Monday, December 18, 2017

Jerome Gambit History Tidbits

A few of my recent Jerome Gambit discoveries...

Amateur - Blackburne, London, 1884
Stumbling over the infamous Jerome Gambit game Amateur - Blackburne, London in the Australian Town and Country Journal (Saturday, March 21, 1885, page 31) I found another comment that supported 1884 as the year of the game (as if there needed to be more than Dr. Tim Harding's words from the English Chess Forum, which I presented in "Jerome Gambit: Dr. Harding Checks In")
We reprint from the Adelaide Observer...The following affair occurred to the great blindfold player a few months ago in London... 
But the best part was the columnist's comment on the stunning move 4.Bxf7+: "So early in the morning!"

Emanuel Lasker, columnist
The Evening Post: New York  from Wednesday, November 30, 1910, (page 11) had Emanuel Lasker's "CHESS AND CHESS PLAYERS" column, including the following news
...At the rooms of the Rice Chess Club in the Cafe Boulevard, the team representing the Temple Chess Club of the Baptist Temple of Brooklyn encountered the team Stuyvesant High School, and, although handicapped by the absence of two players, causing forfeiture on two boards, the Brooklyn players carried off the victory by the score of 3 points to 2... The Temple Chess Club players had the white pieces on the odd-numbered boards. The Jerome gambit, king's bishop opening, and French defence were adopted at the last three boards...
Although the copy of the paper is at times difficult to make out, it appears that Board 3 was a match between E. E. Brodhead of the Temple C.C. and Gadiowitz of Stuyvesant H.S., with Brodhead's Jerome Gambit carrying the day. I have not yet discovered the game.

It should be recalled that Lasker, responding to a letter to “Our Question Box” in the March 1906 issue of Lasker’s Chess Magazine had already said his peace about the opening 
No; the Jerome gambit is not named after St. Jerome. His penances, if he did any, were in atonement of rather minor transgressions compared with the gambit.

Emanuel Lasker, Simultaneous Exhibition 
The Observer (Adelaide) of Saturday, December 29, 1906 (page 49) has in its CHESS column, under CHESS NOTES, the following
Simultaneous Chess. - Lasker, playing at Pittsburg, Pa., lately, out of 28 games won 24, drew 2, and lost 2, a fine score of 25-3. The openings adopted were varied - Sicilian Defence 3, Centre Gambit 5, Petroff 1, Evans 4, Four Knights 2, Vienna 1, Jerome 1, King's Knight 1, King's Gambit 5, French 2, Allgaier 2 and only 1 Ruy Lopez.

It would seem that the source of Observer column was the October 18, 1906 (page 9) Pittsburgh Press article titled "DR. LASKER PLAYED 26 GAMES OF CHESS AT ONCE.  He Succeeded in Winning 22 of Them and Drawing 2." It is unclear why the two news reports differ in the number of games reported being played and won; and the Pittsburgh Press names 27 club members who were seated against Lasker, so apparently at least one board was covered by two players.

The Jerome Gambit (neither a win nor a draw for White) was played by E. H. Miller. (This is likely Emlen Hare Miller, who, a decade later, had a win [opening unknown] against Frank J. Marshall in a simultaneous exhibition.)

Of note
Before the contest began Lasker made an address on "The Game of Chess and the Game of Life," which was highly appreciated by his listeners.
How I would love to discover how Lasker defended against the Jerome Gambit!
Beware, chess students, the dreaded Jerome Gambit
The Telegraph (Brisbane) of Saturday, December 14, 1929, (page 13) had a "CHESS" column that gave the Jerome Gambit a greater sense of scariness than I had realized it had ever projected   
Chess students are early taught to watch out for the dreaded Jerome Gambit, an attack however that owes its success mainly to the inexperience of the attacked. Unsound it undoubtedly is, but white obtains a ferocious offensive requiring on the part of black the very greatest care. An ounce of practice, we are told, is worth a ton of theory, so the following game in the case isoffered. It is a win by the famous Blackburne with the black; of course it is not given to us all to be Blackburne...

No comments: