Thursday, February 16, 2017

Jerome Gambit Discovery

I enjoyed looking at positions in the Jerome Gambit with the help of Stockfish 8 - to the depth of 30 ply - that I thought I would look at a few of the classical defenses and see what turns up.

My first surprise came in Blackburne's Defense.

dj222 - invincible1, 2003

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

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ g6 7.Qxe5 d6

Blackburne's Defense. It is a complicated, tactical mess. Initially thought to favor Black, and then to favor White, the current assessment has been that it leads to a complicated draw that either player avoids at his own peril. But, maybe it favors White after all.

8.Qxh8 Qh4 9.d4

See "Traps and Zaps" for some background. The move was suggested in the notes to Amateur - Blackburne, London, 1885, but given scant attention afterward. 

Far more often played is 9.0-0. Although White won in Chandler - Dimitrov, 2004, analysis supported a complicated drawn game.


Black ignores the danger his Bishop is in. Only one game in The Database has this move, which is Stockfish 8's top choce.

It is hard for Black not to plump for 9...Qxe4+ 10.Be3 Qxg2 with complications, but the text is the second player's best option.

Check out "Opening Traps by GM Ferzbery" for a look.


White does not go after the enemy Bishop, but keeps White's Queen away from e4.

10...Bxd4 11.Rf1

It was probably best to play 11.0-0 here, and ride out the storm after 11...Qxh2+ 12.Kxh2 Ng4+ 13.Kg3 Bxh8, coming out the exchange ahead.


Recovering a pawn and offering a Rook while threatening White's Queen! Unfortunately, it is a mistake: Black had better in 11...b6 with the idea of 12...Ba6 and a very complicated, but balanced, game.

12.Qxa8 Bxg2 13.Qxb7 Bxf1 14.Qb3+ Ke7 15.Qg3

White's Queen returns in time to save the King.

15...Qxg3 16.hxg3 Bg2 17.f3 Bh3 Black resigned

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