Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Verdun Gambit (Part 2)

From the chess column of the Western Mail  of Perth, Australia,  Friday, November 9, 1917 (page 26) titled "THE JEROME GAMBIT" we continue the tale of "The Verdun Gambit" started last post.

As before, I have added diagrams and changed the notation from descriptive to algebraic - Rick.

Our readers will recollect that some months ago we published an account of how the Veteran played the "Verdun" Gambit against the Exile and got badly beaten.

The opening moves of this gambit are as follow

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ 

4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+

This is really the Jerome Gambit, and it was only the Veteran's facetiousness that dubbed it the "Verdun."

Memories of this great conflit have been recalled by the receipt of the following remarks from a valued correspondent, who modestly hides his identity under the nom-de-plume of "Subscriber." He says:  "In connection with one of the games you published which was played at Boans, I wish to ask you if, in your opinion, that opening is not good enough? White has a piece and two pawns in
exchange for two pieces, and the two pawns he has are most important ones, and Black's position is, I think, unpleasantly broken up. Your opinion will much oblige." 

Although the Jerome Gambit is well worth playing occasionally in
offhand games, there is no recorded instance of its having been tried in any important tourney.The reason for this is obvious; White gives up a piece for two pawns but he does not gain, a compensating attack and must lose with anything like accurate play on the part of Black.

The chief book line of play is as follows:

6...Ke6 7.Qf5+ Kd6 8.d4 Bxd4 9.Na3 c6 10.c3 Qf6 11.cxd4 Qxf5
12.exf5 Nf7 13.Bf4+ Ke7

And Black, with a piece for a pawn, has the best of the deal.

In our opinion Black's simplest and best defense is 


when the play might proceed 

7.Qd5+ Ke8 8.Qxc5 d6 9.Qc3 Nf6 10.d3

"Cook's Synopsis" says that White has now some attack for his lost
pieces. He has a fine unbroken array of pawns, but he can hardly hope to win.

[I am not sure how "important" a tournament would have to be to satisfy the columnist, but if the Australian Open is important enough, then about 100 years after the above column was printed in Western Mail, "Cliff Hardy" played the Jerome Gambit and won there with it. - Rick]

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