Thursday, June 29, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Strange Beast

I just received a game from Philidor1792, and although it is not a "regular" Jerome Gambit, it is related, or "inspired by" - and it blew my mind. It features a pretty scary gambit, completely "objectively" unsound, but very uncomfortable to play against.

You have been warned.

saprvade - Philidor1792
3 2 blitz, 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d4 exd4 

So far we have a variation of the Bishop's Opening, Berlin Defense. The position could also arise from the Center Game, von der Lasa Gambit, 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Bc4 Nf6.

Now White can play 4.Nf3 and hope to transpose into the Urusov Gambit, although Black has 4...Nc6, moving the game into a Two Knights Defense or Scotch Gambit.

4. Bxf7+

Say what??

I could find no game examples in The Database, or in the ChessBase Big Database 2016. A Google search online was of no help.

Philidor1792 pointed me toward the database at, where I discovered that there were 41 games (including 1 0 bullet games and 3 0 blitz games) where White scored 51%.

4...Kxf7 5.e5 Qe7 6.Qe2 Ne8 

Philidor1792 is a long-time Jerome-Gambit-and-related player. He knows what he is doing with Black, but the position already looks quite uncomfortable. Remember, too, this is a 3 2 blitz game.

7.Nf3 d6 

Black's move is logical, but is a slip. Best seems the immediate safeguarding of the King with 7...Kg8 e.g. 8.Nxd4 and Stockfish 8 suggests the tortured continuation 8...c5 9.O-O Nc7 (if 9...cxd4 then 10.Qc4+ d5 11.Qxc8 Qd7 12.Qxd7 Nxd7) 10.Nf5 Qe6 11.Ne3 Nc6 12.f4 b6 13.c4 Nd4 and "of course" Black is "winning". Nice work if you can get it, as they used to say.

analysis diagram

8.Ng5+ Kg8

Of course this seems reasonable, but, as Philidor1792 points out, if 8...Kg6 then 9.e6 Bxe6 10.Nxe6 Kf7 11.Nxd4 Nc6 (or 11...Qxe2+ 12.Nxe2 Nc6) 12.Nxc6 Qxe2+ 13.Kxe2 bxc6 with an equal game.

Of course. Easy as pie, in the blink of an eye.

analysis diagram

9.Qc4+ Be6 10.Nxe6 Qf7 11.Qb3 Nd7 12.Nxd4 dxe5 13.Nf3 Bc5 14.Nc3 Qxb3 15.axb3 Nef6 

Black has pretty much weathered the storm, although White has an edge due to a slightly better pawn structure and a safer King.

16.O-O Kf7 17.Re1 Rhe8 18.Be3 Bd6 19.Bxa7 b6 20.Nb5 Rec8 

White's Queenside adventures do not seem to be amounting to much.

21.Red1 Kg8 22.Nc3 e4 23.Nd4 Nc5 24.Ncb5 Nb7 25.Nc6 Bf8 26.b4 Nd6 27.Nxd6 Bxd6 

White is still a bit better, but not by very much. What in the world are his minor pieces doing?

28.c4 Nd7 29.Rxd6 cxd6 30.Ne7+ Kf7 31.Nxc8 Rxc8 32.b3 Ra8

 33.Kf1 Ke7 34.Ke2 Kd8 35.c5 bxc5 36.bxc5 dxc5 37.Ra3 Kc7 

This looks like a time slip. If the Jerome-ish opening doesn't get you, the clock will...

38.Bxc5 Rxa3 39.Bxa3 

Facing a Bishop vs a Knight, and an outside passed pawn, Black can only hope his opponent's flag falls, but it does not do so - although almost 40 more moves are played.

39...Kc6 40.Ke3 Kd5 41.Bb2 g6 42.b4 Nf8 43.b5 Ne6 44.Ba3 Nd8 45.Be7 Nb7 46.Kf4 Ke6 47.Bf8 Kd5 48.Kg5 Ke6 49.Kh6 Kf7 50.Bb4 Kg8 51.Kg5 Kf7 52.Kf4 h5 53.Kxe4 Ke6 54.Kf4 Kf6 55.b6 g5+ 56.Ke4 Ke6 57.f4 gxf4 58.Kxf4 Kf6 59.Bc3+ Kg6 60.Ke5 Nc5 61.Kd5 Nd7 62.b7 Kf5 63.Kd6 Nb8 64.Be5 Na6 65.Kd5 Nb4+ 66.Kc5 Nd3+ 67.Kd6 Nxe5 68.b8=Q Nc4+ 69.Kc5 Ne5 70.Qh8 Ng6 71.Qxh5+ Kf6 72.Kd6 Nf8 73.h4 Ng6 74.Qg5+ Kf7 75.h5 Nf8 76.Qe7+ Kg8 77.h6 White resigned

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