Friday, May 12, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Merely Commentators, or Players?

One of the reasons I started a discussion at the English Chess Forum searching out early English game examples of the Jerome Gambit was because of the quote by Joseph Henry Blackburne in Mr. Blackburne's Games at Chess (1899)
I used to call this the Kentucky Opening. For a while after its introduction it was greatly favored by certain players, but they soon grew tired of it.
The issue of the "Kentucky Opening" has been dealt with previously on this blog - see "The Kentucky Opening" parts 1234 and "The Kentucky / Danvers Opening".

That the Jerome Gambit had been "greatly favored by certain players" seems to suggest that games should be available - but none new to me have surfaced so far.

Blackburne may have been referring to coverage of the Jerome Gambit in some print sources.

For example, The Chess Player's Chronicle, August 1, 1877, translated and reprinted the early and in depth article on the Jerome Gambit, from "Chess Theory for Beginners" by Lieut. Sorensen, from the May 1877 issue of Nordisk Skaktidende. I believe that the translation was by Rev. C.E. Ranken.

Later, the third edition of Cook's Synopsis of Chess Openings A Tabuled Analysis by William Cook (1882) had Jerome Gambit analysis, including thanks to
Mr. Freeborough of Hull, and Rev. C.E. Ranken, of Malven, for material assistance in the compilation of the tables, original variations in the openings, and help in the examination of proof.
Versions of Chess Openings Ancient and Modern, starting with the first edition in 1889, include Jerome Gambit analysis and suggested moves by Freeborough and Rankin.

It should be noted, too, that George Hatfield Dingley Gossip covered the Jerome Gambit in his Theory of the Chess Openings (1879) and The Chess Player's Vade Mecum (1891). James Mortimer also had Jerome Gambit analysis in the many editions of his The Chess Player's Pocket-Book, starting in 1888.

Freeborough and Ranken, Gossip and Mortimer - merely commentators or players?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Dr. Harding Checks In

As a followup to the previous post, I returned to the online English Chess Forum and asked members if they were aware of any early (pre-WWI) Jerome Gambit games.

Early English Jerome Gambit Games?

Postby Rick Kennedy » Mon May 08, 2017 3:57 pm
Many people are familiar with Amateur - Blackburne, London, 1880 (or 1885) that
started 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ - the notorious Jerome Gambit - and 
concluded 4...Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ g6 7.Qxe5 d6 8.Qxh8 Qh4 9.O-O Nf6 
10.c3 Ng4 11.h3 Bxf2+ 12.Kh1 Bf5 13.Qxa8 Qxh3+ 14.gxh3 Bxe4# 

I am researching the Jerome, and am interested in discovering what other early (before
WWI) games there might have been played with the opening in England.

I have run across Keeble - Cubitt, Norwich, 1886 (1-0, 17), but that is about it.

Many thanks for whatever enlightenment might prevail.

Not surprisingly, Dr. Tim Harding, author of  Joseph Henry Blackburne A Chess Biography(and other fine books), published by McFarland,  responded quickly.

Re: Early English Jerome Gambit Games?

Postby Tim Harding » Mon May 08, 2017 5:38 pm
That was "Mr M" v Blackburne, first published in the Illustrated London News on 10 May
1884 (probably played at the Divan when Blackburne was convalescing). There is also 
floating around a very similar game Milner-Blackburne supposedly played in Manchester 
(ending 10 h3 Bxh3 11 Qxa8 Qg4 12 g3 Qxg3+ 13 Kh1 Qg2#) but I have no primary source 
for that.

I also found three postal games played by E. B. Lowe ca. 1879-1881 and you possibly
already know Charlick-Mann played by post in Australia in 1881 (1-0, 72).
Tim Harding
Historian and Kibitzer

Author of 'Joseph Henry Blackburne: A Chess Biography' and 'Eminent Victorian
Chess Players'

Dr. Harding's response adds to information about the Blackburne game,
from the Illustrated London News, giving "Mr. M" as the amateur player
of the White pieces. Other (not primary) sources have named this person

More importantly, the Illustrated London News account of May 10,1884
helps focus the possible date of the game, usually given as 1880 - which I 
had challenged, based upon an article in August 15, 1885 issue of the 
Brooklyn Chess Chronicle. So, 1884 is the corrected date.

Finally, Dr. Harding is being modest in merely mentioning the three postal
games played by E. B. Lowe correspondence games, as a good while back 
he provided them for me. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Refuted Openings

There is a light discussion on "refuted openings" at the English Chess Forum which, of course, mentions the Jerome Gambit, if only in passing. (I will be contacting the poster to see how serious or casual his knowledge is of 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+.)

It is enjoyable to see some back-and-forth as to what actually is refuted, and why.

I would have preferred a bit of a further look at the impact of time control on the playability of some openings, e.g. "suicide at regular time controls; risky at blitz; winning at bullet". Perhaps that will be added in future posts.