the dual cheapos 9...Ke6 10.Qf5 checkmate and 9...Kg6 10.Qf5 checkmate, as well as keeping pressure on d5.

8.Qd5+ Kf6 

Black can't be happy with simply giving another piece back with 8...Kf8 9.Qxe5, but it is still his best option.

The psychological pressures on Black - he gave me 2 pieces, and now I have to give them both back?! - are part of the attraction of the Jerome Gambit, at the club level.


I know, I know... Many of you who are playing along with this game have automatically played 9.f4, instead, and that is a good move, a fine move. But what if you wanted to explore something different?

White's move has a "lets finish this game quickly" feel to it, and it certainly has its desired effect. It also explores an idea that appears in only2 other games in The Database, a win and a loss.


"Attack the enemy Queen" is often an attractive tactical idea, as it frequently focuses the opponent on the threat, and draws him away from his own ideas. (Hint: what is White's idea?)

But, again, here Black has failed to examine the position deeper for a response. (This may be the result of a quick time control, a "negative halo effect", or he may have received "Jerome Gambit odds".)

He might have found the defensive move 9...Qe8, which would return the piece and dissolve White's coming attack: 10.f4 Bd6 11.e5+ Bxe5 12.fxe5+ Qxe5+ 13.Qxe5+ Kxe5. White would probably have enough compensation for his pawn deficit, e.g. 14.Nc3 with the idea of 15.Nb5.


This is White's idea.

10...Kg6 11.Qxe5 


Well. White has clawed back the two pieces that he "loaned" Black, and is even a pawn ahead. He is also better developed, and his King is safer.

What is Black to do? He chooses a move that both blocks the Bishop's attack on his Queen and protects the f5 square so that White cannot complete a checkmate (i.e. Qf5+ and g4#). 

Unfortunately, this over-the-board solution does not stand up, although the better 11...Nf6 still gives White the better game.

12.Bxe7 Black resigned

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Jerome Gambit: An Overlooked Defense

One of the great excitements of playing the disreputable Jerome Gambit is that, beyond the historical "refutations" that are out there - and I have presented as many as I am aware of in this blog, out of a simple sense of honesty and for historical accuracy - you will sometimes have the opportunity to face new or little-played "refutations".

Sometimes they will appear as impediments.

Sometimes they will appear more as mere defenses.

You have to get past them all, anyhow. Like in the following game. 

Wall, Bill - Guest532296
flyordie.com, 2017

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 d5 

Fascinating. And why not? Isn't the proper counter in a King's pawn game the full advance of the Queen's pawn?

So, why are there only four other games with this move in my 55,650 game Database?

Oh, and condolences to Guest532296, but two of them are by his opponent in this game, Bill Wall.


Or 7.dxc5 Nf6 (7...Be6 8.Nc3 d4 9.Ne2 Bc4 10.O-O Qf6 11.b3 Be6 12.Nxd4 Qg6 13.Nxe6 Kxe6 14.f4 Ng4 15.f5+ Black resigned, stretto - JAVAWO, FICS, 2008) 8. O-O Nxe4 9. Bf4 Ng6 10. Bxc7 Qh4 11. Qxd5+ Be6 12. Qd4 Rac8 13. Bg3 Qf6 14. Qxe4 Qxb2 15. Nd2 Rhe8 16. Nc4 Bxc4 17. Qxc4+ Kf8 18. Bd6+ Ne7 19. Rae1 b5 20. Qg4 Rcd8 21. Be5 g6 22.Bxb2 Black resigned, Wall,B - PassCapture, lichess.org 2017


Also seen was the if-it-works-for-you-maybe-it-will-work-for-me line 7...Bxf2+ 8.Kxf2 Qh4+ 9.g3 Qxe4 10.Re1 Qf5+ 11.Kg1 Ke6 12.Nc3 Ne7 13.Nb5 Rb8 14.Nd4+ Black resigned, Wall,B - PassCapture, lichess.org, 2017; and the reasonable

7...Qh4 8.O-O Be6 9.exd5 Bg4 10.h3 Bxd1 11.e6+ Ke7 12.Rxd1 Nf6 13.Be3 Bd6 14.Nc3 g5 15.Ne2 g4 16.Nf4 gxh3 17.Nxh3 Ne4 18.Rd4 c5 19.Rc4 b5 20.Bg5+ Qxg5 21.Nxg5 Nxg5 22.Rg4 h6 23.f4 Black forfeited on time, yorgos - Balderboys, FICS, 2009.

Stockfish 8 prefers 7...Ne7 8.Qf3+ Kg8 9.O-O Be6 10.Nc3 Qd7 with an advantage to the second player.

8.O-O Nh6 

Development, and planning to castle-by-hand if allowed.

White has to consider the exchange of his Bishop for the Knight - whose King will the resulting open lines trouble more? 


White probably has a draw by repetition after 9.Qh5+ Kf8 10.Bxh6 gxh6 11.Qxh6+ Ke8, with more Queen checks to follow, but there is also the wacky 12.b4!? Bxb4 13.c3!? dxc3 14.a3!? c2!? 15.axb4 cxb1/Q 16.Qh5+ which should also lead to a draw. (Hat tip to Kenneth Mark Colby, who wrote Secrets of a Grandpatzer - that second line would be a clear "Grandpatzer draw".)

9...Kg8 10.Bxh6 gxh6 11.Nd2 Qg5 

Having chased Black's King back to g8, blocking the Rook on h8, White feels comfortable with the piece exchange. On the other hand, Black still believes that there is a possible attack on the White King - hence the Queen move.

12.Qb3+ Kg7 13.f4 Qe7 

White has hopes for his "Jerome pawns".

Be6 15.f5 Bxc4 

Black was aware that putting his Bishop on e6 would make it a target, and he relied on the text move, attacking the enemy Queen, to counter any pawn push by White.

Since White's attack on Black's King will feature a Queen check from g3, Black's best defense might be 15...d3+!?, closing off the third rank. The game would remain quite complicated, although the first player still would have the advantage. 


An awkward move to meet. White's Queen will be able to escape the attack she faces (e.g. 16...Kg6 17.Qg3+ or 16...Kg8 17.Qg3+, in both cases followed by winning Black's Queen); Black's will not.

16...Kf7 17.fxe7+ Black resigned

The discovered check allows White's Queen to escape.