Thursday, June 1, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Too Much of A Good Thing?

In the particular Jerome Gambit line in the following game, Black is faced with returning one of the two pieces that White sacrificed. He has two general ways to respond - choose a piece to withdraw from danger, or ignore the attack and develop another piece. Either option could work. However, trying both leads to great danger. 

Wall, Bill - Shookspear, William
lichess,org, 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bb4+ 

I like to imagine that Black is feeling clever here, knowing that he has to give back either the Knight or the Bishop, and deciding to have the Bishop capture on c3, taking a pawn, before saving the Knight. There are 255 game examples in The Database.

7.c3 Nf6

Black reverts to option number two: focus on development and let White mess up his pawn structure by capturing a piece. The move ...Nf6 would be better played while leaving the Bishop on c5, however.

8.dxe5 Bxc3+ 

According to plan, but it is not going to be successful.

9.Nxc3 Ne8 

I was surprised to find a related game in The Database, with 9...Ng8, and the outcome - a win for Black - was a bit of a shock, but play could be improved for both sides:  10.Qd5+ Ke8 11.O-O Ne7 12.Qc4 c6 13.Bg5 d5 14.exd5 cxd5 15.Nxd5? (15.Qb5+) Be6? (15...Qxd5) 16.Nxe7 (16.Nc7+) Bxc4 White resigned, Idealist - HarryPaul, FICS, 2002. 

10.O-O Rf8 11.Qh5+ Kg8

Feeling good. White has helped Black castle-by-hand.

12.Bg5 g6 13.Qh4 Black resigned

Oh, dear. Black can try 13...Nf6 14.Bxf6 Rxf6 (if 14...Qe8 then 15.Nd5) 15.exf6 but that would leave him down a Rook and a pawn.

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